Friday, February 15, 2008


as a part of my continual rant and rave, a apparent oversite came to me in a indirect manner; of course i have been spouting off about retailers doing illegal repair and diagonstics on customers cars, and the legal implications of their actions.
i had a customer come to our store, recommended by a repair shop, to have us sell and install wiperblades on a late model chevy venture mini van. as my assistant quickly rose to the needs of the nice old church lady,(which she was the wife of the local preacher) i queried why she was sent here, rather than the shop installing the blades; of course, the idea if paying to have the wipers installed was the key to this operation as it unfolded. of course, unknown to us as well, here at the part store, that the wiper arm itself, was stripped on the transome mount, and when my eager to please helper placed the wiper on the arm, and the blades were test run, of course, when the wiper arms crossed over each others path, of course, the blades caught and twisted.
now, how was we to know the wiper arm was stripped? i suppose the fact a repair shop passing on the "should be free" installation, should have clued us in on a potential problem, but like stevie wonder driving on a freeway, we didn't know what we were getting into. my only recourse, was since we didn't have arms available for this model, was to replace the blades for free and have the honest church lady return to the dealership for a arm replacement on m y dime. ouch, there when t all my profits on those blades for the next month or so.
the issue at hand here, is the fact that people have gotten so used to the retailers offering so many so-called free services, that it forces us, the jobbers to respond likewise, and either do the same job, or rsik losing a customer for a $10 sale since we don't want to do it.
of course, as cars have become more complicated, a simple light bulb change or battery installation isn't an easy operation as it was in the 70'S....even repair stations charge for these complicated repairs now, hence customers flocking to the big boxes for the free installations.
this also slaps the reapir trade in the face, making what should be a simple, reasonable fee repair, is now replaced by low paid hacks, who botch the repairs, or since they are the last ones who touched my car, and it wasn'tthat way when i got there, pass the buck type customers, where in our wonderful, land of the free and litigation for all, makes business insurance rates skyrocket; ask your agent what is your deductable for helping customers and doing simple repairs, and if your people make a mistake, who pays and how much; we maybe locking the help to the counter and forbiding any or all simple repairs, no matter how much it hurts sales or customer relations.
the key issue here is the legality of the repairs; even nice little old church ladies can have some killer legal savy and make you think twice about being the nice guy or girl next time.