Auto Shop Management Forums

Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our community around the world.

  • approvals

    Posted by nctransmission on May 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I’ve gotten burned twice in the last 2 years with customers approving repairs over the phone in some manner or another, and then when they show up to pick up their repaired car, present me with a copy of the NC law stating they do not need to pay for repairs if they did not authorize. I am then forced by law enforcement to release their car to them.

    In speaking with my lawyer she indicates the only way I can really avoid that is to act like a hotel, by asking for a credit card imprint when the customers check in. I can’t imagine someone dropping a car off for a diagnostic giving me a credit card imprint.

    Being a transmission shop, I’m not looking at losing a $400 repair bill, I’ve lost a $2300 and a $2800 repair bill with this crap. Needless to say, this is a hit in this economy that I can’t afford to take.

    What do you guys do?

    Glenn Davis replied 11 years, 1 month ago 7 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
Advertiser / Sponsor
  • Tom Ham

    Member
    May 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Daniel Fenti wrote:

    > I’ve gotten burned twice in the last 2 years with customers approving repairs over the phone in some manner or another, and then when they show up to pick up their repaired car, present me with a copy of the NC law stating they do not need to pay for repairs if they did not authorize. I am then forced by law enforcement to release their car to them.

    >

    > In speaking with my lawyer she indicates the only way I can really avoid that is to act like a hotel, by asking for a credit card imprint when the customers check in. I can’t imagine someone dropping a car off for a diagnostic giving me a credit card imprint.

    >

    > Being a transmission shop, I’m not looking at losing a $400 repair bill, I’ve lost a $2300 and a $2800 repair bill with this crap. Needless to say, this is a hit in this economy that I can’t afford to take.

    >

    > What do you guys do?

    Try checking with another attorney. Something about this does not sound right. It goes like this here….

    Start with a customer signature authorizing initial testing, etc. Can be done in person, after hours form, or via fax.

    Additional amounts are normally done over the phone and include: Who called who, phone # called, date, time, brief description of added items, and dollar amount. Other methods would be in person with another signature or email.

    Last time we had an issue was several years ago. Sheriff was called by customer and told customer to pay up if he wanted his car.

    If you can confirm that your state is different as you describe, then just pay close attention to each customer. If they seem a bit odd (90% of the time, you can tell), then tell them that they have to come in to sign in person for additional work.

    Even though I do not have to do so, I do that now with jobs in the price range you are referring to. Plus, I get a deposit for maybe half the estimated final bill. This is not common, but when they seem flakey, it clarifies things.

  • Joe Mazur

    Member
    May 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    We have done the same as Tom. Most of our customers are not an issue, but the “ones that seem flaky” are the ones that we just make sure we follow policy closely, which includes getting a deposit for 50% of the repairs before beginning work (on big ticket repairs, or for customers we do not know already)

  • danrsauto

    Member
    May 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Clients are very Street Samrt as my Brother used to tell me . Yes we only have a few but it cuts in the bottom line.

    I agree with the rest get an email , fax , written , text authorization.

    We ask how they plan to pay on big jobs , Credit card deposit , come in and pay a portion, check .

    It is very sad what clients try to pull. We had a gentleman come in after all the work is done last week , When signing the work order say’s call his wife he is too hard to geta hold of leaves her number and his. He starts to barter with the service advisor , does not a warranty and would not have agreed to the job if he was contacted and we took advantage of a women by calling her instead of him. Well we told him not to go thier and did you not say call your wife, well he said you did not try to call me your number would have come up.

    We gave him a discount and told him we would take him out of the system let him scam the next guy, life is too short.

  • jonwally

    Member
    May 24, 2011 at 1:19 am

    At my work we have had customers say they did not agree for teapots

    when they came to pick up the car. Not sure what my manager does

    but no cops have been evolved and no car has left unpaid. We do

    have a big problem with customers leaving big job till they can

    afford them. But I would just solve that by charging a fee for each

    day the vehicle is left after being diagnosed or repaired.

  • Alan Ollie

    Member
    May 24, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Not the same problem as you.Last year we had 3 first time customers who used a Amex card knowing they are going to dispute their bill. If the customer gets turned down the first time all they have to do is resubmit a 2nd time “As per Amex terms of use we are not satisfied with service received.

    Our invoices were perfect .We lost all three over 4k total. Now we don’t take Amex without management approval before the job is started.If we must take it we have them sign a waiver in advance of repairs.

  • Glenn Davis

    Member
    May 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Hey Dan,

    Out here in the Inland Empire of So Cal, the economy got really bad. We started asking for a deposit (either by phone or in person) to help keep the crooks away. We also send them a fax or e-mail so they could approve in writing. Old relationships we once had with good customers do not seem to apply to today. If they won’t give you a deposit…turn them away!