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  • Customer Requests

    Posted by schriever on May 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I’m curious as to how other shops are dealing with customer’s who want a particular repair performed. Perfect example, a customer brought in a 2001 Quest with the instructions “Change the EGR valve”. I offered to diagnose the vehicle and find the root cause of her problem, but she adamantly refuses saying “It’s already been checked out, and that’s what the problem is.”

    After the requested repairs are performed, the van is running just as bad as when it came in and the customer immediately becomes hostile demanding that we fix her van at no extra cost. Perhaps wrongly, I became equally hostile asking “Remember when I offered to look at it first and find your problem?! You said CHANGE THE EGR VALVE!” Eventually, she agreed that the EGR valve might not have been her problem and paid us for the full tune-up that had never been done in 135k miles..

    How would YOU have handled that situation??

    gcauto replied 9 years, 6 months ago 8 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
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  • rhopp

    May 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    First of all, we use the following on ANY CEL inquiry.


    OBD II Information for Check Engine Lights

    Your vehicle is equipped with a sophisticated On-Board Diagnostic

    (OBD) system. This is what turns on the Check Engine light or MIL

    (Malfunction Indicator Lamp).

    We are equipped and trained to handle the diagnosis and repair of

    Check Engine light problems for most vehicles. However, there may be

    more than one problem present, even though only one “trouble code”

    appears in your On-Board computer.

    The OBD system performs a series of “self-tests” to determine

    whether all systems are working as designed. Once a failure occurs,

    many of these tests are temporarily turned off. This means that once

    we fix the issue causing the first trouble code to be stored in your

    computer, we may discover other problems that could not be detected

    until the first problem was corrected. This is especially likely if

    you have been driving with the Check-Engine light on for several days

    or longer.

    Self-tests may require specific conditions to occur before they can

    be run. One test requires the engine not be started for at least

    eight hours and the outside temperature must be above 15 degrees

    Fahrenheit. Another requires the fuel tank to be between one-half and

    three-quarters full. Another requires the vehicle be driven at a

    steady speed for several minutes above 50 mph. There are many

    prerequisites for each self-test and all must be met before the full

    cycle of self-testing is complete. Some tests must be run more than

    once before they will register a failure.

    It is not practical for you or us to keep your car and drive it so

    extensively. That’s why we must rely on you to help. Each of the OBD

    self-tests will eventually complete during normal driving. The Check

    Engine light may come back on after a few minutes or a few days of

    driving. If so, you may need to bring your vehicle back for further

    testing and possibly further repairs. There is NO CHARGE for

    retrieving codes within 90 days of a previous engine control related


    I have read and understood the above text and was informed about

    possible risks, the possibility of additional problems and or repairs.

    Customer Signature, ____________________ Date, _______


    The person you described may never be a customer, some are certifiably


    The simple statement “Ms. ___ you chose us for some reason I don’t

    know. Our goal is to give you all the information you need to make the

    best decision for your current situation.”

    “I can install the part, but I MUST advise you that it often does

    nothing to resolve the problem”.

    “Perhaps there’s another garage out there that would better fit your


  • Tom Ham

    May 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm


    We might just take the job in like normal, pay the tech a few tenths to see if it looked like the repair was going to address the issue. Proceed if it looks like it would or call her if it looks like it won’t.

    Sometimes we might very politely insist on some basic testing first.

    Depends on the person.

    Try to never get hostile. Some goofy folks have friends who would make great customers.

    Others carry ;)

    When you are absolutely sure you do not want to work on their car, smile and sincerely tell them that you wish you were able to help their situation and suggest trying a different shop who might be better suited for their needs.

  • Ron Smith

    May 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    We always state on the request on the repair order at time of drop-off

    as ie:Replaced EGR Valve-owner request-diagnosed elsewhere

    Ron Smith

  • prwhite

    May 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Great document Rob! I believe that we have to be the professional at all times and giving the customer an opportunity to understand our repair process is the very first place to start and yet often the most difficult to communicate.

    Regarding this instance of “customer insists:”

    I would have declined the custome request without additional documentation on her part that indicated why the EGR was at fault. As the professional in this situation we have an obligation to the customer to make sure the end result will be a repaired vehicle. That is why we test and analyse before we change parts. Sometimes a customer will not let us do our job and at those times we need to say we cannot help them.

  • hackmum

    May 17, 2012 at 12:46 am

    We too will always fact find for the reason the customer wants a

    particular part replaced and explain, just as other here have said,

    that if we replace the requested part that it might not remedy their

    concern. If they still insist on having us replace a component we

    include a disclaimer on the R.O. and have them initial it before

    proceeding. Never had a problem with this process for us. Good luck!

    Customer requests___________________be replaced/installed., no tests

    or diagnosis have been made and there is no warranty that the

    installed part will remedy or correct the customers problem or

    concerns. The installed part is non-returnable. Customer initials


  • Humphrey Pisanis

    May 17, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Excellent document Rob.

  • gcauto

    December 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    We just encountered this yesterday. A new customer came in 2 years ago and requested a sensor replacement because the parts store pulled the code and told her that’s the repair necessary to address her check engine light. She declined any testing to confirm the problem. She was back yesterday with the complaint that the check engine light is back on and the parts store told her it is the same code so it must be due to our repair. I explained to the customer that she declined any testing during the initial sensor replacement and that we would gladly proceed from here with proper testing. She once again declined testing but feels we should fix her problem since the parts store told her it is the same code as 2 years ago. After explaining to her that there is no magic tool that tells you exactly what is wrong when the check engine light comes on she still declined testing because she knows she just needs this sensor replaced again.

    Lesson learned. Our policy is that we will not install a part at the insistance of a customer without authorization for testing.

  • gcauto

    December 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm


    May I use your response at our shop?

    Thank you,


  • gcauto

    December 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm


    May I use your response for our shop?

    Thank you,