January 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm #6239
We all need protection from those customers that we just can’t reason with, and want to sue or take financial advantage of a us as shop owners. Where can I find or what are my options for service contracts that are 2 pages MAX, and spells out: test drives, estimates, storage fees, payment and bad checks, ect.? We use Alldata Manage and have a half-assed fine print that doesn’t really protect us well, printed as final invoice. We need something our customers sign as they drop off their vehicle.January 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm #14809
[lurk]Interested to see if anyone is using such an instrument.January 7, 2017 at 1:59 pm #20325
deepaauto27ParticipantJanuary 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm #21370
The basic problem here is that even when you win, you still lose. Customers (or rather folks with broken cars) have a bad habit of trashing your reputation when they aren’t happy. Starting a relationship from a position of mistrust certainly can’t help matters. Starting out by handing them a contract to sign before you will even look at the car can present the attitude you don’t trust them. Kinda like the guy who wants a written estimate before you even know what kind of car he drives. You might produce a brochure explaining your shops policies, and make sure each new customer gets one. There is a company that provides a blacklist for bad customers, and that might be a useful tool if it ever catches on, but so far it hasn’t. Not many shops using it, I suspect out of fear of legal issues, liability for slander or what not. IMO, it would be nice to be able to turn the tables on those folks who bad mouth your shop. Consumers clearly have the upper hand here. Best advice is if they seem flaky, avoid them like the plague, but in reality the flake signals often don’t show up until its too lateJanuary 12, 2017 at 1:41 pm #21376
Please don’t take this wrong. If you think you might need this protection you might take a closer look at the operation of your shop.
In 29 years in business (the last 13 averaged over $1,000,000 in sales) I could count the number of “Bad” customers on one hand. That isn’t to say they didn’t walk in the door.
Having a customer sign their rights away doesn’t work and to attempt it would put up red flags to potential good customers.January 20, 2017 at 7:26 am #22017
After 26 years and 250 cars a month I’ve never had a problem. The few people who have given me hassles one guy was a paralegal and filed in small claims court but our invoices were written correctly and after that was pointed out to him he dropped it. We have had less than 8 charge backs from credit cards in 26 years.
Get some training for whoever does your service writing.
Make sure any question believer lines have good notes written clearly.
Draw a line on turned down items like car had bald tires do not drive car it is unsafe X______________
Or engine was over heated we test drove and pressure checked cooling system. Vehicles that have been overheated can sometimes be internally damaged and could fail after its driven many miles check your temperature gauge and your coolant level often. X__________________
Also of those few people who hassled us we tell them to call Zürich insurance company and file a claim with them but usually shuts them up because it knows that we have representation and have to pay for representation.
We do fire customers every few months. We just tell them we are backed up and they should go to the dealer if they need there car quick.January 20, 2017 at 7:45 am #22019
Cant agree anymore then with the last 2 responses. You might want to look at your shop operation. You are just asking for a bad relationship starting off with customers signing a waiver.
Your front counter should be very explicit with the invoices, pointing out vehicle damage when dropped off, declined repairs, deficiency’s with the vehicle, etc. Final invoice’s should be gone over carefully with customers signing.
I have been doing this for 34 years and I have had instances where this happens, few and far between. But when/if you are in front of a judge and all your ducks are in a row, the outcome is usually in your favor.January 20, 2017 at 8:56 am #22035
I also agree with the last few writers. If you still feel strongly about this, you might want to make a sign for your showroom explaining your policies and procedures. I like to keep my invoice simple. And, when I have a vehicle that gives me any reason for suspicion, out comes my cell phone camera to explain my issues.January 20, 2017 at 11:02 am #22051
I agree with most of the respondents. I’ve been in business 29 years and have fired 3 clients. I was sued once and prevailed because documentation was correct. Furthermore, I retained that client and has been very good.
Either you have a bad client base or some retraining needs to happen. It’s always better to settle than to contest. No one wins in a lawsuit.January 23, 2017 at 4:41 pm #23066
Like everybody is saying, that’s exactly what they teach you at How to Win in Court, the way to prepare so you really don’t have to go, but if you have to go, you know what to expect and win.
If you are in the wrong, you know how to settle before it gets out of hand. great course.
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