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business questions and rant, all in one post

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by 4by4bygod, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Had a crappy day at the detail shop.. Lisa did a buff and wax on an 02 GMC Sierra P/U with 80,000 miles on it. She folds in the drivers side mirror, in order to get part of the door better..

    Now the mirror is loose, and won't stay in one spot. We told the owner what happened, and she is all po'd at us. I tried to give her her money back because I felt bad, but my contention is that a "breakaway" mirror, is supposed to do just that, break away. Any malfunction doing so isn't our fault.

    Her point is that since it happened in our care, we hafta buy her a new mirror and pay to have the damn thing installed. Her and her husband are the kind of people to take this to small claims court, so where we left it is she'll tell her husband what happened, ( his truck) , and I'll have the chance to get a mirror assembly wholesale. It's not fair, but she doesn't seem to care, really.


    So, on to my questions:

    1) do the mirrors on 2002 GMC pickups break away in both directions?

    2) anyone have ideas for language we could put in a waiver we can have folks sign, that would hold us harmless in situations like this? I've had door handles come off in my hand, plastic interior pieces fall off, etc, at what point am I not responsible for someones USED pos falling apart in my washbay? I'll pay for and fix burned paint or trim, or a wreck that's my fault, but damn, this is nuts.

    We have insurance, but the deductible is 500.00. What's crazy is that this lady won't take her money back, yet still wants us to "stand behind our work" .. she even brought her boss with her to observe our conversation, ( we're based in an office park garage ) And she's worried we'll disappear overnite and she'll never get this resolved..

    We've been at this location 6 years, she's a first time customer, and she's gonna question MY integrity? Oh hell no. An automatic wash would have never told her about anything they did, and good luck getting them to fix it.

    People suck. they want us to go "above and beyond" to do a good job, but if anything goes wrong, oh boy, they want compensation, and we're the bad guys.

    anyway, any input is appreciated.

    Tom
     
  2. Cricket

    Cricket 3/4 ton status

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    Well the mirror was loosened by Lisa, I'm not sure if she's family or an employee which could temper your judgement.

    Since the mirror was intentionally pushed in for a better angle while doing the work I would say it's your responsibility to fix it. I understand she was simply trying to give the customer a high quality detail but the onus is still on you. If the truck came in with a loose mirror and the customer tried to blame you that would be a different story. The truck is also only 3 years old, if it were older the "Old POS" point would have more validity.

    If it were my business I'd chalk it up to experience, fix it, and move on. As far as writing a clause removing any liability at all, I'm not sure that'd hold up in court. If it was you truck that went in and came out with a loose mirror would you accept the explanation that GM made a crappy product and would the court?

    Sounds like you have a very good reputation and a solid business with 6 years behind it. Be a standup guy even though you may not feel it's fair. Your business will continue to prosper.

    Just my .02. Hope it works out for you Tom.
     
  3. grimjaw

    grimjaw 1/2 ton status

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    Are you 100% the mirror was fine before you washed it? If not it may be someones way to get free repairs. On the other hand, if it was fine to start with (and warranty does not cover it) its on you. Sorry.
     
  4. mrk5

    mrk5 The Sticker Guy Moderator Vendor GMOTM Winner Author

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    This is a tough one.

    If the mirror was moved in a manner that it was designed to and it became loose after that, I don't see how it is your fault.

    If the mirror was moved in a manner that it was not meant to, then I think you should get it fixed.

    In the former case I would like to think that you would win a small claims case. It's a matter of he-said-she-said.

    I would say that you should offer some sort of compromise, which you did. I think that the offer to return the customer's money was fair. I would return her money, which would be easy if it is a credit card or check. Keep a record of the return, and see what happens.

    If it was my truck I would be pissed about the mirror being a piece of crap. But maybe I'm just reasonable.:rolleyes:
     
  5. readymix

    readymix 3/4 ton status

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    Look Here

    I bought new miirors for my 98 Z-71 and one for our 02 Avy from this place. They are way cheaper than hte dealer and the quality is way better. Just find what you wnat then look for it on e-bay from the same seller and get it even cheaper than they advertise on thier web site.

    Oh, and yes the 02 chevy mirrors will break away in both directions.
     
  6. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks guys.. I'm finding out that GM has had a TSB on these mirrors, which states that if the mirrors are swung out, the housing comes loose from it's base.

    That changes things a lot. apparently, there's a 30 dollar fix it kit avaliable to the dealers now. they fixed the problem on the 2003 + models.

    I'm going to start another thread asking if anyone has the TSB I need. My info is coming form from "professional car care online", which lists all of the potential vehicle / car wash problems, and I'd like something less biased.

    If anyone cares, here's the link

    http://www.carwash.com/News.asp?mode=4&N_ID=53937

    Tom
     
  7. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Sorry, Tom, but I have to side with everyone else on this too.

    Here's a story:

    A mechanic I used to deal with replaced a fuel pump on my best friend's truck when it went out at his shop. Chances are it was 99% done when it rolled into his shop, but it blew out when the truck was in his possession so he replaced it at no charge. It probably cost him $20 and 15 minutes of labor, but the goodwill it generated him in return from us earned him a couple grand in business.

    My point? Customer service is what separates you from the other guy. Keep in mind that every so often you'll run into ****ty customers. They will do their best to screw you out of your hard earned cash and will make you wonder whether it's worth it to be in the business. When they make your life miserable, consider any loss you take as a enrollment fee in a class at school, because you will learn from every experience like that, and eventually you'll be able to spot them from a mile away. Get used to it, and try to remember that a large majority of customers TRULY appreciate your services.

    I hope this make sense. Kim deals with crap like this all the time. Her last big write-off due to a bad customer was worth $3400!!!!!!!
     
  8. Resurrection_Joe

    Resurrection_Joe 1 ton status

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    We'll get him
     
  9. Kim Can

    Kim Can 1/2 ton status

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    Tom,
    That sounds really crappy. I have lots of customers like her that you just can't make happy. At least if you get to keep the money she originally paid you. I say, fix it, but in the future I would be hesitant to serve her again, unless you do a walk through of the vehicle before she leaves it.

    I agree with the waiver - unless you are willing to go to court.
     
  10. mrk5

    mrk5 The Sticker Guy Moderator Vendor GMOTM Winner Author

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    If you wind up agreeing to pay to have it repaired, it's not unheard of to make it part of the deal not to serve her in the future.

    There's a guy based out of Denver called the trouble shooter Tom Martino. He handles customer service issues. He was talking the other day about a lady that had a problem with a Mercedes. She raised such a stink that they met all of her requests and their only stipulation is that she could not buy a Mercedes car in the future.
     
  11. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Hi Kim & Paul!

    Yeah, customer service can be costly.. last year, one girl here at the building had her honda CRV broken into.. the body shop replaced the drivers door glass, but left all of the shattered glass inside.. So the girl brings it to me, and I'm vacuuming it out, when I see a bunch of glass in one of the molded plastic map pockets in the door... I can't quite get the vac nozzle down to get the glass, so I pull on the edge of the pocket.. just a little more.. CRACK... I split the SOB right up the middle..

    cost me 300 bucks to buy a new one.. I volunteered to buy it cause I was the dumbass trying to be the hero, when realistically the only way to get all the glass out would be to turn the truck upside down and shake it out of there.

    The girl was only too happy to have me pay for it, but what got me was that she never yelled at the body shop for doing a half assed job, and it was her stupidity in leaving her purse on the front seat in downtown cleveland that put us all in this situation. On the other hand, I was the guy who broke it.

    So, the upshot is I'm willing to pay for what I screw up, I'm only crabbing now because lisa ( wife ) didn't do anything wrong... the mirrors are suppposed to move. Now that I know the GM technical services bulletin about the mirrors absolves us, I'll just give the owner all of that information, and give her her check back again.

    Tom
     
  12. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    There's an old maxim that's still true. Happy customers tell one person. Unhappy customers tell 10.

    Sounds like you can make this one happy for not a lot of money. You can't make everyone happy (2.5% of the population is psychotic and won't be happy ever - just be glad they don't murder you in your sleep) but most people try not to be total jerks all the time. But they have lots of buttons that get pushed all day long.

    A good solid referral business always does better in the long run.

    That said, you should have a waiver as part of your service sheet. Probably some good ones online somewhere.
     
  13. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    <<try to remember that a large majority of customers TRULY appreciate your services>>

    Thanks for reminding me of that, bro.. It's easy to forget... What's cool is when our regulars will drive a filthy car for days until we can get to them, rather than go thru an automatic. That's loyalty. We take care of 'em too, with some extra things thrown in for free. I never understood businesses that bent over backwards to get new customers, rather than take care of the ones who've been loyal.

    Tom
     
  14. Can Can

    Can Can Pusher Man Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Hey, brother, you're welcome. We all need reminders from time to time that things really AREN'T so bad. 95% of the world's population would kill to have our standard of living, regardles of the toll it sometimes takes on us........

    Please promise me that you will continue to take "extra good" care of your loyal customers. Rewarding loyalty has fallen to the wayside as of late. Kim has the same attitude as you regarding long time customers, and wouldn't it you know it- her business has grown every year since she took over the reins 100%.

    Hmmmmmm......:thinking:
     
  15. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    <<Please promise me that you will continue to take "extra good" care of your loyal customers. Rewarding loyalty has fallen to the wayside as of late. Kim has the same attitude as you regarding long time customers, and wouldn't it you know it- her business has grown every year since she took over the reins 100%.

    Hmmmmmm......:thinking:>>

    Taking care of our long term people is our prime directive. I've got some corporate bigwig types that pay us a bunch of money up front, so we clean the cars whenever they drop in, and we keep the cars waxed at no extra charge. We also have some receptionists that we take care of for free because they promote us, or collect cash and keys for us. We'll also do freebies for someone going on maternity leave, or a birthday.

    We've been blessed with growth too. I bought the business for Lisa back in 1999, and I came to work with her in late 2001 after my headhunting business collapsed. ( long story). She was just in one building, and the first winter was tough. Now, we're up to 13 buildings on our street that we get cars from, and we make house calls too. doing 8 - 13 cars each a day isn't uncommon.

    I felt so bad for Lisa after what happened today. She loves what she does, and she was in tears over this. I don't like unhappy customers either.

    Anyway, enough about me.. what kind of business does Kim have, If I may ask?

    Tom
     
  16. Kim Can

    Kim Can 1/2 ton status

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    I run a print shop, and have for almost 11 years. We do similar things to Kinkos and Staples (their copy division), however we provide full service copying and hopefully great customer service. We cater more to people who don't have time to do it themselves and want professionals to help.

    We've managed to stay in business, I believe, because we are customer service oriented. Staples and Kinkos on the other hand (at least up here) are more price oriented. Unfortunately we can't give rates as low as theirs, or I would never pay the rent or take a salary, so instead we do the job right (hopefully), and on time the first time. We've had people of course that want us to match the big boys prices, but usually we refuse.

    Quite a few of the people who have been to Staples come back though due to poor service and mix up of jobs. We do get quite a few idiots though that you can never please, and even some scam artists (like the one Paul mentioned - it was actually $4300), but we've managed to make it this long.

    There really are not as many businesses that focus on service any more, so those of us who do need to keep at it!! Cheers!
     
  17. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Hi Kim!

    Thanks for the response. I applaud your efforts. It's tough trying to do a brain transplant on people to get them to realize that the cheapest price doesn't mean the best value. The big chains are just as clueless down here when it comes to getting things right, and I noticed yesterday that a local mom and pop printing service just went under. That's really too bad, because as you've shown, it is possible to thrive in spite of the big chains existence.

    Do you solicit accounts, or do you work with who comes to see you?

    Tom
     
  18. Kim Can

    Kim Can 1/2 ton status

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    We mostly cater to people who come in, and try to keep them as customers. We also talk to friends etc. My brother (who is my partner) has managed to snag some pretty large accounts from buddies. I totally believe in quality, quality, quality. There is enough crap out there to make us look good! We keep all of our equipment in top notch shape - putting out the best copies possible (there are bad copies out there!), and we also know what we are doing.

    When you go to Staples and have a a fifteen year old run your job, who doesn't give a crap whether or not you come back again, it makes us look appealing. We have a few very anal customers who we bend over backwards for, and some who are very easy to please.... but we just had our best month ever in 10- years. I guess we much be doing something right! But like I said, we are not the cheapest, and if anyone complains, we explain the service, convenience and expertise factor.

    I hate to toot my own horn (okay I will since I've had approximately 4 drinks, mixed by Paul which equals about 6 drinks), but I really do know what I am doing. I did this for a year before we opened our own shop, so it's been 12.5 years since I started (I guess I'd better know what I'm doing by now!). Tell Lisa not to worry. **** happens! I figure if I can take a paycheck every month, I'm doing something right!!
     
  19. ronnny

    ronnny 1/2 ton status

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    Go to a few wrecker services and mechanic shops and ask them if you can look at thier agreement on damage to cars that are in thier care. Then from a few of them you will know how to write one of your own. May have to do like car rental places and walk around the car with new customers and look for problems untill they become a regular customer.
     
  20. newyorkin

    newyorkin 1 ton status

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    Find that TSB and I think you're fine.

    I park in an overcrowded lot everyday, and I've seen people walk past trucks, bump the mirror pretty hard, and it doesn't appear to be broken.

    On the other hand, sometimes being a biz owner requires you eat costs like that.

    I know now it looks like a dealer fix, but did you suggest splitting the repair cost if it was a non warranty repair? Breaking a mirror by moving it in it's designed manner sounds ridiculous, there must have either been prior concealed damage, or in this case, a manufacturer defect.

    And I agree absolutely on a waiver. Unfortunately, I'd recommend consulting a lawyer. I hate the idea, but I have to call one monday and feed him a pile of cash for some business venture issues I'm going to pursue. That's the best way to be sure you're doing it right, though. Look into Pre-paid legal services, too, they might be cheaper and if you opt to subscribe, you can basically call them on a whim.

    I'd maybe see if you can use wording like "We are not responsible for damage to vehicle not CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY caused by our *negligence*, nor for damage occuring as a result of normal wear and tear prior to our possession of the vehicle."
     

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