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How Widespread Is This


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#1 wase16ll

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:55 AM

have noticed over recent years, the well known breakdown buisnesses really pushing their luck.

 

have had many years of experience with these companies, although have often found them wrong in their diagnosis, can see why they came to their conclusions in often difficult circumstances...

 

but starting to see a worrying trend in customers that have called on them and being given what can only be described as totally deliberate and dishonest diagnosis which is often accompanied by them ringing up their personally favoured garages for quotes and pushing for agreement to tow the car to them.

 

luckily, most of my customers are loyal to me, rather wait a few days for me to carry out repairs than trust anyone else with it.

 

recent eg.s

An 02 renault scenic...wouldnt start...she was told it was a head gasket and after a call by the driver, was given a quote for £700 from his highly recommended garage, which she turned down

i get a phone call from her in floods of tears, she is a single mum who totally depends on her car and not in a financial situation to be able to deal with that kind of bill.

i get there, first thing i noticed was car hadnt lost any water whatsoever, within 10 mins done all the usual checks and found nothing to even suggest a HG..

turned out to be rainwater had got to plug leads...had it running perfectly in 5 mins..total bill of £25

honest mistake?  or something more sinister

04 bmw...car cut out and wouldnt restart...owner was told it was a clogged inlet manifold that needed removing and cleaning...was given a quote following a call made by the driver for an estimate of £400-£550, but owner insisted on getting car towed home

i get there following day, i knew the diagnosis was way out as clogged manifolds dont happen on petrol engines, within a minute i knew there was no fuel supply, within 10mins, i found it was a faulty pump...actual bill £130

honest mistake???? 

 

i could list another dozen eg's from last 12mths, some are dubious, some are just downright con.

these are the companies that champion themselves as the voice/defender of the motorist, if they cant be trusted then who can you?

 

is this a local problem or a worrying trend on a national scale

 

 

should add, its not the companies im knocking, but some of their drivers who are in the frontline

 

 

 



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#2 g1ygj

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:02 AM

Sounds like the breakdown men would get the sack if found out, and quite rightly so.
This is definitely sharp practice.

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#3 DanGersFord

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:08 AM

It's always the same with big companies, even in my line of work. See the amount of times I've been phoned out for a second opinion on a boiler that's gone faulty, the persons had British Gas out for example who have proceeded to tell them that they can't get parts for the boiler anymore and that it would need replaced, I go out and I can get parts no problem, that's if it's even parts thats required. Some people just trust that because they're a big company they're the best and if they say it needs replaced then they trust the name. I know for a fact that British gas engineers get pulled up if they don't sell enough boilers in a month so the engineers regularly tell people anything to get them to try and get a new boiler. It'll be the same with AA, RAC etc, they'll get commission for every job they get for a garage

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#4 wase16ll

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:48 AM

dont doubt it Dan, but these companies have been operating from the early days of motoring, have always found them honest, helpful and reliable, as many of the front liners still are, but this 'commission' side of it seems to be growing.

 

another one causing concern

 

had number of problems, particularly this last year, with the big 2 changing batteries when the ones removed were still under warranty, they have a policy of taking the old ones away...so when i get the call about that battery i fitted a couple of years ago,  being faulty, it puts me in a difficult position.

i cant do a warranty claim if i dont have the battery, what makes it worse, is vast majority of batteries are of the calcium type, which cannot be condemned untill they have had a full recharge witth the correct type of charger...yet im expected to just cough up a refund..

i make a point of writing down AND explaining that no warranty can be honoured unless the battery is returned to me, sent away to the supplier and agreed by them.

a flat battery doesnt necessarily mean its knackered, although chances are, a few would fall under warranty, i very much doubt all of them do when you add up the numbers.

put simply, i can think of only one battery that failed in last 4/5 years when the big 2 weren't involved, but over last 12/18 mths, roughly a dozen have been when they get called....i smell a rat



#5 btmaldon

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:00 PM

It is very disappointing that you cannot trust the big name companies anymore. There was a time that they used to pride themselves on the service and integrity they provided the customer. Now days where these companies outsource their work to individuals or smaller outfits or the pay levels of their own staff have reduced significantly in relation to inflation over the years, more and more con artists are getting involved.

 

This is the sort of stuff that BBC Watchdog should be made aware of to highlight the issue. I think they already did something on the battery issue some years ago.



#6 FOCA

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:23 PM

It  is often difficult to say if the given diagnosis is delibirate and dishonest or because of inexperience or incompetence

 

the rain water in the rocker cover, has cought out a few garages/ mechanics thinking it was the head gasket,, for example many times i have read this on forums, etc

 

Main dealers, etc often get it wrong, too - its as if they are lost/ clueless if nothing comes up on their diagnostics machines  

 

I think to get a job like that, you have to be able to drag your knuckles on the ground and eat bananas :lol:  

 

 

 

 

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#7 DanGersFord

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:56 PM

It  is often difficult to say if the given diagnosis is delibirate and dishonest or because of inexperience or incompetence
 
the rain water in the rocker cover, has cought out a few garages/ mechanics thinking it was the head gasket,, for example many times i have read this on forums, etc
 
Main dealers, etc often get it wrong, too - its as if they are lost/ clueless if nothing comes up on their diagnostics machines  
 
I think to get a job like that, you have to be able to drag your knuckles on the ground and eat bananas :lol:  
 
 
 
 
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Lol loving your clapped out laptop using a dodgy copy of XP lol

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#8 jeebowhite

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 02:57 PM

Good job your honest Tony! I tend to take any report from a breakdown man with a tonne of salt. If he cant fix it at the roadside, then I get a tow home and work from there! Good job you saved your customers a lot of money!



#9 wase16ll

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 03:02 PM

For me...diagnosing a car that won't start, with no codes, zero loss of coolant let alone any other symptom, beyond saying one plug had water around its base...as a HG !!!!! is dishonest
Combined with the big sell technique of towing too recommended garage...out of order particularly when it's obvious owner is working on a low budget....

#10 jeebowhite

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 09:29 PM

Not all recovery folk have a conscience. I expect there will be some who will be in cahoots with a few of these garages earning some commission from a duff investigation.



#11 FOCA

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:44 AM

For me...diagnosing a car that won't start, with no codes, zero loss of coolant let alone any other symptom, beyond saying one plug had water around its base...as a HG !!!!! is dishonest
Combined with the big sell technique of towing too recommended garage...out of order particularly when it's obvious owner is working on a low budget....

The point is you are assuming they are actually able to diagnose the problem, they my be completely useless/ ignorant, and  after checking the basics (eg there is fuel in the car/ (the right kind/ petrol in a petrol/ diesel in a diesel)power in the battery) and after plugging a code reader in, after that they are  out of ideas

 

The vast majority of call outs will be basic things like flat tyres & no spare or run out of fuel or the customer put petrol in a diesel or flattened the  battery due to leaving the lights on etc     

 

Apart from probably being inexperienced/ not proper mechanics, they may be under a lot of pressure/ have very little time and are expected to make a quick diagnosis so - water in the plugs = head gasket  

 

There is an- over reliance on code readers

 

+ even an expert can get it wrong / may not be right 100% of the time

 

+ Cars are progressively becoming more difficult to diagnose and work on/ repair

 

Many people have recommended garages, not because its their uncle or are getting a "back hander" but because you have used them before and trust them, recommended garages may change over time, or people might have garages they avoid   



#12 wase16ll

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:07 PM

know what your saying, but this particular instance was beyond doubt...when the owner states they have their own trusted mechanic then that should have been the end of it...but driver then stated that this kind of problerm cannot be dealt with properly by a mobile mechanic, this recommended garage would be a much safer and more professional repair!!!!

yeah, righto...

the hard sell only stopped when she made it abundantly clear, in a highly stressed state (i know as she rang me when driver was still their) she didnt have/couldnt get that kind of money.

 

will also add this particular firm only employed qualified/experienced mechanics unless they have changed their policy, unlike the other major firm that will take anyone with even limited knowledge and train them up.

 

i could list a load of eg's from recent years, not all are so obvious but there is a noticable, growing pattern...i can understand/swallow the battery scam as its obviously a firms policy, but incidents such as this have nothing to do with pressure from the bosses...

 

should add, no way of knowing what these 'recommended' garage would have done, maybe a drink for the driver and an honest diagnosis/repair at a reasonable cost for the owner....or maybe a full out stitch up????

 

thankfully, on this occasion they never got the option, i left the owner with a big beaming smile and thats all that matters to me



#13 minnis

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:55 AM

To add my experience, my alternator packed up and left me stranded in the middle of the road, unable to restart it. I pushed it to the side and called the AA. They were here in about 20 minutes, quickly diagnosed the alternator, and charged up the battery. He asked me where I was going (I was on the way to the garage at the time) and followed me there. No trying to sell anything, or recommending another garage. To top it all off, he was a right laugh too! Thanks to him, I wasn't anywhere near as stressed out as I could have been.

Top marks to AA, there are some decent breakdown services!


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