ACtion Magazine - May 2013 - (Page 6)
t seems we hear almost weekly about yet another auto shop accused of selling
customers something they really don’t need, from TV news ‘investigative reports’
and from newspaper headlines. We can thank the dishonest few in our business,
plus journalistic sensationalism, political grand-standing, and the speed of social
media. No wonder the public thinks we’re all crooks. It has gotten so bad that
sometimes we fret over letting clients know about something they really need to
keep them safe on the road.
As if that wasn’t enough of a concern for our industry, now we’re drawing
the attention of lawyers. A Philadelphia court just convicted a Toyota dealer of
negligence for missing a bad ball joint during a safety inspection. The jury decided
the ball joint caused the crash and awarded $11 million to the victims, thus
enlightening litigators that we can be held liable for NOT trying to sell something.
So we really are in a catch 22. If we recommend needed maintenance or repairs,
we can be accused of up-selling and taking advantage of a consumer. If we don’t
recommend maintenance that’s really needed, we can be held liable if something
goes wrong! This could be a very slippery slope if the legal profession jumps on us
like they do the medical industry. I can imagine the TV commercials now: “Did
you have your brakes repaired? Did you have a car accident? You may be due a
thousands! Call 123456-7890 now!”
Or maybe this
As if that wasn’t enough
one: “Did you
spend thousands of
of a concern, now we’re
If so, you may
be entitled to
drawing the attention of
because you were
not informed by
timely service could
the repair. Call
now, operators are standing by!”
I know this is an exaggeration and a little funny, but I’ll bet that Toyota dealer isn’t
laughing. Besides, frivolous litigation is often the norm, not the exception, and even if
there’s no merit in the case, we still have to spend money to defend against it.
So how do we protect ourselves against accusations of overselling or not
recommending needed repairs to keep from being held liable? How do we as good,
honest, reputable shops separate ourselves form the not-so-honest in the eyes of the
consumer? How do we protect ourselves from a lawsuit?
For my staff, the answer is simple; adhere to factory maintenance schedules
and sell only what is needed. We also document everything. If we recommend
maintenance or repairs, we back it up with facts and proof (including photos). We
note everything on the invoice, and if the client declines our recommendation,
we note that too and get the client to sign it. We also document everything in
the notes-and-recommendations section of our shop management system. Great
documentation, legitimate facts, and pictures may just keep you out of trouble. ❆
Mobile Air Conditioning
Society Worldwide (MACS)
Chairman & CEO
President & Editor-In-Chief
VP Sales & Marketing
Graphics & Design Manager
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May 2013 Volume 13, Number 4
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ACTION • May 2013
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - May 2013
Action Magazine - May 2013
Under the Southern Cross
News & Updates
What Is Happening in the Auto A/C Industry?
New Equipment, Tools and Service Parts for 2013
Striking Customer Service Gold
New Products & Services
ACtion Magazine - May 2013