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Whose car is it, anyway?

By Staff | Oct 14, 2015

One would think that one would know whose car one was working on, wouldn’t one? Well, sometimes one does, and sometimes one does not. It can make for interesting, if not confusing conversations.

Mr. Smith brought a car in for a pre-purchase inspection. We did the inspection, listed all of the recommended repairs that were necessary, and he left, saying he was going to buy the car. Months later Mr. Jones brought a car in, and said he wanted certain repairs done, which we did for him. A few months later Miss Williams brought her car in for a repair and commented that one of our repairs didn’t seem to be working. We had no record or her ever being in to see us before. She insisted that we had done a lot of work to her car, although she didn’t have copies of any repair invoices.

We file our repair jobs under the customer’s name, which is the industry standard, but further checking revealed that we had in fact done work to this car. By cross referencing the vehicle serial number we discovered that Mr. Smith was Miss Williams’s boyfriend who helped her buy the car and brought it in for the pre-purchase inspection, but put the work in his own name. Mr. Jones was a later boyfriend who brought the car in and asked us to do some of the work we had recommended to Mr. Smith, but not all of the repairs. He then apparently told Miss Williams he had taken care of all of the repairs. He used his own name. The repairs she was concerned with were some of those we had not done. Problem solved.

Mrs. White called and made an appointment to have a pre-purchase inspection done on a truck she wanted to buy for her son to take to college. We gave her an appointment for the following day. Later that day a young man named Mr. Black brought his truck in and asked us to check it out for overheating. He had been doing a lot of work on it himself, but said it was still overheating.

We discovered that the water pump was leaking and the radiator was restricted. He refused our repairs, saying he could do those things himself. When he came to pay our bill, the lady who was with him asked if anything else would go wrong with the truck. We hedged on an answer, because we had not checked the truck for anything except the overheating. She asked why we had not. It turns out she was Mrs. White, and Mr. Black was her step-son. It was his truck on which she wanted the pre-purchase inspection done. Mr. Black had not mentioned that. In fact, he argued with her that it wasn’t necessary, because he could take care of the truck himself. She insisted, however, that we do the inspection. We did so, and listed an extensive array of necessary repairs to the brakes and cooling system. Mr. Black went ballistic, saying he could do it himself a lot cheaper than our price. Mrs. White paid the bill with apologies. Problem solved.

Mrs. Johnson came in and asked why her car air conditioner had needed so many repairs, since it was a fairly new car. We looked it up and could find no air conditioner repairs listed for her car. She insisted that we had done many repairs to it. On a hunch, we looked under her husband’s name and found many repairs on the same car, but still no air conditioning repairs. On another hunch, we looked under their business name, and there we found a different, much older car which had extensive air conditioning repairs done to it. Oh yeah, she remembered, that was it, never mind. Problem solved.

Then, one of our customers buys a car from another of our customers. Now we’re having fun.