ASP

How much goodwill do you give?

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Recently had a guy call back a couple of weeks after buying a 2007 Astra. He'd had problems with his battery and had had to jump start the car on several occasions.

He was polite and not really asking for anything but advice on what to do. I suggested he went to get the battery voltage read and go from there. Turns out the battery was completely dead (probably the original). He then called back and asked if I was willing to help towards the cost of a new battery. I offered to pay half (£40) as I put away £100 from each car for this sort of situation.

Now, I made it very clear that it was a goodwill gesture and that I wasn't liable for consumable items like this, but he was nice about how he dealt with it and he left me a cracking review via Auto Trader, and was really surprised and pleased that I was willing to help.

So my question is, how much goodwill do you guys show towards customers? Does it very much depend on how they go about it, do you offer none at all (give them an inch and they'll take a mile). I also feel that a small goodwill gesture like this MAY prevent him from coming back if anything further happens (perhaps a bit naive there!!)

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I go on my gut feelings and not any hard and fast rules over 'goodwill'. I recently had a lady pick up a car from me on a Sunday afternoon and rang me on her way home to say she'd got a flat tyre. I went out and changed it for her. I'm generally not a soft touch though.

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We're the same as you - A small goodwill gesture MAY prevent them coming back if anything further happens.

I think you can tell from the customer - if you can tell that the customer will accept a goodwill gesture and then leave you alone then we used to give a gesture of goodwill.

But as a general rule, if you're too nice they will take advantage.

Now we do the Lawgistics PDI - anything we find is noted down there and the customer signs to accept that. Shows the condition of the car at point of sale.

Started doing these after customers taking advantage - Customer bought a 2004 CMax. A/C didn't work as well as it should, and we tested this on the testdrive so the customer was fully aware it didn't work. Called back a couple of days later saying the A/C wasn't working and they had found a broken pipe. We knew that was rubbish as the A/C was working, just very weak. But you could tell they'd be moaners if we didn't do anything (and without a PDI at that point, couldn't prove what was tested and said on test drive), so we sent £50 to cover a new A/C pipe.

Didn't get a Thank You - Asked for the invoice to prove they bought the part. That's never arrived either.... Funny that they wanted a £50 discount at point of sale, which we declined.

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1 hour ago, ASP said:

Recently had a guy call back a couple of weeks after buying a 2007 Astra. He'd had problems with his battery and had had to jump start the car on several occasions.

With batteries, I try and put myself in the customer's shoes: new car, dead battery- very annoying.

I find it happens so rarely (if you check and Pdi the car properly) that it's best to stump up for a new one.  I do only pay the trade price though or supply them one myself.

If they demand on getting this (or any) part and I've agreed to pay or contribute towards, I always insist on them sending the purchase receipt before- I reimburse them. You'll be surprised at how often this doesn't happen and the 'problem' disappears!

The battery issues aside- I'm probably too soft (at least initially) but I can't be doing with dealing with an idiot over the 'small stuff', which is 'big stuff' to them.  Best to get them out of your life.  As a caveat: I explain it's a one off good will gesture.

Now, do I go home already? Hmmm.......

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Agreed-a failing battery would be very annoying from a customers point of view. Interesting views guys - I wasn't PDI'ing when I sold that car, but I now use Lawgistics pads which are great, and touch wood no issues thus far.

One thing which really riles me is when people text or Facebook message with issues, I find that so faceless, would prefer a call any day. I replied to a Facebook message from a lady complaining that the Mini she bought was loosing coolant, with my usual message asking them to call me to discuss further and I never received a call or any further contact from her. I assume she was trying her luck and she didn't have the bottle to call!

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I'd call her or even write her an email or letter quick, saying that she needs to bring the car in sharpish for a checkover-incase she's just ignoring the issue,  as Minis like to 'poop themselves' for fun and you'll be left holding the can when it happens. She'll no-doubt say "I told you via text/Bookface".

Might just be my paranoia.

It could just be her thinking the expansion tub thingy needs to be filled all the way rather than part way or something daft but I bet its the thermostat housing leaking.  

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Depends how the customer was and now is frankly but we cover probably 90% of issues.

If you can sense they're gonna be back every two minutes because a consumable has reached the end of its life and they don't want to pay for it we're firm but most people I generally find quite nice about the whole thing if you're honest and show you're not going to fob them off without listening first.

Paying for the parts whilst the punter pays for the fitting is often how we approach it. That way we can get cheap bits from somewhere and they can choose a garage they trust to fit them as we don't have a mechanic or one of our approved garages if they're local.

Recently done a battery, filters, clutch and other bits...all of the customers were pleasant and I dare say some will recommend us to friends as we were helpful from day one. Declined to do wipers for one customer because he was an arse from the start, rude, aggressive etc...rather not have his or his friends business in future. It's not always the money that's a deciding factor but how the customer approaches the issue for me, courtesy goes a long way.

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I only every get a few comebacks per year but I properly mechanically prepare (if required) & test drive every car for at least 40 miles - usually more (I don’t have my own car & just use my stock). I also don’t promise punters the earth, when they leave me they are fully aware it’s not a new car & neither am I a new car showroom.

As for the punters themselves you can usually tell those that may be trouble (although I normally chase away those during the buying process) and go off my gut feeling. Those that start demanding money or play the hard man are swiftly f***ed off.

The one per year that politely phones with a complaint will be dealt with politely & the fault investigated. If I’m liable it’ll get fixed, if not it won’t.

In the case of a battery, assuming it’s a proper retail sale & not a £300 shed, it’s easily diagnosed & £35-60 before VAT buys most new ones from the motor factors so that’s what I’d do.

 

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Its rare I get issues, but when I do it all depends on how reasonable they are. When Billy buys a 10 year old car, everything that can go wrong is “weary tear” in my book.

A PDI is essential to cover yourself, that’s why Mr Customer the Manufacturer only gave it a 3 year warranty from new, you are 7 years past that..... However, to be gentlemanly I’ll contribute the cost of a used part blah blah as a gesture of goodwill. 

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Haha, they HATE used parts - years ago a chancer on a 10yr old Astra refused my initial offer because “an old alternator wouldn’t look nice in his engine bay”!!! When I pointed out his engine bay already had a 10yr old alternator he didn’t have a suitable response :lol:

Anyhow he was given £50 & told not to contact me again. He got his alternator (or a drink depending upon the truth) and I got an arsehole off my back who I’d reluctantly sold the car too because at the time I thought he was a greedy awkward twat. As always, don’t sell to a twat.

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Interesting views guys - cheers. Seems like most of you work on similar 'rules'

Am I right to assume that you can replace parts with used ones? They don't have to be new?

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27 minutes ago, ASP said:

 

Am I right to assume that you can replace parts with used ones? They don't have to be new?

Most definitely. Depends what the part is though and sometimes you can get a new one for a similar price to a used one if you hunt around

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Cheers Grant, useful to know.

Like you said, even when I'm prepping cars, I usually find new parts, if you shop around, to be as good value as used from a breakers. Esecially seen as my nearest breakers is around 20 miles away!

 

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You have to watch some breakers they bend you over like a russian gymnast, we had a mini in yesterday with a heating issue, turned out to be the bleed nipple a plastic screw which for some reason had cracked and under pressure was leaking water, our local breakers would only sell the whole pipework for £35, local mini dealer had the nipple on the shelf £2.95

But wouldnt deliver.....i know well you have to try dont you 

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They've got to make a  living though I guess, what use is the pipe work without he bleed screw?

ive had similar issues on a mini R50 looking for the plastic trim which goes around the bottom of the bumper and they would only sell the whole bumper. Again, main dealer part for around £50 (half of what breakers wanted for a whole bumper)!!

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Yep, tbh I don’t think I’d bother with a secondhand part nowadays unless it was an engine or gearbox.

Last week I bought a brand new starter motor for a p/x Shitron C4. Delivered to my front door, £36.66+Vat (£44) - why on earth would I want to give £30 to some skiprat car breaker for another 10yr old item that’ll be little better than the knackered one I already had, won’t get a receipt and certainly won’t get a year’s warranty.

Brake calipers are another example - buying a half seized one from an abused car at a breakers doesn’t make much sense to me when for £20 more you can get a new one. At least being VAT registered does have some benefits :lol:

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29 minutes ago, BHM said:

Yep, tbh I don’t think I’d bother with a secondhand part nowadays unless it was an engine or gearbox.

Last week I bought a brand new starter motor for a p/x Shitron C4. Delivered to my front door, £36.66+Vat (£44) - why on earth would I want to give £30 to some skiprat car breaker for another 10yr old item that’ll be little better than the knackered one I already had, won’t get a receipt and certainly won’t get a year’s warranty.

Brake calipers are another example - buying a half seized one from an abused car at a breakers doesn’t make much sense to me when for £20 more you can get a new one. At least being VAT registered does have some benefits :lol:

i know where you may have purchased this from,be careful with these chinese clones though as they are not screened properly and can send engine management wiring scatty ie cause non starts due to spurious electrical emfs:D

james dillon is the man to ask

http://www.techtopics.co.uk/tag/james-dillon-diagnostics/

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Thanks but no complaints here. Made in the UK (according to the sticker) but tbh it could be made in Timbuktu for all I care. Btw, plenty of good stuff comes out of China, not just shite.

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