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Thread: Dispute Credit Card Charges - question

  1. #1
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    Dispute Credit Card Charges - question

    Long story short, a customer comes in last week to my shop with a 20 year old vehicle that has multiple issues. The customer is advise of all of the issues but he can't afford to fix all of them, and not all of the issues would my shop even be able to fix, he would have to take it to someone who specializes in his make for the bigger problems.

    He requested that we fix the immediate problem, being his clutch. Which we did. He comes back in today and he is upset that his car still has issues - not related to the clutch though. Nevertheless, he doesn't think this is fair that the repair didn't fix everything and he wants us to give him a complete refund.

    Based on the conversation he had with my husband I am now concerned that he might dispute the credit card charges.

    I've googled "dispute credit card charges" and everything I am finding is about disputing *unauthorized* charges. The question I have is can a card holder dispute charges they did authorized, but were not satisified with the services/product after the fact....in a sense, can they use the credit card dispute system for warranty issues? Or do they leave that type of thing to small claims court to handle?

  2. #2
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    It's been a long time since I worked in the CC industry but yes, he can dispute the charges but he will have to site why etc with his CC company and there has to be a specific reason. I don't think he has a leg to stand on if your bill was specific to fixing the clutch. You can call your bank and explain it or wait until they contact you. Good luck.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  3. #3
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    As donley posted, a credit card holder can dispute anything -- which doesn't mean that the credit card company will decide in the holder's favor. As far as I can tell from your post, you fixed the clutch and the clutch works but there are other issues with the car which he chose not to have repaired.

    Charge backs can be a hassle to businesses -- especially small businesses which need the cash flow. I have some friends who sell stuff on a small scale and a disputed charge can really mess up their income if they were relying on it because every credit card company will put a hold on the funds until the dispute is resolved.
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

  4. #4
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    I just talked to my husband and apparently we had a miscommunication on what the deal was - he didn't tell me the whole story because he was more focused on the dispute of charges deal.

    When the guy came in originally with the car he was complaining about a noise that was intermediant. He told my husband he could push the clutch in and out and it would make the noise doing that very thing. My husband is able to duplicate this noise. He does research and is lead to believe the clutch needs to be replaced. He takes it out and sure enough, the clutch is 80% shot, so he replaces it and the noise goes away.

    Apparently this past weekend the differential broke in the customers car. This is the gear that turns the wheels. The guy now claims the noise my husband was hearing was not the same noise he was hearing and that it had to have been the differential that was making that noise. While he agrees the clutch needed to be replaced, he is upset that my husband did not realize that something was also wrong with the differential.

    Here's the thing - replacing the differential would have cost the same if it was found before it broke as it does after it broke. His beef is that by us not realizing he had two seperate problems he is now having to pay twice for his transmission to be removed. It had to be removed when we replaced the clutch, and it will have to be removed when the differential is fixed. His argument is we should have found the other problem too before replacing the clutch and that way he could have knocked two birds out with one stone, having two repairs done while the transmission was out. What he is asking for is us to refund the labor portion of removing the transmission.

    What do you guys think about that?? My argument is he didn't tell us he had two noises to begin with and we were unable to duplicate any noise beyond the clutch noise. Unfortunately, intermediant problems are very difficult to track down sometimes, especially when it doesn't do it with us, and often times the root of the problem is not discovered until that part actually fails/breaks. My thinking is legally we can't be held liable for our inability to successfully diagnose a problem before it breaks and at the most opportune (sp?) time for the customer.

    Thoughts??

    ETA: My thinking is now that this is beyond a credit card dispute and more in lines with a small claims court case. I don't think he can dispute a portion of the charges with the credit card company?

  5. #5
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    I would say it would be nice if you would offer to not charge the labor to take out the transmission the 2nd time, but I don't think you should refund the labor costs for removing it the first time. If I was the customer, I would consider that a very fair offer.

    Just realized I didn't address your question about credit card discputes or small claims court - sorry, I know nothing about those!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cocoa'smom View Post
    I would say it would be nice if you would offer to not charge the labor to take out the transmission the 2nd time, but I don't think you should refund the labor costs for removing it the first time. If I was the customer, I would consider that a very fair offer.
    I would have done that in this case, probably only charged him 50% of the removal of the transmission when fixing the differential, however he has already taken the car somewhere else and is going to let them fix it. I can give away our labor for free much easier than I can pay for someone else's labor. Not that this is even a warranty issue, but just say that it was - the car comes back to us and we repair it again, we do not pay to have someone else fix it - that's how warranties work.

  7. #7
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    Did the customer just take the car to another repair shop without bringing it in first? I ask because -- if so -- he acted "unreasonably" in terms of seeking a solution. It's hard to claim that a business didn't act appropriately without giving the business a chance to rectify the situation.

    If he had brought the car to you, then I am sure (per your posting) that you would have done something to make the customer happy - i.e. "forgive" labor for the second repair which would have made him "whole" (in the legal sense).

    I am a consumer of auto repairs as my eyes blank over whenever anybody has tried to explain parts of a motor. However, I have had some astoundingly bad repairs -- i.e. a repair shop put in the WRONG brake liners which I discovered while driving when they didn't work -- and another shop which forgot to put some bolts in the motor so it fell out while I was driving home. That said, I always brought it back to the repair shop and assumed that they would fix it properly. I know it's not quite the same as your situation since it was a "wrong" diagnosis in your case but I think my reaction would be to bring it to the first shop (and be very suspicious -- again because I really don't understand noises in the car ) and give them a chance to explain and work it out. My concern would be whether the clutch repair was necessary -- although as I recall (since it's been a LONG time) since I've driven a stick shift, clutches went after a certain amount of time just like brakes so if it had been a more or less expected time for a new clutch, I would have just chalked it up to timing.
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by blazedog View Post
    Did the customer just take the car to another repair shop without bringing it in first?
    Yes.

    My concern would be whether the clutch repair was necessary
    Our policy is to always keep parts we take off a vehicle so we can show the customer what was broke/worn out. No exception in this case, we showed him the clutch and thankfully our dumpster hasn't been emptied so we can go dig it back out. Even with limited mechanical knowledge one can see that its worn out.

    ETA: But you're right, it's pretty much just timing - it's a 20 year old car with A LOT of miles on it, things are starting to fail at this point.

  9. #9
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    He can't prove he tried to work with you and you were unwilling. I still think his CC company will go back to him.

    He said the clutch was shot. You replaced the clutch and still have the part which is 80% shot.

    I don't know how he can even start to compose a letter to dispute what happened. The CC company should make him state his case within Visa/Mastercard dispute resolution rules and I don't see him having a valid reason.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shugness View Post
    Yes.



    Our policy is to always keep parts we take off a vehicle so we can show the customer what was broke/worn out. No exception in this case, we showed him the clutch and thankfully our dumpster hasn't been emptied so we can go dig it back out. Even with limited mechanical knowledge one can see that its worn out.

    ETA: But you're right, it's pretty much just timing - it's a 20 year old car with A LOT of miles on it, things are starting to fail at this point.
    I didn't mean to imply that the clutch wasn't shot. As I recall, the clutch in my Beetle had to be regularly replaced and it was pretty evident whether it had to be replaced or not replaced so if I had gone back to the auto repair place I wouldn't have assumed the clutch didn't ALSO have to replaced since the differential and the clutch are two entirely different issues (at least I THINK they are ). What I meant was that I would be more upset if I went to an "expert" for a diagnosis and they fixed something that didn't solve the problem and didn't need to be fixed -- don't know enough about cars to give an example.

    By timing I meant that my clutches lasted for an approximate length of time so if I was told I needed a new clutch and it hadn't been replaced in x period, I would have shrugged -- as opposed to if it had been replaced the month before. Same with brake linings as they also wear out after a certain number of miles in my experience.

    I think he is going to have difficulty reversing the charge in the end since you fixed something that needed to be fixed -- something went wrong with another part and that was fixed as well -- and he also gave you no ability to even work with him.
    Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
    Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.

    Meatloaf

  11. #11
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    I think you should thank your lucky stars that he went to another place. It sounds like this guy is just going to be continuously looking for an angle to get repairs at a discounted rate - blaming you when it wasn't your fault.

    To dispute he'll have to show proof, I believe you will get notice and have an opportunity to state/show your side. Since you have the part you replaced and can show it is broken and since he didn't come back the same or next day but an entire week later I think you are in the clear.

    I'm guessing it is going to be a pain to deal with and yes, the funds will probably be frozen pending resolution, but I do not see him winning this argument.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shugness View Post
    Yes.



    Our policy is to always keep parts we take off a vehicle so we can show the customer what was broke/worn out. No exception in this case, we showed him the clutch and thankfully our dumpster hasn't been emptied so we can go dig it back out. Even with limited mechanical knowledge one can see that its worn out.

    ETA: But you're right, it's pretty much just timing - it's a 20 year old car with A LOT of miles on it, things are starting to fail at this point.
    If he took it to another shop without even coming in to you first, then, no, I don't think you owe him anything. That makes no sense. If it was me, I would have gone back to the original repair shop to try to come up with a resolution, first. My husband brought his car into our usual mechanic for problems with the engine starting. They replaced the starter - same problem happened, they replaced the alternator - same problem happened. Turned out it was simply the battery that needed replacing. I'm not sure exactly what their explanation was and why they did those more major repairs first. I'm sure there was some reason. The car had 200,000 miles at the time and I know those parts would need replacing at some point. They ended up giving us a $500 credit which we used on repairs for my DD's 95 Accord. If we had just gone somewhere else without giving them the benefit of the doubt of an honest mistake/misdiagnosis, we would have been shooting ourselves in the foot and we were satisfied with the resolution.

  13. #13
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    You're probably right Christy, unfortuately there are some customers I would rather went somewhere else and this guy is one of them. We've had ones come through with the mentality that after we've worked on their car that anything that goes wrong with it within the next year must be our fault because "you just worked on it!".

    Case in point, recently a customer brings in his van and leaves it there with a list of complaints - ignition switch isn't working right, window won't roll up, etc. He tells my husband he only has $300 to his name and "this is all stuff you've worked on before!" - which translates to it should all be under warranty. I looked it up, we replaced his window motor 7 years ago. Generally most of our vendors only warranty their parts for a year, so he's out of luck. The other stuff either we never worked on or it was years ago as well.

    Thanks for the insight, everyone. I am going to go home tonight and write down everything that happened so if we do get some sort of notice I will be prepared to deal with it quickly and won't have forgotten any of the detail - hopefully I can get it resolved quickly if it comes to that.

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