Well, I come before you today DN, with a case study in hopes I may hear where I can find some improvements to my diagnostic approach.
I was called by a customer that was having problems removing his key from the ignition lock of his vehicle. He lives in the east so it was a far trip I had hoped I had brought everything I would be needing. I arrived at his home so l pulled my vehicle alongside his car to save time. Went through the formalities and questioning about the problem with him and his wife about the car then proceeded to begin the troubleshooting.
First confirmed the problem, the key was not coming out but it did start the car it would just not go all the way back to release. So I did the visual inspection, one red flag I noticed was I could see there was a large bit of soda spillage down and around and shifter in the center console. Now where do I begin, I decided to see if this was an electrical or a mechanical problem, and seeing that I had problems with this make of Nissan before I decided to break out the scan tool to see if there were any codes concerning this problem. I did get a key remote code and a U1000 among other transmission and air-bag codes. The customer also said they had misplaced the key remote a while back and the U1000 was of no concern to me at this time because all modules were communicating.
So I moved on to mechanical testing, I decided to see if the cable that runs from the key switch to the shift-lever was free and working properly. Removed the panel under the steering column and the center console to see where the cable run into the shifter. Bingo, it seemed like the shifter cable where it runs into the shifter was not moving it when I moved the shifter it appeared to be damaged.
I showed the customer and informed him of the seriousness of the situation, but of course, his reply was it's a non-issue because we are selling the car very soon I got him to sign a waiver for me from that vehicle.
Thanks for any advice it will be truly appreciated.
Hi Nolan, First: What kind of car? Second: You confirmed the problem and the customer basically agreed with you and signed a paper? Curious what the final solution is: Customer will just ignore the issue and sell the car? Advice: Don't rig anything, because the vehicle can easily come out of park and injure or kill someone>
Thanks, it was a Nissan note 09 and yes I got him to sign a waiver for me from that vehicle. l definitely told him about the parts he would need to repair the vehicle.
The customer did not say if he would repair the vehicle before he sells it . I did very clearly explain the safety aspect of the situation. This in most cases is all that I as a technician can do, thanks.
Just because he signs what you put in front him doesn't mean your off the hook in the event something happens unless you use specific language addressing being indemnified by him and even then, you still may be not in the clear. Let's say you patch a brake line as cheap as you can and you know it isn't right by any stretch, but for the time being, vehicle has brakes. He signs off about not…
Thank you, and that is so good to know. I would like to know what should I do at another job like doing diagnostics when you find the problem and the customer says to leave it as is . What should I do, thanks?
Hi Nolan, Simply put on the paper, state: customer approved diagnostics only! No repairs conducted; repair refused/denied. Add Date Time and place with their driver license number and signature.
Thank you, SER, at least I may have gotten the best advice of ALL have a good night.
Hi Paul, This vehicle was at the persons residence is the way I read it. What then? I know what you're saying, but this may be why they called him in to begin with. Bottom line, the customer refused repairs and signed off on the diagnosis.
Outside of I don't do house calls aside from friends and neighbors in a consulting only fashion, diagnose only and document is probably fine, but sometimes wonder as professionals if(here in the states) have a legal obligation to notify whatever municipality may need to know? For instance, the job I sited about her not having a license. What if I had fixed her vehicle correctly- new…
Hi Paul, If she notified you of no license and no insurance, that makes you a liable party in most states. If she had not said anything to you, only then would you be off the hook. Here in TX, I was told we had 2 options. One was to disable and retain the car until a responsible party arrived to drive it away, or second, call the towing company and have it towed. Once it leave your possession…
She said nothing of no insurance, I'm assuming if she had no license. Even if car was in her father's name/insurance, which it might be as she told me her father got her the car, my thought would be that insurance would deny any coverage with an unlicensed driver involved. As I stated earlier on this one, she couldn't have the keys until I saw her vehicle loaded on truck.
I agree, and it’s not just a civil suit you have to protect yourself against. professional negligence can become criminal negligence in court, so you have to ask yourself, is this money worth a felony or my freedom? how about my future? I learned years ago, you can fire customers too! That being said, you may have protected yourself depending on how the “waiver” was written but keep in mind, in…
By replacing the pinch bolt, you gained liability. That was an extremely poor choice, as your have now performed a repair (a faulty one).
Point taken, but made it clear on receipt she signed, vehicle was not to be operated on public or private property in it's current state and I did not surrender key until vehicle was loaded on flatbed.
Hi Nolan. Quite simply, exactly what Glenn wrote. Additionally, I used to do Provincial Commercial and Private Motor Vehicle Inspections (MVIs) when I worked at a dealership. Vehicles that passed received the certification decal that was required to be installed inside the inspection facility. Vehicles that failed with conditions that did not result in unroadworthiness such as a door or trunk…
Thank You, Martin, I will do my utmost to not be led astray by the weeping customer. Because as soon as things go south they won't be weeping anymore at least not to me.
Hi Nolan, Keep in mind it is just business, there can be no emotions involved. I might sound heartless, but in reality, the facts are true. Keep in mind, the 'drama types' are like a pretty snake, you don't give them a chance to strike. After all the general thought of many people is that “Mechanics are Rich”. I never got that memo.
Martin, My understanding, which may be wrong, is that laws in other countries are different than in the US. In Canada can attorneys take cases on a contingency basis? Where the plaintiff does not have to put up any money and is not liable for their attorneys fees if they lose the case. In some countries if you bring a civil action and lose you are liable for the defendants fees well as your…
Hi Rex. You are absolutely correct in that laws are different across US, Canadian and other borders. The only thing that technicians can do to reduce the possibility of being sued is to operate with honesty, integrity and ensure that accurate documentation is created, with signatures, dates, times, notifications, photographic evidence and advisements, where possible No matter what theses…