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Small predicament......I think

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Vetech63, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    I got a call yesterday, Company owner wants me to look over a CAT invoice he received on a no start situation on a CAT CB64. To make a long story short, I originally called CAT field service to come out and do ET on the engine. The tech would contact me regarding anything he found. This turned out to be a 2 week long ordeal, with the problem starting off being an ECM problem, which turned out not to be the issue. Then it was a bad ignition relay, which was not the problem...….and so on and so forth. Then I was told by the tech that the original ignition relay was a 24 volt relay which is in a 12 volt system. (?) He changed the relay 3 times (I was told the 1st 2 were faulty parts). and now that the relay has been replaced with a 12 volt...….the machine seems to be fine.

    So.....Im thinking the customer was billed the ENTIRE process, from start to finish. I had talked to the tech when he finished the machine and he was relieved it worked. He was very frustrated that second week and had called me a time or 2 confused at what he was finding, and had also been on the phone with tech support several times during the process.

    Now, I know the tech had a hell of a time with this project......I can relate. But...….should the customer pay for misdiagnosis and teardown of those? I really don't want to throw anyone under the bus but I don't want the customer getting screwed either. If you were sitting in front of your customer in this situation.....what would your course of action be? I'll be in THAT seat in the morning.o_O
     
  2. ianjoub

    ianjoub Senior Member

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    Customer should pay for diagnosis and replacement (one time) of an ignition relay, period. The tech can't possibly say the ECM needed to be replaced to continue diagnosis only to find a bad relay, that is BS.

    I owned and operated an auto repair facility for 10 years. I had to eat it on a misdiagnosis once or twice. I would never screw a customer for my mistake.
     
  3. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    I have done it more than once or twice myself.

    The customer pays what it should have cost if I showed up, diagnosed the problem correctly, fixed it, and left.
     
    randy448 likes this.
  4. Junkyard

    Junkyard Senior Member

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    What they said. I’ve had issues with Cat techs and had to lean on them to do what’s right. “You called us” ain’t gonna cut it.
     
  5. RTSmith

    RTSmith Senior Member

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    What Birken said. I had a large auto shop for 15 years, now a RV shop for 20. We don't ask you to pay for our on the job training...
     
    randy448 likes this.
  6. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    Unless you bring in something bizarre, one-of-a-kind, unsupported, no manuals available, not likely to ever see one again. Then it will be strictly T&M because our OJT will never be but to good use in the future.
     
  7. truckdoctor

    truckdoctor Well-Known Member

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    You are not going to throw the tech under the bus if you go in and contest the bill. What will probably happen if you contest the bill is they will reduce it and have a general discussion with the field service crew. The tech himself will probably have it as a rework mark on his review but it won't be a firing offense unless this isn't the only one. Business is business, it's not personal. The dealer is going to tack everything on the bill in hopes that you will pay it. They will take it off if you contest it. It's an internal game to keep their losses down. I've been in those situations before as a tech. Normally I would go into my supervisor and explain what happened and they would take it off. Sometimes they won't to try to get the bill paid. I've had discussions with the customers before where I have told them if they have a problem with the bill to go contest it. I've also told them if they have a problem with me that we need to fix it. Go and contest the bill. They should have money set aside in their budget to cover it.
     
  8. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I think sometimes it depends on the mechanic. Even the best mechanic can miss something or be stumped but then there are other mechanics that try to pad the bill or take short cuts that can result in it taking longer than it should have. I think the honest guys will take some time off if they feel it took too long.

    When I did landscaping I reduced bills on occasion because it took a little longer than the estimate or ran into something odd that made it take longer than expected. A customer can be ecstatic when you take 1/2 an hour or an hour off the bill. They feel like they're getting a discount. Other customers would complain no matter what you charged and/or figure it's up for negotiating. If I feel it was honest work, I'll stick to my bill. Customers attitude plays a role too. It's easier to take a little off for a happy customer than for one that tries to find things to complain about in order to try and get the bill reduced.
     
  9. thepumpguysc

    thepumpguysc Senior Member

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    Tell the CAT people>> "I" could have thrown parts at it.. THATS what I was trying to avoid.!!!
     
    funwithfuel likes this.
  10. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    Meeting got postponed until next week...…...but I like the way you guys are thinking. I feel the same way but wanted to get other opinions. Ill update after the meeting.
     
    hosspuller and old-iron-habit like this.
  11. Tractorguy

    Tractorguy Well-Known Member

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    We didn’t all and still don’t start a job knowing completely everything about what we are working on, everyone has to start somewhere and that has been a tough pill to swallow at times. There is however a reasonable amount of time and logical that should goes into a diagnostic process. It does seem as though he was slightly inexperienced with the route taken. I have offered to split differences or eaten time in the past because of being uncertain in situations. But evidence is evidence as well. Parts mentioned that were “bad” could be easily tested either way. But the issue can still be addressed in a positive manner without being negative or condescending.
     
  12. oceanobob

    oceanobob Senior Member

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    If there was a way I could say nothing then that is what I would do as I was taught: 'if you aint got nuthin good to say, how about you say nuthin at all.....'
     
  13. ianjoub

    ianjoub Senior Member

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    Where's the fun in that???

    ***Just had to say something when I had nothing useful to add :D
     
  14. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    Doesn't much matter anymore with dealers. Most all of them suck when it comes to screw up mechanics and rotted jobs. Basically if a doctor kills a cancer patient it still costs. If a lawyer loses a case you still pay. If a mechanic can't fix a machine you still pay. The key is negotiation with a big stick. If you are getting no where after a rotted repair, let people know! Make noise.
    I was at the local Cat dealer years ago getting some parts when this great big well known logger came into the store and asked for a certain sales rep using long strings of expletives loud enough that many people in the store either found other places to go or came rushing out trying to keep the damage to a minimum. The fella was successful enough that the ploy was named after him. Plenty of loggers used the Walker approach to get negotiations started.
     
  15. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    I got to look at the bill from CAT this last Friday even though the owner was out of town. It looked like they had made reasonable adjustments to the bill that was satisfactory to me...…...basically meaning that what was charged was within my realm of fairness under the circumstances. I explained this to the owner via phone and he was happy with it. The bill was just under $2400.00 with $500.00 of trip charges included. I'm tickled with this as to the fact that I didn't end up in that awkward position I was expecting. On to the next project!...…………………..and Thanks for the input fellas!
     
    Tarhe Driver and John C. like this.
  16. Steve Bowman

    Steve Bowman Well-Known Member

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    After "adjusting" the invoice, it was still $2400 to replace an ignition relay? And the owner is happy?:eek:

    I can see why you are tickled but confused as to your role. From your 1st post, you refer to the customer, the owner and the CAT tech.


    My God.o_O
     
  17. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I think the company is one of Vetech63's customers and the owner trusts him but in this case needed a Cat tech had to come in to diagnose something. The company owner thought the bill was too high so asked Vetech63 to intervene.
     
  18. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    Correct! The company owner I have known for 25 years so there is definitely a lot of trust there. I don't have the ability to perform CAT ET on anything, so they were called out to do so.