How to Discuss a Repair Problem with Your Mechanic

Valet - Shaking Hands with Mechanic

Few people in this world relish the idea of having to approach an auto mechanic to discuss shoddily done work. It’s the kind of confrontation that some people dread so much that they’re willing to accept a bad hand and just move on. But unless you’re made of money, letting a mechanic get away with doing a poor job is just like throwing much needed money into a fire. Here are a few tips to help you effectively discuss a repair problem with your mechanic.

Be polite. Remember how we said that there are few people in this world who like having confrontations with auto mechanics? Well, there are some people in this world who actually snatch these opportunities up with relish. Not just with mechanics, but with anyone in the service industry they feel has done them wrong. One of the biggest mistakes that people like this make is to get mean. Unless you’re interested in burning bridges and getting nothing accomplished, be polite about your complaint. It’ll get you a lot further.

Don’t make it personal. This pretty much goes hand in hand with being polite, but there’s enough of a difference between taking something personal and being impolite that it deserves a separate mention. If you feel the work done on your car was unprofessional or poor quality, don’t take it as a personal insult. The odds are, someone made an honest mistake – yes, human error does exist! – and you shouldn’t let it drive you into an indignant rage. When talking to a mechanic about work that you find unsatisfactory, never make it person against them either. This will get you absolutely nowhere.

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Do your homework. If you think that a mechanic did a poor job repairing your car or servicing it, it’s probably a good idea to be able to back up your claim with information. This might not be as easy as you think, especially if you don’t know enough about how something should have been done in the first place to really state your case as to how it was done wrong. This is where doing your homework comes in handy. Never walk into a discussion with a mechanic unarmed, or you might find yourself talked into a corner and unable to defend your claims.

Keep your receipts. Anytime you bring an issue up to a mechanic, you should be able to provide a detailed invoice of what was done and how much you were charged. A lot of auto mechanic shops have different mechanics performing different functions, and having this information at the ready can help an honest shop owner know if one of his workers needs additional training to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Make an appointment. Auto mechanics are busy people, just like the rest of us. If you want to increase the likelihood that you’ll get the opportunity to either have the work done to your liking or discuss the issue in detail, don’t assume that they’ll have the time to set everything aside and give you 100 percent of their attention unless you’ve scheduled an appointment in advance.

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Be reasonable. The ideal circumstance for bringing to light your dissatisfaction with work done to your car would be a full refund, but don’t expect this. In some cases, the amount of labor or parts that went into the work in the first place might make it impractical for an auto mechanic to refund your money entirely. Ask for reasonable measures to be taken and you may be surprised by what the mechanic is willing to do to make sure you’re fully satisfied.

Don’t be afraid to talk to a mechanic if you feel the work they did was subpar for what you paid. They’re in the service business and they expect to be informed if they did a poor job. If you do it right and are polite, it might even be the very thing that creates a bond of trust between you and the mechanic, turning a bad situation into something positive.

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