Low-balling Your Standards

| USA | Money, Transportation

Customer: “[Coworker] hasn’t contacted me back yet. I left him a message an hour ago. I don’t understand why he hasn’t called me back.”

Me: “I’m sorry about that, ma’am, but he’s been in and out of the front office most of the afternoon, working on a couple of estimates.”

(I don’t tell her that all of our adjusters have dozens of jobs to oversee and often have 10 or more messages waiting to be returned at any given point in the day.)

Me: “I can write down your information and let him know you’re waiting on a call back, if you’d like.”

Customer: “Yes, thank you. I’m [Customer], and he had called me about my car. I just can’t understand this at all… Why is the insurance low-balling me?”

Me: “Low-balling you?”

Customer: “Yes! They wrote me an estimate for my car for $2,000 and now [Coworker] is telling me they took the car apart and the estimate is now $4,000! How in the world can that be? I can’t deal with an insurance that will try to cheat me! I pay them good money for my policy, and I can’t understand why they would be so unfair to me!”

Me: “Ah, I think I understand what’s going on, ma’am. Did the insurance adjustor write the estimate just from looking at the car?”

Customer: “Yes. He walked around it and wrote an estimate and it’s way too different than yours!”

Me: “That happens a lot, actually, ma’am. The insurance adjustor could only see the outside of the car. He did his best, but he couldn’t see to know what got damaged behind the outside pieces and so he couldn’t include that in the first estimate. His paperwork was just to get the claim going. Once you brought us the car to take apart to fully inspect and start fixing, we were able to see the different parts inside of the car and tell what else had been broken by the wreck. So, we wrote up a new estimate for the new damages found, and we will work with the insurance to get that paid and fixed. [Coworker] was just letting you know what the new total was so you’d be up to date on everything.”

Customer: “But how can there possibly be that much more damage? I don’t understand why the insurance was low-balling me!”

Me: “Well, depending on where the damage is, there are lots of internal parts to your car. And, unfortunately, they add up quickly if they need to be repaired or replaced.”

Customer: “But I don’t understand!”

Me: “Let me get your contact number so [Coworker] can call you back…”

Maybe Santa Can Give Him A Lift

| IL, USA | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(It is two weeks before Christmas:)

Me: “So, here is what we found. The cause of the issue with your car is a bad [component]. The price with parts and labor is [price], and we just happen to have one in stock. We can get it fixed for you today.”

Customer: “That’s way too expensive. I can’t afford that right now.”

Me: “I understand. Just don’t take the car out of town until you can get it fixed. There is a good chance it may strand you.”

(Fast forward to December 24th, 12:45 pm. We close at 1:00 for Christmas. This has been posted on every door and window in the place for a month. A car pulls up to the door, and the driver lays on the horn. I open the door and the driver from two weeks ago gets out of the car… along with his wife and three children. The car has a large car-top carrier on top of it.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “I need my car fixed right now.”

Me: “Okay, well, we close in 15 minutes.”

Customer: “We are going out of town right now and I need the car fixed.”

Me: “Well, let me see what I can do.” *I hear the audible groan come from the mechanics who are ready to leave* “Have a seat in the waiting room.”

(20 minutes later…)

Me: “Well, I am sorry, but we won’t be able to fix the car today.”

Customer’s Wife: “What?! We are leaving for a 300 mile trip right now! Why can’t you fix our car?!”

Me: “We don’t have the part in stock right now.”

Customer: “But you told me you had it!”

Me: “Yes, I did… two weeks ago. We don’t have it anymore because we sold it.”

Customer: “So you are telling me you are going to ruin my family’s Christmas?”

Customer’s Wife: *to Customer* “Wait… you knew about this TWO WEEKS AGO?!”

Me: “I am sorry to deliver the bad news, but we don’t have the part in stock right now.”

Customer’s Wife: “You mean to tell me you told him this needed to be fixed two weeks ago?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Customer: “How long will it take you to get the part?”

Me: “Well, seeing as how tomorrow is Christmas and we are closed, it would be sometime next week before we could have it.”

Customer: “You mean to tell me you can’t get it tomorrow?”

Me: “No. As I said, we are closed. In fact, we closed five minutes ago.”

Customer: “This is bull-s***! I want to see your boss RIGHT NOW!”

Me: “Since he is currently in Florida with his family for the holidays, I’m afraid that won’t be possible.”

Customer: “So you are just going to completely ruin our Christmas?!” *points towards his children*

Me: “Sir, I cannot fix your car if I don’t have the part to fix it.”

Customer’s Wife: “You should have every part for any car you work on in stock.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m afraid it is just not possible to have every part for every year, make, and model of every car always in stock.”

Customer: *as he leans in and gets right in my face* “I will be calling customer service and telling them how poorly you treat your customers!

Customer’s Wife: *to Customer* “You know, if you had fixed it two weeks ago this wouldn’t be a problem!”

Customer: “I’ll never be back to this dealership! You have lost my business for life, you a**-hole!”

Me: “Okay, I think it is time for you to leave now.”

Customer: “I’ll leave when I’m god-d*** good and ready!”

(I realize three of my mechanics have been listening to the conversation. All are over six feet tall and menacing. Suddenly they are standing behind me with large wrenches in their hands staring burning holes in the customer.)

Customer: *to his wife* “Honey, I think maybe we had just better leave.”

Me: “I think that may be for the best. Have a Merry Christmas now!”

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Not A Strong Parental Drive

| Minneapolis, MN, USA | Bad Behavior, Criminal & Illegal, Family & Kids, Transportation

(I am a technician. I am given an SUV to perform a brake job. I hop in the car and drive it into the shop when I glance in the rear view mirror and spot a small boy strapped into his carseat. He smiles and waves at me. I whip around and look at him with a dumbfounded look.)

Me: “Uhh. Why are you in here?”

Boy: “Mommy said I can stay in the car.”

Me: “I think your mother was mistaken.”

(I roll down the window and shout for my shop foreman. He walks up and his jaw drops. I un-strap the child much to his dismay, and walk him into the lobby while holding his hand.)

Mother: “HOW DARE YOU TOUCH MY CHILD! I’M CALLING THE COPS!”

Me: “Don’t shout at me. Why on earth did you think leaving your son in your car was a good idea? Do you have any idea how hot it was in your vehicle by the time I got into it?!”

Mother: “He’s restless. The only time he calms down is when he can nap in the car! WHY DID YOU TAKE HIM OUT?!”

Me: “Ma’am. I am not leaving a child in a hot car five feet in the air while I perform service on it.”

Shop Foreman: “Go ahead, ma’am… Call the police, and explain to them why your son’s energy is reason enough to leave him in a hot car with the windows up… I think they might side with us.”

(She sputters profanity at us for about 30 seconds before storming out of the store looking for her car.)

Shop Foreman: *to me* “Are you gonna back her car out?”

Me: “I was thinking of going to lunch, actually.”

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Tiring Of Your Tire-ing

| NC, USA | Transportation

(I used to run an auto repair garage and got calls like this all the time:)

Me: “Thank you for calling [My Shop]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “I need a price on a set of tires.”

Me: “Sure. What size?”

Caller: “I don’t know.”

Me: “No problem. What kind of car do you have?”

Caller: “I don’t know. It’s silver though.”

Me: “I’m going to need some vehicle information to price you a set of tires. Would you like to look at your car and call me back in a few mins?”

Caller: “Just give me an estimate. It doesn’t have to be exact.”

Me: “I really need to know what kind of car you drive. There are over 1700 individual tires on the market today. There’s no way I can give you a quote without knowing what you drive.”

Caller: “Just give me an estimate. I’m calling some other places to get quotes, too.”

Me: *end of my patience* “Okay, if you have a Geo Metro, figure around $300. If you have a Freightliner, about $10,000.”

Caller: “Okay, thank you.”

Not Just The Tire Causing Skid Marks

| Whitehorse, YK, Canada | Health & Body

(An elderly man comes into our shop for a tire repair. I start the work order and provide his keys to a tire tech. I let him know that he should give us about 20-25 minutes before his car will be ready.)

Customer: “Oh, that’s okay. I have to go use your washroom and I’ll be in there for quite a while”

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