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So They Say, "No Problem Found...

June 30, 2009

Have you ever taken your vehicle into the repair shop only to have them say something like this: "Well, we couldn't duplicate the problem." Consumers often hear repair shops tell them this, and for most, this is extremely frustrating. The truth is, many times, the dealer failed to even look properly because the dealer has little incentive to spend the time to actually repair your vehicle. Here's why:

Technicians Are Paid On Commision!
That's right. Dealer Technicians who do warranty work are not paid to "fix" problems. They are paid a certain rate for the type of "job" that is listed in the "book." There is a labor time guide that is used throughout the auto repair business called the "Mitchell Manual." For example, it may list that replacing a water pump should take 2.5 hours. They get paid this whether the vehicle is actually repaired or not.

Warranty Jobs Are Typically Paid at a Lower Rate
The book will typically list one time for a retail job (e.g. 2.5 hours) and a smaller amount of time (e.g. 1.5 hours) if the same job is a warranty repair! So, if the technician actually took 2.5 hours to do the work and the book lists 1.5 hours, the technician would not be getting paid for an hour of his labor. Conversely, if the technician does the job in less than 1.5 hours, he/she is making a premium.

Therefore, one of the following is bound to occur:

  • The technician chooses the fastest alternative that will give him the greatest rate of pay, even if this is not most likely to actually fix the vehicle!
  • The technicians try to beat the book rate to fit in as many vehicles as they can during a day so they are being paid more than their actual hours, not doing their best work on each, compounding the problem with your lemon vehicle!
  • The technician will "cherry pick" the more lucrative customer-paid jobs, the ones that put the most dollars in his pocket, and "shove the warranty work off to the last." When the day is over and you want your car back, they simply report that they were unable to duplicate the problem.

Therefore, the hard warranty jobs are often not done, such as finding an "intermittent" problem that requires driving the vehicle or following electrical wires to find electrical problems. It's easier to say "unable to duplicate" or "no problem found," and make the consumer think it is their problem.

The Problem Really is "Intermittent"
Of course, there is always the possibility that a dealership's inability to duplicate a customer's concern is that the problem with the vehicle is intermittent (i.e. it occurs unpredictably and occasionally and usually not when you take it in to the dealership - Murphy's Law being what it is.) What's not fair to the consumer, is that intermittent problems with vehicles are quite common and the manufacturer will normally refuse to permit the franchise dealer to make any warranty adjustments unless one of their trained technicians personally observed the problem. Sometimes, there are technical service bulletins on the problems indicating that the manufacturers are aware of the problem, yet they still won't authorize the payment!

Therefore, if you have a vehicle that has been in for repairs, never assume that the dealer has your best interest in mind. As with any vehicle that has been repaired multiple times, the problem often comes back due to the dealer's unwillingness to put in the proper amount of time to correctly fix the vehicle.

If you have had a vehicle in multiple times to be repaired under warranty, and the dealer is claiming "no problem found," you may be entitled to compensation under the Lemon Laws! For a free case review, call Kahn & Associates, L.L.C. at 1-888-LEMONS-1, or visit our website at today!


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