"Its a brand new tiller and we never got it running". I enjoy a challenge but this one was easy. If you're gonna lie about it never running at least clean the mud off the tines. Now explain to me how an engine that never ran has a scored cylinder. Nobody wants to be accountable for their actions these days. Its always somebody elses fault and they will make up lies to ensure that. The saddest part is that the customer didn't have to lie. There was a legit issue with the equipment that the customer had no control over. A warranty claim was filed.
This is typical of the kind of thing I've been seeing a lot more of lately. A person goes to the big box store, buys a cheap piece of shit and has problems. One of the problems is that they are selling "disposable" outdoor power equipment. The biggest problem is that the big box store doesn't do what a shop like ours does. At the big box stores you will get an offer to purchase an extended warranty but thats where it ends. A shop like the one I work at starts by matching the equipment purchase to the consumer needs. We set up the machines, test run them and train the customer how to operate and maintain them. Nobody leaves before all their questions are answered. I do see a problem every so often when a guy is too macho to listen to what I'm telling him, then later comes back bad mouthing the product. A good example is warm starting procedure for a chainsaw. We explained it when they bought the saw, theres a big sticker right there on the saw, but "nobody told me that". With a smile I politely point out the sticker right there on the saw is a reminder and the fact that its in the owners manual. OK I don't smile very often. In fact on the inside I'm quoting Red Forman...Dumbass! You were too smart to listen, now you're being schooled! The point is, the customer receives one-on-one help for their issues and usually leaves happy. If you ask the big box store for help on warranty issues they send you to us.
When they are sent to us, I find people lie all the time about equipment that needs repair. Usually its because they weren't educated on the equipment and did something wrong. I don't mind setting them straight, denying warranty and writing up a bill for diagnostics even when the machine wasn't fixed. I'm not a dick about it, I just don't feel sorry for a person that brings on bad juju from their dishonesty. You'll get something for nothing if its covered under warranty. All others pay. You have to remember, the equipment manufacturers are our biggest repair customers due to warranty claims. We are on the customers side and make every claim we know will be accepted. Sometimes we can even get the manufacturers to agree to a goodwill gesture of some sort. The sad part about all of this is that it could have been avoided if they bought from a shop like ours that educates the customer.
Sometimes we have to educate a customer when we are explaining why they don't have a valid warranty claim. It makes me sad when I see a customer bring in all their paperwork and proof of purchase for a piece of equipment that won't run only to be denied a claim. They think it will be a free repair and then they get a bill. I have to be the dickhead that explains why. I do my best to let them down easy and be thorough in my explanation. I don't use 8x10 color glossy prints but I will show them pics from my phone. It must be a lot like seeing that the biggest package under the tree has your name on it, only to have some grumpy elf drop in and explain there was a clerical error at the main office and this gift ain't for you.
This happened yesterday. We've been busy so repairs are at least a week out so right away customers are antsy. I get a work order that has all the receipts and such attached and this tells me the customer isn't expecting a bill. Now the engine manufacturers have no control over what you put in the fuel tank and bad fuel isn't a manufacturer defect. A lot of people don't get that. A carb kit and cleaning labor fixed a problem with a rusty scum buildup issue in a chainsaw carb. The customer wasn't furious but he was whatever the next level of pissed off is right below that. He said he uses only premium fuel, no ethanol, and the brand name oil we sell. I told him I believed him and started asking a few questions. He told me where he buys his fuel and that he uses a one gallon can. If you deal with this stuff every day then you know where I'm going with my line of questions. This particular station uses one hose pumps. That is, whatever grade is selected comes out the same hose. I had to explain to him that he was getting at least some of whatever grade the guy before him pumped. There was a chance a good portion of his one gallon can was ethanol. Now if his can wasn't sealed tight with the humidity we've been having, theres also a good chance it was pulling moisture right out of thin air. BTW, to get around this problem, pump the first gallon or two into your vehicle before you fill your can with the good stuff.
He wasn't happy about the situation. Heres a guy that thought he was doing everything right only to find out he was overlooking a few points. He was a reasonable man and didn't blame me for anything. In fact he thanked me for taking the time to explain everything. At the end of it all he said. " I wish I would have bought my saw from here".
This is getting long but I have one more. A customer brings in a tiller, much like the first one I talked about. Someone must have been having a sale on crappy tillers. They never got it started and I believe them. First, if you follow the starting procedures on the sticker you will flood it every time and never get it started. Second, when I finally did get it started it wouldn't idle. It was set too low. I explained all this to the claims department of the distributor. I was talking with them because I wanted to make at least a minimal warranty claim for my time to get their piece of shit tiller running for their customer. We didn't sell the machine so we didn't make a dime on the deal but the customer was sent to us for service. He wanted to deny any claim because I told him I had to turn the idle up to keep it running. We went back and forth and both fell just short of any name calling. He did finally state he doesn't normally handle warranty claims but "Idle adjustment is clearly explained in the owners manual and the customer shouldn't have had to bring it in to you". "Oh really?", I said. "Please explain to me how the customer was supposed to know the idle was set too low on an engine they were never able to get started?" There was a long pause and then he gave me a claim number. Dumbass.