“This is the guy who brought in the older lady’s 85 Chrysler a couple days ago,” the voice explained on the phone.
“Yes, sir, I remember you,” I replied, thinking about the myriad problems I found on the car. “How can I help you?”
“The car won’t start now.”
“Does it crank without starting, or does it just not turn over?” I made my very credible noises imitating a cranking vehicle, and then one with starting circuit problems. :)
“Yea, now that you mention it, the car just sort of grunts and turns slow.”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to replace the alternator I found had an open diode. As I explained to you when the car was picked up, the battery will eventually wear down if the alternator has a bad diode. Remember the printout I gave you of your alternator circuit on the scope?”
“Ah… sure…” the man hesitated before going on. “Couldn’t you check it out, and give us an idea of what’s wrong? It never did this before we had it in for the check.”
Uh oh, this is one of those common problems in auto service: the customer who has already been told what’s wrong; but it doesn’t fit into their notion of what they want to be wrong, which is somehow tied into the diagnostic check I did. Never mind I predicted the problem, and printed out a scope pattern showing the bad diode. Forget about my copious notes explaining the alternator would lead to what they were experiencing now; and estimate of repair, I put on their invoice.
“That was the reason I explained the bad diode to you, and noted the price to change the alternator on your invoice. It appears you waited a day too long to make your decision. The cost to fix it is on the bottom of your invoice,” I explain very reasonably.
“I think we should discuss this. I…”
“Hold up there,” I broke in, because I heard this conversation going in the wrong direction: the direction where I hang up after telling him to take his car elsewhere. “I just told you the only course of action you have. If you continue trying to make your car’s problems my fault, you’ll be told to find another shop. Are we clear?”
“I didn’t mean… ah… when can I bring it in for the alternator?”
We arranged an appointment. Just a simple misunderstanding. :)