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Right To Repair - A Hot Issue or Big Problem?

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    OK, I read through it again. While some of the comments were made to be in defense of technicians, (thank-you shift-right), the thought process started as I interpreted it. Trying to defend against the comments is like trying to address a comment like "Do you still beat your wife?"

    The simple facts are there are any number of people who have had careers that make them believe they are prepared to comment on what it's like being a technician, and what it costs today to try and run a viable business but they don't actually have the first hand experience of doing so.

    For every success we have, it only takes one person to try and tear the whole operation down. I don't know if I ever told you about the guy with the windstar turn signal problem who's bill was $170 to repair. Which by the way was a charge for half of the time that was actually invested, and easily could have been mis-diagnosed and cost him well over $700 for a GEM module replacement that he didn't need. We got it right, did the repair right, cut our own throats to make the price right, and to him and everyone he has ever talked to we are crooks. If I could have seen that coming, I would have handed him a twenty told him sorry about his luck and sent him down the road without fixing his car and been better off.

    I could talk about the guy back when I was a dealership technician. I got called to the service desk, and as soon as I got there the business owner jumped all over me for smoking in that customers car and burning a hole in the carpet. There is no doubt in my mind I was about to lose my job when the service manager spoke up about one little detail that car owner didn't account for with his lie. I don't smoke, never have, and can't stand to be near someone that does smoke. heck even getting into some people's cars where they smoke makes me ill.

    I had to cut Friday short, and struggled through yesterday after having a reaction to the odor from the mothballs one lady has inside her car. She was here because I can handle the keyless security system on her Lincoln. I lost a day's productivity (and my lunch) for fixing it for her.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    Well, it could be worse.

    You could be a car salesman. :P

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    You could name any profession and point to similar public perceptions. Doctors? Lawyers? Postal employees?

    I mean, really, what job title is universally loved and admired? Very few indeed.

    RE: Dealing with customers: -- If you work on cars, you're gonna have good days, and you're gonna have very bad days.

    My Dad was a field technician for Packard--he used to say "The automobile business eats people".

    When Packard folded, he left the biz and worked for the Better Business Bureau----having a clear understanding of how difficult it was to fix cars, he had a very high success rate of resolving complaints from car owners, and was also not hesitant to tell a consumer that their claim had no basis.

    Keep in mind that the BBB is funded solely by business--it was created to weed out the bad apples and protect the good ones.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    http://www.ehow.com/info_8165935_tips-pass-california-smog-test.html

    Click on the e-how authors link and you'll find that he wrote a book about auto repair scams and shams in 1990. What's really sad is much of the information in the ehow article couldn't be more incorrect.

    Its troublesome to see him featured as an "expert" when his words prove that he isn't qualified to hold a position as a technician.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    edited May 2012
    That's what happens when an ad site pays for content just to generate hits. Not all eHow.com content is low quality but a lot sure is. I don't know about other search engines, but "Google is paying attention to complaints about “content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content” clogging its search results."

    You could write a blurb about how to select a good mechanic. Maybe they'll pay you $29. :shades:

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,930
    That's really wrong info! However, I have learned long ago to never consult eHow for anything.

    Of course, consider what you pay for eHow advice :P

    I get $750 a day in court to be an expert on car values.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    edited May 2012
    "Should the question go to the ballot, Bradley predicted that supporters of improving access to repair information for independent auto body shops would have an easier time framing their argument for voters.

    “The only holdout right now is General Motors so we’re hopeful there will be an agreement reached to bring to the House. This is a very complicated and difficult issue to bring to the ballot, but from our side it’s easy to frame if it goes to the ballot. Are you going to vote for the guy on the corner who fixes your car or the manufacturers in Detroit who needed a bailout. It will be a no-brainer for voters, so I can see how it’s going to play,” Bradley said.

    Attention, and lobbying, shifts to House on auto repair issue (bostonherald.com)

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    “You bought the car; you ought to be able to get access to information to fix it,” said Art Kinsman, spokesman for the coalition, which predicts that success would lead to ballot measures in other states, where right-to-repair legislation has stalled.

    Car makers say they plan a robust fight. “Massachusetts is really the battleground right now,” said Dan Gage, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

    Dealerships also oppose the ballot measure, fearing that auto makers that find the requirements too onerous might not sell cars in the state. The dealers also are looking to protect their own repair businesses, which have become “vital” revenue generators, said John Giamalvo, an analyst with Edmunds.com."

    Massachusetts Is ‘Right to Repair’ Battleground (Wall St. Journal)

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    edited July 2012
    I believe that the consumers' choices should prevail. Not the manufacturer, not the dealer, but the consumer should be the first priority. Since greater competition benefits the consumer, independent garages should have ready access to repair equipment, tools and manuals, at competitive prices.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    OK, the log-in thing is finally fixed!.

    The consumers are of course very important but how does R2R address their needs? In fact if we are to believe everything that has been written some want to try and suggest that all some shops need is "the tool" and "the software" and they will be 100% ready to serve the customer at the cheapest price possible. The reality is, the tools and software are already available but in some cases cost prohibitive. Let's envision that they can make the tools cheaper overnight, what about the training and product knowledge that is required to have the technicians be proficient in it's use? Is someone legislating that will also be available, and that the techs would even attend it if it was?

    Top shops who have been looking out for the consumer have been investing all along in every aspect of this. (tools, training, software) No we can't work on all makes and models any more and legislation can't fix that. As a consumer you have to recognize you have every right to own a Merceds, or BMW if you can afford to. Affording to in many cases likely means you'll need to adress certain vehicle needs at the dealership. If you really don't like that then you need to buy a vehicle that your local shop can justify supporting. You see? You do have a choice here.

    BTW did you recheck the article Steve linked? That sure fell apart fast when some knowlegable people chimed in.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    OK, the log-in thing is finally fixed!.

    Don't jinx it. :D

    Did you recruit some of your business friends to comment at the WSJ? ;)

    Looks like it's still headed for the ballot in Massachusetts with the Right to Repair Coalition's poll numbers running 80% in favor. Of course, the people polled haven't read this thread and don't know the arguments against the proposal.

    Coalition rallies to support ballot question governing auto repair rights (Wicked Local Somerset)

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    "France's antitrust authority fired a warning shot at auto makers on Monday accusing them of partly offsetting losses on car manufacturing with their alleged control of the auto-repair market, the latest in series of rulings and reports from the regulator that have rankled some French businesses.

    The regulator, Autorité de la Concurrence, recommended the government deregulate the market for car repair parts to make it easier for independent mechanics to service cars. It also warned auto makers that it will probe and sanction specific anticompetitive behavior in the future.

    The authority also asked car makers to provide independent mechanics with all the information needed to repair a car."

    French Watchdog Targets Car-Repair Costs (WSJ)

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    Right to Repair is Now Law (MSNBC)

    "The Tire Industry Association applauds the passage of the Right to Repair law in Massachusetts and strongly urges Congress to pass a comparable federal law to ensure that all American car owners and their trusted repair shops have the same access to safety alerts and repair information as the franchised new car dealer network."

    Congress should pass right to repair law (somdnews.com)

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    I hope congress passes that law. It'll level the playing field for independent shops and consumers.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    I'm curious about the unintended consequences.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    Well, you raise a good point, Steve. It's a multifaceted issue, so I'd be surprised if there weren't some drawbacks that aren't obvious, but my perception is that the tradeoffs would be net positive. It would spur competition, which generally improves value to the consumer.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    It would spur competition, which generally improves value to the consumer

    If it was really able to do anything, it might make some unknown tool cheaper, then someone with no additional training could then pretend they are qualfied and capable of taking on much more complictaed work. The race to the bottom would then accelerate and you'll lose the top shops even faster.
  • obyoneobyone Posts: 8,065
    then someone with no additional training could then pretend they are qualfied and capable of taking on much more complictaed work.

    Isn't that what they are doing now?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    then someone with no additional training could then pretend they are qualfied and capable of taking on much more complicated work.

    Isn't that what they are doing now?

    No, the cost of the equipment and software created a natural barrier that prevented that in most cases. The shops once they found out that specialized equipment was mandatory for specific repairs either stepped up and made the investment, or else called in a mobile specialist or simply shipped the car back to the dealership.

    Their hope with R2R is that they would suddenly have a way around the cost of the O.E. tools, meanwhile they still wouldn't have the training and experience to go with them. I see that as bad for the consumer.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    edited October 2012
    Are you suggesting, then, that the current law is what's best for consumers? If not, what change(s) would you suggest?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    Are you suggesting, then, that the current law is what's best for consumers? If not, what change(s) would you suggest?

    Best for "consumers".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer
    From that article;

    There is increasing backlash from the public over use of the label "consumer" rather than "customer", with many finding it offensive and derogatory

    Here is someone who understands an important angle to all of this;

    http://wanderingjustin.com/2010/11/dont-call-me-a-consumer/

    If you genuinely want to be a consumer instead of a customer, then I suggest you plan wisely for how your going to afford $40,000 throw away cars every five years. The whole R2R issue is being supported by shops who cannot turn the necessary profits so that they can afford the schools and tools that are already available. The shops are being "consumed" by price wars on one side as their outdated business model dies, and by consumerism that demands perfection without regard for the success of the business, long term.

    Take just about every consumer advocate article you have ever read, don't they tell you to call around for the cheapest price as if auto repair was as consistent and simple as buying a name brand can of corn off of the shelf? Meanwhile what they have really told you is to avoid a shop (like mine for instance) who has made a much greater investment to be ready to serve your vehicle needs because of what I have been spending on my tools and schools and go to the person (shop) who hasn't spent that kind of money for decades. They are cheaper to do your water pump, not a lot mind you because they will intentionally price right below someone like me. But cheaper enough to get that easy work without doing everything you really need them to be doing.

    Now that all has seemed to work great for them and consumers for a long time, but today the technology in the cars has finally forced the shops to start to wake up and now they find themselves in trouble. The gap between what they can do, and what their customers really need has widened to the point that they now find themselves failing to be able to completely fix the cars and were looking for someone to blame for that other than themselves. So they blame the manufacturers. They also are looking for someone or something to save them, so they cling onto R2R because that is the promise that it has made.

    But it won't fix any of that. It won't make the tools any cheaper. It won 't make them go to training. They will hang on until their last day and simply close and dissapear from the trade with no-one available or capable to replace them. Their busineses will be full of outdated and worn out equipment so there will be nothing to sell to even try and have someone else take over.

    The question for you the consumer is do you want to support them to their grave and only then discover that you also lost shops like mine in the process, or are you going to support the shops like mine now because we have been taking the right approach and reward us for doing so with your business? We can't afford to have consumers coming through our door and stay on top of technology, but customers can help us while we help them.

    BTW there is something that is happening in every town across the country. How many shops did there used to be in your town? How many shops are there now? How old are the mechanics, and the owners?

    Of the ones that are there, which ones could repair a theft deterrent system issue that requires programming on your car right now? Was that "none" that I heard you say? Actually there might be one, but you don't know who that is because you have never been told how to find that shop. You've only ever been told to seek out the ones who can't do everything you need.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    edited October 2012
    don't they tell you to call around for the cheapest price

    Haven't looked, but seems like many recommend you ask your friends. Getting advice from friends is one of the main reasons people hang out on forums or read Repair Shop Ratings, Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes your friends are idiots, but it's still easier than trying to cold call a few shops for quotes.

    The question for you the consumer is do you want to support them to their grave

    I want my car fixed fast, for not a lot of money and I want it done right the first time. I won't put up with indifferent or condescending service. And I'll tell all my friends.

    Theft deterrent problems? My old '97 Subaru's alarm started acting up (the old 2 am wake up calls for no reason). I got online, found the tech info, opened the black box, changed the DIP switch settings and disabled it.

    Paying someone to "fix" the alarm on an old car wasn't worth it to me.

    Having DIP switches tells you how old the electronics are. But why couldn't I hook my slightly newer Quest up to the OBDII port with my laptop and tweak the alarm software myself? It shouldn't be any more difficult or more expensive than training the key fob not to beep the horn when I lock the doors, which I did myself after digging up the instructions.

    Even if the system failed such that I had to find a tech (to swap out a circuit board ;) ), having access to the works would at least let me shut down the siren or horn until I could get it to the shop.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    Customer, consumer, whatever. I'll accept customer, if you prefer, but I think you're blowing the semantics out of proportion.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    Customer, consumer, whatever. I'll accept customer, if you prefer, but I think you're blowing the semantics out of proportion.

    We can disagree on this, that's fine. But can customers really afford to just sit on ther hands and wait to find out if it's accurate or not?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    Fyi Edmunds uses the term "consumer", as in Consumer Reviews.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    I visited Service Express today and noticed that ISIS
    appears to have more functionality than ServiceExpress and
    is available only to Massachusetts subscribers at twice the
    price of ServiceExpress for S/T subscriptions.
    RS, Mass.

    Reality. The information was available for a price, but only a few made the effort to access it. Now legislation is in place and here they go, the price for the information has nearly doubled. ( in Massachusetts that is). Shops who weren't buying it in the past, still won't buy it. Shops that were are going to have to dig even deeper to continue to do so.

    And the winners are;
    Shops that were never buying the information in the first place.

    The losers are;
    Shops that were buying what they needed to in order to the whole job for their customers and of course the customers (consumers).
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    https://techinfo.honda.com/Rjanisis/logon.asp?Region=US

    This is just service information, on top of the expense for services like Mitchell On Demand or Alldata.

    Remember that the O.E. scan tools, training and reflashing software are additional expenses for each manufacturer that a shop chooses to try and support on top of having scan tools like Snap-On's Solus, Modis, Verus; OTC's Pegasys, Launch, ISCAN, Autel Maxidas etc.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,884
    "Massachusetts voters resoundingly passed the “Right to Repair” ballot question, meaning the new law requiring automakers to provide independent repair shops as well as dealers with easy access to the computer codes needed to diagnose complex car problems will need to be reconciled with compromise legislation passed after the ballots were approved.

    Under the ballot legislation, automakers are required to make diagnostic and repair information available to independent shops and dealers through a universal system by 2015. The compromise legislation, passed in July, gives automakers until 2018 to comply with new regulations.

    Tuesday’s margin of victory proves “that this is something Massachusetts is leading the way [on] and there ought to be access to this kind of information in every state"

    Voters approve ‘Right to Repair’ ballot question (bostonglobe.com)

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    Good! Maybe Edmunds can support passage of similar legislation in the other states.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,632
    Good! Maybe Edmunds can support passage of similar legislation in the other states. :confuse:

    To what end? I guess you don't see where this is going to raise costs for shops who try to be able to fully serve the publics needs, and therefore cause higher prices to the public? Remember the lowest denominator of shops will simply raise prices when they have the room to without adding any more capability for the public. Or worse they hold their pricing and take an even larger share of the easy work and then the top shops will either be forced to get out of the technology race and join the others at the bottom or they will have to be able to command a much higher price for the more technical stuff. No matter how you slice this the legislation can't and won't make things better. Your only going to see higher costs, and even fewer shops that can do all of the work a consumer may need.
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