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Right To Repair - A Hot Issue or Big Problem?

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    edited April 2012
    I'd be curious to know who the attorney author's clients are. He does intellectual property work; something tells me he's working for the automakers, not the big box parts retailers he derides.

    The details he understands are likely spelled out on his invoices, LOL.

    Good stuff, keep it coming. I guess you saw the Technicans against RtoR Facebook page linked in the comments to that article.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Well let's just say that's the crowd I usually hang out with.....
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    edited May 2012
    Since you have so much leisure time ( ;) ) you may want to check out this new discussion:

    A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I'll let everyone else play on that one for now. Some days we walk out the door feeling good about what we have accomplished. There are many others have a way of making that impossible, even when we did everything the absolute best that we could. If only we could do this without actually needing to earn a living... :(
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Well that's what I was afraid I would see in that thread. It didn't take long for words like greed and selfishness to show up and of course we have the perception that someone elses's financial situation somehow changes our daily needs. There are a few references to how costly it is to run a shop today, and about what a tech has to invest in his/her tools. I'm not sure how much we really want to talk about that aspect of our jobs anyway for security reasons.

    If I threw into the mix the challenges that my wife and I have and are facing, people would be inclined to tell us we are responsible for ourselves, which I agree with. We are responsible for ourselves and our situation and to that end take a proactive approach to dealing with her problem. When someone who is going through a tough time expects us to carry part of their load too, they don't really understand what they are asking of us.

    My wife has never worked outside of the business that I built and the position I created for her. She has Epilepsy that is bad enough to prevent her from being employable. Yet with me being self employe'd isn't eligible for disability or any assistance. They treat her like she is a stay at home mom. Currently she takes clusters of seizures about every three weeks that last 24-36 hours. With a recent study just concluded she is scheduled for surgery to try and help her but not until September as they have a waiting list and can only handle two patients a week. The plan is to attach electrodes directly to her brain,and hopefully pinpoint the part of her right temporal lobe that initiates the seizures. If they can find the spot and feel that it's safe to try they will remove that section of her brain.

    Now we never went on a honeymoon when we got married. Her epilepsy started when she was expecting our daughter and we only went on one vacation in 32 years and that was for four days. We don't own a big house (two bedroom, one bath, about 900 sq/ft) so we don't live beyond our means. But when someone acts like we owe them something because things aren't going easy for them, we just don't have anything left to even try. All we can do is the best we can to be ready to try and repair their car and that is a huge investment each year. When someone price pressures us, or thinks we are supposed to give away my time or knowledge they just don't know what they are asking. Then to deal with the perceptions that suggest that there is an element of greed or selfishness like you already are, and will see in that thread, well now you know why I don't feel like getting involved there.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    Sorry about your wife - medical issues are tough.

    Did you really read the discussion? The greed comments were mostly about the customers, not the techs.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I'll read it again, and see if my perception of what is there changes. However "Mostly" still means some are aimed at the techs, and since I tend to expect to see that......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    the comments were actually in defense of those accusations, and to present that the mechanic's time is not to be squandered.

    The conclusion I came to reading the comments was that a little "goodwill" generosity makes good business sense and that most of the reputation for greed comes from the habits of service writers. The line mechanic does not make these decisions.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    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 YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    Well, it could be worse.

    You could be a car salesman. :P

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    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: 1,521
    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 YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    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: 44,408
    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 YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    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 YooperlandPosts: 39,993
    “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: 4,167
    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: 1,521
    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.
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