I was charged for a service I did not need.
I went to The Auto Shop for an emissions test. Although my check engine light was on, I wasn't aware that this would result in a failed emissions test since the process had changed since my last emissions test. The Auto Shop, proceeded to "test" the vehicle and charged me.
Please note that I am not suggesting that I be entitled to a refund simply because the car did not pass. The rationale for my complaint is because the shop proceeded to "test" the car knowing that a car with a check engine light illuminated will fail. I received zero benefit from this visit.
If they had informed me that it would fail since the check engine light was on, I would not have agreed to have them continue. I received no value from this exercise. The honest thing for them to do would have been to tell me that it would not pass because of the check engine light and asking me if I wanted to proceed.
After leaving, I fixed the problem, and rather than returning to this repair shop for a re-test at the reduced re-test rate, I opted to pay full price somewhere else.
I am seeking the $33.90 I paid.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell my side.
This customer called for an appointment, then came into my shop for an emissions test. The Auto Shop is a certified Dive-Clean Facility.
I took the customer's keys, and handed them to a certified Drive-Clean Technician who took the car to the bay where we have the equipment set up.
The customer did not tell me that he had an engine light on in advance of the test.
Per the protocol outlined by the Drive Clean Program, which is supported by the Ministry, I did not ask the customer if he had an engine light on.
Please note that a vehicle with an engine light on MAY pass the emissions test. The only way to see if any vehicle will "pass" is to hook the car up to the machinery and run the program.
This test was run, and as a result of trouble code P1457 (manufacturer-specific diagnostic trouble code) this vehicle did not pass the inspection, per the ministry of Ontario's Drive Clean Program.
The customer was notably upset that his vehicle didn't pass standard testing. I tried to speak with him about the process and his specific results. I also gave him a pamphlet, outlining the process of emissions tests and not passing (the pamphlet is called "My Vehicle Didn't Pass The Drive Clean Test" and is published by the Ministry of the Environment on behalf of the Government of Ontario) which outlines the process and the steps to resolve emission standards issues).
The customer is accusing me of withholding information, and insinuating that I was dishonest to do so. Although I understand his frustration, I must adhere to the guidelines set out by the Drive-Clean program. If I ASK a customer if he has an engine trouble light on before I test his vehicle, I could be reprimanded by the Drive-Clean Program. This is NOT the Drive Clean protocol.
If the customer told me BEFORE the test was performed, that he had an engine trouble code/light on - then he and I would have had the opportunity to discuss the procedure and outline his options.
Although the customer had the right to come back to my shop for a re-test at a reduced rate, he chose to go elsewhere and pay full price.
It is my opinion that I acted honourably, and within the guidelines of the protocol of the Drive Clean Program. I do not feel that the customer should be refunded the cost of the emissions test, which is a requirement.
If the BBB and/or this customer should wish to have further verification of my actions, or the program and its guidelines, please do feel free to contact the Drive Clean Contact Centre at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX or visit their website: www.driveclean.com
The Auto Shop
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I contacted the Drive-Clean program at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX and spoke to ********. I asked her if the facility doing the emissions test is prohibited from asking the customer if their check engine light is on. She confirmed that no such rule exists. I would like to know where **** is hearing or reading this alleged rule from.
I was notably upset, but not because my vehicle didn't pass the testing. I was upset because they proceeded to 'test' the car knowing it would fail, wasting my time and money and accomplishing nothing.
Although I appreciate the pamphlet, the information was available online, and it didn't undo what had already been done.
Final Business Response
First I would like to refer to the Consumer's opening line of the original complaint: "I was charged for a service I did not need."
This customer called my shop, made an appointment for a Drive Safe Test, arrived for the appointment. He told me he was here for his 1:30 appointment for an emissions test. The whole time on his cell phone he made no communication with me about any issues with his vehicle. He gave me his keys and I had my employee perform the emissions test. He asked for a service, and the service was provided.
To address the consumer's rebuttal:
The consumer contacted the Drive Safe Clean Program and spoke with someone named ********. As I was not privy to the conversation, I can not comment.
My staff and I were trained by the Drive Clean Program, which is supported by the Ministry of the Environment. As I indicated in my previous submission, the process is strictly regulated.
Point 3 DRIVE CLEAN EMISSION TEST PROTOCOLS, the first line states:
Vehicles are required to be tested in the operating condition they were in when DCF accepted them for emissions testing.
Furthermore in the second paragraph last sentence states:
The DCF shall test the vehicle as it is presented to the facility, even with the MIL on.
There is further elaboration; the page should be reviewed and related to or provided to the Consumer.
If the consumer presented this vehicle at ANY Drive Clean Facility with an engine light on, what happened at The Auto Shop should have happened at another DCF.
We were not notified of any engine difficulties by the consumer. If we were, we would have provided the consumer with the approved pamphlet before the test. As before, some vehicles do pass the test with an active trouble indicator light.
As an approved Drive Clean Facility, I provide a service on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment. We are not interested in a "cash grab", we are providing a service for our customers who are required by law, to have this test preformed.
The Drive Clean Program has a process of arbitration for complaints. Perhaps, since the Consumer DID NOT accept our response, which included an offer of refund; a better course of action would be to approach the Drive-Clean Program once again.
The Auto Shop has been providing excellent service to the community for 33 years. If and when we make an error, we accept full responsibility and do what can to provide satisfaction.
I await the next step in this process.
The Auto Shop