Paid 750.00 for Repair of exterior and interior light. Two days ago, I noticed high beams still not working correctly.
On or about the 14th of November 2014, I took my car in because the interior lights and exterior lights weren't working correctly. The lights worked intermittently. I left my car with Carfix for more than 10 business days. I picked the car up and and paid 750.00 A few days ago, on Dec.5th, I used the high beams for the first time since the car was returned to me. The highbeams came on but after a minute or so, the headlamps went completely dark. On Saturday, Dec 6th I went back to Carfix to advise them of the problem. Their representative began explaining to me about a charge for a diagnostic and other fees that I might potentially have to pay. I told him that I didn't believe it to be fair as this was part of the original problem that I paid to have fixed. Furthermore Carfix had my car for more than 10 business daysmore than enough time to accurately diagnose my car's problem. For the record, the rest of the lightsinterior and exterior appear to be working correctly again.
I think a refund in the amount of $300 in cash or credit to the auto mechanic of my choosing would be fair.
Business Response /* ****** ** *********** */
On November 1st (Not the 14th) Customer brought his vehicle to Carfix and requested that we perform several services. He requested electrical testing to determine why the interior dash lights weren't working and why there was an intermittent headlight failure. Additionally he requested that we track the source of multiple oil leaks in the car, give a second opinion on a badly worn wheel bearing, and flush the radiator on his car. Customer gave initial authorization for the requested services and testing at 3:45PM on November 1st.
Carfix provided Customer with a free loaner car to use while we serviced his vehicle and told him to expect to hear from us the following day. That evening, one of our ASE Certified Master Technicians began work on the vehicle. He immediately noted what appeared to be sand in the radiator and on the inside of the radiator cap. Additionally, there was no coolant visible in the radiator at all. Experience has taught us that this is an indication of potentially major problems with the engine or cooling systems. Rather than proceed with a service (the radiator flush) that would likely not help the condition and would certainly waste Customer's money, we stopped immediately and tried to contact him.
We tried to call Customer the morning of November 2nd, unfortunately the phone number on file from his previous visit (5 years ago) was no longer valid. Having no other way to contact Customer, we waited several days in the hope that he would contact us for an update. After 6 days of waiting and still no contact from Customer, we began driving out to the address on file in the hopes of finding him at home. Unfortunately, we couldn't be sure that the address on file was valid (again, his most recent visit was from 2009 and if his phone number has changed - his address may have as well) and we never saw our loaner car at the address in question. After 9 days with no contact we were concerned enough that we contacted the Johnston County Sheriff's Office to try to find Customer. The following day, the JCSO made contact with Customer and he called us.
We informed Customer that we hadn't yet done anything with the vehicle because we didn't want to spend his money on services that would not improve the vehicle's condition, as the car likely had other major problems. This is also the first time we advised Customer that the car's service/repair needs outweighed its value. After much discussion, Customer asked us to move forward with the other tests/inspections originally requested but to not perform the radiator flush. Finally, on day 10 (November 11th), we had good contact information for our client and we were able to move forward with testing.
The following day we began testing. Our technician found the headlights were working properly at the time. We continued with testing of the interior lights and found that the light switch on the dash had been severely overheated and the interior of the switch along with the connecting harness block had partially melted. This problem was certainly the cause of the interior lighting problem and could possibly cause the intermittent headlight problem as well. This was communicated both verbally over the phone with Customer (On November 13th @ 11:57AM) as well as in writing on his repair order. We recommended replacing the known damaged/faulty components and then retesting the system for proper operation. At this time, we also advised customer of a long list of other service/repair needs that the vehicle had and provided estimates for those items as well. Again, we advised Customer that the cost of needed items outweighed the value of the vehicle. Customer requested that we move forward with the recommended interior light related repairs. After replacing the faulty components all lights were working properly, interior and exterior. We documented on the repair order that should the intermittent headlamp problem recur that further testing may be needed to find any additional problems.
The repairs were completed on November 14th and Customer picked his car up on the 15th. At the time of vehicle delivery, Customer was shown the defective part that had been replaced. During the conversation when Customer picked up the vehicle we again advised him that there was severe sludge buildup in the engine cooling system and that there are likely several other problems with the car that need to be addressed.
I feel it should be noted that on more than one occasion between November 1st and 14th, Carfix staff recommended that Customer not invest much money in the repair of the vehicle as we found more than $3000 of other unrelated repair and service needs. This list did not include everything that the car likely needed, as we had not found the source of the problems causing the sludge/sand in the cooling system. It simply is not advisable to spend well over $3,500 on a high mileage car that would be worth far less in good operating condition!
On Saturday, December 6th, 21 days after he picked up the car, Customer returned to Carfix and told us that his headlights had acted up again on the night of the 5th. He did note that the interior lights had been working properly without fail. He stated that he expected Carfix to fix whatever the headlight problem was at no charge. As politely as possible, we re-read Customer's previous invoice to him: "...If the headlights shut off again, additional diagnostic costs will be needed to determine the cause." We would need authorization for those tests prior to starting work on the car. Customer was assured that if any of the components related to the previous repair were found to be at fault, they would be replaced free of charge and that the diagnostic fees would be waived. If we found that there was an additional problem, the diagnostic fees and any other repairs would be at normal charges. Customer did not agree to move forward and left without further incident.
Unfortunately, this car has over 225,000 miles and has a myriad of service needs - mechanical and electrical. It is evident that it has two separate electrical issues that were manifesting in two separate ways - interior light failure, and intermittent headlamp failure. We were able to find and repair one problem on the initial visit. By the very nature of an intermittent problem, we were unable to duplicate the other concern on that visit. By Customer's account - the problem did not recur for three weeks (Nov 15th to Dec 5th). It would not have been fiscally or ethically responsible to simply start replacing electrical parts on the headlight system without being able to duplicate or pinpoint the problem.
I am confident that we can diagnose the problem with Customer's headlights and repair it should he return, but we will not be doing so without prior authorization of diagnostic fees. Again, if we find that the previously repaired parts are faulty then all diagnostic fees and repairs will be waived and the repair will be covered by our 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty. Customer should not expect a refund from Carfix.
Consumer Response /* ****** ** *********** */
I thank Carfix for being so thorough in their response, but most of the information has little if anything to do with the issue of the headlamps that weren't fixed.
I did pick up my car on or about Nov 15, unfortunately, I didn't have any reason to use my high beams until the 5th of December.
I stand by original request for a partial refund or credit at another auto mechanic of my choosing.
Final Consumer Response /* ****** *** *********** */
I wish to counter offer. I'll accept 299.00 dollars to resolve the issue.
Final Business Response /* ****** *** *********** */
As nothing about the situation has changed, our response is still that we will happily diagnose the additional issues with Customer's vehicle, but we will not be doing so without prior authorization of diagnostic fees. If we find that any repairs performed by Carfix in the last 3 years or 36,000 miles are the cause of his described headlight issues then both the diagnostic and the repair will be under warranty. If (as we strongly suspect) the problem is unrelated to any repairs performed by Carfix, then repairs will be at our normal price points. No refund or credit to another facility will be issued. Thank you for your time in this matter.