Pre-pay for part ?

mpc999

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I have recently had a problem diagnosed with my E270. The loss of power is apparently due to a blocked exhaust. (not the air mass problem originally thought) It needs a section of exhaust and 2 new cats. A pricey repair. The independent MB specialist (which gets very good reviews) wants my credit card to order the part! The argument being its a part they cant return. If I dont turn up they will be left with the part. If I crash the car before the appointment, they will be left with the part. Ok, if I dont turn up. But if I crashed the car I'd hardly be able to claim for a part in a garage on my insurance. So I would lose out twice.

My question (and sorry for rambling) is. Is it normal for expensive parts to be pre-paid by the customer when ordered via MB specialists:?:
 

The Pan Man

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MPC999, First off I have no idea who you indie is so that does not come into the equation. I have had the same repair last year and mine was also expensive. £1700.00
The problem is that without the repair the car is almost unusable and valueless. I would think that the indie is kosher if he is known on here and without getting the invoice I see to recall that the parts were over £1200.00 so it would seem fair that the garagen does not want to order the part in and get left with it. For your peace of mind get an agreeemnt that if the parts fitted do not solve the problem he will refund you in full. That way all parties get covered.
 

Miffy

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I doubt any garage will give you the assurance that if the exhaust does not fix your problem they will refund it. The car could have multiple problems and fixing the exhaust could then show up another problem. Why dont you ask around different workshops, I am sure many will give a similar answer
 

gre1591

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I doubt anyone (Indy main dealer or whoever ) would do £1200 plus pounds work on a car on the basis that if the parts they fitted didn’t cure the problem the owner would get a full refund on the parts. That is why one goes to a specialist garage who has the knowledge to cure a problem sometimes involving trial and error of putting a series of parts on to cure the specific problem .The garages procedure in doing this should be agreed with the owner before work begins and who is responsible for what in writing otherwise problems arise on who is at fault on not finding the fault or fitting a series of perhaps unnecessary parts!.
It is normal practice for a restocking charge to be issued if parts have to go back to the supplier say in the unlikely event that you wrote the car of while awaiting for the parts to be fitted and they had to be taken back into stock by the garages supplier. Normal restocking charges are 20-30% so I would agree with the garage that you will pay this reasonable amount in the highly unlikely event your car is written of while waiting for the work to be done.
 

Alex Crow

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mcp999, paying for the part first is exactly what we would expect you to do. you say that if the car was written off you would be £xxxx out of pocket - but so would the garage be if you hadn't paid for it! also what if you wrote the car off just after LEAVING the garage, the insurance payout would be no higher. these cars ARE expensive to run, and a car will always cost money - they are poor investments, just like children!

moving on, it is highly likely that you could actually get away with just 1x cat, or even none at all. if you do have cat trouble, it is most likely to be due to one of the monliths breaking up and blocking the other one. if so, this can be confirmed by inspection with an endoscope. if the front one is moving back and forth it can be removed from the chamber (we cut the chamber, remove the monolith and re-weld) and if the second one is blocked with debris from the front one it can usually be back flushed to clean it. this fix is not ideal, as there will be slightly increased noise from the front cat, but the exhaust emissions will still easily pass the mot if everything else is ok.
 

television

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Even MB will now ask for payment of items that were not originally on the car,,for instance if your try and order a grill for a later version car than your, as once ordered that dealer cannot return it to the central warehouse.
 

Alex Crow

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we are led to believe that very few parts can be returned, the vast majority of our returns are when the parts have been supplied incorrectly. i think they only accept stock items back, and certainly never if they have been fitted - this suits us as we don't want parts that have been plugged into someone elses dodgy car!!
 

television

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we are led to believe that very few parts can be returned, the vast majority of our returns are when the parts have been supplied incorrectly. i think they only accept stock items back, and certainly never if they have been fitted - this suits us as we don't want parts that have been plugged into someone elses dodgy car!!

Like when MB tried to sell me a SAM that was in an oily opened box, I declined
 
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mpc999

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Thank you. Some very sensible useful comments there. I'll see if anything can be done with just one CAT (Thanks A P) and otherwise will pay up in advance. They want my card details over the phone. i dont do that. I'll call in!
 

Alex Crow

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we did not always charge for parts on ordering, and have shelves full of dusty boxes to testify to this fact! we used to take cheques, or to allow people to take cars away before paying, this too has stopped - does tesco let people pay next week? if it did, would they pay at all? i know i am going off topic here, but our list of owed monies used to top around £20,000 or so (i understand) - much lower now in these "difficult times". rant over :D

good luck mpc999, keep us informed.
 

truthfindergeneral

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Isn't the crux of the matter now that both dealers and indies just can't diagnose problems any more. Clearly a missing fan belt is easy to spot but so many other probles could either be X,Y or Z. Despite all the clever computers being in built by car makers to help run the thing, they seem incapable of putting together a clear indication of faults.
 

matthewm1965

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I had two new cats fitted last week. The garage explained that this would only be the first step in diagnosing the problem and there could be extra cost involved.
I agreed to this and was quite happy (well not happy, but you know what I mean) to pay for a new MAF as well.

They didn't ask for any money up front but did keep me informed of all costs before they did the work.

Matt
 

Aviator

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Teso will give you an immediate replacement or refund if you are not satisfied! how many garages do that? I think in paying upfront should be done with caution.
 
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mpc999

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I understand now. I hadn't realised the suppliers would not take parts back. If they are clearly unused (shrink wrapped, or whatever) I hadassumed they could be taken back. So I apologise for the misunderstanding.

On the Tesco comparison, I thought unused, unopened things like for example white goods, non-perishable items etc could be returned. Seems the suppliers are causing problems.
 

television

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As the law stands,,your contract is with the shop that you buy from,,that shop, has the same laws from whom they buy from, and so it goes on through the chain. Many will try and fob you off. but you just stick to your ground
 

Juddian

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I fully understand indies charging for parts before ordering them, so many dishonourable people out there they have no choice.
My own indie has been stiched up many times in the past by such types he now uses a debt collctor without further ado, and i don't blame him.
Luckily most of his customer's are long term and he gets new ones by recommendation...as such we that appreciate him tend to 'vet' them anyway.

Anyway thats by the by.

I was just pondering whether the car in question could be run without exhausts (or even a bodged up straight through jobbie) for a few miles to test whether the exhaust really is the problem.
Yes i know it's something we'd have done in the past, but is it now the case where modern complexities make simple tests like this redundant?
 

Alex Crow

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i think that MB are on a safe legal standing when refusing to accept returns of non stock items, equally they are within their legal rights to charge reasonable restocking fees. furthermore, they are unwilling to accept goods returned when the packaging has been opened as they may now be used parts! obviously there is a little leeway with our local parts department as they want our trade, but the system does get abused by other garages out there. an example of this was when we had ordered in a side impact sensor for a customer, when we had removed the seat and carpet we opened the box to find a s/h part inside! not amused. clearly they had accepted a return of a s/h part from another customer who had simply swapped the new for old and returned. this is a good illustration of the trouble caused to them and us by accepting returns - we had wasted a lot of labour there...

if we have a car in our workshop we WILL order parts without immediate payment, as we have means to ensure satisfactory re-numeration.

on the (very good) point of "will i still have to pay if it does not cure it", this is a thorny and difficult question. there is no fixed answer to how we garages should deal with this problem. the only constant is that the garage must always ensure that a thorough and complete understanding exists between them and the customer, ie we either guarantee that the part will cure the problem, or part of the problem, or we cannot be sure but wish to try it. i understand the dismay the customer may feel when given the choice to pay vast sums to HOPEFULLY fix a problem, never an easy conversation. when it comes to this we (or rather i) take pains to discuss at length exactly what measures have been taken to diagnose the fault, what leads us to believe this part needs changing and that the customer must decide what to do next. having said that we are almost always able to get it right, and i cannot remember the last time we charged for something that did not cure a particular problem. the short of all this is that clear and complete customer communications are absolutely vital.

and yes, sometimes it is worth running without the cat to try it, but only ever with extreme caution for very short distances. ie only useful with a constant and chronic fault. removing the exhaust for inspection is useful with cat faults however, and it is certainly a fault we would usually be definitive about.
 

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