Claim of the Month: Could It Happen to You?

Documenting Safety Related Issues on the Repair Order

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Could it happen to you:

An automotive shop performed an oil change and inspection on a customer’s vehicle and found that the tread depth was below the recommended levels for safe operation. About five weeks later, a rear tire failed and the vehicle rolled, killing the customer. The customer’s family sued the shop, claiming the technician did not recommend replacement.

CLAIM AMOUNT: $2 million

Communication is key in customer service. With a thorough inspection process, including a robust checklist for technicians to complete, the shop had strong procedures for documenting inspection findings. Where they fell short is ensuring the customer is notified of those findings. The invoice included a warning on the condition of the tires and a recommendation to replace them, but some customers do not read — or fully comprehend — messages on invoices. A short discussion on the dangers of low tread depth could have helped prevent the disaster.

Here are some steps you can take:
* Create and enforce a policy requiring technicians or customer service representatives to discuss all service recommendations with customers at least once.
* Require written confirmation from the customer on all rejected repairs — a signature line on a document that explains the recommendations is a good place for that confirmation.

While such repetition might appear bothersome, or even annoy some customers, it could mean the difference between safety and tragedy. Always err on the side of caution to help drive home the importance of your safety recommendations.



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