By January 27, 20060 Comments Read More →

Is My Auto Mechanic Taking Advantages of Me? He Did Not Listen To Me.

Reader Question:

I brought my car in about a month ago for them to look at and confirm my suspicion that the heating fan needed to be fixed. My heater, ac, de-fogger etc. were no longer blowing. At first, they didn’t really think it was the heating fan, but after an hour of waiting, they reported to me that the problem was in fact what I had suspected.

I told them I would be in later when I had enough money for the repair. Today I went in and specifically asked for my heating fan to be replaced and for an oil change. When I returned for my car, they told me that they had replaced the coolant temp sensor, saying that it was the problem instead. I raised my eyebrow but paid the man and got in my car to be sure that it was fixed. It was not.

I then went inside to ask about it, and the man kept talking about fans in the front of my car not moving. When I asked him how that would relate to my heat, ac and defogger, he was like, “Oh that is why you need the blower motor?” I explained that they told me it was the heating fan when I had them check it the first time, and that is what I needed replaced–that was all.

Now they’ve replaced something I gave them no authorization to replace. They had my number, and they never asked. They just replaced what they thought needed replacing. What should I do? I think I should be entitled to something when I take it for them to look at again tomorrow. I shouldn’t have had to pay for something that I did not authorize.



Well Sandi,

I understand your frustration. I’ll bet your mechanic is frustrated too. This situation happens much too often and is usually caused by miscommunication or a lack of communication. First of all, what did the service writer record on the work order when you dropped the car off at the shop for repairs?

Does it say, “Replace a/c blower motor fan”…or “Defroster not working?” If the work order spells this out…it is their fault for not repairing what you asked for. If you did not sign a work order, or spell out what you wanted repaired in writing before the work was started, then you will probably have a shouting match on your hands as to who is right and who is wrong and who will pay!.

The correct term for the part you wanted replaced is a blower motor. (Notice in your story you are talking a heater fan, the service writer says, “Oh, the blower motor”) Sounds like there was miscommunication when you brought the car in, and they thought you meant something different by heater fan, and you didn’t specifically reiterate the symptoms you were trying to alleviate again…probably assuming they would remember the diagnostic appointment from the month before.

Always….always look at the work order and make sure what they wrote down is what you told them, or at least that the complaint you are experiencing is documented correctly. This same documentation should also be on your final bill. What does your final receipt say? If there is no documented complaint (a/c blower motor not working) and just the repair that was done (replaced temp switch $75) then there is not much you can do…except don’t get in this position again.

A Reader Response

Austin I think your answer is totally incorrect on this regardless of what might have been written on the work order.

1) an intelligent mechanic or writer should be aware that a customer is not car lingal savy when it comes to explaining things. This service writer or mechanic should have asked specific questions as to what was meant by the heater fan. If it were me I would have immediately assumed it was the heater blower motor and I would have questioned Sandi about it.

2) He then could have told her about the sensor etc. or perhaps some electrical problem as to why the heater blower “fan” motor was not going on.

3) If they did not correct without adjusting the invoice I would sue in small claims

court and she could win. All she has to do is basically outline her case as I did above.

How do I know — I have studied law for a long time and know how the small claims work for the average person — the mechanic is the expert. Do you go to a Doctor and say you have a pain in the leg someplace that is caused by another problem and he cuts off the foot and says “oops”! I know this is extreme but it makes the point.

After all I have practiced law for over 30 years without a license and have seldom lost a case.


Hello Art,

Thanks so much for your time to respond, and for your input. I have learned never to argue with a lawyer!

Austin Davis

Related terms complaints- BBB – scams – con artist – dishonest mechanics – mechanic rip offs – small claims court

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