Mechanic might be right about the old battery but is shooting himself in the foot.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

I enjoy your column very much. I learn a lot from it, and even when there's nothing in a column I can use, I always at least get a chuckle or two. Maybe you can help my daughter with a gripe she has with her mechanic. She left her '91 Mazda for a week for a tune up. When she went to pick it up, the battery was dead. She then noticed that the keys had been left in the car, turned on to the accessory setting. They charged it for her, and she drove it home. The next day, it was dead again. She went back, and they checked it and said it was weak and needed to be replaced. When she tried to get them to pay for it, they said it was just old (supposedly the original battery) and that it wouldn't have gone bad from what they did. Is she getting the run around, or what?

TOM: Well, the mechanic is sort of right, Chuck. But it sounds like he went to the Cro-Magnon school of customer relations.

RAY: If the battery was in good condition, they would have been able to recharge it. Since it didn't hold a charge, it probably was near the end of it's lifetime.

TOM: NEAR, but not AT the end of its lifetime until THEY left the key and the radio on for a week. So even though your daughter would have needed a new battery soon, she needed it sooner because of their mistake. So I think they do owe her something.

RAY: What they should have done is offer to pay for part of the new battery. They could have given it to her at their cost, or at 20% or 25% off. They wouldn't have lost any money on it, they would have taken responsibility for their mistake, and your daughter would have been a satisfied customer, and perhaps would have come back to them some day.

TOM: Now, she's not only avoiding the place herself, but she's told you how bad they were, you've told us, and my brother is about to take out a full page ad about these guys in USA Today.

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