Tuesday, April 08, 2014

authorised car service....or another scam?

dropped off my car last week at the authorised workshop for the 50K km service. the service advisor told me the parts that needed to be changed, eg. engine oil, filter, which i had expected.

half an hour later, i got a call from the foreman servicing my car & he said the wipers, air-con filter & battery needed replacement. apparently, the wipers had uneven edges, the air-con filter is clogged up & the battery is weak.

i said OK but told the guy that the battery was changed middle of last year & it's still within the warranty period, ie. 12months & 20K km. he said he'd check & call me back. it was the service advisor who called me & said the battery was weak because i hardly use the car, hence it's not fully charged.

i told her it doesn't matter how much i used the car, as long as it's within the warranty period & if the battery is "weak", then it should be changed without any cost to me. then she started bla ...bla....bla.... that she'll get the foreman to fully charge my battery & that should be OK after that. but i stood my ground, questioning why the foreman asked to change battery in the 1st place when all it needed was a full charge.

anyway, i told her in an agitated tone to do what needed to be done & i'll come collect the car later that evening. my mind was screaming,"Scam! Scam!"

 i sort of held my breath when i went to the workshop later. as expected, the woman service advisor whom i had earlier dealt with avoided me & it was another guy who who attended to me. he explained that, although not standard practice, the battery was changed out of goodwill. i thanked him & wondering if it was standard practice to change parts that do not need changing.

back home, i deleted the email i had earlier drafted, addressed to car's corporate HQ in KL.


mun said...

Guess the foreman did not know that your battery is still under warranty, that's why he advised for a change. If he knew, I think he will keep quiet. The battery warranty is applicable only if the battery totally die I think. Weak battery is not covered under warranty, maybe.

stay-at-home mum said...

I believe that they are just trying to re-coup some $$ for the "free service" that they provide. I face the same problem here. We get free servicing after every 10Km (up till 60Km or 3 years whichever is earleir). and there will always be parts that need to be changed : brake linings, wipers, etc, etc. And when I tell them to check my tire pressure - they tell me to change my tyres!!!

jjj said...

I don't think they were trying to scam you. Your battery gets charged by the alternator every time you drive your car. So if you rarely drive it (or if you do drive it, but mainly for very short distances), then the battery life span tends to be much shorter...and it's even worse if it's one of those maintenance-free batteries.

I know what you are thinking; then why are they reluctant to honor the 12 months warranty if the battery will potentially wear out under these driving conditions?

Let's put it this way. Say you have a patient diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. You prescribe him the relevant medication and tell him to come back for a check-up in 3 weeks. During a follow-up a few weeks later, you find that his blood sugar is still high and as a result he says you are trying to scam him. He says he takes your medication on schedule and has been abstaining from sugary foods and drinks (but he did not realize that he's still a lot of other high carb food). He demands that you prescribe better medication for free.

What would you do in this situation?

doc said...


you are right! warranty only applies for dead batteries but the foreman committed himself by saying the battery needed to be replaced. if he had said it only needed a full charge, i would have accepted that.

now think, how many others parts were changed when there's no real need to? for all i know, the aircon filter just needed to be cleaned instead of replacement.

doc said...


the cost of servicing would have been factored into the cost of replacement parts. after all, nothing is free these days - it's just that someone else would have to pay for that!!

doc said...


thanks for your feedback with the diabetic analogy.

all would have been well from the outset had the foreman had just explained that with low-mileage driving, the battery life might be shorter than expected & advised me to take long journeys occasionally. but to advised a replacement & then to retract after realising the warranty is still in effect is not being honest.

if i had a newly diagnosed diabetic, i would have mentioned that control is life-long & adjustments have to be made along the way depending on changing circumstances.

if your hypothetical situation did happen, i would have apologised that i didn't mention the medication adjustments/changes earlier. patients accept apologies better than deceptions.