get a refund for unnecessary service?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by rocketrob, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. rocketrob

    rocketrob Member

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    Here's the story ... in July 2010 I took my car to the dealership for some warranty work and 40,000 mile service. At that time they advised me that my brake fluid had "exceeded life expectancy" and needed to be exchanged. I was charged $138.99 total parts and labor.

    So now I'm looking over my maintenance files and it occurred to me, just 7 months prior (in December 2009) the car had the Brake Actuator TSB service performed, which I believe included new brake fluid!

    Was I sold something I didn't need?

    Do I have any grounds to ask for a refund from the dealership and/or corporate 'Customer Experience Center'?
     
  2. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    This is a common up-sell. Question is, will the refund of $138.99 be worth the time and energy that might be required to get it or settle for nothing? Or would it be more satisfying name the dealership that did this to you so that other consumers can be better informed, and then move on to more important matters?
     
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Yes, you were.

    No, because you had approved the proposed service. You could have said "No, thank you."
     
  4. rocketrob

    rocketrob Member

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    That's what I thought. Live and learn.
     
  5. 2Nutz

    2Nutz New Member

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    Did they document on your invoice "exceeded life expectancy" or was the upsell strictly by word of mouth? IF documented then I would pursue it with the service manager first, then the state BAR if no satisfaction. If not documented you can still go both avenues but much less chance of any refund.

    :(
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i think it's worth 5 minutes of the service mgrs. time to let him know what happened. bring a copy of the tsb work performed and the fluid change. at best, you might get a credit or some future free service. at worst, he'll be embarrassed. maybe.
     
  7. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    I say you write a traditional letter to Toyota's "Customer Service," CC (Carbon Copy) the dealership who did you wrong, and state your case with the the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Toyota will be more inclined to do something because you got big brother involved (BAR). This has been my experience whenever you make a legitimate complaint and notify the appropriate governmental oversight agency.

    It will probably help that the current climate is on your side, as Toyota has been caught with its hand in the cookie jar for not doing the right thing on multiple occasions: engine oil sludge, Prius HID lights, limited recall for accelerator issues to save $100+ Million, etc.

    Should you decide to write a brief, unemotional letter, I encourage you to state that the dealership took advantage of your automotive ignorance, selling you a service that was not needed at the time or listed in the factory scheduled maintenance book (this you'll have to look-up and confirm). Also, the dealership conveniently ignored your service history as they ignored your Brake Actuator TSB service having been performed, which you believe included brake fluid change. I believe all Toyota service departments are networked and can pull up your car's service/recall history by VIN.

    As for why you are bringing this up after the fact, you were going through your maintenance records when you noticed this wrongful act and want it remedied (partial or complete refund).
     
  8. swi66

    swi66 Member

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    I had a certificate for a free oil change and filter at a Valvoline oil change center.
    Took my wifes Jeep in to get it done.
    I usually do all my own work.
    They first tried to sell me an upgrade to synthetic and engine flush.
    over $100
    Then transmission, transfer case and differential flush and fill.
    Brake fluid change, radiator flush and fill.
    Wiper blades, serpentine belt, and even told me the battery was not up to par, and needed changing.

    Now, they never asked me when the last time anything had been done.
    I change the tranny fluid regularly.
    Calipers I replaced a few weeks earlier which required bleeding of the brakes.
    The radiator was a year old, so was the coolant.
    Serpentine belt was fine.
    Their estimate for repairs I "needed" was close to $800.
    All I got was the free oil and filter change, they weren't happy.

    In case you don't know, places like oil change franchises, and car dealers do not survive unless they "sell" service.
    They "sold" you on a service you didn't need.

    Happens every day............now you know to question next time.
     
  9. rocketrob

    rocketrob Member

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    Yes, but in my case they had full knowledge of the vehicle service history. It's the same dealership that performed the brake actuator TSB work and then 7 months later told me (and documented in the paperwork) that the brake fluid had "exceeded life expectancy". Seems like a flagrant oversight to me.

    The customer must have some expectation that maintenance and service is performed in good faith. We are not experts.

    Makes me wonder if dealerships ever make 'placebo' repairs.

    I plan to point this out to my advisor since I'll be there AGAIN this week, still trying to resolve a clunk/rattle noise discussed in another thread.
     
  10. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    To expect a dealer won't try to sell you something you don't need is just setting yourself up to get hosed..
     
  11. rocketrob

    rocketrob Member

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    Agreed. But at the same time we shouldn't have to question a dealer's every move.

    I knew well enough not to pay $300 to have the rear spoiler clips re-riveted ... the local independent was happy to do it for $70.
     
  12. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    I'm not picking on you RR, but the world is what it is, not what any one of us wants it to be. Car dealers are notorious for being douche bags.

    That said, there are some ethical ones but I bet that well over 50% of them will try to convince you that you need something you don't need.
     
  13. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    Vote with your pocketbook and go to a different dealership. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    I still say write the letters to Toyota and CC the dealership. Then go the BAR website and state your grievences. An hour at most to do everything. At worst, you get nothing, which is where you are at. At best, a refund/partial refund or a future service credit.
     
  14. rocketrob

    rocketrob Member

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    I appreciate the discussion, not feeling picked on at all.

    The world being what it is, why is it that Prius drivers are (generally) sensible, reasonable folks and the d-bags flock to BMW and Audi? :p Gotta have that leased 325i that you can't afford and then drive like you stole the thing! (can you tell I live in LA?)
     
  15. GrGramps

    GrGramps Active Member

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    Oh my, now you've done it.
     
  16. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Maybe they'll offer to replace your headlight fluid for free.
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    oh kos, where art thou?
     
  18. BAllanJ

    BAllanJ Active Member

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    this isn't his troll thread... needs a certain word in the thread title since he's so into cars
     
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