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Old 31st August 2016, 13:35   #1
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Default Video recording of your car being serviced?

I just gave my car for service a few days back and since then been wondering why the entire process has to be a black box experience. Every time we pay several thousand rupees after service, but there is always a suspicion whether the parts are really changed, the oils are really replaced, the filter are really replaced, the brakes are really cleaned, whether OEM parts are used, etc. Ask a mechanic who works in A.S.S for stories on malpractices and he will have plenty to tell. And also I think everyone understands that major malpractices are a common occurrence in service centers

So I thought why not record the entire service action as soon as the car is put on the ramp and deliver the video when the bill is given to the customer.

So this is how the system can work -

- Have a HD camera that is strategically placed in front of the service bay and hanging from the roof in such a way the entire bay area is covered.

-The entire process can be automated. Every time the car is moved to the bay, the mechanic has to enter the car number into the system and the camera starts recording.

- Every time a part is going to be replaced, the mechanic is going to pose the part in front of the camera and proceeds with the work.

- The car might move in and out of the service bay a lot of times. The automated system will take care of the video recording. All that has to be done is, the mechanic has to enter the car number whenever he moves the car into the service bay. The videos get auto edited based on the car number.

- When the service is over, the service personal hands over the bill along with your USB stick loaded with the video of what was done on your car.

- You pay the bill, extra pennies for the video, go home, see the video and get total satisfaction that you are not ripped off.

- You are now sure your car will not be abused while it is being repaired in the service centers.

What it does to the manufacturers?

Almost every manufacturer has many reliable and desirable cars in their portfolios, but After sales service experience has been one primary determinant why those cars are not moving off the shelf.

This system, if implemented by all the manufacturers, can change the entire Indian Auto market dramatically. I expects guys like Tata, Renault, Ford, etc. who have been associated with dreadful service since eternity, to take the lead and implement this system which can instantly change the mind of the car buying customers and ward off all their worries on ownership experience.

This system will dramatically reduce the A.S.S superiority(not considering the total number of service stations) of many a brands. This system will force many dealerships to get their acts right. It will be an involuntary pressure that will be exerted on the dealerships by the manufacturers. Adapt or Exit can be the diktat from the manufacturer.

What it does to the Customers?

Most cars are reasonably reliable nowadays and can easily run a lakh kilometer without any trouble. So all that I have to focus now is whether the car suits my needs and what is the total maintenance cost. Brand names become irrelevant.

Future

With data storage technology getting so advanced, I wish manufacturers such as Tata, Ford, Mahindra, etc to take the lead in implementing this system and revolutionize the industry. I am sure this can bring a dramatic change in the market of Auto Industry.

P.S: Things like these should be conceptualized by the CEOs, COOs, etc. But unfortunately most people who move up on the organizational ladder are those that know only to follow the system and not think anything differently. So anyone who is implementing this system, please pay me in millions!
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Old 31st August 2016, 14:28   #2
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Default re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
P.S: Things like these should be conceptualized by the CEOs, COOs, etc. But unfortunately most people who move up on the organizational ladder are those that know only to follow the system and not think anything differently. So anyone who is implementing this system, please pay me in millions!
The probable reason why such initiatives don't see light of day is, there is just increased liability for the dealer, for very little benefit (customer trust).

As things stand currently, most vehicle owners, irrespective of warranty status, still prefer the A.S.S. for repairs/maintenance. So, dealers don't have a lot to worry there.

Second, liability laws in our country aren't very strict or consumer friendly for there to be any motivation for these dealers to have CCTVs.

It is only when vehicle owners find mediums such as T-BHP that their grievances make it to the manufacturer/dealer management.

Now if dealers actually had CCTVs installed, that'll lead to a huge surge in complaints against dealers for damage to cars while in premises, bogus replacements and so on.

Until there is a threat of legal liability, dealers don't have a lot of motivation to bring in more transparency.
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Old 1st September 2016, 11:31   #3
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

Overkill, buddy. Neither do car owners have the time to view these videos, nor does the service station to prepare them. If a car spends a day at the workshop, that's 10 hours of feed. Who's going to sit and watch that? Certainly not me. If it's an overnighter, that's 24+ hours of recording to scrutinise.

It all boils down to TRUST. If you don't trust your dealer, don't give your car to him. If that is very important to you, buy a car from a manufacturer who keeps dealers on a tight leash (Maruti, Hyundai, Toyota etc.).

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Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
major malpractices are a common occurrence in service centers
I wouldn't say 'common'. They are there, but at a very low percentage.

I've never experienced this kind of fraud with Vitesse (Maruti), Milestone (Mahindra), Concorde (Tata), Auto Hangar (Mercedes), Navnit (BMW) etc. The only bad dealership experiences I've had are with Nissan, but even then, it was lack of competence (not fraud).

Quote:
So I thought why not record the entire service action as soon as the car is put on the ramp and deliver the video when the bill is given to the customer.
Cost. Couple of hours of video would require a big USB stick. Then, there's the cost of effort. Would you be willing to pay 2,000 bucks on top of every service? Importantly, there's the cost of your time (in viewing the video).

Quote:
Every time a part is going to be replaced, the mechanic is going to pose the part in front of the camera and proceeds with the work.
How would you tell from a video whether the part is original or not?

What you're proposing is a very labour-intensive solution to a problem that is rare. No one has the inclination for this - not the majority of car owners nor manufacturers and certainly not dealers.

Simplest solution = stick to brands / dealerships with a track record of integrity .
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Old 1st September 2016, 11:43   #4
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

Wow now that would be taking it a bit too far. I wouldn't have the patience to sit and watch a video of my car being serviced. In fact you would probably fast forward through most and miss anything happening. Also what is to stop the service centre from stopping the camera from recording, or even pulling the power on it and continuing with whatever malpractices.

If someone is so paranoid, it makes more sense to just stay in the workshop and watch the vehicle being serviced.
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Old 1st September 2016, 12:10   #5
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

What I would like to see is a dealer/manufacturer offering a "service" where the customer gets to help in servicing his own car, under guidance from an experienced service advisor/mechanics. If you don't want to get your hands greasy, well, you can atleast watch your car getting special care.

All this for a reasonable fee. When the dealer is paid extra, I guess they can spare some extra resources so that major service is done within 4 hours.

You can learn so much! Now I would gladly pay for such a service if offered.
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Old 1st September 2016, 12:21   #6
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

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Originally Posted by CliffHanger View Post
So I thought why not record the entire service action as soon as the car is put on the ramp and deliver the video when the bill is given to the customer.
If the current level of malpractices are so high that you would need a HD video to prove that the service centres are actually doing their work correctly, then don't you think they would invent fresh ways to still dupe the customer?
Such videos could be a deterrent only until the corrupt people learn new ways to cheat the system.
In my opinion, if the car itself can give some sort of feedback to the customer, the customer could be a little satisfied and the trust on the service centres would increase. e.g - A sensor measures the engine oil level and how dirty it is, and gives an information on the MID, which can be verified after an engine oil change.
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Old 1st September 2016, 12:30   #7
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

Given the impracticality and the fact that taking videos still doesn't address other potential gaps, you may want to consider a few other easier ways:

1) Extended warranty + AMC - no matter what happens, everything is taken care as per the plan you have paid in advance for.

2) If you have the time, try to hang around the dealership and go to the shop floor. I do that when possible. Often, work starts only when I go near the car ! a few times I have also admonished the service folks when they just sit inside your car with the a/c running to chat with their friends.

3) Use an independent garage and buy your own parts - closely scrutinize the work being done.
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Old 1st September 2016, 12:38   #8
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

The dealer will never agree. No more hanky-panky. That is where they get their moolah! I remember one chap got his Hyundai Santro serviced, and the oil filter was never changed. Of course he was billed for the oil and filter!
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Old 1st September 2016, 23:18   #9
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Exclamation Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

You could have a hidden camera record while your car is with the service center.

There have been a number of lawsuits in the USA where the customer recorded the dealership abusing the car. (And dealers have in turn sued customers for recording without permission, etc.)

Here is one I found Googling:
Mechanic abuses customer's Mustang

As others have noted above, it may be tedious to go through every video, but preserving a copy should not be too hard. I'm sure it would be well worth the effort of watching a few hours of video in case of a disastrous experience with a botched service. (Look up horror stories right here on TBHP).
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Old 2nd September 2016, 12:53   #10
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
What I would like to see is a dealer/manufacturer offering a "service" where the customer gets to help in servicing his own car, under guidance from an experienced service advisor/mechanics.
Liability issues.

Who's to blame if the customer gets injured in the workshop area?

Who'll foot the bill if a customer messes up his under-warranty car?

If you want to DIY or sit next to the mechanic, your local garage is best. Authorised dealers adhere to manufacturer systems and no manufacturer will allow customers in the workshop. A handful of customers manage to get in, but it's more the exception than the rule.

I don't blame them. Imagine what a workshop will look like with 50 customers in it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvadg View Post
As others have noted above, it may be tedious to go through every video, but preserving a copy should not be too hard.
Might be good to refer to only if things have gone wrong (like CCTV systems).
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Old 2nd September 2016, 14:15   #11
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

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Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post
The probable reason why such initiatives don't see light of day is, there is just increased liability for the dealer, for very little benefit (customer trust).

Until there is a threat of legal liability, dealers don't have a lot of motivation to bring in more transparency.
This has got nothing to do with the dealer. As I said in my earlier post, this has to come from the manufacturer to change perception, gain customer confidence and increase sales. This is for manufacturers such as Skoda, Tata, Nissan, etc. In the current market scenario, when you are at the bottom of the barrel you either do something revolutionary and move up the sales chart or face exit.

And, a video of your car with a mechanic or two working on it doesn't mess with a huge part of law. Also, one of the purposes of video recording is to ensure that the dealer corrects any goof-ups he does while servicing the car.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Overkill, buddy. Neither do car owners have the time to view these videos, nor does the service station to prepare them. If a car spends a day at the workshop, that's 10 hours of feed. Who's going to sit and watch that? Certainly not me. If it's an overnighter, that's 24+ hours of recording to scrutinise.
Nope. A general service usually takes around 2-3 hours at the max. And once or twice in a year I don't mind sitting through the video of my beloved car getting serviced. Imagine the time most of us spend on Youtube and Facebook daily. A few hours for my car on couple of occasions in a year is nothing at all.

Quote:
It all boils down to TRUST. If you don't trust your dealer, don't give your car to him. If that is very important to you, buy a car from a manufacturer who keeps dealers on a tight leash (Maruti, Hyundai, Toyota etc.).
There is a saying something like, "Trust is costly, don't expect from cheap people". I generally give trust to people for them to break. When my fruit vendor or my grocery shopkeeper tenders change I do not count it again, I do not bargain with them either. But here, it is a different thing altogether and trusting a person is very different from trusting an entity. Even if I trust the dealer, I am apprehensive on the ground staff. Most dealers, especially of low selling manufacturers, face severe attrition and the middle management usually have very limited control on what is happening on the ground. I have personally witnessed myself on how the car gets abused.

Just see the number of Fiat owners in Bangalore who are driving to Salem(more than 200kms) to get their car repaired. Obviously, they do not trust the dealers. Imagine the number outside of Team-Bhp.

Quote:
I wouldn't say 'common'. They are there, but at a very low percentage.
I do not want to be a part of that percentage(whatever be it). I am paying big money and I am leaving my million rupee car with dealer, all I want to see is what is being done to my car. And I don't think it's unethical or immoral or lack of trust. It's just that it is. How many IT services companies have Cameras on employee work areas, how many restaurants have cameras inside restaurants, it is not lack of trust, it is adapting to technology.

Also, more than the monetary part I'm more worried about the reliability of my car.

A lot of cars come with 15000km service interval nowadays. Most of them have a 30,000km service interval for Diesel filter change. Imagine if they do miss changing oil or miss changing the diesel filter, imagine the exponential increase in cost when the engine fails due to their malpractice, the dealer will happily make the customer pay.

Quote:
I've never experienced this kind of fraud with Vitesse (Maruti), Milestone (Mahindra), Concorde (Tata), Auto Hangar (Mercedes), Navnit (BMW) etc. The only bad dealership experiences I've had are with Nissan, but even then, it was lack of competence (not fraud).
Let's assume a dealer is not into major fraud, but does not change one item in every three cars and that one car is mine and the item is Diesel filter(which is supposed to be changed at every 30,000 km but the dealer tries to make some bucks). With all the new oil, filters, my car will run well for the next, say 7000km, but one day the diesel filter gives up and bam, I'm looking at expenses running into tens of thousand rupees. I just want to avoid all these, I am paying several thousand rupees and all I want to see is what was done to my car and the video does it for me.

Quote:
Simplest solution = stick to brands / dealerships with a track record of integrity .
Unfortunately, we enthusiasts lust(and often lust takes over) for cars from brands such as Skoda who treat customers like zilch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akshay1234 View Post
Also what is to stop the service centre from stopping the camera from recording, or even pulling the power on it and continuing with whatever malpractices.
Video recording is not fool proof, but it can help avoid fraud to a large extent.

Quote:
If someone is so paranoid, it makes more sense to just stay in the workshop and watch the vehicle being serviced.
A lot of service centers do not allow customers to stay on floor which they say is for safety. Also, service work timings on a car will be erratic as mechanics a lot of times work on round robin basis.

And when Technology is there, why not use it? Instead of sweating it out in the service stations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hybridpetrol View Post
If the current level of malpractices are so high that you would need a HD video to prove that the service centres are actually doing their work correctly, then don't you think they would invent fresh ways to still dupe the customer?
As I said already, this is not fool proof, but it can help avoid many a fraud. And instead of the whole black box experience, I will be more than happy to see my car being serviced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
Given the impracticality
Why do you think it is impractical? It is just video recording.

Quote:
3) Use an independent garage and buy your own parts - closely scrutinize the work being done.
Chennai hardly has any independent garage that is worth the visit. The popular one in this forum, Ignite, is always crowded. And other than Ignite, it is void.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
The dealer will never agree. No more hanky-panky. That is where they get their moolah!
Exactly!

Last edited by CliffHanger : 2nd September 2016 at 14:43.
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Old 2nd September 2016, 16:17   #12
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

Here's another angle :
Service skill is their trade secret. Like you can't get the workshop service manual. Sharing the recording of the entire service action, will be like a tutorial for potential competitors.

Infact it'll be worse, since idiots will try to repeat what service center experts do. They'll make some mistake somewhere. That mistake could prove costly, not just monitarily but can cause serious harm to life.

Moreover, it'd be a logistical nightmare. The FASC & TASC here in Bangalore take upto 30 minutes to prepare a printed bill. Imagine their faces when you tell them about recording.

Trust & Propriety : You're supposed to presume honesty, unless you have proof otherwise. That's the standard legal assumption for professionals in any place all over the world (Unless there are related party disclosures).

Till then, just plead the service head that you won't cause any trouble, you'll just watch, you'll not disturb the servicemen, and are simply standing to watch wonderously at the mechanicals of the car. You won't get permission, but service head will probably be too busy to bother you as long as he doesn't notice you interacting with/directing the servicemen.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 2nd September 2016 at 16:30.
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Old 2nd September 2016, 16:48   #13
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

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Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post

Moreover, it'd be a logistical nightmare. The FASC & TASC here in Bangalore take upto 30 minutes to prepare a printed bill. Imagine their faces when you tell them about recording.



And even if the dealership screws up big time, it is very likely that the tapes will mysteriously go missing when you ask for them. Then you will have to call these guys to investigate -

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Old 2nd September 2016, 17:27   #14
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

What if we had a service center where the service bays were surrounded by glass windows. Many service centers I have seen have them. I think if the customer is particular about it, he can sit in the lounge and see their car getting serviced..
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Old 2nd September 2016, 19:10   #15
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Default Re: Video recording of your car being serviced?

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Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
Moreover, it'd be a logistical nightmare. The FASC & TASC here in Bangalore take upto 30 minutes to prepare a printed bill. Imagine their faces when you tell them about recording.
One FASC who takes 30 minutes or more to prepare the bill surprisingly has CCTV coverage for all the bays.

Personally, I've seen the Customer Relationship Manager use this to prove their innocence when one customer complained them of not having changed the engine oil, because the colour of the engine oil delivered in his diesel car was black. And later explain to him how its common in the case of diesel cars unlike petrol vehicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
It all boils down to TRUST. If you don't trust your dealer, don't give your car to him. If that is very important to you, buy a car from a manufacturer who keeps dealers on a tight leash (Maruti, Hyundai, Toyota etc.).
The above guy went on to comment later (to me) that his life has become a lot less miserable after the installation of the cameras.

TRUST has to be earned way for all the smaller players in the market. That said, I avoid the same workshop these days because they are not trustworthy, trying to add all irrelevant items in the bill.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 2nd September 2016 at 19:14.
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