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Old 24th November 2015, 10:09   #1
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Default V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

I had a first-hand experience on how the dealers and authorised service centre try to fool customers. This happened at a particular authorised service centre for Honda 2 wheelers in Mumbai. I went there on 23 November 2015 by 8:30 am, much before the shutters open. Once the centre was operational I was handed a coupon after which one has to wait until your turn comes and the service advisor will check and prepare a job card.

A bit about my ride. I bought a Honda Activa 125 DLX in March this year. The scooter has only done 1285 km since then as my running has been very low since the start of this year. Even though it has a low mileage, I had gone for my 3rd Free service as per the User Manual which mentions it to be done between 225 to 240 days. I had changed the engine oil in the first service which I got it done at around 250 km. In the 2nd service I just got a wash from them and nothing else. Still they charged around Rs. 90/- as consumables.

For the 3rd service Honda mentions the following things to be done.
V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!-1.jpg

Many of you may know that most service centres do not follow what the company says in the manual. Same was the case for this particular outlet. Since I had no major problems, I only directed them to go in for an oil change (yes I know it’s too early and from now on I will get it done at an interval of 3K km). I also mentioned to the service advisor that I feel the scooter feels a bit rough for which he added “Carb Cleaning” on the job card and it would be charged Rs.150 additional. I objected and said this should be done as part of the service after which he changed it to “Carb Setting” which is part of the Service procedure, hence cannot be charged. Still he gives me an estimate of Rs.600/-.

As for the service, this was what had been really done (I was there the whole time the service was being done). The engine oil was drained and new oil was filled. Other than that the technician applied WD40 around switches and key hole. I also asked him to check the battery connection and brake oil level since this wasn’t done since the last two services (these and many more procedures are part of the service but they do not do any of them). And last got the brakes set. The technician did not open the engine bay and set the carburettor as mentioned in the job card (Good in a way, as I did not want him to play with the carburettor, the scooter fills smooth after the oil change). All in all it took him nothing more than 20 mins to get these things done. But I had to stay at the centre from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm because they had pending vehicles to be attended from Saturday and hence couldn’t take my scooter early. On enquiring with the advisor all he said was leave the scooter and you would get a call in the evening once it’s done.

Once the service was done at around 12:30 pm they had to take it for a wash. The washing centre is around 500 m away from the outlet but since it was almost lunch time for them I had to waste another 1 hour until they would hand over the vehicle. I would also like to mention that almost all of the customers had left their vehicles and gone since they were told that their rides would be ready only in the evening. I was the only customer hanging around and observing what was going on. During this time I also noticed that the guys would pick up any random vehicle whose key was available with the watchman and whose customer wouldn’t be coming any time soon and take it out for some or the other work. This made me more reluctant to leave my scooter with them.

Now comes the part where they use their tricks to dupe the customers and charge them extra for things they haven’t even performed. I was handed my bill (pic attached) which mentioned the charges for Oil (231.11) and consumable charges for the 3rd Free service (73.5) and taxes (40.34). Total charge was Rs. 345/-.

V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!-3.jpg


Attached with the original invoice which was another bill (pic attached) which was a hand written one and mentioned charges of Rs.250/- for Engaine Fluse (Yes it has to be Engine Flush but mind you this actually seems to be a fake bill, check the spelling mistakes it has).

V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!-2.jpg

Also the name on the bill is of a different firm, the address is also of a place that is at least 20 km away from this centre. Also it has no mention of any tax numbers. Had I not looked into it, the total bill would be Rs. 595/-
When I inquired with the service advisor, I was told that he had added a special fluid in the engine and kept it running so that the ride becomes smooth. I clearly told him that I was there the whole time and nothing like that was done. He directed me to meet the manager and try and sort it out.

I explained the situation to the manager and he asked for the job card (they write the tasks on a card and do not provide the copy to the customer) where in between the 3rd free service and Carb Setting was mentioned Engine Flush, which was never ordered by me. The service advisor said it was me who has signed after checking the job card and I was told that the cost will come to around Rs.600 with engine flushing (probably they had planned it before hand). When I had signed there was only the mention of 3rd free service and the Carb Setting nothing more.

Since I was there the whole time I knew what was done and conveyed the same to both the manager and service advisor, to which the manager ordered the advisor to cancel the engine flush charges as the customer does not want it. Had the engine flush was actually done, I am sure they wouldn’t have let go off the charge so easily. This seems to be just another way of minting money from innocent customers.

Another thing I noticed while I went to the washing area was that the so called Teflon coating is also just another money making trick. A guy was working on some customer’s Activa, what they actually do is apply a rubbing compound with hand to remove the scratches and apply another coat of it using a buffer machine with a dirty woollen pad. No wax or sealant is applied. This procedure will create more damage than good and the paint will fade soon. And they do it without removing the guard and using a big 8 inch pad, hence even the polishing wasn’t up to the mark.

After seeing how the service is being done, I wouldn’t want to go there but the only reason I am sticking to the authorised service centre right now is that I have my engine warranty for 5 years which in case I claim the company wouldn't honour incase I miss any of the scheduled service. While it has been mentioned numerous times on T-BHP to be vigilant enough not many customers will be knowledgeable and fall for the tricks used by these dealers to extract more money. This in turn creates a bad image of the product and the company of being high on maintenance.

By the way, any one knows if one can get the Service Manuals and Part Catalogue for the Honda Activa 125? Any leads would be helpful.
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Old 24th November 2015, 11:59   #2
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

I think I am a brave man. I never visited Honda ASC for my Stunner after the second service. For the first 2 services, I noticed that it is nothing more than washing plus engine oil change. Services are not carried as per the maintenance schedule there in the owner's manual. And all that for spending a good 10AM to 6PM at the workshop because of the rush. I finally decided to do away with Honda 2 Wheeler ASC when they wanted me to leave the bike with them to change the oil & the strainer. That was maximum I could have taken their tantrums I guess. Plus, the faith in a Honda product helped. So, after about 3K kms, my bike has never been at a Honda ASC except once for air filter change at 14K kms, which was not available outside the ASC. I let all my free services go down the drain - never cared.

My bike runs on DIY services or visits an FNG for all its needs. Works out to be cheaper and more satisfactory. Currently the odo stands at 31K kms after 5 years. The bike is as good as new, both mechanically and cosmetically.

Regards,
Saket.
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Old 24th November 2015, 12:22   #3
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

This is practiced all over and the arrogance showed by these service centers when you take your vehicle for servicing is even more annoying. They act so pricey as if they are doing us a favor by maintaining our vehicles with them. A good percentage of them have absolutely no technical knowledge and throw around words they must have heard here and there during their training.

I had a Hero Honda Pleasure which was maintained only at the authorized service station in Turbhe, Navi Mumbai. In every service they used to add something called a Motoreco engine treatment, something of an engine additive and charge around 250 for it. I didn't have much idea about this and fell for their,"This keeps the engine healthy" bull. Other than that they seemed okay, service wise.

My friend at the same time had a Honda Activa and the treatment we received was something else, we made it a point to reach the service center before 9, which is when they opened and they would take the vehicles according to their whims and fancies often shooing away people who didn't take an appointment and then if they stuck around, they will take their vehicles when most of the other customers have left. The service done is at par with what SRK got in the above post.

I upgraded to a TVS Jupiter last year and the service there is also nothing great to write home about. All they do in the free service is change the oil which is some Rs.230, consumables around Rs. 55. They then wash the scooter and give it back to you and for this they take your scooter for the entire day. I finished my free services and yesterday got my scooter serviced at a FNG where I had started giving my Pleasure for service. Their work is much better and you actually feel a difference in the scooter when you ride it out of there.

The teflon coating is also a scam where all they do is use a rotary machine to polish the areas the disc reaches and the rest of it is done by hand and at many instances they miss several spots and all this takes hardly 15 minutes and they charge around 1500 for 3 services of this kind. Total rip off.

Last edited by noelnelly : 24th November 2015 at 12:35. Reason: Small grammatical error and forgot to add a point.
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Old 24th November 2015, 12:28   #4
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

I too had a similar experience at the Venetian Honda Authorized service centre (Rajendra Nagar, Borivali–(E) which is now shifted to Daulat Nagar, Borivali-(E)). Since I’m a fourth year Automobile engineering student so it was not easy to fool me. And as far as my bike is considered it has crossed 38000 Kms within 3 years and is in very good condition.

The mechanic working at these places are novice with little or no experience and work on a temporary contract (you will never see the same person after 2 months). The people working at these places are paid very meagerly and survive on the commissions that they get from making exorbitant bills by duping customers.

The problems that I had faced and the useless advises that I have got from services advisors are as follows:
1. Got an advice to do engine decarbonising, change spark plug and do carburetor cleaning at 7000 KM.
2. Got an advice to change conical bearing of handle bar at just 15000 Kms which was just loose.
3. The manager (Mr. Sanjay) always used to tell me that it is not allowed to stand in the service area and he will stop the work if I did not get out of that place.
4. At the time of changing the rear tail light the mechanic broke the rubber lining due to which the tail light assembly used to vibrate. Got it rectified myself by reassembling the taillight assembly.
5. At the time of changing oil the funnel was missing and I was shocked to see that the mechanic was trying to change the oil with a piece of dirty folded cardboard.
6. The mechanic was tightening the oil sump bolt with a pneumatic wrench and when I complained this to the manager he said me that it is the correct way.

My advice to all who get their bikes serviced at such outlets
1. Do not leave you bike and keys with them (chances of key duplication).
2. Always stand next to your bike while it is getting serviced.
3. Never listen to the useless advises of the service advisors and always follow the service manual.
4. Never get Annual Maintenance contract (AMC) for a bike since maintaining a bike is relatively cheaper than the car.
5. Some service manuals are not very detailed (e.g. Honda Shine) which helps these service centres to easily fool the customers. In such cases you can call the bike manufacturer helpline no. and get your doubts solved.
6. Never get your bikes washed and polished at such outlets and if there is a need of polishing get it done at professional detailers like 3m and Auto Shine.

Please reveal the name and location of service centres since the people should get to know about them.
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Old 24th November 2015, 12:31   #5
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

This is the case with all Authorized Service Centres. I had given my Hero Maestro for first service at Hero A.S.C and they gave me a bill of Rs 800. The Service Advisor added Engine Flush and Foam Wash and Coating without any reason thus inflating the bill. These additions costed me Rs 450 extra and was of no use. It reduced my mileage by 10-15 kmpl and also the Foam Wash which is to be done free of cost was charged extra.

These all are gimmicks and unnecessary bill inflators which are of more harm than use. Since that incident, I have stopped going for such things and only do basic services at the A.S.C.

I wish to go to the FNG but lack of trustworthy garages and also minimum 18 services to be done for the warranty to be valid stops me from going to FNG's.
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Old 24th November 2015, 13:18   #6
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
I think I am a brave man. I never visited Honda ASC for my Stunner after the second service.
My cousin who also got the Activa 125 and earlier had used two Activa did not opt for the extended warranty which I did and he hasn't got any free service done from the ASC and opted for a local garage guy who does service for Honda vehicles much much better than what the ASC are capable of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelnelly View Post

The teflon coating is also a scam where all they do is use a rotary machine to polish the areas the disc reaches and the rest of it is done by hand and at many instances they miss several spots and all this takes hardly 15 minutes and they charge around 1500 for 3 services of this kind. Total rip off.
Along with the Teflon coating scam they also sell the AMC package to every customer coming there. I saw the advisor trying to convince a lady to opt for the AMC which will keep her ride smooth and shiny as they will provide Teflon coating for free. Cost was around 1500 for 3 services.

Quote:
Originally Posted by technicalytuned View Post
I too had a similar experience at the Venetian Honda Authorized service centre (Rajendra Nagar, Borivali–(E) which is now shifted to Daulat Nagar, Borivali-(E)). Since I’m a fourth year Automobile engineering student so it was not easy to fool me. And as far as my bike is considered it has crossed 38000 Kms within 3 years and is in very good condition.
I got my Activa 125 from Venetian Kandivali, though the delivery was from the Borivali outlet near the Western Express Highway.

I was planning to visit them for the next service but after reading your post I won't. When I was there for taking the delivery of my ride, the guys were saying all sort of bad things about other service centers like how they change the battery and parts.

By the way, from which college have you done you Automobile Engineering?

Quote:
Originally Posted by technicalytuned
My advice to all who get their bikes serviced at such outlets
1. Do not leave you bike and keys with them (chances of key duplication).
2. Always stand next to your bike while it is getting serviced.
3. Never listen to the useless advises of the service advisors and always follow the service manual.
4. Never get Annual Maintenance contract (AMC) for a bike since maintaining a bike is relatively cheaper than the car.
5. Some service manuals are not very detailed (e.g. Honda Shine) which helps these service centres to easily fool the customers. In such cases you can call the bike manufacturer helpline no. and get your doubts solved.
6. Never get your bikes washed and polished at such outlets and if there is a need of polishing get it done at professional detailers like 3m and Auto Shine.

Please reveal the name and location of service centres since the people should get to know about them.
That is a nice guide but it is quite difficult to follow all the points.
The keys are always taken away by them. You only get them after paying the bill.

They do not do anything according to the manual, even if you ask them, the mechanics and advisor act as if they know everything and in case you point to any problem thereafter, they will blame you for it.

AMC, teflon coating, anti rust, etc. is just a money making trick for them. In case these services are required go to people who are specialized in this work.

Calling the helpline might not work always. Even sending a mail to the company doesn't help most of the times. When I said to the manager at the outlet where I got my ride serviced that I am thinking of shooting off a mail to Honda he said that the company doesn't have so much time to follow such small issues. Which I know is true, unless you can get contacts of some higher officials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreak7 View Post
I wish to go to the FNG but lack of trustworthy garages and also minimum 18 services to be done for the warranty to be valid stops me from going to FNG's.
Exactly! The only reason I will have to go to the ASC is for my warranty but then again I get this thought that incase anything goes wrong and I claim for warranty, it will be these same people who will work on the vehicle and not anyone from Honda.

If one can get hold of the service manual and the parts catalogue then most things can be DIY or can be done using a local garage guy. At least this way one can get satisfaction that their ride is properly taken care according to the R&D done by the company.
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Old 24th November 2015, 13:29   #7
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

Why have you concealed the name of the dealer? Please 'report the post' and let us know the name so that it can be added to the title. It is imperative for you to do so - we pull no punches. Else, this thread will be moved out of public view.

Coming back to the topic, every service center - be it for cars or bikes - will try to inflate your bill with ridiculous items such as premature clutch replacement, teflon coating, engine coating, engine decarb etc. You have to cover your own back. Don't get anything done unless it's mentioned in the maintenance schedule of the owner's manual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
I let all my free services go down the drain - never cared.

My bike runs on DIY services or visits an FNG for all its needs.
All of that is fine, until you face a severe mechanical problem and your warranty claim is denied. Might be still okay with a bike, but parts of cars are super expensive today. Engine rebuilds of mass market hatchbacks can run over a lakh! I don't recommend this at all while the vehicle is in the warranty period.
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Old 24th November 2015, 14:39   #8
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
All of that is fine, until you face a severe mechanical problem and your warranty claim is denied. Might be still okay with a bike, but parts of cars are super expensive today. Engine rebuilds of mass market hatchbacks can run over a lakh! I don't recommend this at all while the vehicle is in the warranty period.
True. I do not have the spine to pull this trick with a car. Thankfully, in my limited experience with Honda car service, it has been very good. Very unlike its own 2 wheeler sale and service. Leave alone service, even the 2 wheeler sales staff are far from what you expect when you enter a showroom to make a purchase. On a stark contrast, few days ago, we stepped into a Honda car showroom to check out the new Jazz for a friend and the experience was top notch. If I may add, better than the Nexa, which we visited to check the Baleno the same day.

Thanks,
Saket.

Last edited by saket77 : 24th November 2015 at 14:43.
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Old 24th November 2015, 15:19   #9
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

I remember the time I had serviced my Unicorn and I had left my keys, with a nice key chain someone had got for me from Austria, and that was flicked. The guy in charge told me to remove everything as these mechanics flick a lot. I have no trust in these guys.
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Old 24th November 2015, 17:07   #10
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Why have you concealed the name of the dealer?
Strongly agree! Would like to know if this was the practice with Pilot Honda, Thane
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Old 24th November 2015, 18:15   #11
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Default re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Why have you concealed the name of the dealer? Please 'report the post' and let us know the name so that it can be added to the title. It is imperative for you to do so - we pull no punches. Else, this thread will be moved out of public view.

Was not sure if I could post the name publicly. Will Report the post as suggested.

By the way here is the Bill with the dealer name.

V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!-4.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
All of that is fine, until you face a severe mechanical problem and your warranty claim is denied. Might be still okay with a bike, but parts of cars are super expensive today. Engine rebuilds of mass market hatchbacks can run over a lakh! I don't recommend this at all while the vehicle is in the warranty period.
Exactly my concern. The manufacturer can easily deny the warranty claim as per their terms and condition, where they clearly mention that all service has to be done as per the manual only at the authorised service centres, which in reality doesn't happen.
I also plan to get a car next year and was thinking if I should be going for the extended warranty at the time of purchasable or later if needed.

By the way The Honda 2 wheeler Extended warranty is basically an insurance for the major mechanical and electrical parts which clearly says that the service has to be done ONLY at Honda Exclusive Authorized Dealers / Authorized Service Centre. Now what is the difference between these two ASC?




Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Strongly agree! Would like to know if this was the practice with Pilot Honda, Thane

The dealer is called V.L. Motors, they are based in Santacruz West.
I also noticed that on the first service bill they had Om Sai Honda name as well along with V.L. Motors.

Last edited by SRK : 24th November 2015 at 18:22.
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Old 25th November 2015, 15:32   #12
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Default Re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

This is common in ALL 2 wheeler ASC. Brand is irrelevant. That is why they ask you to leave the vehicle and collect in the evening.

I too have an Activa's 125. It has never been to ASC in 5000 km. I dont think air filter is exclusive to an ASC.

My personal mechanic whom I know since 1990 merely charged 850 including washing (he has his own jet wash) and oil change. I don't think it's a good idea to get it serviced before the correct km reading. The engine has to set properly and so on. That takes 2k km of careful driving.

Last edited by hangover : 25th November 2015 at 15:42.
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Old 25th November 2015, 17:48   #13
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Default Re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
So, after about 3K kms, my bike has never been at a Honda ASC except once for air filter change at 14K kms, which was not available outside the ASC. I let all my free services go down the drain - never cared.
Same here. I let go of the service center at 5k on the odo when I saw that service includes only washing and oil change. The Beat goes to the ASC and the Activa gets the oil and filter change at home.

Toolkit misses out on 17 offset ring spanner to keep us from messing with the drain bolt. Honda people seem to have covered it so well that a small wrench or open ended spanner won't work.

180 for oil change? I'd rather do it myself in 15 min and still have 150 ml left over for top up 2k kms later.
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Old 25th November 2015, 22:31   #14
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Default Re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

That's so cheap and dishonest stuff by the dealership/service center folks. Though I appreciate your patience for waiting there almost half a day for a barely half an hour's job. This is how I get all my rides serviced way back since 2005. Not only this gives an opportunity to evaluate the workmanship of the Service Guys, but also it "connects" me better with my ride, and also avoids any misuse of the vehicle (as you mentioned) - which I really hate!

As far as the issues you faced - I really appreciate you had an eye for details and found the "bill inflaters" so quickly. I have experienced the same many times:
1. Bajaj Probiking (Pune) - flushed and cleaned Carb, and dust was still there all through which simply meant they did not even wipe it, leave apart flushing stuff. I escalated and they backed off!

2. Maruti Service Masters (Chennai) - Recommended to replace the Battery and Lower Arms and claimed to have flushed the Engine of my Estilo. As always, I had taken a day off just to get the car serviced, and I saw the car was hardly for an hour in the service bay! I escalated and they backed off!

3. Whitefield Honda (Bangalore) - Such a pathetic repaint job on my left door (color layers are visible), grease marks on armrest and few scratches on bonnet. I lost my temper and taught a nice verbal lesson to the Service Advisor in presence of their MD and Manager - issues sorted right away!

and a few more....

Though this all has happened in a span of 11 years, and there have been fairly nice experiences in between, all I mean to say is - we need to be as cautious during the vehicle service as we are usually while buying one.
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Old 26th November 2015, 01:08   #15
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Default Re: V.L. Motors, Santacruz (Honda 2-wheeler service centre) caught overcharging!

Dear bhpians, may I voice my opinion here! Now then, since my last post regarding my Alfa ownership http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/long-t...-workshop.html (My Alfa Romeo Story - A 156, a red V6 & my own workshop!) I have been longing to write my long story on how over a short period of 9 months (till now) I moved from working as an Analyst in Dubai to running a two wheeler sales and service outlet in kerala!

I too have the same concerns about rising service costs and dealers taking customers for a ride but my short experience here has allowed me a peak into the other side and I might just be able to give a different perspective with a few pointers;

First is regarding the customer waiting while getting the service done! - I did not mind this at all especially since we had customers coming from far and this is such an added convenience for them and does not cost me anything at all, but how did it turn out? even after telling them that it could take a while, they are willing to wait, but after waiting for a few hours, people get bored, irritated, they did not opt to read the nice books I kept as I expected, or may be on some instances, it was the heat after the power failure or the lack of an air conditioned lounge but they always start cribbing about the delay, about our lackadaisical attitude to their valuable time, about the quality of staff and facility, the lack of air conditioning and generator. I realized that I was arranging a venue for my dear customers to group together against the company and us, the representative office.

In our absence, the customers have a field day taking turns to wage war against our reception staff.

But why the delay? – well sometimes, it takes time to service a vehicle!!! It is not always a half hour job!

I always insist on performing the job as thoroughly as possible. After an initial hiccup in sourcing right service staffs, I managed to get experienced service staffs who have been received sufficient training from the company and have been working on these vehicles for a long while. So they know what they are doing. Even so, it takes a while to service a vehicle.

And what SRK mentioned about pending work from Saturday. Is that not a reality? Are those customers any less important? Shouldn’t I finish their work first? What if it is your vehicle that was pending?

Sometimes the delay is for getting the vehicle washed. Now the wash facility does not cater exclusively for one dealership. They have customers driving in plus vehicles from other dealerships and since they offer a discounted rate for dealerships they might prioritize work accordingly. So we might change the oil, clean the air-filter, inspect the spark plug, lube the wheel hubs, inspect the drive line, belt etc, change any cable. in 2 hours, (may take more if the vehicle is old and the bolts are rusted) but at the washing station, it waits for a good 5 hours!

Solution – if you are running a service centre, you ‘Must’ have a wash facility of your own.

Good point and I thought the same and even criticized any dealership that did not have an in-house washing facility until I tried to set one up. The amount of time and resources ($) it would take to have a proper wash facility legally with proper permissions from pollution board, health and safety etc It meant tons of paper work and red tape and bribery and running around and was not worth the pain.

And then a friendly neighbor could always complain about the noise and they could ask me to shut down or relocate.

Now I have opened one more outlet where we sort of have pollution certification, some process pending but still, so I just need to install the necessary machinery which will cost me around 40,000 INR, at 100 INR or so per wash that can be recovered in two months keeping aside all the recurring expense and water bills etc. oh but who will do the wash?

Still need a staff to do that. Difficult to find, and how much do I pay them, minimum wage in my place is 7,500 INR . I cannot afford to spend that much for this job so I need to get someone on a commission basis. Then again, I have to ensure suitable volumes so gets a decent commission and for a small volume brand like the one that I am handling, it is not feasible. So I would have to rely on an outside wash facility where once again, the staff is paid on a commission basis and there is not much you can bargain about since once again your volumes are low.

So at times, the wash with your free service will cost the dealership money and they have to make something out of it.

Consumable – Every service bill has it! I do the same and I cannot speak for everyone but honestly that part of always goes to profit/ revenue. Or at least, that is how I account it, but then there ARE consumables used during service; the cotton waste, the greeze, the oil used to top-up, the little ounces of fluids poured, the many cans of WD40. All these adds up as monthly expense so technically, it is not my profit, it is to cover an expense I incur on a monthly basis that I cannot bill you separately.

Watching the vehicle get serviced - Customer being able to watch the vehicle being serviced is the correct thing to do and I am hugely in favor of this, especially so if the customer is also a technical person and genuinely passionate about her/ his ride. I love to watch such stuff and I am very much into automobiles, why else would I be in this forum

But my technicians do not share this enthusiasm and I respect their opinion in this regard;

Firstly there are irritating customers I will come to that later, or I will start with that;

Some customers have the kind of mentality that I as a customer displays while buying meat, little tip from wifey. Ask for some extra bones after they have weighed the meat so I get a little extra, yah. I am sure all meat sellers are aware of this age old trick and have adjusted their pricing accordingly.

That was not the best analogy though for the customer who come round for a brake job and tries to talk the technician into doing a full service minus the oil change without being billed. Well smart move but we have that covered you see.

Please see it from my side, A customer walks in saying his horn is not working switch needs replacement, tiny job hardly takes 10 minutes so ask my guy who is working on another service (pending customer) to fix it, customer walks in to the service area to watch the job being done and as soon as he hears the horn beep, he asks the guy to adjust his brakes, fine but the adjuster bolt has rusted and is slipping, but it is a safety concern and I ask him to leave it there for a while but he is going some place and cannot do that fair enough and brakes are crucial so I have them adjusted and just when the technician is back from the test ride, dear Mr. customer pulls out a LED light bulb from his pocked and he needs to replace the parking bulb with that and he is still in a hurry! I agree this is only a worst case scenario.

Another reason that the technicians cite as to why they don’t like customers watching while they work is plainly because nobody does. I am sure none of us here would appreciate if our boss or client kept starring while we did our jobs.

For the service guys, they may be passionate and all but it still their job to make ends meet and they don’t like being scrutinized while they are at it.

Fellow enthusiasts here, myself included would have had many Sunday afternoons spend cleaning the carburetor. It is a soothing experience for me when after a short afternoon nap, I dig up bits from my old motorbike and spend a good three hours cleaning rubbing and reassembling various internals of the carb I bathe them I appreciate their simplicity and try explain to myself once again how this tiny tiny bits of metal, plastic and various vents do a fabulous job of getting the right amount of fuel air mixture ready for combustion. That lasts until the wife bring tea and I use my messy hand to grab the brew. 3 – 4 hours of bliss, but for my tech guy it is job he should do in 35 – 40 min so I can bill my customer a bit more for my labour kitty.

Also customers themselves may not be too happy to see their beloved possession being ripped open by some stranger with greezy hands and sharp tools (ok I might try to get some work gloves for the staff), but as vehicles get older, things become difficult to open and a hammer may only be the perfect tool. Rusty bolts and dirty nooks and really tough.

Then there are all those customers; the ones who talk a lot, the ones who have the most repulsive attitude, the lazy customer who expects us to do everything including pick and drop and renew his expired pollution paper while we are at it just because he is the customer (mind you - he needs this done before evening), the expert who knows it all, the ones who come drunk, the impatient customer who expects everything to happen in a jiffy, the guy who refuses to pay after he was informed of the job before setting the bill, the ones who are there only so they can have a good argument and I know that I may be obliged to extend my courtesy to everyone who comes here as they are our customer but should I?

Should I behave like some sort of bank call center and offer them a ready made apology or can I present my arguments even if it hurts their ego a bit?

Now the former is more apt since the showroom is a dealer representative office as well, like the face of the manufacturer and maintaining good customer relations is a priority but is is not also a place where we are taking up the task of addressing mechanical or electrical failures that you have encountered. That is to say, we are trying to fix something that is broke so it could take time, it might not be always perfect and we may sometime not have a solution or even an answer to your problem. So isn't it better to be real and let them see the actual picture.

Plus I do not like being shouted at, I do not shout at my staff and I treat them just as I would treat my customers. I have fired some employees I Redeemer were not apt for the job but I did not mistreat them and I expect that from my customers. Is that expecting too much? Now I know that certain grievances are genuine and we are not perfect in any manner but issues can always be addressed without resorting to shouts and arguments.

So as you can see, we are fairly new and have a lot to learn as a business entity but from what I have understood over the years, automotive dealership business is not all profits and glory. A lot of money is invested and making sufficient profit is very difficult. Even for large companies, investing it automotive dealership and is a risky since a ton of investment is required and margins are wafer thin for most part.

Please not that ours is nowhere like a large full-fledged dealership run by a large group with tons of resources. Ours is a small family run business that we started with great expectations. My wife and I work here donning different rolls so we are not just investors or business owners per se.

So please do not take offense with anything that I have posted here and I am not trying to defend the service centre that SRK has mentioned about.
Pray please do not think that I am justifying the wrong side here. I started my career at a dealership and since most of my career revolved around automobiles, I know the kind of wrongs they do at dealerships an such and how insensitive dealership staffs can be. As I mentioned, we are not perfect either. I am just putting this out here so you can hear my side of the story and we can have a discussion on how the situation can be improved. At least I can learn a lot from your valuable suggestion and will try and put them to good use where possible.
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