We have met and greatly respect Ron Burdge – he is a tremendous consumer lawyer and has developed a nationally recognized lemon law practice. So, when he gives straight on advice we listen.
Please read his wonderful post about how you should document problems with your vehicles before you take them to the repair shop and what you should do (or not do) when you pick up your vehicle.
Here are some wonderful points:
Long before you go to the shop you want to sit down and write out a list of each and every defect and malfunction. Say what it is and explain it. Number each item on your list. Make sure your list is thorough, detailed and absolutely complete. You might even want to look over your vehicle with the list in your hand, so you don’t miss anything. Write your name, phone number, and vehicle description at the top of the list (year, make, model is enough).
Then leave a copy of your list at home and take a copy with you to the shop. It is extremely important that you leave a copy of the list of defects at home. You need to be able to prove what you complained about and the shop is likely to throw away their copy of your list later. No list, no proof. Simple as that.
Then, when you arrive at the shop, give the service adviser your list. Don’t read it to them. Don’t summarize it. Give them the list. That way there’s no misunderstanding about what you want done.
The service adviser may type it all into their computer and print out a repair order. That’s okay, but watch out. Often they will then ask you to sign the repair order before they start to work. The problem is that the paper they want you to sign may not have listed all of your complaints or it may say it differently from the way you said it. So what do you do? Simple. Write on the repair order “See Owner’s List” and then sign it. That way you are “incorporating” your list into the repair order itself and you’re covered. The service adviser may not notice or may not care or may scratch out what you wrote but it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you wrote it down.