I brought my car to the garage on Wednesday. My contact appeared not to be in so when I told the guy at the desk I wanted my CV boots checked, he was well on his way to making a work order describing a regular inspection. I told him what I’d been through over the last two weeks and he assured me we’d get to the bottom of it. My story must’ve seemed pretty ‘out there’ because as I walked to the waiting area, I heard him tell a tech to get my car on a hoist and inspect the boots so they could show me the work that’s been done. I smiled to myself and picked up a newspaper.

People were going in and out of the room as I waited but when I was some fifteen minutes into my newspaper, a man walked in from the garage area and said very clearly, “That is not the car I worked on.” I knew we were off to the races. He went into an office and I could only hear the odd word. I knew they were discussing my situation because I heard “boots” mentioned a few times. Their impromptu meeting went on for at least ten minutes when the guy who was manning the desk came out to me holding the work order from last week and the work order from than day. He said to me, “We owe you an apology because you are correct…the work was not done.”

He went on to explain he’s never heard of anything like it happening before but they certainly admitted I was in the right. He explained the work appears to have been done to the wrong car somehow. I told him that is exactly what I suspected until I realized it could not have happened so easily because of the car keys being kept with the work order. If the tech received my work order (which he did), how could he have worked on the wrong car when he had the right car key? My key wouldn’t work in another car, therefore he’d realize his mistake when trying to move the car into the service bay. The desk guy had no explanation for how it happened. He went on to tell me they’d be happy to do the job if I had the time to hang around. I explained that I did not, and I much preferred to be issued a refund and consider the issue closed. He was perfectly wiling to do so and I was driving back to work ten minutes later. So I have my money back and my dealings with that garage are at an end.

In thinking about it however, I’m still not really pleased. My contact apologized for their not repairing the tire and offered me a free oil change for my trouble…and this was before they knew they charged me $400 for nothing at all. Since he wasn’t there on Wednesday, the complimentary oil change seems to have evaporated, further demonstrating their inability to keep things organized. It also bothers me that despite their pure negligence, they felt refunding my money was the extent of what they should do. Please don’t misunderstand, refunding my money is all they’re obligated to do, but when a customer is charged for work not completed, and then discovers the mistake/subterfuge themselves, you don’t keep them as a customer by issuing a refund and making too big a deal about your willingness to admit you’re wrong.

After I spent two lunch hours fixing their mess, hearing their patting themselves on the back for admitting the problem isn’t going to keep me as a customer. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have accepted the oil change because I use synthetic oil and they do not offer it as an option. Still, I would’ve liked to feel they were willing to go a little further to keep me as a customer, after doing nothing to complete the work they were contracted to do in the first place.

As I said, my dealings with them are at an end. But perhaps the most shocking part I have not yet revealed is this garage is a Honda dealer. I could contact the Canadian head office and tell them my tale. I haven’t decided if I will, but the “it’s no big deal” impression I got from the staff in their interaction with me on Wednesday does not sit well. Not by a long-shot.