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Motor dealer damages car during service – any remedies?

By Trad_and_Anon - 14 June 2011 26

Most grateful for advice. A 12 month old car, purchased new, was serviced as per scheduled service, with the dealership that sold the car. During the service, the mechanics poured 250 ml a “deodorizer” into the air conditioning.  The result is an awful smell, causing headaches, sneezing, running nose etc.  The car is un-drivable because of this smell.

The dealership has had the car back four times to fix it (over a six week period) and whatever they did made no difference. It’s a pity because it is such a good car otherwise.

What remedies are available, apart from the obvious one of selling the car and buying another one. It seems the dealer has damaged the car  – it is no longer fit for purpose.

Is there a government agency that can advise?

Most obliged for advice.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Motor dealer damages car during service – any remedies?
Classified 5:24 pm 14 Jun 11

Trad_and_Anon said :

MERC600 said :

Classified mentioned Glenn20, which I use from time to time. The odour is quite good. Perhaps a good blast of Glenn20 might help to correct the other stuff ??

Thanks Classified, Merc600 & Trevar: We saw the dealer this afternoon. Yes, Glen 20 is what is usually used, or something like it, and that is OK. The fluid was pored into the air-conditioning duct and ran down onto the heater/cooler coil and the box it sits in. And it was not the Glen 20 or similar but an entirely unrelated cleaning solution that is designed to clean upholstery. So, it was not the right stuff at all. The upshot is the dealer is going to repair it. They also said that, even using the Glen 20 they should have explained the process and ensured she was happy with it and knew what was proposed. Thanks for your observations and suggestions.

In the future, do it with the Glen20 yourself. Use your vehicle’s manual to identify the airocn intake, then simply spray a whole can of Glen20 into it while the running the aircon and fan on low speed.

Trad_and_Anon 5:19 pm 14 Jun 11

FD10 said :

So let me clarify – you asked for a problem to be fixed, which the dealership did with a product authorised by the manufacturer. …

While waiting for a reply, you may be able to relate to some of the issues raised on this website.

As stated above, it turns out it was not authorised by the manufacturer at all. But that’s beside the point. The issue was about informed consent and damage arising when it is not given.

It’s a “recommendation” by the manufacturer that you can take or leave; and to do that you have to know and be aware of the options. I’m happy to talk off piste with you as you seem to be having little trouble with the idea. So, your response misses the mark. Maybe your synapses are connecting in an unusual way today? And thanks for the link. Not sure why it was relevant. I know the site, but my issue was about a remedy, if any for un-consented damage to property. So, your post is perplexing; though, i suppose you were trying to be helpful.

Trad_and_Anon 5:10 pm 14 Jun 11

MERC600 said :

Classified mentioned Glenn20, which I use from time to time. The odour is quite good. Perhaps a good blast of Glenn20 might help to correct the other stuff ??

Thanks Classified, Merc600 & Trevar: We saw the dealer this afternoon. Yes, Glen 20 is what is usually used, or something like it, and that is OK. The fluid was pored into the air-conditioning duct and ran down onto the heater/cooler coil and the box it sits in. And it was not the Glen 20 or similar but an entirely unrelated cleaning solution that is designed to clean upholstery. So, it was not the right stuff at all. The upshot is the dealer is going to repair it. They also said that, even using the Glen 20 they should have explained the process and ensured she was happy with it and knew what was proposed. Thanks for your observations and suggestions.

Trad_and_Anon 5:04 pm 14 Jun 11

Solidarity said :

Undrivable? Can’t you just… not use the air con till it’s fixed?

The air conditioning is hooked to the heating . and one needs to use it at the moment. The issue was with getting it fixed. Looks like it will be, though. See below.

FD10 2:29 pm 14 Jun 11

Trad_and_Anon said :

So, i guess the answer is: she did say yes but did not know what she was saying yes to. I suppose it comes down to the degree of “informed consent” one has to have.

So let me clarify – you asked for a problem to be fixed, which the dealership did with a product authorised by the manufacturer. The problem is fixed, however there is a new problem. This time is appears to be in your olfactory senses. I suggest you contact the manufacturer of your olfactory senses and request this be fixed immediately.

While waiting for a reply, you may be able to relate to some of the issues raised on this website.

MERC600 2:03 pm 14 Jun 11

Classified mentioned Glenn20, which I use from time to time. The odour is quite good. Perhaps a good blast of Glenn20 might help to correct the other stuff ??

trevar 1:32 pm 14 Jun 11

The ACT Office of Fair Trading were very helpful when I contacted them recently. They weren’t quick, by any means, but they were helpful. I would suggest writing to the manager of the dealership explaining your experience and asking for a remedy to the problem, not because you haven’t already given them that chance, but because a written response is very helpful. Then, if s/he doesn’t manage to fix it, make a complaint.

Classified 1:18 pm 14 Jun 11

Dealerships normally offer this service (at a couple of hundred dollars) to remove any bacterial/fungal growth than can occur in a vehicle where the aircon runs a lot (eg some people with climate control leave it set on 21 all year round, with the aircon running).

The normal procedure is to empty a spray can of Glen20 into the aircon intake, rather than using deodoriser, though.

p1 12:44 pm 14 Jun 11

Keijidosha said :

Wait, what? How is it possible to “pour” deodoriser into a sealed, pressurised aircon system? Do cars have deodoriser reservoirs/tanks these days?

Just ask your mechanic to fill it up at the same time they are doing the Tail light fluid.

Solidarity 12:40 pm 14 Jun 11

Undrivable? Can’t you just… not use the air con till it’s fixed?

Trad_and_Anon 12:36 pm 14 Jun 11

Keijidosha said :

Wait, what? How is it possible to “pour” deodoriser into a sealed, pressurised aircon system? Do cars have deodoriser reservoirs/tanks these days?

This is one of the mysteries. The mechanics have been really vague on what precisely they did. As far as I can work out, they poured it in through the front vent.

And yes, some cars do have “scent” reservoirs. The Citroen C4 has a spot where you stick in a scent module. The car in question (Japanese), however, does not.

Trad_and_Anon 12:33 pm 14 Jun 11

Thanks qbngeek ad p1. Most obliged for your advice. In respect of the authorisation to add the deodoriser. Yes – sort of. My wife said: when the air-conditioning runs, it has a damp smell. The mechanic said: We will look at the air-conditioning and clean it; we have a product to do that. My wife said: OK. When she returned they told her they had used a new product they had not used before but it was authorised by the manufacturer. They did not tell her this product had a smell and she was given no detailed information on what they were planning to do. When I asked her, she said she thought they wuold remove a filter and clean it, like she did with the vac cleaner; she did not realise they were going to tip 250 mls of some deordoriser into the air conditioning.

So, i guess the answer is: she did say yes but did not know what she was saying yes to. I suppose it comes down to the degree of “informed consent” one has to have.

Thanks again for your comments and help.

Keijidosha 12:23 pm 14 Jun 11

Wait, what? How is it possible to “pour” deodoriser into a sealed, pressurised aircon system? Do cars have deodoriser reservoirs/tanks these days?

p1 11:54 am 14 Jun 11

If it a white (or silver?) Commodore – This Website;
It it is any other car – This Website.

qbngeek 11:47 am 14 Jun 11

Did you ask for the deodoriser to be added?? If so they would claim that the service was authorised and they are not liable.

If not, I would be contacting the manufacturers head office and asking them to deal with it, failing that try the ACCC.

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