As a repair shop, you’re often going to face disgruntled customers who think you’re trying to rip them off. Some may even go so far as to accuse you of scamming them and try to report you. Sadly, that’s how things usually go, but the good news is that you can actually fight these scam accusations. Even though most cases are subject to the law where they originate, there are a couple of general things you can do to remedy yourself.
In this blog, we’ll be discussing some of the things you can do to make the case go in your favor.
What type of scam accusations can you face?
To battle a scam claim, you’ll need to first understand what kind of scam accusations you can face. People are often very skeptical when it comes to repairing their $1,000 phone. They will take every little detail into account and will want guarantees that the repair is genuine. Nothing wrong with that there. The problem is when they believe the repair has not been up to the mark due to a lack of knowledge or understanding. This can lead them to falsely claim they have been scammed and proceed to make the case legal.
Here are some of the scams that they can accuse you of pulling.
“The price increased dramatically from what I was quoted”
This is one of the most basic scams that people run. It goes something like this – the customer comes into a shop to ask for the cost of a repair. The shopkeeper quotes them a price that seems reasonable to the customer. The customer then leaves the shop and goes about their day while the repairs are carried out. When the customer returns, that price all of a sudden goes up by a lot because the repairs suddenly became more complicated. This ends with the customer paying twice or thrice the amount they were promised before.
This kind of scam is classic, and people will often accuse legitimate shop owners of costly prices if they’re not careful. As a repair shop, you can take care of this type of claim very easily with a few adjustments to your workflow. The key part here is to keep your customers informed of their options and the cost that will run them and receive their authorization. You can do this by having them sign a work authorization form of sorts. This covers your liability in such scenarios, and you can prove that the customer knew about the charges beforehand.
“The parts used in my repair were not new or genuine”
This type of scam is pretty self-explanatory – customers fear their phones have been repaired with used, substandard parts that are designed to be faulty and fail. Most people are wary of the type of components their phones are repaired with. To the average consumer, once a device has been opened for repairs, it’s just not the same anymore. They’ll believe it’s slower, weaker, more prone to issues, and will end up blaming you for it.
The best way to counter this sort of accusation is to, once again, inform the customer. Let them know where you’re sourcing the parts from, whether it’s from the manufacturer itself or a certified third-party service. This builds trust with your customers, and they can know they are in good hands. Plus, you’ll be able to prove that your suppliers were authentic if matters ever progress to litigation. Have the customer be well-aware of the situation so that you can cut down on your own liability.
“I never got my device back”
Many scam claims that come in are usually of a repair shop or technician swindling customers of their phones. It’s a common scam to have people send in their phones for repair, who end up never receiving them again. With mail-in services, it is especially important to make sure that phones are delivered to both repair shops and customers.
The best way to prove that you have returned a customer their device is by providing a valid receipt. This could be a sheet that the customer signs when they pick the device up, or the receipt of the fixed phone sent out to the customer through a courier service. To avoid any inconveniences, make sure all exchanges are noted down on paper and signed. They will be useful for you when you need proof later.
Best defense to use in cases
If you find yourself suddenly facing scam accusations, there’s no real reason to panic. A lot of times, you can fight these cases with legitimate claims and defenses in a court of law. Here’s what we recommend going for.
It’s true, some people do tend to misunderstand what repairs entail. Since repairing is a technical profession, there’s a lot of complexity to it that most normal people wouldn’t understand. Repair professionals have their own jargon, processes, workflow, etc. that aren’t common, and explaining it to a layman can often be difficult. When a person makes a mistake or misunderstands something, they can be spooked enough to file a claim against it. The truth, however, is that the person either lacked the necessary knowledge about the situation, failed to understand it correctly, or just simply made a mistake.
In these sorts of cases, your attorneys can help you clear the matter and get the person in question to drop their charges. Be sure to have a legal remedy available to you when such a situation arises.
Lack of intent
Most scam cases can be disputed based on whether the repair shop or technician had the intention of deceiving customers. It’s a common way to convict someone of fraud in a legal motion. In order to prove that you willfully defrauded a customer, there needs to be evidence that clearly highlights the intent. Cases that involve scams don’t have it happen by accident; there needs to be clear motivation behind it.
In case you become involved in something that you didn’t mean to happen, and it was never your intention to scam anyone, your attorneys can mount a defense against the accusations. Being able to prove that you had no intention of scamming someone is the answer here. You can ensure that your prices are quoted correctly and that the technician’s labor charges are standard (or as close to) in your line of work. Only if there is proof of intent beyond a reasonable doubt can you be charged with anything.
This is perhaps the most important part of any defense in a repair scam accusation. If a person claims to have been scammed by you through dubious means, they need to have done so unwittingly. However, if you have already received their consent beforehand, then there isn’t really a case to go on.
Consent is especially important when working on a repair since it saves you so much trouble with the customer. Always make sure that whenever you work on a person’s device, you have their consent to do so. Inform them of what you’re about to do, how you are going to do it, and what the cost is. When you’ve explained it to them, get them to authorize it so you can show you have their consent. This is similar to what other professionals do in their fields, and it’s there for a good reason. With proper consent documented, your customer cannot claim to have been unknowingly scammed.
Repair scam accusations are probably not going to go away any time soon. While the threat of repair scams is a major concern, many legitimate businesses may be embroiled in a false claim and will have to fight it out. To successfully disprove a scam accusation, you’ll need to practice both caution and consideration.
Be sure to have a repair workflow that keeps adequate checks and balances on everything. Make sure you order parts from suppliers that are trusted, and who are able to cover you in case of a failure. Take safety precautions such as having CCTV in your store, and make sure that you ask for customer authorization before working on a repair. These are measures that will pay off in the long run, and in some cases, will ensure that trouble never starts in the first place.
If you do get caught up in legal troubles, remember that your attorneys will be able to handle the case in a few situations. Build your case towards showing a responsible image of your repair shop by showing evidence of precautions and authenticity. Cases may range from misunderstandings to counter-litigation, and as long as you’ve got the receipts, there’s nothing to worry about.