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  • Door handles and locks issue

    Posted by Darren Summers on November 16, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    Dear all,

    We recently completed a wrap on a Mercedes Citan (65). All went well until we refitted the door handles. We discovered that the driver and passenger doors could be opened from the outside and inside until we locked the van using the keyfob. Then, we couldn’t open either front doors from the outside – only from the inside.

    I had to call in an auto locksmith who got us back inside the vehicle but, could not offer any advise as to what was causing the problem but it seemed to be the lock solenoid unit. We had to let the customer know we had an issue and luckily enough they were ok about it. I ordered 2 second hand lock solenoid’s off eBay. They arrived a couple of days later only to discover the passenger side replacement was not correct – the inner door cable was too short. It was possibly for the side loading door? Anyway, I had to order yet another unit. It came a couple days later.

    I had already fitted the drivers side and it was good and worked ok. I then fitted the near side and it didn’t work! Again, it opened and shut ok but, as soon as we locked it using the keyfob, it wouldn’t open again.

    The customer eventually ran out of patience and took the van back. They said they’re going to use it foir the rest of the week and then take it to a Mercedes Garage (ouch) and deduct their bill from ours (double ouch). I’ve asked them if they can have the invoice made out to us and we would pay it directly and then our customer can take care of our invoice.

    I have a feeling we are going to struggle to get paid on this one.

    The point to this post is thus:

    1. Does anyone have a solution to this door lock issue? I did ring main dealers, commercial vehicle reparers, bodyshops and other wrapping companies – no one knew

    2. Does anyone have any experience with door locks failing when all you’ve done is undo the grub screw, slide the barrel and door handle out and repeat the process to refit them? We generally use our fingers to operate the little lug the other side of the door to pop the doors open when the hand;es have been removed. The door mechanisms were a little tougher so we had to use a screw driver to prize them open but, nothing that should’ve broken the damn things. Our locksmith told us that he thinks it was a case of the door locks being about knackered before we started (certainly there are signs of the cables being stretched?)

    3. Would anyone know where we stand from a legal stand point should the company a, not pay us in full or b, refuse to have the garage invoice us directly or c, exaggerate the invoice from the garage?

    Any help gratefully received.

    Darren Summers replied 2 years, 8 months ago 4 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • David Hammond

    November 16, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    How sure are you it wasn’t like that when the van arrived?

    Do you have adequate insurance that should pick up the bill?

    • Darren Summers

      November 16, 2021 at 6:26 pm

      Hi David,

      Thanks for replying.

      I simply don’t know if the door locks were like it. The locksmith said ‘your garden fence posts are fine – until the first wind storm and they fall over’ The customer will argue it was fine when we took it to them – so, I felt obliged to put them right?

      I’ll have to look into the insurance and see what it covers.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    November 16, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    We nearly always test the locks & handles with the customer present at the point of drop off if possible. If found to be less than perfect (seen vans wrapped previously in a former life with tech screws holding them together) then make the client aware of the pitfalls. We also state on the quote that while we are experienced in removing & replacing these parts, we are most definitely not mechanics & the occasional issue is possible. We have to remove these parts in order to complete the job & they are more than welcome to do this themselves or arrange for a competent person to do it for them, but, we take no responsibility for faulty or ageing locks & handles & will not be held liable if a failure occurs. Upon written acceptance of the quote, I take this as acceptance of my terms. Been doing this since getting my fingers burned on a previous problem the same as yours. Wrapped a clients brand new van, he loved it so much, he decided to do the same on his battered old one which went back together perfectly but no longer opened the door. He looked me in the eye & stated ‘it worked before I brought it here’ No defence, had me bang to rights so £150 + vat at VW for a new door handle, more than the van was worth in my view but like he said, my responsibility. I wouldn’t trouble your insurance to sort, will cost you much more in premiums over the following years. I feel your pain mate.

    • Darren Summers

      November 16, 2021 at 7:10 pm

      Hi Kevin,

      I believe that’s sound advice. I think I’m going to end up out of pocket on this one so, going forward I’ll be adopting your acceptance of terms.

      Isn’t it utterly rubbish that you have to protect yourself about every single issue? It gets to the point that the incidentals are way more work than actually wrapping the vans!

      Thanks for your input, it’s definitely helpful and hopefully will help others too.

  • Kevin Mahoney

    November 16, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Unfortunately that’s the way of the world now, everybody is covering their own arse & we need to do the same I’m afraid. If you don’t state otherwise, you’re accepting responsibility by default. I’ve always made a point of being as straight as an arrow but this is a naive approach nowadays as there are a much greater number queuing up to pull your pants down if it saves them a couple of quid. Shame on them, but shame on us for getting had.

    • Darren Summers

      November 16, 2021 at 8:05 pm

      100% right – sadly. It really does get me down that we are as straight as we can be – never have I ever turned anyone over or exploited anyone. Unfortunately that means I don’t always see them coming and still get caught out.

      Thanks for your advice👍

  • David Hammond

    November 17, 2021 at 6:37 am

    I’m afraid it’s not rubbish, but part and parcel of being in business. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. Business first, stickers second.

    Take it as a valuable lesson, and put the processes in place to minimise it re-occurring.

    I’ve been there and had to foot the bill for a new windscreen on a sprinter van.

    The 10 minutes to inspect a vehicle, or the few hundred quid to get terms professionally written all seem pointless and excessive until situations like this arise.

    • Darren Summers

      November 17, 2021 at 9:51 am

      Well David, I’m afraid I will have to disagree. It may well be part of business but, it’s a rubbish part of business. I expect to deal with reasonable people and IT IS rubbish to have to treat everyone as a potential claim. There are more genuinely reasonable people out there than schemers.

      But, I do appreciate the reply.

      • David Hammond

        November 17, 2021 at 10:22 am

        I’m speaking from experience, and I tend to be pretty blunt with my advice.

        99% of our customers are brilliant, and we’ve have a process that filters out the clowns, tyre kickers, and general troublesome customers. Occasionally one gets through, or we deviate from what we should do, and the world goes to shit.

        If a customer doesn’t like the way we work, they’re not the customer for us, and are welcome to go elsewhere. The customers who aren’t any trouble, will go along with the way we do things without arguing or questioning things, and it’s all made perfectly clear from the start.

        From what I’ve seen there are loads of small sign companies, and wrappers, who happily go about their job, are great at what they do without much consideration for the business/legal side of things, until shit hits the fan.

        The time to knock up an inspection sheet, walk round the vehicle, mark and damage, check the handles function etc, I’ve people telling me it’s a waste of time and overkill, but I’d rather waste 10minutes doing that than arguing with a customer about if the damage was there before it arrived or not, and handing over £100’s for a new windscreen on a shed of a van.

        It is rubbish, but unfortunately it’s part and parcel of the industry, and business in general – find a way that covers your arse, without it being a burden, and make it part & parcel of doing the job. Walk round the vehicle and video it on your phone, close up of damage, showing the doors open etc.

        Whatever you choose, how are you going to stop similar occurring again?

        • Darren Summers

          November 17, 2021 at 11:10 am

          Your experience is greatly appreciated – and your bluntness noted lol!

          You’re 100% right and a walk round sheet is what we’ve discussed between ourselves this morning. I just hope that the genuine customers see it for what it is – they will have no choice.

          We just didn’t see this one coming and I am sure there will be other issues in the future that we will need to add to the list!

          Appreciate the input.

          • David Hammond

            November 17, 2021 at 11:17 am

            I do ruffle some feathers with my abruptness 😂 Those who’ve met me and know me, will see it’s all with the best intentions.

            The genuine customers will see exactly what it’s for and won’t bat an eyelid, and if any question it, it’s for insurance purposes.

            • Darren Summers

              November 17, 2021 at 12:39 pm

              I’m glad I’m not the only one! As much as I do try not to upset people, they do cop the hump at times!

  • John Hughes

    November 17, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Darren. I’ve just ask a mate who strips/reassembles vehicles for a living at a crash repair centre and he said ‘the cables have been fitted too far out’.

    Not sure what exactly he means by that but may help a tad.


    • Darren Summers

      November 18, 2021 at 8:57 am

      Hi John,

      I really appreciate that. I suspect that the old cables have been stretched to where they’re on their limits of being affective. Hence, when we took them out – disturbing them – they’ve been tipped over the edge and the tollerance is too much.

      On this particualr model, the cable has a ball fitting on the end which slots into the door handle assembly. So, we can’t fit it incorrectly but, certainly could have a case of cables being too long.

      However, when we stripped one of the solenoid units down, we discovered that the cable to the exterior door handle was inaffective. What I mean is, when we operated the cable by pulling on it, the internal mecahnism operated but, the door latch did not move. So, we also think that the door latch / solenoid mechanism was faulty / worn out.

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