I took my scooter to the shop to diagnose and repair symptoms that started with the battery running down without recharging a few times, followed by failure to do anything when I pushed the starter with a charged battery. Seven weeks after the shop told me they were about to install a relay and a flywheel, they called to say they bent the crank and the best option they can offer is for me to pay $2000 for a new motor. Can I successfully sue or would my comprehensive insurance cover the repair? I need advice and options.
The details - (I could have put this under SYM, but I hoped for more input in the General category)
I have a 2009 SYM Citycom 300i with about 11,000 miles. It has been a great scooter, except for the common headlight relay issue that Alliance refused to pay to repair after I proved I had a valid warranty.
In October, it didn’t have enough juice to start, so I pushed it home and charged the battery. The next time I rode it, the battery died again, so I bought a new battery. That battery also ran down. When I recharged the battery, the scooter failed to respond when I pushed the starter, so at the end of October I took it to the local SYM dealer to diagnose and repair the problem.
They called me on November 1 to tell me they thought there might be a dash bulb connection issue based on something similar on a different scooter. I heard nothing from them, so I called on November 15 and was told they had never seen problems like my scooter had, but had ordered a relay.
Having received no update, I called on December 12 and was told they had just received parts including a flywheel for my scooter. They didn’t know if the flywheel was needed, but they got it for free and planned to replace it while they were in there. They expected to finish that day.
Over seven weeks later, I had heard nothing until they called on February 1. They said they had bent the crank trying to remove the flywheel. They had found a new engine for $1500, but were waiting to learn if they could get the parts to rebuild the engine to present more options and would call the following day.
The shop didn’t call, so I called February 16 and was told they still didn’t know whether they could get parts for a rebuild, but they were willing to guess that option would cost twice as much as a new engine. They said they don’t intend to take any financial responsibility for repairing the damage they did, and said I am looking at paying somewhat under $2000 for the new engine plus labor. It appears they still didn’t know what the problem was when they damaged the crank. They said they had installed a stator, but it didn’t fix the problem, so they tried to install the flywheel and damaged the crank. They couldn’t guarantee the scooter would be fixed with a new engine.
I searched online for SYM Citycom 300i with similar symptoms and found many discussions posted. Suggested repairs include a starter, starter relay, stator, voltage regulator or rectifier, headlight bulbs, and wiring issues. There were no mentions of the flywheel being involved.
Until I was told the crank was bent, the shop had never mentioned to me ordering or installing a stator. They only mentioned a relay had been ordered, then on December 12 that they received a free flywheel they would install that day. Then, after seven weeks, they claimed they installed a stator, but it did not solve the problem, so they proceeded to replace the flywheel and bent the crank. Why would they declare their intention to install a flywheel they got for free, then decide to try a stator, put things back together, and then try replacing the flywheel? Maybe they spent seven weeks brainstorming how to defend their actions and avoid taking responsibility. Regardless, does replacing the flywheel make sense? Does it make sense that a shop using the right tools and procedures for my case would bend the crank? Does it seem fair that they would expect me to pay to repair the engine they ruined in the process? I would really appreciate advice. Would I be successful filing a small claims lawsuit, given they can bring mechanics and I can’t talk knowledgeably about the mechanical aspects? I still have comprehensive insurance on this scooter. If I file a claim, would my insurer make things right by either paying me to repair the scooter or suing the shop on my behalf?