Did I get Screwed by Diveshop Hydro, who never inspected the tank?

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Angelo Farina

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This is not what happened. They refused to return the tank unless he gave them permission to condemn it and mark it as such. I wonder if the person doing this had any formal certification for conducting visuals. The tank could not be filled before getting a hydro test so it should have been sent to the licensed hydro facility where, if it was faulty, it could be condemned by someone with the authority to do it.
Only DOT-enabled technicians can modify the markings of a tank. I do not know in the US, but modifying the markings is a crime here in Italy if done by people not authorized doing so.
So, if the technician was not DOT-enabled, in no way he could have been marked the tank as unworthy. He needed the signature of the owner on a document for avoiding any further responsibility in case the tank sent back to the owner was used.
The owner, after signing the document, could have taken the tank back home in the identical state it was given to the shop.
If the tank had been damaged, he could have been right to ask for compensation.
Possibly a few bucks, as that was the value (if paid 40 bucks including the valve, which was undamaged and possibly worth half of the total value).
If I had been the technician, having in my hand a risky tank, I would not have touched the markings, but I had drilled some holes in it, making it unusable. Safety first, some money back or forth is much less important.
 

grf88

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The owner, after signing the document, could have taken the tank back home in the identical state it was given to the shop.
He was not given this option
If I had been the technician, having in my hand a risky tank, I would not have touched the markings, but I had drilled some holes in it, making it unusable. Safety first, some money back or forth is much less important.
If you had sone this without the owner's permission you would owe him a replacement tank.
 

NW Dive Dawg

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Well...... I would have gone to the shop with Voice Notes activated in my Iphone and just very nicely said... "May I please see my tank so I can take a photo of the serial number and date stamp". Then once they brought the tank out I would have just politely said...."hey thanks for the heads up, I'll handle it from here". Then I would have taken MY TANK and walked out with MY TANK. If they then chose to attempt to physically prevent me from leaving with my tank.....then I guess it would be game on.

So who ended up with the valve?
 

rhwestfall

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Only a DOT Licensed Hydro Facility may render a tank inoperable (drill, destroy threads, x-out numbers) without consent if they deem it through not meeting the [CFR?] regulations. Keep in mind, a hydro also requires a visual prior to hydro by the facility. A unlicensed (not doing DOT reclassifications/hydro) dive shop doing annual visuals (no licensing involved), may only destroy a tank with owner's consent. Annual visuals are an industry standard and not a law like at the time of hydro.
 
OP
SlugLife

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Please evaluate also this possibility.
The technician did find something wrong with your tank, in his opinion.
He did not have the authority for condemning it.
On the other hand, he did not want to be held responsible of giving you back what he evaluated to be a risky tank.
So he asked you to sign a document which proofs that you aknowledged that he evaluated the tank to be bad, before giving it back to you.
If I was in the pants of the technician, I had done exactly the same...
So I do not think they did screw you up. They simply preferred not taking any risk. Better to loose a customer than being sued for neglicency in case an accident occurs...
Your error was not taking the tank back. The bottle itself was worthless, but the valve, the rubber boot and the harness (if any) are components which could be reused.
I also think that you are overthinking what happened. As you said, it was just 40 bucks. I would not loose a minute of my life over it...
The technician did not evaluate the tank in any way except the manufacture year. I'll re-tell the story:
  • I dropped off the tank for hydro, and tow others for VIP.
  • The VIP technician, which works for the scuba-shop (not hydro) noticed the date and said something like "we don't send tanks in for hydro from before 1990." I said, "that's fine, I'll just pick up the tank"
  • When I went to pick up the tank, another scuba-shop-employee (not technician) DEMANDED (not ask) that I sign the paper. They effectively said I couldn't leave or do business with them, unless I signed the papers. They were holding 2 other tanks of mine from VIP, and my dive-buddy was waiting for me at the docks, so I couldn't debate them forever.
  • I repeated "the technician did not examine the tank. and yet you are still insisting I have to sign this paper and condemn the tank" multiple times to the scuba-shop employee, and they never once corrected or contradicted that statement.
Am I missing something?
It could have been for any reason, valid or not.
If there was valid reason, why didn't they give me that reason? The technician just said they don't hydro pre 1990 tanks. The technician never said there was anything wrong with the tank.
The reasons for which the technician did evaluate the tank unsafe should not be questioned by the customer.
I recently bought a couple tanks from a VIP-technician, and he told me that was nonsense, and suggested I report it to PSI/PCI.
 
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SlugLife

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In my worst cursive I would sign “I do not agree”. Never was this questioned or denied. It was also never needed to be tested. It made me feel
"Signed Under Protest/Duress" also is a method...
I'll have to do that from now on, thanks!
The function of a VIP was to check for water intrusion and corrosion between hydros, it has taken on a life of its own in a time that has less reason for it to exist.
The guy I bought tanks from, who also does VIP and owns a tank-fill station, also told me pretty much the same thing, that it was basically a scam, takes only a couple minutes, and should cost $5.
Only a DOT Licensed Hydro Facility may render a tank inoperable (drill, destroy threads, x-out numbers) without consent if they deem it through not meeting the [CFR?] regulations. Keep in mind, a hydro also requires a visual prior to hydro by the facility. A unlicensed (not doing DOT reclassifications/hydro) dive shop doing annual visuals (no licensing involved), may only destroy a tank with owner's consent. Annual visuals are an industry standard and not a law like at the time of hydro.
Which makes sense from a legal perspective, because it's a Government/DOT function.

So, if the technician was not DOT-enabled, in no way he could have been marked the tank as unworthy. He needed the signature of the owner on a document for avoiding any further responsibility in case the tank sent back to the owner was used.
The owner, after signing the document, could have taken the tank back home in the identical state it was given to the shop.
(1) Why did they feel the need to FORCEFULLY DEMAND my signature, even though I really, really, really didn't want to give it and protested hard?
(2) They REFUSED to give me back the tank in the same state. I asked them multiple times to just give me my tank back I also said "you never inspected the tank" multiple times. They said, the ONLY way they would give me back my tank, was (a) to sign the document and then (b) wait for them to permanently mark the tank as condemned.


Well...... I would have gone to the shop with Voice Notes activated in my Iphone and just very nicely said... "May I please see my tank so I can take a photo of the serial number and date stamp". Then once they brought the tank out I would have just politely said...."hey thanks for the heads up, I'll handle it from here". Then I would have taken MY TANK and walked out with MY TANK. If they then chose to attempt to physically prevent me from leaving with my tank.....then I guess it would be game on.

So who ended up with the valve?
The shop got the valve, I would have taken it, but it was an old valve I'd have thrown away anyway.

Walking out with my tanks would have likely turned out very nasty. Specifically, they also had two other tanks of mine that just came back from VIP, and hadn't been paid for yet. They were refusing to let me finish my transaction without signing the document. I guess I could have dropped cash on the ground and walked out with my tanks, but still.
 

grf88

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At this point you have to decide what to do as this shop is closer for fills. If it was me I would go see the owner and explain the situation and what you have gleaned from this thread and see if he wants to make it right by providing say a number of free fills. You can then make your assessment as to whether you wish to do business with them in the future or not. I also would limit my custom to just fills and not equipment or service.
 

rhwestfall

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In addition to fills, I might be asking for them to supply you a replacement tank too. No, not a new, but "like kind". I'm guessing they might have some....
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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The short story is I brought in a used 1988 tank for Hydro at a Scuba-shop. Normally I go to a fire-safety place, but I was in a rush. At the time I bought it about a year ago, I checked this thread and believed it to be the good aluminum. The VIP tech called me, and said they wouldn't hydro it because it was older than 1990, but otherwise never inspected the tank. Rather than argue, I said I'd just pick up the tank. (My intent was to take it to the fire-safety place) However, when I arrived at the dive-shop, they refused to just hand me the tank, and instead DEMANDED I sign a document stating the tank was bad, and that the tank either had to receive a stamp condemning the tank, or be scrapped. I unfortunately don't have the tank or pictures, otherwise I'd ask people double-check my work.

Just to give them some benefit of the doubt, lets pretend the tank was AL6351. Is condemning a AL6351 tank without inspection normal? Is signing documents about condemned tanks normal? Did I get screwed?

Anyway, aside from them condemning a tank, which they never actually inspected, and which believed is good (perhaps correctly or not), I'm super pissed that the dive-shop essentially forced/coerced me into signing a document, even if I didn't take the tank home. I did argue, specifically that they never hydro'd the tank, and the metal but they were not listening AT ALL. I was stuck, because they also had two of my other scuba-tanks, and it's one of the very few available fill-shops around, and I had a dive-buddy waiting at the docks. I'm kinda pissed at myself, because I never sign under such circumstances normally, but hindsight is perhaps 20-20. I left the tank with them because it's effectively scrap metal, and I don't really have the space for that at this time. They didn't charge for the hydro. I stopped buying tanks that old a while ago, but still had that one around.

Anyway, $40 I spent on the tank sucks, but isn't the end of the world. Customer service was a bad experience. But I'd like to know if the Dive-shop actually screwed me? The next dive-shop adds 15-20 minutes to my total-drive, but may be worth it if I did get screwed.
The question I would ask, is this legal? One what basis? Is there a law/government agency allowing them to do this? If not, I'm calling 911, informing them of the situation and my intent to reclaim my property. I would not care to give that shop my business and would seek air fills elsewhere.
 
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