Horrible Service at North County GMC Escondido

silverswordMarch 1, 2010

North County GMC

Friday, February 19th I dropped my 2005 GMC Sierra off at the early drop at GMC Escondido. On the drop envelope there is an information form, which includes the time a customer will call to check on their vehicle and a place to write contact numbers, both home and work. I wrote my cell phone number in the home number section as I would be at work that day, and my work number in the work number section.

I called around 10:00am to check on my vehicle. "B", my service technician was not available so I left a message asking him to call me back regarding my vehicle and left my cell phone number as a contact number.

I called again around 12:00pm and was able to speak with "B" directly. He said he had just called my husband and asked if my husband called me. I told him that my husband didnÂt call me, and asked what was going on with my vehicle. He said my husband had authorized the service and that my truck would be done around 3:00pm that day. I asked him what was wrong with my vehicle and he said they were fixing the problem for which I brought it in. He seemed to be in a big hurry and nearly hung up on me.

I called my husband and he said they were fixing the transmission leak and it was under warranty. At 1:00 I called the GMC driver to pick me up and she did so at 2:00. She dropped me off nearby as I had a little time before 3:00. I called at 2:30 to make sure my vehicle would be ready by 3:00pm. "B" told me that it would be. I arrived at the dealership at 3:00 and waited for my paperwork to be pulled. After waiting 10 minutes came out and said they were just finishing up. He then came in again and asked if I wanted them to wash my truck. I said no. They gave me the paperwork and I left.

When I got home I looked at the service paperwork and saw that on the bottom there were numerous "recommended repairs" that were never mentioned to me but were shown as "customer denied". I asked my husband why he had denied the repairs and my husband was shocked. He said he had never denied any repairs, those recommendations sounded necessary and he would have agreed to those repairs had they been relayed to him as recommended.

I then called "B" and asked him what was going on since I had never denied those repairs as I had never been told those repairs were recommended. He told me my husband had denied those repairs because I needed the truck by 3:00pm for work. He said that my husband had told him to just do the transmission work because I didnÂt have time for the other repairs. He also said he could tell because I didnÂt want my truck washed that I was in a hurry. I asked him why he didnÂt call me at the numbers I had specified. He said he called the number in the computer, which is my home number. I said that the truck is my personal vehicle and I never gave authorization to anyone to make decisions for this vehicle to GMC. He said that I had told him when I called in that I needed the truck by 3:00pm.

Since I get off work at 2:00pm everyday and do not use my truck for work I would never have said that, nor would my husband have said that. I told him that this gross miscommunication could have been prevented had he called me, the legal owner of the vehicle, on the numbers I had provided on my drop slip for my vehicle. He again reiterated that he just called the number on the computer. I hung up, frustrated. Using my home land line I then called to speak with the manager of the facility and got his voice mail, and left a message. This was at 4:00pm on Friday the 19th.

As I did not receive a call back by Monday, February 22nd at 3:00pm I called on my cell phone and left another message for the manager.

I called again on Tuesday, February 23rd, again using a land line and left a message. My boss suggested I email as my phone messages were not being returned. I sent an email Tuesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon I received a phone call on my cellular. I answered the phone "hello" and the person on the other line said "who is this?" I responded with my name, then he identified himself as the manager, "T". I detailed the issue I had with "B" and his lack of communication. The manager said "I donÂt want to call you a liar, but we make our money doing repairs so I donÂt see why "B" would not have recommended those repairs to you." I told the manager "with all due respect, if your employee had called me, the legal owner of the vehicle, and spoken with me directly we would not have this issue". He said it sounded like "B" and I are not a good match and that he would refer me to a new manager the next time I brought my vehicle in, and to give a call when I wanted to do those repairs. I asked him to please check my warranty and let me know which were covered under my warranty. He said he would do that.

I called in Monday, March 1st and spoke with the manager "T" again. He didn't remember what the problem was. I had to remind him, and that "B" had called and spoken with someone unauthorized about my vehicle. "T" said "he called your husband" and I said, "yes, he called someone unauthorized to make decisions about my vehicle". He asked me what he could do for me. I asked him if he had forgotten that he said he would call me back. He admitted he had. He told me the repairs were not under warranty and should have been done at 60,000 miles so were way overdue. I told him that I had been in several times since 60,000 miles and they were never recommended before. He said, well, that doesn't matter. At that point I realized he was absolutely not concerned about my safety or the maintenance of my vehicle.

Needless to say, I'm going somewhere else to get the repairs done. How many technicians do you think would call the wife of the person dropping off a vehicle and have her authorize repairs for her husband's vehicle?

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"Needless to say, I'm going somewhere else to get the repairs done. How many technicians do you think would call the wife of the person dropping off a vehicle and have her authorize repairs for her husband's vehicle?"

I have a question, when the advisor called your husband, why didn't he simply tell him to call you instead? Why didn't he immediately call you and tell you that they had just called him? There is a certain level of responsibility for this problem that lies right there.

I just realized a second question. According to California Law, what repairs are they permitted to do, and you responsible to pay for without your signature in advance?

BTW, are you going to post this everywhere on the net? :)

In our "system" we have room for six phone numbers, and we can specify primary and secondary calling numbers. If I could not get hold of the primary person for any reason, I'll call the secondary in a heartbeat.

Typically in our shop it is my wife's responsibility to be the service advisor. There are many times though where the technical aspects of a repair exceed her ability to explain them and when that happens I have to stop being the technician, and put on the owner/service adviser's hat.That does not occur in a dealership, the service advisor is your contact, not the technician.

I can't tell you how many times people force us to pay phone tag when it comes to getting hold of them, and worse yet we call one family member, only to have a second or third call back and want to have the whole scenario explained again. The funny part is, if you can consider this funny is when they do this it is simply for curiosities sake, not because they don't trust what we are telling them. Every one of those phone calls eats at the shops (my) productivity per hour. To solve that issue in some cases we even use e-mail when appropriate.

OK, that was the PC side of this. Now for the rest of the story.

There are several stereotypes at play here, for one calling the husband whether you like it or not is not uncommon because of the first stereotype where he is expected to know more about the car than you would. Of course the truth is, that isn't the case if your the primary driver, you would know things about the car that he would not. Gender really doesn't play a role anymore when it comes to mechanical knowledge, cars are such complex machines the only people who truly know them are the men and women who actually work on them. Which brings us to the second stereotype, you in all likelihood never talked to the technician that actually worked on the car, you talked to the service advisor who is supposed to relay information between you and the technician. Anyone attempting to pull a technicians concentration, and especially his/her time from the a vehicle is directly risking causing a mistake to occur on the car that the technician is presently working on, and your also stealing the techs time because he/she is likely paid flat rate which does not allow room for any interruptions. (More on that another time)

Your flying off the handle and posting this everywhere suggests that you might not be easy to deal with all of the time. Or said another way, your husband might be easier to deal with than you are. If this is genuinely the case then its human nature to call him first and has absolutely nothing to do with who knows what about a car. There are people who have aggressive tones that my wife simply cannot deal with. That being the case I am often forced to have to make those contacts. There are others who's attitudes come across as if they are superior to us (me) and love to shove our faces in the dirt because "If we (I) were smarter I wouldn't be fixing cars for a living". They get shown the door and are not welcome back, ever. Which leads us to this important issue.

"Horrible Service At...." If they are smart, the last thing they should ever do now is allow you back into the building. You started off saying you won't go back, they should be satisfied with that arrangement. The problem is consumers have been trained by businesses to act out as you have here, in effect rewarding people in the past for doing what you are here. They would start giving the business away to you in an attempt to make you happy. Experience has shown that was a fruitless effort in the majority of cases. Once the relationship is broken, its best to walk away and take care of the rest of the customers. Now imagine something happens to your truck where they are the only ones within miles that could truly handle it, and you are simply not welcome back. That is something that is happening quite often and its called firing the customer. I can think of one fellow on my list who has tried three times to come back to my shop instead of having to drive forty miles one way to a dealership to have his car worked on. It never occurred to him that the technology on his car required a greater investment than the average shop would make and his choices ultimately came down to me or the dealer on those three occasions and I'm no longer a choice for him by my own preference.

As an independent technician, if I read this and you then showed up at my door, I'd be hesitant to take you in as a customer. I'm very good at fixing cars, but not so good with certain types of people. "One has to know his limitations"

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 8:35AM
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