Monday, September 19, 2011

Adventures in Automobile Service Land

I recently leased a car which I am overall happy with.


At the beginning of last month the radio died. This was the stock radio which is standard on that make of car and it has a CD player also standard. Car stereos are no big deal anymore. I figured it was a loose connection and so I (my wife actually) phoned the dealer to make an appointment to get it fixed. The service department asked us ,"Did we know that we are due for scheduled service at 8000 km". We didn't actually because the service manual says 15000 but that's okay, I like my car to work properly and I feel sorry for the poor car dealers who make a lot of money servicing the cars they sell in this recession, even if they were partially responsible for it.

On the appointed day, a Friday, I dropped my car off at 0700. I phoned just before noon in the delusion that I might be able to pick it up at lunch and of course it wasn't ready. Around 1500, the service guy phoned and told me that my radio definitely didn't work but that they were going to have to order a new radio and would I mind coming in next week. I asked them why they just didn't take a radio out of one of the new cars on the lot and he explained they weren't allowed to do that. He did it in a patronizing way that made me feel like I was stupid for even suggesting that as a possibility. They should have the radio by Monday and I could bring my car in.


I am going on vacation taking that car; now not only do I not have a radio but I have to make another trip to the dealer.

I phone the Monday after my vacation and get referred to the parts guy who says my radio still isn't in. He also lets slip that they actually didn't order one on the Friday the car was in the dealer but waited until the following Monday. I get pissed off, ask to speak to the general manager and actually get to talk to the comptroller who on hearing my story is apologetic and offers to facilitate things.

Tuesday afternoon I get a message that my radio is in. I ask if I can bring the car in after work. They agree reluctantly and I drive to the dealer. I bring a book because I know I am going to have to wait. After about an hour or so, a flustered employee comes out to tell me that the radio they received also doesn't work but they took a radio out of a new car on the lot and I am free to go.

OK so why didn't you just do that 10 days ago?

While I am waiting, a receptionist comes out to tell a man in the waiting room that they dropped his car off the lift and it is damaged but don't worry they will get the damage fixed and pay for a rental car. I hear him phone his boss to tell him he is going to be late for work. I feel a little sheepish getting so worked up about my radio.

On the other hand maybe the dealers pay actors to sit in the waiting room with sad stories so you feel bad about complaining about the lousy service. I wouldn't put it past them.

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