Car Dealership service centers

DPW

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#1
Is it just me or do all service centers seem to suck(I hope I can use that word) ?

I dropped my 96 tacoma at the dealership a week ago to have some work done on it. One day job, I was thinking great I'll have back in time for the weekend . They said they would call when it's ready. Big surprise no call from the dealer. I called them.... it's ready, well ok I'll come pick it up. I get there pay for it. They say they'll bring it out front for me, cool. I wait almost twenty minutes for it. I start walking back in to ask where the heck is my truck. My buddy yells at me "here it comes" , finally. They pull it up and luckily when they pulled up I was on the passenger side. Surprise big, big dent in the passenger side door. Not a parking lot ding, but it looked like I got t-boned by a another car. The lot boy hands me the keys and starts walking off. I was like hold on buddy what the heck is this. Mind you I always park my truck in the south forty and has no dings in it, until now. I've had it for five years bought it new, paid it off last year my pride and joy. Well he finds the manager after much discussing they agree to fix it, thanks buddy. They tell me they will call me Monday and take care of it, it's Thursday. Monday rolls around 3:30 no call, again big surprise. I call them, they say bring it down Tuesday and we will take care of it. Show up on the time we agreed on and drop it off, no rent a car or truck like I asked in sight. They tell me to wait in the waiting room and they'll come get me when the car shows up. 40 minutes later my ride shows up......a brand new Corolla, urggh . Fine the truck will be ready Friday, I can handle three days in the clown car, no offense meant to other corolla owners, but I'm about 6'3 and don't exactly fit in the car. We will call you Friday , the dealerships tells me. Big surprise again no call, I call them. They tell me the body shop said they just wanted to repair it, but the service manager told them "no you guys need to re-skin the door" because of the extent of the damage. Duh that's what we discussed Tuesday when I dropped off the truck, why is the shop just getting this info today. It is supposed to ready Monday now, we will see. I was thinking of asking for a truck on Monday if it's not going to ready again. A week is to long not to go riding. I just don't understand why the dealership never called my, especially the day it happened. Somebody knew they did it, the dent was that bad. Anyone know of a Toyota dealership in the DFW area that has gave them consistent good service ? Thanks for allowing me to vent, long winded I know.
 
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JPIVEY

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#2
Nope they all do what you said ( just in case we can't use that word )

Picked up my tail gate this morning 8 days later then they said, it was only going to take 20 mins to install, but it took 45 mins just to get to it and this is with an appointment:(

Either I have gotten crabbier since I joined 5 mos ago or a lot more people piss me off, I need to go for a ride
 
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#3
Why not use the corolla as a stunt car? Whenever my fater and I have to rent a car either on vacation or becasue of an accident or work, we practice E-brake 180's, slides, panic stops, etc. You can never have enough fun in a rental car!!!
But, I hear you on the car getting damaged story. My dad just brought his brand new Audi into the stero place to get a hands free phone thingy installed. I warned them many times that the dash was all pop together and required special tools to take apart. They said there will be no evidence of them being in the car when we get it back. Low and behold, the dash was mutilated. They used a flat head screwdriver to get the face plate off and when they ran the wire for the mic up the A-pillar, the fuddged up the molding. Their excuse, "there are airbags everywhere in this car since we could set them off, we had to bend the panel to get the wire in place." They also said that it was a compliment they screwed he dash up becasue it shows that the car is well built.
MY response, if you KNEW that you would mess it up, why continue with the job. Now i need to convince my dad that he should have them pay for new panels. Oh well, stuff happens.:p
 

Gary B.

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#4
Having worked in dealership service departments for 23 years, you'd think I'd be here to defend them. WRONG! The entire business is in need of a complete overhaul from the top down. Sad thing is, the boneheads like you're talking about are so common that the guys who really try have a extremely hard time of it. Where I work, it seems if you just show a little effort you catch a lot of customers "off guard" and completley disarm them. I believe the industry has been screwing themselves over for years by not training people or providing benefits that are competitive with other industries. Over the years, this results in a definite "dumbing down" of the whole business. Now there is an industry-wide panic because thy can't hire anyone competent. In my area, any body shop tech, service tech, or service writer worth a damn is like gold. I'm not meaning to toot my own horn, but my boss and the owner know if I'm not happy, I can get another job tommorrow right up the street, or across town, or across the state, anywhere I'd want to go. Well, I've yammered on long enough, I'm going riding tommorrow morning, you know, when alot of other folks are working!
 
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#5
Oh god good. you have the time of your life in that car!!! Can anyone say gran turismo!!!
 
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#6
I too have worked in dealerships for 25 years or more. In addition, let me say without hesitation that you’re right, they lack integrity. Here’s why, in two words, FLAT RATE. This system is the worst abomination ever created. The need to make a decent pay check completely eclipses proper work methodology. It forces technicians to rush everything just to make enough hours to be financially compensated consistent with other trades. There’s no doubt in my mind that the door dent incident is a consequence of the flat rate system. Dealerships need to look down the road a bit (something they seem to have a problem doing) and realize that it’s time for a change. Some of the things that need revamping are technician testing and qualification. While the ASE tests are a start, I feel we need either state or federal licensing. Why you ask, well lets see, to be hairdresser or plumber or even a carpenter you need a license why not automotive technicians. If a tech works on your car and improperly installs a brake or fuel system part to name just a few, you could DIE! Does that bring home the point? If your barber gives you a bad cut, are you going to sustain life-threatening injuries? The testing should be in-depth (read difficult) not just cursory. However, the biggest problem is that tech’s need to be paid a decent hourly wage. Then the worry of “am I going to make enough hours to support my family” is eliminated. Additionally this business of taking indigents off the street without formal training and allowing them to repair/maintain vehicles is criminal, and this friends, is a common occurrence, believe or not! Now for the disclaimer. I realize that there are many excellent techs out there that do what needs to be done to correctly repair the vehicle and it’s those people you should seek out. By the way, I have left this arena and now make a living as an expert witness testifying in matters related to poor workmanship and other automotive related occurrences. Although I would like to say I have seen it all, something else always comes along that just make me cringe. Anyhow thanks for listening.
 
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#7
Originally posted by Burner
I too have worked in dealerships for 25 years or more. In addition, let me say without hesitation that you’re right, they lack integrity. Here’s why, in two words, FLAT RATE. This system is the worst abomination ever created. The need to make a decent pay check completely eclipses proper work methodology. It forces technicians to rush everything just to make enough hours to be financially compensated consistent with other trades.
You hit the nail right square on the head. Flat rate is the scourge and downfall of my industry, as well. I have been in the HVAC industry for over 20 years, and I have seen a huge decline in the quality, expertise, and work ethics of the installers and technicians in recent years, as more and more companies adopt the flate rate method. A high-dollar, high-tech, state of the art system used to take 2 days to install and start up properly, if you wanted a quality job. Now, with the installers being paid by the job, they are encourged to throw the work in from the street, as fast as they can get it done, to get on to the next job, all to maximize corporate profits. I can not blame the workers for this shift in attitude, they do what they must to ensure a decent paycheck. In the end, the customer suffers from getting an inferior product and service, and the companies and corporations suffer from the lowered levels of customer satisfaction. This industry is in an accelerating downward spiral, and the only companies that will survive the backlash are the ones that are smart enough to either stay with the old ways, or see the writing on the wall and change their philosophy before it's too late. I have resisted the flat-rate pay for my installers and technicians vehemently, but, inevitably, being owned by a large corporation, the choice ultimately was made for me. I am now starting to feel the sting of this decision, as highly qualified techs leave, and customers are increasingly dissatisfied with the jobs.
 

Jaybird

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#8
This may be opening a can of worms, but other industries have experienced a similar degradation of qualified workmanship. The answer for alot of trades was...UNION. From what I've seen over the years, a trade that has a local trade union backing it seems to produce a higher grade of technician. This is probably due to the fact that most unions have apprenticeship programs. 4 years of quality training in any field usually weeds out the ding-bats.
Another perk of a union, it the higher wages it demands, and gets.

I'm biased, being a union member since 1978, but I am now the owner of my business and there is no way I would utilize anyone but union personnel for any job I have.
 
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#9
Yes, that is a can of worms.

I agree with most of what you sais, Jaybird, but I can point to a few businesses ruined by unions. Employees were overpaid and had no initiative to work hard and would just do enough to get by. To me, when you can look in a book and see when and how much your next raise is, and it isn't performance oriented whatsoever, there is a problem.

I can see both sides of this issue; there's no doubt that unions have done a mixture of good and bad for our country. I guess I'm just suggesting that to portray unions in general as being a win-win situation is a little shortsighted.

As you can probably guess by some of my comments, I have managed union employees, and have been frustrated by it. Actually, most of them were good guys and hard workers, but a few of them weren't, and the union was strong enough that there wasn't much we could do about it.
 

Gary B.

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#10
I think you hit the nail on the head with the flat rate thing. I didn't realize other businesses were doing the same thing. The car business has been this way since way before I got here. I have to admit, I've got the same crappy attitude as other people because I'm just playing the game by the rules they created, but I love it when something blows up in their face and I can give 'em the old "let me know when you want to discuss revamping the pay plan" routine.
 

JuliusPleaser

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#11
Service departments...:(

Unions? :scream:

Service writers around here are the lowest form of life. I work for a lot of dealerships, but I ain't doing service work. I'd rather work for attorneys.:p
 

Gary B.

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#12
I don't think unions are the answer. Some of the Ford shops in the area are union and they have the same or worse problems.
 
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#13
I know this is kind of a late response, however, here is my experience with a local car dealer:

I bought one of the first Oldsmobile Intrigues that came out--June 1997. I drive about 60 miles a day (to and from work) and almost immediately I noticed I was just about to be rear-ended every time I braked. Now travelling on the local interstates is dangerous enough, but no brake lights (on a brand new car) is worse. I took the car to the dealer (for that and a few other minor things)---my first mistake. The rep fixed everything BUT the brake lights.

And I quote "that is a recalled part and Oldsmobile will have to recall it in order for us to fix it". WHAT A CROCK!!!! I lost it and said "Ok, fine when I get killed I will be sure my husband sues you and oldsmobile! I have never been back to that dealer since and will NEVER buy another GM as long as I live. Turns out my boss had a client that owned his own dealership and he came and picked up my car (free of charge) and fixed it---it was simply a sensor that they did not hook up and that is why the brake lights did not work.

Buy American? Bullsh**!!!!!!!!!!!!! I won't make that mistake again!
 

Neil Wig

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#14
Toyota no better

I bought a 1991 MR2 in 1991. It was used as a promo car, and had less than 5,000 miles on it. Anyhow, it had wiring problems that took the dealership four tries to fix. Then it developed a problem with the EGR valve, which it took the dealership 30,000 km to find. Yes, you heard right, 30,000 km. they had scopes inside the cylinders, new ignition, new computer, etc, etc. There was a design problem with some seals on the emergency brake cables that caused the e-break to freeze on in the winter time. They said it wasn't a warantee item. I called Toronto, backed them into a corner, and had the breaks fixed for free. I was on a first name basis with four or five reps in Ontario, just to get the service that I paid for when I bought the 7 year, unlimited milage warantee.

I loved the car, but our local dealership left a lot to be desired. Once you had them backed into a corner, they provided good service, but not until then.

I like my chev truck, and suspect a newer one will be my next vehicle.
 

DPW

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#15
That's one of my biggest problems with car dealerships, you have to just about make a scene just to get things done. My shop teacher a looong time ago said something that comes to mind "The squeaky wheel gets the grease ".

When I dropped my truck off for the body work they said it would be ready in three days, which would have been Friday. That was fine so I didn't complain about the Corolla they gave me. Had I known if wasn't going to be ready till the following Friday a week and a half later I would have raised a stink and demanded a truck so I could still go riding. You wreck my truck and you give me a mini car, doesn't sound right to me especially when it's their fault. The thing that really got me is the parts didn't even come in till the following Monday after I dropped my truck off, so my truck sat at the body shop for six days over a weekend. I sure could have used my truck to go riding that weekend. Why tell me to bring my truck in on this day when the parts aren't even there ? Anyway again another dealership disappoints me.