May 5, 2006

A Tale of Two Dealers

Category: Miscellaneous :: Permalink

Today, I had to take both of our vehicles into the dealers, one for a recall on a power steering hose and the other to have the struts replaced, a job covered by warranty. Neither would cost me anything.

I arrived at the Chrysler dealership first. When I drove into the rather dingy tunnel which was their service headquarters, I had to track down someone to look after my car. After about five to ten minutes, in which he was on the phone or disappearing to talk to someone else, he finally focused on me, only to fail to find my 11:00 appointment in the computer.

Eventually, he took me down the row of mini offices to another service guy who, in turn, disappeared into another one’s office, where I heard him protesting that he hadn’t been able to take a lunch break and asking if the other guy would take care of me. When he returned, still stuck with me, he told me that a fourth man, not present, would be my service advisor and then changed his mind and told me that he would do it.

I left my car there just before noon, under the impression that it would be ready by the end of the day. Then, I picked up our other car and took it to Lithia Honda, where the difference in dealerships was immediately evident. Honda’s service bay is open and bright. Immediately a man appeared to start taking care of the vehicle, noting mileage and so forth. Jason, with whom I’ve worked before, waved at me through the window before I even came inside.

A couple hours later, exactly on time, Jason called me and I came to pick up the vehicle. When I arrived, it was sitting in the service bay, ready for me to drive.

While I was there, the Chrysler service advisor called. My car, he told me, wasn’t ready. It turned out that changing the power steering hose is a four-hour job and they hadn’t had the time to get to it. (Note that my appointment was for 11:00 and they had the car in their system by about 11:30 and that his phone call was at about 4:30, five hours later.)

They couldn’t keep it overnight and work on it Saturday, he said, because he didn’t want to have one tech start on it (today) and another finish it (tomorrow). What’s odd about that is that no one had started it today anyway. Nevertheless, no tech is going to start or finish it tomorrow. I’ll have to bring it back some other day and probably leave it overnight with them.

When I arrived to pick up my car, believe it or not, the car had disappeared. No one had driven it up to the main service bay for me to pick up. I was sent to find it. But it wasn’t in either of their two main lots. The advisor himself went looking, as did another one, and neither could find it. Finally, a manager found it in a third lot. (The manager, at my request, agreed to a free oil change, though I didn’t receive that promise in writing.)

All of which makes me wish that both of my cars were Hondas.

Posted by John Barach @ 10:43 am | Discuss (0)

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