ETCG Rants About His Trip To the Dealer

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    EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

      Obviously, I don’t take my vehicle in for service often. When I do, it’s normally for warranty work like this. That said, I have a much better understanding of what some of you go through when getting your vehicle serviced.

      So what have your dealership/service experiences been like?

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      EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

        I haven’t had time to read all the comments yet, but here’s what I’d like to say based on the comments I’ve seen on YouTube. Yes, I did bring them a vehicle with a ‘broken’ but repaired hood latch. Truth is I forgot about it when I dropped it off. I also didn’t think they’d need to open the hood to replace the airbag inflator. I’ve done several airbags on Honda’s myself and never opened the hood. Before you judge me on that, know that the only issue I ever ran into what the horn going off during installation. That may not be standard procedure to some, but any flat rate tech doing a warranty job is going to do what they can to get the job done efficiently. I will concede that it would have been better had I warned them about the latch. I wish I would have thought about it.

        Many have also suggested that the dealer owes me nothing. I suppose that’s true on some level as the part was technically broken before I ever brought it in. However for me, the issue is not about the broken cable. It’s about how I was treated. Had the service writer started with “I’m sorry sir, but there’s been a problem with your vehicle. The hood latch broke when we tried to open the hood. It appeared to have been previously repaired…”. Just those words would have disarmed me from the beginning. I would have remembered about the latch, respected the fact that they’d owned up to it, and asked if I could order a cable.

        That’s not the way it went down. Instead I get accused of setting them up as if I were trying to scam them out of a new hood cable.

        Also, Q-Bond is not just super glue. I’ve used it in other places and it’s worked quite well. The entire front grill on the Vigor was repaired with the stuff and it’s holding up beautifully. It is not a ‘dodgy’ repair as many have suggested. The hood latch worked just fine for me after I did that repair.

        I felt my request for a hood cable was not off the mark. The part itself is $20 retail which means it probably cost them about $10. It’s the labor to put one of those in that’s a PITA. I figured I was meeting them half way with this suggestion. I could care less about the service writer, but I was concerned about an innocent tech having to install a new cable. That would not be cool. In my mind, the labor to replace the cable is worth more than the cable itself.

        In the end I ended up getting the cable at a very reasonable cost, and while I was at the parts counter the service writer in question showed up. This was after our conversation in front of the service manager. He awkwardly apologized and we moved on. I was still bent about the situation and thought this would make for a good ETCG1 topic, so I headed to the shop, shot the video, and installed my new bench vice. After that I had calmed down considerably. I LOVE my new vice and enjoyed welding the holes in my workbench. The people that know me know that I’m a pretty simple guy at heart. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

        I wish I would have emphasized the lack of apology as the thing I was most offended by in the video. Many people saw me as trying to get a new hood cable that they didn’t feel I was entitled to. Fair enough. I just want it known that was never my intention from the start. I could care less about the $20 for a new cable. It’s being treated like a crappy customer AFTER I had tried to make every concession to the dealer when I dropped the car off. Declining the inspection and the carwash as well as giving them plenty of time to do the repair and NOT waiting for it.

        I’d also like to point out that I’ve made other videos on this topic from the other perspective. I think I’ve made it quite clear how I would have handled this situation had I been on the other end of it.

        I hope that clears up my position on this.

        One thing I did take away was that many of you deal with situations like this every day. I thought it was humiliating and insulting. I think it’s a lack of respect for the customer that’s hurt the repair industry as a whole. It’s one of the reasons many of you turn to my ETCG channel in the first place. Honestly, I think that’s the best part of this entire experience. Having that perspective will effect how I make my videos in the future. I guess I needed a refresher course in what it’s like to be a customer again.

        I’d like to point out that there’s also a lot of great dealerships out there that go out of their way to take care of the customer. They’re the polar opposite of what I experienced with that particular service writer. Not all automotive service comes with a bad attitude. Some people work very hard to take care of the very people who help pay to keep the lights on. I think we need more of them and less of the disrespectful ones.


          I really have to say that all these stories make me feel very good about the dealer I work in. As techs there, we constantly gripe about being raked through the coals on diagnosis, installing aftermarket parts, dealing with modified cars for free. and more. Thinking about how we just internalize all that for the sake of preventing so many of your bad experiences, maybe that has a lot to do with how many customers are happy to come back repeatedly and spend money with us.

          If Eric’s recall situation happened at my work, he would have found out when he picked it up that the hood cable had been replaced for free. Whether I would get paid any time internally would depend on the day, kind of, but that wouldn’t affect the customer. If it really cost us a lot, we may ask the customer to pay a portion of it. We would not approach you with ‘You’re Guilty, Pay us or else’ attitude like you Ohio dealer did.

          And Eric- Although I faulted you for not telling them about the weak repair, I want to clarify that the true failure lies in the hands of the dealership. The fact is that virtually no customer has a clue what areas of their vehicle will be touched when bringing the car in for recall work and can’t be expected to warn anybody of anything. That’s just the way it is. The fact that you know the hood has to be opened to disconnect the battery and that you (and I, and many others) don’t bother with that step in that situation, that doesn’t affect your position as being customer X who can’t be expected to give warnings. The warning would be nice, but I know at my work we understand that things happen and that fixing the problem is a lot more productive in the long run than alienating the customer.

          You lit off a nice powder keg on this one, btw. I hope to see some more stories continue to be posted.

          Dave TidmanDave Tidman

            Eric, I would have been ticked off too if the guy had called me and started with the accusation as he did.

            I do take one of my vehicles into the dealer for oil changes, mainly because they send coupons for $30 off, so it ends up costing about $10 more than if I did it myself (It’s a VW, 6.2 quarts of synthetic oil, cartridge filter and new oil plug every time). The service writers seem to know that I do all the other maintenance items so they just remind me what needs to be done. Must be in their system.

            On the other hand, I had a train wreck experience at the NIssan dealer. Went in for a recall, the writer asks me to sign the repair slip, and there are a bunch of maintenance items on the work order. I’m like WTF is all this stuff? Service writer says it’s standard and it all needs to be done by Nissan trained technicians. Really, an oil change needs to be done by a Nissan trained tech? I should have turned and run at that point, but I didn’t.

            Get a call mid-day from the service writer. Says the ATF is is horrible condition and needs immediate replacement. I ask how they knew this and he said the tech looked at the dip stick and saw bad fluid. I retorted with strange, there is no dipstick for the tranny because it’s a freakin’ manual transmission. Go in to pick up the truck, hit the service department cashier and guess what? They tried to charge me for an ATF flush/fill. That is when I went ballistic, said I want the service writer, general manager and tech in front of me in 5 minutes or I’m calling the cops. Let’s just say the SW was trying to get up-sells (because there was a bonus program going on) and he would just try to tack stuff on even though it wasn’t done to get his bonus. Felt sorry for the tech, he had no idea this was going on. The 10 apology calls I got after I Yelp-bombed the dealership with the story assured me he was terminated. Doesn’t matter, I’m never setting foot in that dealership again.


              You think dealers are bad, you should try canadian tire! Every time I took any car there they broke something additional to what they were trying to fix and tried to weasel out of it. I had no problems towing my car out of their bay one time when they broke my fuel pump and wanted to put in an OEM one in for like 400 bucks. Took it to a friend, he soldered it back together and the thing still worked when i sold the car 5 years later.

              The recalls i’ve had done were good experiences at the dealer. I did make sure to warn the techs when i had a seat that was broken away in one place from the frame. But I would warn anyone who sat in the driver seat as well about that every year till i had it welded proper.

              The kia/hyundai dealer washed the car for free when all i had is warranty work done and wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Standard practice sir”.
              I wouldn’t go near a dealership but for warranty work. Cars come from craigslist. Take it in for free repairs, and if they point out any other problems that you didnt notice, thank them and decline the service. If they break my shit then they better fix it. That’s the cost of doing business. Sometimes you screw up and have to eat the cost.

              Corey MillerCorey Miller

                So yesterday i went to estep to get tiers since I cant so them myself.i never take my to a shop unless its something that I cant do. Well the reason why i hate taking them came true yesterday. I whatch my vehicles while in the shop bc of the fact that they r money hungry. Everything is going fine till the technician tried to place the tier i requested to keep as a spare bc mine is so badly rusted. I drive a 1997 murcury mountaineer. So he went to open the back hatch as the car was still locked and broke it. So i confront one of the guys runing the store. I told him straight up that your guy just broke it and i unlocked the car and tried to open the back and the part just spun. He says ok let me get the technician. He says he tried to open it and heard a pop and then it started to spin. The guys runing the store says we dont know that he was the reason it broke whell have to set an appointment for you to come back and us to check it out. Ok so i took it back this morning and the guy that i was talking to the day b4 was all nice and joking around complamenting my aftermarket radio. I stayed stuck up his butt till he said that the only thing that was wrong with it minus the fact of the handel broke was that there was play in the hardware after that he ordered the part and said hell handle the cost.
                Thats y i hate taking y cars to shops

                adam savageadam savage

                  Not to sound like a jerk but the cable was already broken which they probably realized when they saw it was glued back together. Honestly I don’t think you should have even argued to get a free replacement. However, according to your account, th way they treated you was ridiculous. Although, I think you should have not have even n raised the issue as you knew it was already broken.

                  EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

                    [quote=”asavage” post=150611]Not to sound like a jerk but the cable was already broken which they probably realized when they saw it was glued back together. Honestly I don’t think you should have even argued to get a free replacement. However, according to your account, th way they treated you was ridiculous. Although, I think you should have not have even n raised the issue as you knew it was already broken.[/quote]

                    Please read my earlier response in this thread.

                    Ryan HRyan H

                      I had a situation identical to this right around the middle of September, 2001. I remember the date because of the fact that gas stations had lines at the pump leading into the streets. So, my girlfriend at the time had purchased a car from an Acura dealer in the greater Cincinnati area (clears throat) and the car was problematic from the get go. Since I live in NKY and not actually in Ohio, it was a bit of a pain in the neck to constantly have to lug this broken car around to get it “fixed”….

                      Well, one day, the car was running like hot garbage. At the time, I had pretty much zero experience working on cars. I think the biggest job I had ever done at the time was changing an air filter. I’m going to spare the nonsense, but the people at the dealership had apparently decided that they were tired of us and that we were doing something wrong (we weren’t), so it turned into quite the battle of words when they more or less refused us service on this car. We never got the chance to speak with a tech (who I’m sure were lovely people with an appreciation for their customers), but we did get to speak to everyone else at the dealer. And it was just a rotten, no good, horrible, situation. The problem ended up being something small and stupid- also CHEAP- and I fixed it myself. But, because of the treatment we received there, we wouldn’t go back to them. It was a used car, and it wasn’t an Acura, but there was a warranty on it, and it ended up being useless. Even to this day, I would never consider buying so much as a shirt from that dealer, and my view on Acura was pretty badly skewed as well. We weren’t rude. We were kind, patient, understanding, but frustrated. The dealership acted like we were just a problem that they wanted to get rid of.

                      But what is interesting about this story is that it is the single reason I began working on cars myself. And, if not for that experience, I wouldn’t be writing this.

                      Ryan HRyan H

                        You haven’t paid much attention to what has been said, have you?

                        Kathryn FortunatoKathryn Fortunato

                          “I’m not a muggle!” I love you, Eric, lol. 😀

                          Seriously, at Westchester Toyota in Yonkers, there’s a rep they have there, some older (50s-60s) heavyset guy who is a RIGHT BASTARD to basically everyone. I’d dealt with him a couple times before, and I wanted to break his computer’s monitor over his head before.

                          Went in once for service, and they brought me to his office, and as soon as I see him sitting in there, I just go “NOPE!” I turned to the manager and in full view of the guy said “There is no way I’m dealing with this prick again. Every time I’m in here I get the nastiest worst attitude from the guy, even though I bought the damn car from you all.”

                          They quickly gave me over to a lovely young lady working there who have me like a $5 oil change to boot. Nasty old dude tried to come up to me after they changed the oil and were bringing back the car to me to tell me that they weren’t doing an oil change for $5 (bla bla bla) and were going to charge me full price on it. The lady who’d helped me and the SM were in the waiting room, and I just waved them over and they walked him off together like doctors dealing with a psych patient. Got my oil change for that $5. 😛

                          Kathryn FortunatoKathryn Fortunato

                            BTW, Eric, you could’ve called the guy “Tired and Emotional.”


                              Glad to see Eric treated as a member of the “public”. It’s a great positive lesson.

                              Two things.

                              One. I’ve owned a lot of Hondas, starting in 1965 with a motorcycle. Honda has become increasing arrogant, and arrogance is a very unproductive state of mind. Toyota should buy Honda, straighten them out, and rebrand.

                              Two. It’s been a while since being a student of VW’s early success in the USA (Germany was unpopular after WWII). So how to sell all those Beetles in the USA. The sales formula included excellent dealerships. And this excellence was demanded and enforced by dealer performance auditors that showed up frequently to make sure things are going well. Piss off a customer and pay the price.

                              I expect Honda will get much worse than better over the next 10 years.

                              The history of the British motorcycle industry just repeats itself over and over. Only the name changes.

                              Kathryn FortunatoKathryn Fortunato

                                “The sales formula included excellent dealerships. And this excellence was demanded and enforced by dealer performance auditors that showed up frequently to make sure things are going well.”

                                Funny how horrendous VW dealerships are now. I hope that the diesel scam teaches the dealers some lessons about humility as much as it does VW itself.

                                Nankumar SeewdatNankumar Seewdat

                                  This is exactly why I avoid taking my cars to the dealerships, I hate dealing with the service advisers. The parts people at my local Toyota dealership are very nice however. I had one bad experience at the dealership (The vehicle had to go there or else I would have done it my self), my mom was driving our Toyota Venza when the check engine light along with a few other lights came on so she panicked. I was not around so I told her to take it to the dealership (it’s very close to her work place). They scanned it free of charge and diagnosed it to be an oxygen sensor (sensor 2 bank 1 i believe) and reset the code, they said it was normal for those venzas to do that but if it comes back on again bring it in. Ok i was happy at the fact that they did it for free and withing a reasonable time. Came back on a few days later, so i took it myself and the service adviser was telling me i would have to pay a $100 diagnostic fee, i said they already scanned the code two days ago so they already know what the code is, they don’t need to diagnose anything. Even to that it won’t take long to plug in the scanner. He proceeds to tell me that the code tells the techs what is bad but not where to look, i said if the code points to the specific oxygen sensor, would you go looking in the oil pan for it? He does not reply but continues to insist that I would need to pay the $100 diagnostic fee. I asked to speak to the manager and after half an hour of talking I got the oxygen sensor replaced at a discount. Funny story is i also got a job from that, but I quit after a week because i hated the managers and advisers there. Anyways, that is why i really appreciate what Eric does to help people like me out.

                                  Steve JohnsonSteve Johnson

                                    Sounds like another case of lighter smaller cheaper. You go in for one safety issue and find another, Have you ever had a hood fly up in your face while going down the highway?Why would they repair one safety issue and let you drive away with another? while making it look like your to blame.HMMMMMM wonder how many more plastic hood latches are failing? It would be definately in there best interest to handle a safety issue quickly, sometimes smart business practices pay off. I would let the manager or local rep at least know how you were treated. Successful bussiness’s only thrive from good customer service! NOT letting customers leave with safety issues.

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