The Unopened Door

P1150671I am not one to rant too often.  I try to live my life in as calm of a manner as possible.  If there is something that riles me up I try to see all sides of the issue and not jump to conclusions.  I live my life by giving others the benefit of the doubt.  In other words I like to  believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when I have the possibility of doing either.

Recently I had some minor car issues.   Minor to me but major to my husband.  One Sunday we went to church and as usual went to our favorite local Chinese/Japanese restaurant (shout out to The Lantern) for lunch.  Since I drove my car I hopped out and had fob in hand ready to lock her all up.  My husband was not getting out of the car quickly enough for me and I just kind of looked at him like ” what’s going on?”

Upon closer investigation I realized that his door would not open.  I reclicked the clicker to make sure it was unlocked.  No luck.  We had had this happen before and had the mechanism replaced as the door would open from the outside but not the inside.  I circled around the car and proceeded to open the door for him from the outside.

Wrong.  It would not open from either the inside OR the outside.  After numerous tries I was convinced that it was not going to open with my superpowers so I encouraged him to climb across the console to come out the driver’s side.   Not easy in a compact car for a 6 foot 2 man but I will spare you the details.

Fast forward to the next day .   A call was made, car dropped off at dealership where we have had work done before.  Actually the lock mechanism was replaced there only 6 months earlier.   We always ask for an estimate before work is done.   My husband texted me and told me he was going to come get me and we were going to go pick up the car.  Could it be ready already???

Estimate was for $1600 because “they had to take the door panel off”.   Chris refused and said we would seek other options.   Another call made to another local business and they said they could fit us in during the week .   Estimate given:  $260.00    Actual final cost:  $282.63

Door functions and a new car repair/service place is found.

I wrote a letter to the dealership and attached a copy of the actual invoice we paid.   That was 4 weeks ago.  No response received.  Do I send a copy to the company officials to let them know of our experience or do I let it die at the local level?   What would you do?



  1. Going to the manufacturer isn’t going to do much for you , especially since you already had the repair completed elsewhere. If my dealership received that letter, most certainly you would have received a call from the service or general manager along with some sort of future offer to win back your business. Sounds like your dealership has a poor customer service program, or none at all. If anything, I would use social media to spread the word about your experience. Do they have a google+ or facebook page or a BBB you can log a complaint at? Or even Yelp. Those online review sites hurt. LOL

    • Another thing -was it the same part that had failed and been replaced earlier? Email me the details – manufacturer, date of repair(s), part # if you have it. I can probably figure out what kind of parts warranty it was supposed to have.

      • Oh–you are so sweet! It isn’t that big of a deal- and I doubt I have the parts number anyway. It was just one of those things….made a good blog post with a lot of good suggestions coming out!!!

    • I think it is just a poor customer service issue and one that surprised me —the former owners were on top of stuff. I did not ask for a response in the letter but the “right”thing for them to do in my mind was to at least send me a letter saying “our bad”. It’s okay—-I just needed to vent a bit. 🙂

  2. Its nice to offer the benefit of the doubt. Many dealerships go out of their way for customers. When my parents bought a car their dealership came to their home and picked up the van seats for the old car and then came back and programmed their garage door opener when they had issues. It appears your dealership needs customer service improvement. I would help them improve, bring them more customers, and keep them in business by sending a letter to headquarters asking them to explain the difference in cost and why your initial letter was ignored by the dealership. I would use social media 4weeksnorespons#dealership name and write a yelp review letting people know how the problem was ultimately resolved. Dealerships are often higher than a mechanic but the difference with your repair was absorbent.

    No video of the the 6 foot 2 mans climb over? Really? For heaves sake Bloggers live for those moments!!

    • I know—-I should have videoed him but he was not too happy at that point!!! I am weighing what everyone says here but I did not specifically ask for an answer. I just gave them the facts and said I was really disappointed. So there was no request from me for them to follow up —but in my silliness I assumed that they would respond. Silly me.

  3. First of all-where did you end up going because I need to go there, too! The first time I went to get my oil changed at the local dealership, the service manager printed out my service history and even pointed out where the dealership in Minnesota had done work twice within a few thousand miles that only needed to be done once within 40,000 so I called and got my money back. I would agree with My Odd Family that since they are ignoring you, you could send them a direct Tweet. Otherwise, you could call the manager or just take it to corporate and send them a note saying you were ignored at the local level.

    • Thanks, Jeni—I will message you who it was. I suspect it might even be where you go and if you had a good experience I am really happy!!!!! 🙂 I am not into blasting someone or getting someone in trouble but the discrepancy in cost was too much to not think something was funny! I did not specifically ask for a response–just stated the case, enclosed the invoice we paid and told them we would not be coming back there for service. So I can not expect them to answer if I did not ask them to –but still—good customer service would have at least called. 🙂

  4. I would say if you asked for a response and didn’t get one, either contact them by phone or email and ask once more. If you don’t get a response after that, send copies of what you sent to the dealer to corporate. They need to know both that you got no response and that their local dealer gave you such an insane quote that was resolved much less expensively later.

    • I did not specifically ask for a response but in my mind if you got a letter with that info in it and all the contact info of the letter writer I would think you would follow up. I am wrong on that. 🙂 And it is fine. I just know that we wont’ go there again. And I would not recommend them to anyone but I am not in the blazing business either. I always try to give folks the benefit of the doubt–sometimes to a fault. 🙂

  5. I’d let it go. You got a great repair/service place out of the whole deal. BUT I am just coming off a not being treated well deal with a Doctor so I might just be feeling a bit defeated and feeling like it isn’t worth the lost energy. I used to think I could just vote with my feet and walk but it seems that very few businesses/business people care much anymore. I just find someone else that is more pleasant to deal with and is happy to have me. Finding someone else is exhausting too though.

    • That is totally understandable. I am not a rabble rouser, usually –unless it involves injustice with my kids or husband! I wrote the letter and said what I needed to say to them. If anyone asks me for a recommendation I will tell them the story. Hard for me to blast someone even if they deserve it. 🙂 sorry about your doctor deal–it does get tiring.

  6. Allison Spruill says:

    I have no idea what I would do, but these things usually get me fired up as well! I would share with area friends and advise them not to go to the dealer and recommend the more affordable/honest repair shop.

  7. I would definitely notify the next level in the company. That’s the kind of thing they should know about. If they don’t respond, I would drop it. Personally, I’m the kind of person that avoids mechanics as much as possible. I would have managed to fix it myself. I hate to admit this, but I rather enjoy working on my cars. I learn something new with each repair 🙂

  8. I will add though, congratulations on finding the way better price! Ashley and I never pay full price, the $1600 would never work for us, either

  9. cynthia warner says:

    That’s The KinD Of Thing That Fires Me Up Too! I’d Probably Let It Go With The Dealership But DefInately Put The Word Out About Their Terrible Customer Service And Questionable Pricing.

  10. The price difference is CRAZY. I’d be mad, too. We had a locking issue with our van and it was supposedly repaired by the dealer, but the door still does not lock with the fob. And then we had to return because there were issues with the back latch. Well, then that would be X more dollars and we thought they had looked at that the first time. I let Randy deal with it and his deal with it was not to deal with it.

    Oh, the stories Randy could tell you about mechanics and dealers since he works with them daily in his job as an automotive machinist…

  11. lindamariagomez says:

    I like to think most people are honest. Maybe the quote was a mistake..maybe the service person looking at it was new and didn’t know the door panel didn’t have to come off or just quoted his time really high…maybe the letter ended up with a secretary that didn’t forward it like she should…but maybe not. Maybe the service department does over charge people and the next person that goes in doesn’t have a husband who says forget it and then ends up paying money they don’t have because they need that car for work. So..I would try again…not for yourself but for the next person..or lots of other people. If it was a mistake they need to figure out why so they don’t lose other customers or over charge. You are a great writer and work on computer..maybe an email..and cc everyone you can find from that dealership. I’d love to know the final on this. Good luck!

    • I like to think the best of everyone, too. I like to believe that people are honest in their business dealings and I am definitely the one who gives more than the benefit of the doubt. But in this case I am baffled at the huge discrepancy and that is what the issue is. I am appreciate every one weighing in with their ideas and suggestions!!!! And thanks for the sweet compliments!!!

  12. By all means notify the manufacturer! The dealership, though likely locally owned, is a representative of the manufacturer and if they are gouging the car owners, how many people are going to become repeat buyers of that make and/or model? It definitely reflects poorly on the parent company and they will or should send them a letter of concern, as well as a form letter to you expressing their regrets yada, yada, yada… Your only satisfaction will be the possible prevention another owner(s) of said vehicle(s) from being taken for a ride. (Pun intended.) My personal feeling is, that unless, it is a warranty repair or one of those repairs that only the dealer can do,(don’t you hate those?) NEVER go to the dealership for anything. They are generally bandits and most likely laugh behind your back as you ride off into the sunset..

  13. I’m just glad you didnt go with the first place….ouch!

  14. Wow! That’s an amazing difference. If I were you, I’d be ranting, as well. I was once so frustrated with my cell phone service that I wrote a post I called “Verizon Wireless is the Devil.” I know, a bit over the top. But I had just cause, I assure you.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  15. Saundra Shultz says:

    Send a copy to the company officials. They need to know that one of their dealerships is gouging their customers. That will lose many sales for the company.

  16. That is an insane price difference!! I think in these kinds of cases where you find a better, cheaper and more honest option: word of mouth is the best measure. Others surely have had a similar experience at that dealer and since people talk: world will spread. they won’t last long if they try to swindle customers like that.

    • I agree. If it had been a couple hundred bucks I probably would not have been so aghast. I imagine it is something about that particular location or service manager or something but good grief!!!

  17. My vote goes for writing on to corporate. Lets review what you said earlier; the locking mechanism was replaced 6 months ago and now just a short time later they want to charge you how much??? There should have been some type of warranty on their previous work for such a short time…and yes, they should have at least called in response to your letter as well as given you a price reduction. I had a similar situation a few years ago, so wrote a letter to corporate, cc’d the service and general manager, owner, etc., and ended up receiving a call from owner of dealership. If we don’t speak up for what we think if right, who will? Corporate needs to know what these dealerships are charging and how they are gouging the customer.

  18. It’s really a shame how much car dealers charge for certain repairs – it’s always a good idea to shop around!!! A trustworthy mechanic is worth his weight in gold, that’s for sure. Glad you were able to get everything fixed without breaking the bank.

    • I totally agree with you. We had the best mechanic for 9 years in NC—-they were fair and honest and always did what they said they would do. I miss them!!!!

  19. This is always such a dilemma. I had something similar happen at my car dealership, where I have the free oil changes for life thing. The next time I took the car in for (just) an oil change, they did their usual inspection and identified 4,572 things that needed attention. I thanked them for letting me know and politely informed the manager that I would have them done elsewhere, and I explained why. I doubt it made a difference but I felt like I’d done all I could.

    • I think that was wise. Only 4,572 things???? I don’t mind the occasional up sell if it needed but when the intention is to sell as many things as possible to the unsuspecting consumer is ridiculous! Thanks for stopping by—I really appreciate it!!!

  20. I can’t believe the difference in costs! Also, I’m curious who it was? I can’t believe the dealership hasn’t had any response to you yet! Having good costumer service is the only way a car dealership stays in business in mind. If there is some type of regional office I would go there next? And then after that I’d probably just let it drop.

    • Val, I am amazed at the difference in cost, too. If it was a couple of hundred dollars i would not have thought quite as much about it. Of course they had to take the door panel off—big deal! So did the other guys! 🙂 I guess I did not specifically ask for a response (but provided all my info in the letter) but to me a good customer service response would have been a quick email saying–hey—we are sorry. I am not a rabble rouser but this raised my ire!!!

  21. Don’t get me started on dealerships. I always go somewhere else unless it’s on warrenty. I don’t think a letter will make any difference. I’m glad your husband refused to pay the over priced bill.

  22. That’s insane! I’m glad you found a better, more digestible, solution!

  23. I wouldn’t waste anymore of my time on that dealership. Just be grateful you found a better place to go! I wouldn’t have thought the dealership would have been cheaper. This makes me feel better that we don’t go to the dealership for our car repairs–there are closer places which are more convenient so we go there.

    • We have never really used dealerships before but when you move sometimes it is difficult to get recommendations on the best places for everything. Since I had a kind of car that there was no dealership for we took it to the closest fit====It worked fine until they changed owners.

  24. heykristimiller says:

    Even though you’ve already taken care of it, I would totally let corporate know. They need to be aware of how they are being represented to the public!

  25. Absolutely complain! Think of the numerous other people this dealership has been defrauding. There are more than you and each one of the other victims realize.

  26. Beth Ann, I’m with the majority of your readers – complain! Maybe give a call to the general manager of the dealership and explain to him the situation and why you will never use that dealership again. Chances are he never saw the first letter. Hey, you may even get a free oil change out of it, although at what price???

  27. I don’t know what make car you have, but most companies want to know how their dealerships are doing, usually sending follow-up surveys. Since the service wasn’t done there, and they didn’t bother to follow up, I would probably take it to the next level. That could not have been easy for Chris to get out of there. Did you get any new Chrisisms that day? 😉

    • 🙂 I might have gotten some Chrisisms that day but not all of them are suitable for publication. 🙂 Plus he said he is going to start doing more positive Chrisisms—the ones that day would not have been positive. 🙂

  28. i read this the other day on my phone but couldn’t comment. I hate when dealerships do this. They are forever trying to take advantage and rip off people. Happened to me at Jeep and BMW and recently to my mom at Toyota. Sadly I think it will keep happening, especially if people like me continue to do nothing. I say keep fighting if you can. You may not get any resolution but by not doing anything you definitely wont… And who knows, you may end up sparing a person from paying thousands in repairs they don’t need (and twitter, I am sure, will work wonders)

    • Yea—I am so not a confrontational person except when it comes to my kids or my hubby. Then I will fight to the death. It just makes me sad that people get taken advantage of on a daily basis and there is no reason for it. And yes–if I could spare one person from getting ripped off it is worth it.

  29. Wow! What a price disparity! Are they on yelp or something? A letter to the dealership is a good move. But if their customer service is “under-developed,” it might not go anywhere. I hope they will not have too many victims.

  30. Every time I have had my vehicle serviced at the auto dealership, the parent company (Ford/Jeep, etc.) have always followed up with a call to see how we felt about the service. I thought this was pretty standard across the board. Maybe you didn’t receive a call because your vehicle was only in for an estimate? But I would definitely give the parent company a call because they have lost a customer now. I would write letters (texts, emails?) to both the dealership and the parent company letting them know you are not satisfied and you are taking your business elsewhere. This is the only way companies can get better, if they know about their failings. If they don’t care to react, then they weren’t worthy of your business in the first place and you should know this too.

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