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Lexus dealerships' questionable practices

enigma2enigma2 Posts: 3
edited May 2 in Lexus
I've discovered that Lexus dealerships in several states now do an unauthorized checkup of the entire car when you bring the car in to the service department for ANYTHING. They don't ask you if you want this checkup. They then give you a list of things that supposedly need to be fixed quickly. We've been told several times that it's too dangerous to drive the cars out of the dealership without having some of the problems fixed. In every case when this has occurred, an independent garage has told us that none of the so-called problems existed.

I've heard that this MAY be a situation wherein the service writer and the mechanic receive a portion of the money that they can talk the customer into doing.

Is this unauthorized checkup legal? I don't think so.

Members of my family will never take our Lexuses to a dealership for anything unless it is absolutely necessary. We take our cars to independent garages where we trust the honesty of the owner and his employees.

Comments

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You should understand that Lexus dealers have a bit of an unusual problem.

    The clear majority of them are single marque dealers, limiting their service "base" pretty severely, and the product seems to be reliable in the extreme.

    So the "check-up" procedure and the following HARD SELL has become the norm.

    Plus the routine service jobs are often done by McD "flipper" graduates in order to maximize profits.
  • enigma2enigma2 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the information. We suspected what you confirmed. BTW, What are "McD 'flipper' graduates?"

    We also find that you have to keep a "step ahead" of the dealerships in terms of their demanding information that could cause identity theft. For example, an employee of one dealership in Florida demands a copy of your title and driver's license before he will give you a price quotation or take an order for a new key for your Lexus.

    An employee in Maryland demanded a customer's social security number in addition to the driver's license before he would accept a check. When it was reported to the dealership's manager, he dismissed the seriousness of the problem "because this is a LEXUS dealership."

    As for the unauthorized "check-ups," an attorney has told me that a dealership does not have carte blanche to do whatever he wants without an owner's permission. In one case, unauthorized work was done.

    I've enjoyed my Lexus and the feelings are the same with other members of my family who own a Lexus. But none of us will ever own another Lexus because of the dealerships who seem to take a "we'll do what we want with your Lexus." In the meantime, we never go to a Lexus dealership unless it is absolutely necessary---such as getting a new master key. We have also reported the questionable behavior to appropriate authorities.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    1. McDonalds hamburger "flipper".
    2. I wouldn't want ANY dealer to be making new keys without confirming ownership, title plus ID.
    3. Size of the check..?? Out of town check writer..?? In any case asking for a SSN seems a bit overboard.

    I'd be the last to defend what appears to be the standard "rip-off" practice of a dealer, Lexus or otherwise, but it seems to me that a lot of what they do isn't so much illegal but a waste of my time and theirs.

    I don't often use a dealer for service but when I do I make it plain in writing on the service writeup that NOTHING beyond what was authorized is to be done absent my permission in writing.

    Even at that I once had an extraordinary level of extra work done but managed to get the extra charges cancelled, over $700.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...none of us will ever own another Lexus.."

    Why punish yourself...??

    And where will you "go" to purchase an upscale highly reliable car in the Lexus class and not encounter the very same practice...??

    Sorry, I simply do not know of a marque that outclasses a Lexus, nor even close..!!
  • gbjerkegbjerke Posts: 158
    I suspect Lexus (corporate) would not be happy with dealerships that tried to sell bogus services.
    Lexus was built on incredible customer service and I think they would "spank some fingers" on dealerships that followed such a practice.
    To the original poster, I'd write Lexus to complain about such tactics.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    These "practices" have been going on since at least '92 and are fairly common even for "well-to-do" dealers so I suspect that Lexus corporate is very well aware of their dealer shadiness.

    Besides which most states have laws that protect the dealers from the level of manufacturer oversight/control that would be required.
  • gbjerkegbjerke Posts: 158
    Guess I have been lucky.
    Am on my 4th Lexus and have never experienced this "upselling" bit and this involves three Chicago suburban dealerships...ya know Chicagoland, where all the politicians are honest and upstanding!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Amazing...you're telling us that no dealer tried to sell you a new timing belt at 60,000 miles instead of the factory recommended 90K..??
  • gbjerkegbjerke Posts: 158
    I've never hit that mileage.
    30-40k is about it. Usually every 3 years-- '92 SC; '95 LS (then a try at a '98 Caddy STS and an '01 Chrysler 300M) then to an '05 ES and now the '09 ES.
    All the dealers have done is the oil change every 5k miles but there has never been a push for anything else.
  • Since there are only two posters to this topic I think it's clear that nearly all Lexus dealers take good care of their clients. Lexus has set the benchmark for Customer Service that other manufacturers would be wise to model after. At my dealership we have people that drive from other STATES to come to our service department because they love the way they are taken care of. Service writers / departments are not allowed to do work if it's not authorized just as it would be at an independent mechanic. It's a slam dunk to get out fo the bill if the work wasn't authorized. The advantage of having service done at a dealership with Certified Lexus Technicians is that should you have a problem down the road, when the car is out of factory warranty, if your work was done by an Lexus Technician at a Lexus dealership, Lexus will be more likely to "step up" and help if needed because they know the work was done right. My mother always told me that if you pay a little more for quality you usually don't get dissapointed.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...only two posters...its clear..nearly all Lexus dealers take good care.."

    I sure am glad the FDA doesn't use such a small sampling to certify new drugs..

    Or maybe MOST Lexus owners NEVER use Lexus service because of the EXPENSE involved and/or because the product simply isn't subject to failures.

    If you need more input just look around at the number of Lexus owners that go to a nearby Toyota, or even third parties, for routine service.

    Certified Lexus Technicians are expensive to employ and therefore unwise to use to perform routine/repetitive scheduled maintenance procedures.
  • I think it's a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. Is it more expensive at the dealership - sure it is. Most Lexus owners like the amenities provided to them when they service. Flat screen tv's, Starbucks coffee, snacks, wifi, Lexus loaner vehicles. And, for an oil change for example, you're already paying a third party a certain amount so it's only a difference of maybe $40 bucks more to do it at the dealership.

    Then one should consider that at some point you're going to sell the vehicle. It WILL command a higher price if there is a National Service History record for the car. It could mean a difference of $1000, $2000, $3,000. You could get a lot of services for that amount. And while it's only my opinion to me it seems short sighted.

    You are also right that Lexus Technicians are expensive to employ. But to say that is somehow unwise is just silly. You'd rather have an underpaid, less trained individual doing the work? That's like saying 'No, I don't want the Duke University PHd in brain tumors with 20 years of experience doing the surgery, give me that much cheaper new grad!' Or do you want the home builder known for quality to build your custom home or do you want the cheapie guy who cuts corners?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..You'd rather have an underpaid, less trained individual do the work.."

    No, NEVER..

    But the bare facts are that I'm more likely to find that well trained mechanic/technician over at Toyota where the "installed base" results in enough service business to justify/warrant retaining more expensive help.

    The Lexus dealers in this region seem to provide a good training ground for workers but once they become well trained enough to justify, demand, the appropriate wage, off they go to Toyota, etc.
  • artbcpaartbcpa Posts: 4
    I came across this forum by chance, but didn't want to let the statement pass that there are only two people complaining about their Lexus dealerships. I currently own my fourth Lexus and have found a total deterioration of the Lexus standard in their dealerships. I have several friends who also own Lexus and they have had the same problems as the prior posters. The quality of the cars is still terrific, but the dealerships (and I am talking about more than just one) now act more like Chevy dealerships than Lexus. Their service departments regularly recommend doing work that is unnecessary and the quality of the work performed is no longer what we expect from a luxury car dealership. I even faced high pressure tactics from their sales manager when I bought my last Lexus. It is far too widespread not to be condoned by at least some of Lexus' management. The question is what to do. The product is still among the finest autos made, but is the premium price worth it, if the service is no longer there?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    What we have seen since ~1991 is the gradual "Americanization" of Lexus Stealerships.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's avoid the name-calling, please.

    To all: I hope you will consider visiting our Dealer Ratings & Reviews section where you can submit reviews of your exact experiences where others will be able to easily look them up.

    Good luck to all.
  • carolinabobcarolinabob Posts: 492
    I have noticed that ALL dealerships, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, etc. try to sell services above the factory recommended. Right now I own the above three (thinking about a Lexus) and the dealerships always try to push their recommended services at the normal service intervals. E.G. at 15,000 miles Toyota recommends oil and filter change and wheel rotation. Dealer recommends another $250 worth of services, such as injector cleaner.
    Of course, Lexus starts with charging $90 for the $35 Toyota oil and filter change. Do what the owner's manual calls for and it the service department says it needs something more, tell them to write it up as a warranty item. :)
  • faellaffaellaf Posts: 6
    I recently returned my leased '06 ES330 to the selling dealership, choosing to lease another brand. I called to make an appointment for the inspection and was told to call a week before the requested turn it date, I did that and when I arrived at the dealer, I was told that the "inspection" would be done in a week or so. As I was leaving town the following week (2 month trip), I had no choice but to leave the vehicle. 3 weeks later I received a bill from LFS for 4 new tires, with a copy of the inspection report saying the tread was down to 2/32--1/32 below required tread. I had the car serviced by the dealer 2 months prior and the report listed all tires had 5/32 tread. In that 2 month period I put on 1800 miles and, overall, the car's mileage was 19,150--for 38 months! Sounds like a scam to me. I plan to call LFS and dispute the bill. If that fails, I'll file a formal complaint with the AG's office. I've kept the "service" reports which will prove mileage tread. Any suggestions?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, STOP delaying.........!!!!
  • faellaffaellaf Posts: 6
    Thanks for the advice. I just received the "bill" in NY yesterday (mail forwarded from Las Vegas take 8-10 days). As I mentioned, I will give them the chance to retract the charges tomorrow. If that fails, I have the complaint forms ready to be sent to NV AG's office. Am also awaiting advice from an Las Vegas attorney (acquaintance) on the best way to proceed without legal representation.
  • faellaffaellaf Posts: 6
    Posting a followup on my complaint against Lexus. Called LFS and explained why I felt the vehicle inspection was "fraudulent" and what proof I had to back it up. LFS rep. agreed that the wear on the tires was "not possible" and that they would cancel the billling (including the dent repair charge). I followed up with a letter to LFS detailing our conversation and am waiting for a notice that the billing has been cancelled. Still feel the dealer/inspector are involved in playing games like this.
  • MikeMike Posts: 13
    Just wondering if it is possible to get our ES350 warranty work done at a Toyota dealer. We live about 70 miles from a Lexus dealer. This seems like it will not be a major issue. The car seems quite bullet proof, but, I need a programming adjustment for the door lock/unlock logic. Thanks,

    Mike
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    My father and I have leased vehicles from Infiniti, Acura, and Merecedes so when it comes to leasing luxury vehicles we are knowledgeable and know how the leasing works; I developed a bad back problem and wanted to lease a Lexus because they have really comfortable rides and seats; I'm not going to name names but two seperate Lexus dealers in eastern PA have questionable and dishonest leasing practices; they like to play around with numbers and really screw the customer over; with all our previous luxury leases we typically put about 2-3k down and pay around 53-54% of the list price at the end of a 3-4 year lease; any more % of the total MSRP of that would devoid the purpose of leasing and you would finance; both Lexus dealers wanted us to pay almost 75% of the list price at the end of a 3 year lease and told us our $3000 down payment wouldn't be considered part of the total leasing payment; I have never heard of something more ridiculous in my life; none of the other luxury automakers pulled this on us and our down payment was really treated like play money that went down the toilet in the eyes of both lexus dealers; when I finally got down to a monthly payment that would be about 54% of the list MRSP at the end of the lease the sales women pulled the crap that "oh that doesn't include taxes/titles/interest etc and by the time they were done the monthly payment went up almost $80 dollars more a month and ended up being 63% of the list msrp at the end of the lease;

    I don't know if anyone else who has leased a lexus has had this problem but it is very dishonest and its good I'm on the ball and watch when the salesman try to throw numbers around real quick to try and confuse you; I was so shocked and amazed at what I witnessed that I couldn't believe it; lexus makes really nice products but they are no better than mercedes or infiniti that I'm gonna pay 2/3 the price of a vehicle at the end of a lease; that devoids the purpose of leasing a vehicle rather than financing it

    Let this be a lesson to make sure you shop around when leasing or buying a vehicle because the deception/dishonesty at some dealerships are just staggering; I will admit there have been a few dealers who are very honest and I would do business with again
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Throughout the US the automotive dealers assoc. has been VERY sucessful in getting the states to pass laws protecting them from oversight, control, by the manufacturers.

    That's moreso why the dealers can get away with such activity than the manufacturers setting these policies.
This discussion has been closed.