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Customer Service: The good, the bad and the ugly!

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  • Two good tales:

    1) My dad and I were working on something back in the 80s, and an old Craftsman rachet wrench had the ratchet mechanism fail. It was one of the really old ones that ou flipped over to get it to ratchet the other way. I told dad he ought to return it to sears, and he refused. When I asked him why, he said, "I don't think they had that policy when you grandfather bought this ting back in the 20s."

    2) When I lived in GA, a friend of mine returned a wrench to the local Sears for replacement. While there, he noticed a 1 1/2" drive socket wrench. He told the salesman that he'd never have to replace that one. The salesman said he had replaced one just like it a few days before.

    Apparently, this man bought some property in northern GA that had some old mining equipment, and was trying to remove some of it. He put his 1 1/2" drive socket wrench on it and started heaving. The bolt wouldn't budge.

    He put a 12 foot length of pipe over the wrench handle and started heaving. The bolt wouldn't budge.

    He chained his K10 Blazer to the 12 foot pipe and carefully tensioned the chain, and hit the gas. Te bolt wouldn't budge.

    But the wrench broke and Sears replaced it.

    Turboshadow
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    I spent almost 20 years in the tool business and I can tell you that the majority of tools that break are strictly due to abuse.

    And, usually they guys who break the most tools are the worst mechanics!
  • Yup that is true. The entire time I ran my shop I can only think of four hand tools that actualy broke. Two were ratchets that had the ratchet part snap and both were over 20 years old.The just broke from age and being used many times a day.

    One was a open ended wrench that had one end snap off. It snapped off because someone was using it locked up with two other wrenches to pry on something.

    The last one that broke was a socket that had been hammered onto a damaged bolt and ended up spliting down the side from the force of the hammer.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,251
    I broke a screwdriver trying to pry loose the brake drum on a 1961 Chev beater car (in 1979). Sears guy laughed when I asked if it was still warrantied because I was misusing it--he said pick whatever size off the rack you want to replace it with. I picked an even larger sized one. They kept a happier customer because of their approach.

    I did cut up my Sears card over poor paint quality later.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    " I spent almost 20 years in the tool business and I can tell you that the majority of tools that break are strictly due to abuse. "

    Mine must be the exception. I have a fairly large Craftsman socket set and the 1/2 inch rachet has broken twice on me, most recently just last week. Craftsman quality isn't what it used to be, their lawn mowers are junk.

    But Craftsman really ticked me off when they changed the battery charger socket for the batteries used in their power drills. The charger went and I couldn't find a new one, so with both batteries dead, the whole thing was worthless. I just bought a new cordless power drill set. Think I bought a Craftsman?
  • Craftsman quality isn't what it used to be, their lawn mowers are junk.

    They have off-shored most of their tools. I am NOT saying that alone would lower the quality of the tools. However, they are using a cheaper quality of steel and that WILL make a difference over time.

    I bought one of their oursourced pipe wrenches a few years back for a meeting. I was twisting the think in my hand and the hook jaw broke off ... no need for destructive testing.

    Besides, the chairman of Sears Holding views himself as the next Warren Buffet and is unconcerned that his two brands - Sears and K-Mart - have declining sales month over month.
  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    ...And, usually they guys who break the most tools are the worst mechanics!

    isell,

    I agree.

    Aren't these the guys that work by the motto:

    "I COULDA HAVE FIXED THE DANG THING IF I HAD A BIGGER HAMMER"?

    Yeah, I've met a couple of these guys too.

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    I bought one of their oursourced pipe wrenches a few years back for a meeting.

    A management/union meeting perhaps?
  • From the archives of Wikipedia. A car company with a real guarantee:

    In 1920, XXXXXX first selected independent local dealers as the best way to take his products to market. He insisted that all sellers of his products must give the consumer the best in parts, service, and satisfaction. Always sensitive to consumers, his products were often less expensive than other name brands, but were guaranteed. XXXXXXXX "money back guarantee" paved the way for some of today's most outstanding sales policies.

    Any idea who this car manufacturer was?
  • I bought one of their oursourced pipe wrenches a few years back for a meeting.

    A management/union meeting perhaps?


    I only work in non-union shops - either as a laborer or a manager. Life is too short for all that nonsense.

    When I was in the tool business, we purchased EVERY tool that hit the market.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    It was a joke, not a jab at unions. I was just wondering what kind of meeting you might have been going to that required you to take a pipe wrench. ;)
  • Went to the dealership to get my first 5000 mile oil change. I made a Saturday appointment and let them know I had some funny creaking, groaning noises. They seemed to think the brakes were the cause. They told me it was b/c the pads were now made with more metal than asbestos. Also, I wanted someone to teach me how to put the gas cap on so the check fuel cap wouldn't come on. They said I needed to watch the line from the car to the cap and make sure it didn't get pinched. The receptionist was very amiable.

    They had free drinks, chocolate covered donuts, and HG tv with Rachel Ray. However, even after moving seats twice, I still had a clear view of the men's room each time the door opened. And boy howdy did those guys ever have to visit the rest room. Must have been the coffee.

    The really bad news is that the dreaded dash rattle started-up three days later. Don't know if there is any cause/effect relationship. Other than that, I can't complain.

    P.S. The oil change was free, but if I had paid, it would have been only $23.00. Cheaper than Wally World!
  • dougb10dougb10 Burlington, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 185
    Some years ago, we had a cottage on a remote lake in Ontario. It was water-access only...parked the car at the marina for a 5 mile boat ride to the cottage, One afternoon I returned to go home. My '93 Bonneville was a leased company car. The key would not go into the ignition, no matter how hard I wiggled the steering wheel or the gear shift. A call to the 1-800 car leasing phone line brought a tow truck two hours later.
    I should have realized this was going to be an adventure...the tow truck door said "Bob's Bait Shop and Towing".
    "Gomer" took out a huge pair of vice-grips and started hammering the key into the ignition. A few minutes later. the broken key and various parts of the steering column were all over the floor.
    In order to tow the Bonneville, which was facing forward into a rocky cliff, he had to move it backwards so the front end could be lifted. He climbed under the rear of the car, attached a chain and winched it backwards.
    Half way to the GM dealer (about two hours drive), "Gomer" (looking in his side view mirror) asked me if the Bonneville had four wheel steering. We stopped and I noticed the left rear wheel was turned in at a crazy angle...obviously he had attached the chain to a tie rod and bent something seriously out of whack.
    The end result...."Gomer" had to pay about $600 to fix everything. This has to be a very funny experience...not so much at the time though.

    Doug
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,138
    I agree about putting the best tires on the rear, but if you rotate them regularly, they stay even enough that it doesn't matter. If you don't rotate them, many suspension setups will cause the tires to cup and they'll begin making a lot of noise.
  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    ..."Gomer" took out a huge pair of vice-grips and started hammering the key into the ignition...

    At about this time I would have taken my 16 oz. ball-peen out of the trunk and worked on Gomer a little bit. Obviously using your hands on a brilliant mind like this would have been a total waste of time and you would have surely hurt your hands.

    As I've said before, some mechanics work by the motto:

    SOMETIMES YOU NEED A BIGGER HAMMER

    When anybody brings a pair of vise-grips to work on anything on the interior of a car LOOK OUT !!!

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • dougb10dougb10 Burlington, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 185
    "Gomer" was half my age and outweighed me by 50 pounds.
    The only thing that kept me from going nuts, was that this was a company car and ultimately someone else was going to get the bill. He wasn't worth going to jail over.

    Doug
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    OK. I'm hooked. How does the story turn out?
  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    "Gomer" was half my age and outweighed me by 50 pounds.

    EXCUSES, EXCUSES !!!!

    He wasn't worth going to jail over.

    OK, you have a point there.

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    Took my car in for service today, slightly warped rotors and they were machined to true them up with no problems.

    While there I met an elderly gentleman who brought his car in for service also. Got to talking and he told me his Check Engine Light came on yesterday so that’s why he was there. Pretty soon after our discussion the Service Advisor informs him that he needs an engine sensor that talks to the transmission and it will cost him close to $300 plus a $90 diagnostic fee. He goes on to say that his car is 3 months over the warranty period but it has half the mileage of the warranty period. I told him to go in there and tell them that they should pick up the bill for this or at the very least pay some of the cost. He refused saying, “it’s out of warranty I don’t have a leg to stand on”. I tried to convince him that he did but he refused. I even offered to talk to them on his behalf but he was adamantly against this.

    In my opinion, given the above circumstances, the dealer (who ultimately would pass it on to the mfg.) should have picked up the tab for the repair without even being asked.

    Since the dealer wasn’t approached with this issue I don’t know what they would have done if they were.

    I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve bought from the wrong guy. I know I can take it to any authorized dealer for service and I will if I have to.

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    But when I am 100 miles over warranty miles I can't get coverage. Why should being 3 months over the warranty interval not work the same way?

    tidester, host
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding where you're coming from, but why should the dealer pick up the tab?

    I can understand that the dealer might want to apply to some goodwill to the situation in view of the mileage, but I don't see that there's any obligation. Also, I don't believe that it can be taken for granted that the manufacturer would reimburse the dealer.

    How about if time and mileage were reversed? If you have a 3/36 and you rack up 36K in nine months, then something fails a couple of months after that, should the dealer pick up the tab also?

    Just like you agree to pay $x @ month for 36 months, at which time your obligation is paid, the manufacturer agrees to warranty the vehicle (via the dealer) for 3/36 or whatever. Once the time/mileage limit has been reached the obligation ceases.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,424
    I apologize in advance for the length of this ...

    I've been doing the bulk of my shopping online for well over a decade now and I have never experienced problems like I have with autopartswarehouse.com.

    Gee, where to start? Well, the descriptions on their site were incorrect. I know this because multiple items with multiple part numbers and differing prices had the same exact description. In my case, I was trying to order exhaust pieces for my Mazda. So I called up to speak to their "automotive experts." The salesfolk couldn't answer my questions, so they passed me off to their "mechanic," who, after reviewing my questions, the parts I needed, consulting with his boss, looking in his manuals, etc, claimed I should order parts X, Y, and Z and that will be everything I've requested (I requested all of the parts south of the exhaust manifold).

    I was very suspicious of this because now I had the mismatched online descriptions, mismatched diagram from the manufacturer of the exhaust parts, and mismatched advice from this guy. BUT, he repeatedly insisted this was exactly what I should do. So I did. What happened? You guessed it ... I got the parts and they were WRONG.

    Now I call up to complain and figure out what to do next. I'm then informed they didn't send me part X. Well, wait a minute, part X is part #12345, is it not? Yes, it is. Well, that part HAS been delivered, its sitting on my garage floor, and its WRONG! "no sir, we didn't send you that part." HUH??!

    OK. Forget the whole thing. You are idiots. I am returning EVERYTHING for a full refund. Oh, guess what? That can take 30-60 days!!

    I get the return authorization number and hang up. Then I start thinking about this. Is it worth it? After all, what they did send, I could use, it just wasn't everything I needed because, the gist of it is, they claimed part #12345 extended from the manifold to the midpipe but what I received was about 1/3 of that. They claim they never sent part #12345. Alright, so I come up with the brilliant plan that I will KEEP what they sent, but get a refund for what they claim to have not sent. That would leave me needing 2 more parts, which I would get from somewhere else. In the end, it would cost me about $20 more than the total they promised to me in the first place. I'll take that compromise rather than waiting 30-60 days for a refund.

    So there we go ... to make this long story shorter ... its been 30 days and they STILL have not even refunded me for the part they claim to have never sent! Why the heck they even charged me for something they never sent is the answer I can't get out of them.

    I've ordered THOUSANDS of dollars of auto parts online and 10s of thousands in other purchases over the years and NEVER had this issue. I think I can understand now why some folks don't like doing business online. If this had been my first experience, there's no way I'd every do it again.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Good willing repairs can be tricky. We have good willed a couple of major repairs for people in the past. Even partialy good willed a motor in a Disco when it dropped a cylinder liner. They were only a few hundred miles over the warranty and had all of the services done by us. Land Rover picked up a little over half the bill.
  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    Maybe I'm misunderstanding where you're coming from, but why should the dealer pick up the tab?

    mac24 and tiedster:

    I realize that a line has to be drawn somewhere and the warranty clearly states where that line is. No argument/question about that. However, because of the car being only 3 months over the warranty period I feel something should have been done here.

    Manufacturers and dealers are always quick to tell us how valuable we are to them, this would be a good time/way to prove it. I've had dealers pick up the tab under these circumstances years and years ago long before they touted customers being valuable to them. It seems like they say one thing now but do another.

    I even had Sears provide warranty work 5 months after the warranty ran out on a stove in 1990. Maybe they won't do that know but because they were good to me once I make it a point to shop at Sears whenever they have something that I want.

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    I've ordered THOUSANDS of dollars of auto parts online and 10s of thousands in other purchases over the years and NEVER had this issue. I think I can understand now why some folks don't like doing business online. If this had been my first experience, there's no way I'd every do it again.

    I can sympathize with you because I'd be very irate if this happened to me. However, because you have had such good success buying over the internet for so long I'm sure after you cool down (I know it's easy for me to say) you will agree that this was just an anomaly and you will continue to buy this way but not with these people.

    I'm surprised that it has taken this long for you to have had a bad experience. I can't say this and I buy things just down the street.

    Like I said I feel for ya,

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    Good willing repairs can be tricky.

    Rover,

    Sorry I just noticed that I missed your post. Not my bad, my computer is wacky. I have to blame it on something else, I'm never at fault; I learned that from my wife.

    I'm sure with the customers that you have, they can be very demanding and expect far more than the average customer.

    Does Land Rover work closer with their dealers on things like this or are they the same as all the other manufactures?

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • MAC24 has it right ... the manufacturer gives a warranty for X miles or X years. Once that warranty expires, the manufacturers' obligation expires.
    NOW, that's not to say that the dealership cannot offer goodwill. BUT, goodwill is usually reserved to those clients who have shown loyalty to the dealership. If a client is recommended services and declines and then takes it to the local guy down the street aka Down the Street Motors, that client has shown no loyalty to the dealer. That client is spending their $$ elsewhere, so why would the dealer go out of their way to help the guy that is basically a warranty mooch?
    I wouldn't have offered any assistance.
    HOWEVER, if it was a long term client, had a good relationship with the dealer and spent his/her money at the store than this would be a good candidate for Goodwill assistance.
    It is up to the individual store, the manager and the circumstances to dictate if goodwill should or can be extended.

    "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"
  • next time, order the parts from a real expert ... YOUR LOCAL MAZDA DEALER!

    NOT some idiot looking in a catalog.

    Even better, stop in to said local dealer and start making friends with the parts guy. Order some little parts and tip said parts guy. Keep up relationship with said parts guy and in no time, said parts guy MIGHT give you discounts. Discounts that might be close to wholesale/bodyshop prices.
    You never know until you try.

    And besides, said parts guy SHOULD be expert in Mazda parts.
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    yes, but it's also the responsibility of a good service department to establish and maintain loyalty...

    in your work, how do you exceed expectations?
  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 5,540
    BUT, goodwill is usually reserved to those clients who have shown loyalty to the dealership. If a client is recommended services and declines and then takes it to the local guy down the street aka Down the Street Motors, that client has shown no loyalty to the dealer. That client is spending their $$ elsewhere, so why would the dealer go out of their way to help the guy that is basically a warranty mooch?

    I'm sorry but I don't know what you are saying here.

    What recommended services were offered and declined by the guy I was talking about in post 229?

    BTW, since you mentioned it, this is the second car that this guy said he has purchased from this dealer and I remember him saying that he recommended this dealer to his neighbor who bought a car from this dealer. So much for this "dealer loyalty" thing.

    You lost me,

    jmonroe

    '09 Genesis V8 and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

This discussion has been closed.