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



  • jmonroejmonroe Pittsburgh areaPosts: 7,414
    Order some little parts and tip said parts guy.

    Yeah, I guess a 'little something under the table' goes a long way in some businesses.

    If some one ever tried to 'tip' me for doing my job I wouldn't have accepted it and would have been highly insulted.

    Different businesses, different ways of of doing business.


    '15 Genesis V8 with Ultimate Package and '12 Legacy Limited 6 cyl

  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Holy smoke! That sounds like the same thing that happened to my girlfriend many years ago with her 1991 Mercury Tracer. She took it in for the "diagnostic check" and they removed and disassembled the tranny and said they couldn't put it back in for less than $400. Rather than let Cottman touch the car, she sent a tow truck to pick it and they and took it to my friend's transmission shop. He put it back together and in the car for $125. No problems. Girlfriend learned a somewhat costly lesson about Cottman.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    Girlfriend learned a somewhat costly lesson about Cottman.

    My transmission guy - who owns a Cottman franchise - does most of the transmission work for several Ford dealerships. And he does a better job!

    Like all the chains, it depends on the franchisee.
  • Once the time/mileage limit has been reached the obligation ceases.

    True, and I agree, but there can be repurcussions.

    I took my Sentra into the Nisaan dealer because the washer nozzles quit working. The tech took them apart and some of the internal plastic had cracked. I would be 40 bucks to fix them. I asked the service manager to cover it under warranty, he checked and said, "No, by your inservice date, the car is two weeks out of warranty." I told him I waited two months to bring the car in at the same time as my next scheduled maintenance, since it wasn't a major problem during the summer, and the mileage was undr warranty. He said, "If it is out of warranty, it is out of warranty, even though you only have 30K miles on it."

    Well, he was right. But I'll be danged if I'll ever buy another Nissan. I was going to him, 50 miles away, because the local guys are horrible.

    So basically, Nissan lost a potential sale or two in the future for 40 bucks. Good call.

  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    So basically, Nissan lost a potential sale or two in the future for 40 bucks. Good call.

    Sure, I agree that a gesture of goodwill can be worth a lot on both sides. However, the original post was written as though there was duty by the dealer to pick up a warranty claim after the time period of the warranty had expired.......not so.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,100
    oh, of course, like i said, if it WAS my first online experience, it would be my last. Since I have had such good success, I will continue doing business this way, just not with these folks.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,100
    next time, order the parts from a real expert ... YOUR LOCAL MAZDA DEALER!


    man, you must have money to burn! lol.

    I'm just teasing you. But, seriously, I save a fortune buying online rather than, of all places, the dealer! In this exhaust instance, I even saved $700 over midas (or was it meineke, i always get them confused), who would have made some of their own pieces to "save me money."

    I can get discounted parts through my father's business, but I still do can often do better online. After this, though, I will use him rather than an online place I am unfamiliar with.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • But, seriously, I save a fortune buying online rather than, of all places, the dealer!

    I wonder if that's a Mazda thing. A buddy of mine hasan RX7 vert and a second generation Probe GT. He buys everything for them over the net because he swears the Mazda parts are too high. He bought some oil cooler hoses on the net for 30 bucks that he said Mazda charged over 300 dollars for. He's a straight shooter, so I have no reason to doubt what he says.

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,100
    oh, definitely not just a mazda thing. I also saved a fortune during the time I owned my Volvo, Honda, Jeep, Benz, Toyota, etc. I thought everyone knew that buying parts from the dealership means you are automatically paying more? Granted, there are some parts that you can only find through a dealership, but those are fairly rare occurences.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Many years ago Land Rover of North America, well it was actually called Range Rover of North America back then, was much more lienent concerning goodwill. You could be months and thousands of miles out of warranty and they would still cover repairs. The factory warranty was I think three years and 40,000 miles back then but in reality it was closer to three and a half years and 45,000 miles.

    That all changed when Land Rover was purchased by BMW around 1994.

    Our regional service rep is pretty good when it comes to helping us out on stuff like this. When a fuel pump locked up on a SC First Edition Range Rover Sport just a couple of weeks after delivery and there were none in the country and the part was back ordered for months he helped us out. He found one some where in England, probably had it ripped out of a car on the production line, and then had it shipped overnight to the East coast.

    In that same line though when a customer had a problem with the crankshaft of his 2002 Range Rover and he was a couple of months out of warranty he denied the good will claim. The guy had never had the Range Rover serviced at our Land Rover dealership or any other Land Rover dealership. He had only been in for warranty work, mostly minor warranty work when compared to most other 2002 Range Rovers, and the service history he provided from the independent shop he had used was incomplete.

    If he had a complete service history or had been servicing the vehicle at a Land Rover dealership then LRNA would have picked up half the cost of the repair.
  • I thought everyone knew that buying parts from the dealership means you are automatically paying more?

    No, I knew that, but Mazda is the one I keep hearing about (albeit from a limited population) with markups of 10X. The parts costs for my wife's car from GM aren't too bad. The Sentra parts from Nissan are pricey, but not horrible.
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    Hey guys it has been along time since i posted well i need help here is the story i was pymt behind but never 30 days so i just got me a new job now. i told honda that my wife who is a vet we got some help from one of the vet charities and my pymt was due the 18th so i told honda that the charity would be making the pymt for us and they mailed it out on the 12th or 13th. Remember i told them this before the due dated so to my surprise the pymt did not get there yesterday which i think it will get to them today. So they hit me with a 30 days past due on my credit reprts which i do not want i am trying to get them to remove it even though i know its not on there now. but i know it will be. Now i know i WILL NOT REPOED but i do like there product but there finance dept sucks of course they are in the biz to make $$$$$$$$$ but slack we all need it in some form or another i have never been 30 days on any of auto loans at all. I am hurt so i contacted the bbb so what are my chances i hope they are good besides all of that my credit cards well not all will suffer but i have talked to all of them but some i do not have the $$$$ so in lamens terms is a few 30 day past due bad on your report???? seeing that you will not be late over a period of time or pay it off help guys thanks. ps i got the auto in july 07 so if thats helps and its a lease 36 mths
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I think the best thing you can do is to talk directly with the lender.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    If this is the only time you were late on a payment, this will not hurt.

    On the other hand if you have a history of late payments......... hard talking out of this one.
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    Are you saying like close to 30 days or past 30 days??? which i have not been as far as like due date on the invoice yes i have but like i said not past 30 days ever. so
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I have a few stories to tell... but since it is past my bedtime and I should be in bed but I am still here browsing away, although I am too tired to coherently type anything worth reading... even this post is just a long ramble that doesn't make sense, I'll post a couple stories later... :D
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    yes they are ... We just recently moved back to the area and unfortunatley they are one of the two big dealers in the area... But I can't say that I would give my business to them if I ever decide I need a Honda, Toyota, or Chrylser product. Fortunately I am a GM fan and the Chevy dealer ship I bought my truck from a few years ago made it such a good experience that since we are back in the area it will probably be the place I go. It's a smaller one dealer place and it when we bought my truck (the truck to replace the wrecked one. We had the "wrecked" truck another year and then replaced it), the deal went pretty smoothly. Even after paying off negative equity we came out pretty good in the deal.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    That reminds me of one tech I had constant problems with. He was a very nice guy, but he just was in the wrong field of work. He was an older man and not very small. He was slow and not very competent.

    It got to the point where I would no longer let him in the pit to work under the car. He was one that left an oil plug loose and stripped a couple other ones. The nail in his pit coffin was the time I had him down there and I was working on top, he gave me the all clear to oil the car and once I oiled the car he gave me the all clear to start. I started the vehicle but the oil pressure didn't come up. I immediately shut the car off to see why. I heard a "Whoops" sound from below and it turns out he never replaced the plug. All the oil I has poured in drained right back out. I also ended up pressure washing a couple engines because he left the oil caps off. By the time I left, he was regulated to just service writing and basic tire work. He was just too slow to do anything else and I always prayed that the vehicles he worked on didn't have problems afterwords. He was let go soon after I left for some of the things he ended up causing.

    Before him however we had a guy that was even worse. He was relegated to just service writing because not once, but twice poured oil into the power steering. He was also responisble for several engines that had to be cleaned because he failed to put the oil cap back on. He was banned from the pit for various reasons such as not putting on the right filter to loose plugs to not doing everything he supposed to. He was not allowed to work on tires and so the only thing he could do was service write and vacumn cars.

    Now before you go thinking that Wal-mart is the worst place in the world to get your oil change let me remind you that it was not all bad. By the time I left I had a fairly smooth system. Wal-mart also has policies that are fairly strict and when followed prevent all of the screw ups I have previously mentioned. Yes it was a constant vigil to make sure these policies were followed, but there was also those boneheads that couldn't even understand the difference between a powersteering fluid and 10W30 oil...
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Okay, I promise to make this short. :D

    This involves the same vehicle as the last story did. It was a Chevrolet S-10. It was really a GMC Sonoma, but anyway. S-10 is easier to say. I bought it sight unseen (never do that again). My uncle runs a used car dealership and goes to the auctions once a week to aquire cars. Since I was living about 10 hrs away at the time I called him up and told him what I was looking for and if he could see if he could find it while at the auction. If he did, I would buy it and my parents would drive it up to me when they came to visit. Well he found a Sonoma that had all the options I was looking for. It was a V6, Ex-cab, manual transmission and power everything, even fog lights and tilt and cruise. About the only thing it didn't have was leather and a CD player. The only drawback was it was fairly beat up. It only had about 70K miles on it and was only about 5 years old, but it must have been a farm vehicle or something because the body looked rough. It was pretty dinged up. My uncle tried to tell me not to buy it but I was sold. I bought it anyway. He tried to make it look better by spraying in a bed liner and touching up the paint, but he was right. It looked pretty rough.

    Immediatley after getting it it needed brakes. Okay no big deal. I did the brakes. But then it needed a clutch. And thus started my service issues. I took it to a shop that was recomended to me since once again I was new to the area. I had them put in a clutch. It also needed an alignment and new shocks. The steering linkage parts also needed to be replaced for the alignment to be done properly. I cannot remember in order what started to go wrong so I will just list what happened. After the clutch was put it in I noticed transmission fluid under my truck. I went back and showed them the leak and said it didn't leak like that before please fix this. They obliged and took it in to check it out. They came back and told me it was the shift tower gasket. They replaced it and said I should be good to go. A few days later I noticed transmission fluid again. I took it back again and they took a look at it again and said it was the shift tower gasket they had just replaced. They noted that they must be using the wrong gasket. They said they needed to order a gasket and it would be in in a few day. They filled the tranny and I said I needed to make a 100 mile trip to Vegas that weekend. It was the middle of summer and blazing hot. I had the father of the family I was living with and his little girl with me. About 80 miles into my trip I here this clunk clunk and then my truck lost all forward motion. The transmission had blown. I had lost all the fluid in the truck. Since I don't want to make this story any longer, needless to say I ended up towing it home backwards on a two wheel dolly since the transmission was so torn up, the only gear I was able to manage was reverse. And that was only barely. I couldn't afford a tow truck to tow it 80 miles. I should have towed it back to the self same shop and made them fix it, but I was so mad at this point I decided I would never go back...

    Which means that the front end alignment issue must have already happened. That's another story from the same shop but I'll save it for later.

    I had it towed to another actual transmission shop and had the tranmission replaced. I borrowed the money from my mom to do so. A few days after I had the transmission replaced I again noticed fluid leaking out from underneath the truck. I was aghast! Doesn't anybody in this town know how to put a transmission back in with out it leaking!? I took it back and explained to the shop the problem the last shop had and I didn't want a repeat experience. They immediately took it in and did some research and found that my truck was actually a cross over year where they did some switching. Apparently they were using an gasket for an older model, while mine needed a newer one. Anyway, we solved the transmission problem. Then I moved to get married. I got married and had the afore mentioned accident. Right after the accident the starter went out which I replaced myself. Funny, I never had a problem with the starter after that. I never had to take it back to myself to get it fixed because I installed it wrong. The same with the brakes. I replaced the calipers and bled the system. I also replaced all the plugs and wires and cap and rotor and all that simple maintenance stuff. Funny how all that seemed to never have a problem. Maybe I should have just bought the required tools and put in the clutch myself the first time?? Anyway a few months after the accident the truck would inadvertantly fail to shut off after I had parked and turn the key off and pulled it out of the ignition. The truck continued to run. I had to put the truck in 5th gear and stall the motor to get it to shut down. It only did it inadvertantly so I didn't worry about it too much, but did think it was odd. I thought it might have something to do with the accident. About a year or so after the accident it started doing it all the time. Everytime I wanted to park I had to stall the motor. I pulled the entire steering column apart to see what it was. I checked all the ignition wires, and the fuses. I couldn't find anything. During this process the fuel pump burned out because since the ignition was always on it was always running - or at least hot. So now I had to replace the pump just so I could get the truck running so I could figure out how to get it to shut off. AS I was on my way home with a new pump I drove by the Chevy dealership and on a whim pulled in. I just asked if they had any S-10's on the lot ( I still wanted an S-10 as I really like my truck and it's problems were non-related to quality issues.) We walked around the lot and found a truck that met my needs. We made a deal and I tossed them the key to my old truck and said here's a fuel pump and the keys. It's yours. Have fun with it.

    A few days after that I was driving home and I happened to pass an automotive shop. I happened to glance over and I saw my old truck in the bay being worked on. It must have been fate. I pulled it and went to talk to the guys working on it. I asked them what they found and if they were able to get to to shut off. They told me it took them forever to to track down what was happening. What apparently had happened is that there is a set of wires related to the ignigtion that run next to the transmission. Some of the wires had become pinched by the transimission probably on one of it's numerous removals and eventually had frayed through. When that happened the truck would no longer shut off. So the carelessness of that previous shop were still plaguing me.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    It has been slow that past week or so?? Not just in this forum, but I seem to have noticed a lot of the forums I frequent have been a little lighter on the posts....

    Anyway, I just have a small gripe that has been bugging me and by posting it, it will probably make me feel better. :D

    Here is a question for you on fast food. I know it does't relate to cars, but we eat it mostly in our cars so I guess it might count in an odd sort of way. At any particular fast food restaraunt, take your pick of which one, how long would you expect to wait to order and get your food. Have you ever actually timed it? I have never thought to time how long it takes because usually I am in and out before I can even think about the time it took. Hence the name "fast food".

    In the particular town where I do a lot of buisness there are two arched franchises. Typically this particular food chain is known for it's speedy delivery of food. Where I used to live, they actually had timer's over the drive thru and the times posted as to how long the average wait was. It was never more than 3 or 4 minutes. Now I have moved. I used to frequent unfortunately because it's bad for my health and arteries this particular chain. I went through the drive through one day and there was about 3 cars in front of me. I figured it shouldn't be a big deal. I pull in and I wait for them to holler over the intercom "WELCOME TO blah blah blah...." Instead I wait. And I wait some more. Finally a person blathers "WELCOME, We'll be with you in a moment...." Well it's already been a moment I thought what's the deal?? After several more moments I place my order and pull forward. The vehicle that was at the window when I pull around is still at the pick up window. Odd I thought, but maybe he had a big order. Maybe I pulled in a a bad time, or they had a short changed shift. Anyway, I finally make it through the line to the pick up window and I wait some more. I had orderd $2 worth of value menu items. It was several more moments when my food was finally delivered and I was on my way. I looked at the clock and was shocked to see that I had been in that drive-thru for almost 15 minutes! Talk about speedy service.

    This bugged me, but I thought that maybe it was just a fluke. The next time shouldn't be so bad. Next time I decide to go in and see what happens. So on my next visit, I go inside and I see a few people milling about. I stand in line and notice a row of order slips lining the counter. There are about 6 or 7 of them. Some on trays and others by themselves since they are to go orders. I wait patiently in line although it takes several minutes to get through the 3 people in front of me. By the time I place my order, there are now about 8 orders and they are having to shuffle trays around to make room for the other orders. Plus they have had about 3 people come up to the counter through out the course of my standing in line because thier order was not correct. So it seems that there is major confusion behind the counter.

    I can feel the air and I look at some of the people waiting "feeling" thier attitude and you can tell that these people have been waiting a while for their food. Probably not for more than a few minutes, and certainly not as long as you would if you had gone to a regular sit down and be waited on place, but much longer than you should have to wait at a fast food place. I go through the same thing, but really thinking this is incredible that a place that is supposed to deliver food quickly can be this slow and disorganized. I finally get my food and look at the clock and again I have been there for almost 20 minutes. To me, I should be able to walk into any fast food place and walk back out with my food in less than 5 minutes. 10 at the most if it's the lunch rush, but I have been to places where it has been the lunch rush and I have still been able to be in and out within 5 minutes.

    So maybe the first time wasn't a fluke. I now decide to "test" these guys to see if time of day makes a difference and how many times I go there and it takes more than 10 minutes to get my food. To make this story short, I went at different times of the day and I went both through the drive-thru and walked in. At no time was I able to walk in or drive in and out in less than 10 minutes. I did this about 2 or 3 more times to make sure I wasn't just hitting bad days. After that I just didn't go any more. I didn't have the time to waste waiting for my food that was almost always cold by the time it got to me.

    Then just a couple days ago, I am on the other side of town where there is another of the same franchise. Surely this one couldn't be as slow, so because I need to get something to eat and it was there, I pull in and walk in. There are 3 people in line and 2 people waiting for thier order. This can't be too bad. I go to the bathroom, wash my hands and come back. The same 3 people are in line. I get in line. The lady taking orders doesn't seem to know where the buttons are for certain things, another woman at the drive-thru window seemed to be in training, another woman was walking around behind the counter going from station to station, looking at the orders on the counter, looking up at the screen, looking at what was being fed from the prep line and then repeating the process, but not really doing anything to fill the orders. Then there was a woman who appeared to be the manager running around screaming orders and trying to get things done. I rolled my eyes and wondered how long I would be waiting. I almost walked out. I should have walked out. There was another eatery just across the street that I could have gone to, but I decided to stay just to see how long it would taken. I guess I am a glutton for torture.

    I finally made it to the counter and placed my order - again about $3 worth of dollar menu items and a water. I knew it was going to take forever, but at least my fries will be hot right? I watched them dump a couple baskets into the fryer, and then watched them come out and sit hanging over the fryer for several minutes before being dumped into the large collection tray for gathering into the fry cups. All told I was there for 25 minutes from when I stood in line to when I recieved my order and walked out. And my fries were still not hot. I almost went back and requested fresh ones, but didn't want to cause an internal breakdown of thier already malfunctioning system....

    Needless to say I think it will be a long time before I go back to either of those two franchises. Besides, the value menu isn't much of a value menu anymore. I can get 2 whopper jr's which is more food at less cost. And it doesn't take me a half hour to get it.

    On the way out I looked for a comment box, or even a survey from that is sometimes in these types of establishments, but I didn't see any. I sure would have liked to have left some comments. But oh well. Maybe thier website has a way
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    okay so I lied. This story is also just as long. Maybe I just don't know how to tell a short story. That's it. I just like to talk. Good thing you don't have to listen to me. This way you can just ignore the post or one of the hosts can just delete it :D....

    I later saw the truck in the nickel ads for about 3K. Which was about 2K more than what the dealership gave me for it. I was tempted to go back and buy it but I didn't. It probably cost 2K just to figure out what was wrong with it. Anyway, had the shop put the clutch in right in the first place, I might still have that truck. Maybe I wouldn't I don't know, but even at 100K which is what it had when I traded it off it was still running strong. It didn't have any leaks, didn't use any oil, got fairly good mileage (better than the one I have now even) and looks fairly good now that the entire front end had been replaced and repainted because of the accident. The bed still needed a good paint job, but for the most part it had been a great little truck. Oh - the truck that replaced it. Well I still have it and it now has over 100K on it and I still drive it everyday. It has none of the problems the last truck had, but then again, it has probably lived a much easier life.

    So there's another very long story.... hope you made it through it all :D

    I wonder if they'll put a block on me to keep me from writing long storys ?????? :blush: :surprise:
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    And just another quick note... that eatery across the street that serves whopper jr's? When I was in there a couple weeks ago and it took a little longer than usual, the manager on duty grabbed a order of fries and threw it in with the 2 whopper jr's that I had ordered and apologized for the wait. I had said nothing, didn't motion that I had been waiting for a while and in fact hadn't noticed that I had been waiting. I had been watching and they were busy, but the manager seemed to be running a fairly well oiled machine and so when he did that I was quite surprised. And the fries were even hot and fresh and free....
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I think the main reason I went back is somewhere in the back of my mind if I ever got the chance to complain to someone who could make a difference, I would be able to base it on several experiences instead of just happenstance.

    And just as a side note... I just visited their website and issued a formal "complaint" :D ... call me bad, or maybe it's the late hour, I don't know. Actually, I didn't elaborate near as much as I did here. I simply put that the restaurants were slow, and this was based on several experiences.... maybe something will happen, maybe it won't. It's not very often that I actually do something like a formal complaint. The last time I think I did it was with Wal-mart when they couldn't change my oil correctly.... (I think a "sigh" emoticon would work here)
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Yeah - but unfortunately there are people out there that live their lives exactly as described...
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Actually at the Wal-mart where I used to manage, we did "carry-ins" all the time. We charged $44 to mount and balance a set of 4. Lemmer, in your case we would have just charged a mount fee of like $3.00 and a tire disposal of $1. That was several years ago and the prices have changed and now I don't know what it is, but I still go to that store and they still operate much the same.

    In the winter they have changover season with snow tires and such. At that time we would actually drop the mount charge and only charge the balance. The total price came to $30.00. Only problem we ran into was making sure the tires were legal to be on the road and in good enough shape get mounted with out tearing it up. Some people would bring in these ancient tires that were worn and cracked with torn beads and want us to mount those. A couple of times the tech forgot to check the tire for that type of damage and we ended up giving the customer a new tire when the old tire was damaged beyond use while mounting... If the tire even looked close to suspect, I wouldn't mount it.

    But other than that, I never had a problem when someone brought in thier own tires to mount. Unless they were lawn tractor or ATV tires... those were a pain in the butt... and our prices showed it. 10 bucks just to mount one.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Walmart wouldn't touch those and I worked for a different tire place for about 2 weeks before quitting because it was so slow that the only thing I could find to do was throw used tires from one big stack to another... I had gone to the manager a few times and asked him what else needed to be done, what else could be done and since he could never find anything, I found my own things to do. Anyway - that store would do split rims, but only one came through while I was there. Since I had never done one, all they would let me do is watch. But I did get lots of practice mounting and dismounting 18 wheeler tires in my spare time when I wasn't chucking used tires from one pointless pile to another.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    I have made an observation of sorts over the past few weeks. I am in business for my self washing windows and such. It's a small operation and makes enough to pay the bills and even a little more to put away for a rainy day. I do my best to take care of my customers and make sure I am fair with them. But there a times when things just don't go right. I have noticed a couple of times that when they don't go right, it always happens to the same customer, and no matter what I do, the bottom always falls out and this customer alwasy gets the short end of the stick... the one instance that sticks in my mind is a customer that this happened to 3 times. 1st time we had to cancel because I was sick. I was at my first job and couldn't even lift my ladders to move them. I struggled for about an hour and gave up because I was not making any progress. It was taking my 3 times as long just to get something done. Her job wasn't till later in the day, but we rescheduled. She was cool with that and understanding.

    Her second appt. rolls around. Because she had to be rescheduled, and before I had control of the schedule, she had been squeezed into a day that was already full. It was not a big job, but it was at the end of the day. As I go through out the day, just because of how things go, I get a little behind. All jobs are scheduled with hour windows in which I can show up. Like between 1 and 2 or between 3 and 4 and so forth. This is to allow me to get "behind" but not really be behind because as long as I get to the job within that window I am still "on time". She was job #4 for the day. Usually 3 jobs make for a pretty full day. So I knew I would have to be flying just to make it. By job #3 however I was there right at the end of my hour window and it was not a small job. Therefore I knew that I would over run my 4th job's hour window by about an hour. I called in and let the office know that we needed to call this customer and let her know that we are running about an hour behind. That wouldv'e put me there late in the afternoon, but still hopefully enough time to complete the job. She was not pleased with that as this is now the 2nd time she has been pushed back. Well I finish job #3 a little later than planned and I am pushing it to make it before my pushed back hour is even up. That's when I notice that the van has a low low very low tire. Just great I thought. I get ready to pull into the gas station, but then thought it would be better to just stop by the tire store since it was more on my way. I pull into the tire store to get air and it turns out the valve stem is busted and we couldn't even get it to hold air. They tell me it will take 20 minutes to fix. It would take that long for me to find a flat enough (the town was pretty hilly) spot to park and jack up the truck to put the spare on so I say go ahead, get in her in quick. I have the office call the customer again to let them know that I am even further behind and would they like me to still come? By the time I would get there it would be late late afternoon. Most people would be headed home from work by then. But I was still willing to make sure she was taken care of. Well at that she just gave up and said not to come at all if we can't manage to get there at a decent time. Once was okay , but to keep stringing her along she said was different. If we weren't going to show we shouldv'e just told her so in the first place and not wasted her afternoon.

    So unfortunately these things happen. Everything that happened I couldn't control. I could have rushed through every job, did a poor job at that and had 4 unhappy customers, but I did the best I could to accomadate them all and still some fell through the cracks... But such is life I guess.
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    actually - we did offer to do the job - not for free, but substantially discounted.... and she was still fed up and didn't want to deal with it anymore....
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    But I don't have time to write it out now... you say the length of my other ones and since I have to go cook dinner in about 5 min for mamma and the kids, I had better not get started. But it does involve an oil change. Actually, come to think of it, I may have posted it in oil change fiasco's already. Maybe I will just go over there and see if I can find it and cut and paste. Is that allowed ??
  • the_big_althe_big_al Posts: 1,079
    Okay - let's see how far I get before I have to make a second post. :D I wrote out my story in Word and spell checked, but have not re-read it make sure it makes sense, but heres going nothing....

    Well here is my story... I searched through oil change fiascos but couldn't find it. I don't feel like trying to hunt it down so hopefully due to memory lapses and such I don't over embellish what I have all ready written... who like the tale that keeps getting taller with each telling? :D

    Anyway here goes...

    As I have mentioned before I used to be a service manager at a Wal-mart Tire and Lube Express in Oregon. After being there for some time I took a good long look at where life was leading and decided I didn't want to follow the Wal-mart way of life and keep moving on up the ladder. The lifestyle (not money-wise) that is required can be torture on families because of the long hours and holidays that you are required to work. So I started searching for a new career. I found one working for a home building company in Arizona as a Customer Service Rep inspecting and spear heading warranty work on new homes. (I have some stories from that front as well... :D).

    I quit my job at Wal-mart and moved my family 1200 miles to start this new career. Because of my loyalty to Wal-mart however I decided to keep taking my vehicles to Wal-mart to be serviced. I knew the Wal-Mart system and knew that when followed correctly, you received at a minimal price a pretty good service.

    I went to closest Wal-Mart to my house. Previous to this experience I had visited this particular store while interviewing for my position just because I was curious as to how it was operated. What I saw didn't bode well then, but I passed it off as maybe it was a busy day, or they were short-handed or some other reason. All shops go through days like that. So when I got there and started to see some of the same things I had witnessed a few weeks earlier, little red flags started going up.

    First off, EVERY car if it is line for an oil change is supposed to be written up outside by a service greeter, or a technician. This is to make sure that all the proper info about the car is entered into the system. Make, year, mileage, engine, pre-existing body damage etc. If the customer is written up inside, this step is skipped and vital information can be missed leading to a costly mistake. It also helps ensure that the proper oil and filter can be obtained and is available for the service.

    When I had visited previously, this step was not in play. They were making all their customers go inside and have a cashier, one who knows NOTHING about vehicles write up oil changes. This was also the case when I brought my vehicle in for service after moving. I asked where there service writer was and they replied that they didn't have one and that they sent everyone inside. I raised an eyebrow and asked why one of them (the technicians) write up oil changes and they said that they didn't know how. FWIW, every single one of my techs knew how to write up a vehicle. I rarely if ever had to send someone inside to be written up for an oil change, battery, headlights, rotations, balances, flat repairs. The only thing they didn't know how to do was write up tire sales since all our tires were kept inside the store and we always had someone on hand inside the store that took care of that. It was an older shop and it was easier to work it that way.

    Anyway, I proceed inside to be written up for my oil change. I can't remember the wait or what was happening inside all that much, but it seems it must have been okay since I don't remember exactly what happened. I ask how long and I was quoted a time. Again I don't remember the actual time, but it could have been as long as 2 hours. I didn't really complain since my shop at times at been known to have wait times that are that long. So I venture off into the store to look around.

    I wander back a begin watching the cars go through the line. I am now curious as to how they are performing the oil changes. There are two bays for changing oil. When properly staffed the shop can work on a total of 4 cars all together. My shop was only able to work on 2. It was possible to in that shop to have 2 cars being drained and lubed at the same time, while 2 more in back could be having all the other checks performed - air filter, washer fluid, tire pressure, vacuuming and such. They were only running one, but yet had a line of cars stretching clear around the corner. I thought to myself "they would be more efficient if they would open the other line". They appeared to have enough staff to do that.

    But I also thought to myself, maybe they know what they're doing and this works for them. Then I start paying closer attention to how they were performing the oil changes. To preface, I'll quickly go over how Wal-mart at the time and I am sure it is still pretty much the same likes this done. A vehicle is pulled into the bay and some preliminary checks are done. Oil level is checked and also motor and vehicle year make and model are verified. Fender covers are placed on the vehicle to protect it. A clear to drain signal is given by using a system called "Call and Echo". Simply put, one person on top calls out a command and a person in lower bay echo that same command to verify that the command was heard. Anything that is performed to the vehicle is performed using the call and echo system. It is a safety device to make sure that a vehicle is not started, moved, oiled, anything without proper clearance. The vehicle is drained of its oil, and the old filter replaced. Also the under side is also checked - manual trannies, differentials, transfer cases and ALL the fittings greased - driveline, steering linkage and ball joints if the vehicle has the fittings to do so.

    Upper bay performs certain checks like the air filter, washer fluid, and power steering. He also oils the car once directed by the lower bay. Once the car is oil and ready to start, a clear to start is given and the vehicle is started, pressure checked and a leak check is performed to make sure that the filter and plug are tight. Then the vehicle is shut off and a final oil check is performed and topped off if needed. The oil cap is replaced and the technician checks to verify that everything has been complete. The vehicle is then cleared, the technician in the lower bay closes the grates and gives a clear to start and leave. The vehicle then leaves the bay.

    That is simply without making this longer than it already is how Wal-mart as I remember it doing the oil changes. I left out a few basics, but hopefully you get the gist....

    continues next post...
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