Not a satisfied Customer
12.05.2009: Dear Mr. Bell of Bob Bell Automotive Group, On November 6, 2009, I wrote you complaining about the service at your Chevrolet dealership in Essex, Maryland. I admit my
letter was a bit detailed, but I felt it was necessary to illustrate my frustration with the service department and what, at that time, could only be described as shoddy repairs to my new Colorado.
On Monday the ninth, the salesman that sold me the Colorado called claiming he was unaware of the problems I was having with the truck. I assumed my letter was brought to his attention by his boss, the manager of the Dealership, or you. I related my frustrations to the salesman and told him that I feel the service department has turned my truck into an ongoing problem. The salesman and I went back and forth on the truck’s problems, and then he says, “Bring the truck in and we’ll see what we can do about getting your money back, or a new Colorado or Silverado.” I thought, great, maybe my letter did some good.
On the way to the dealership the next day, I was told at a traffic light that my break lights aren’t working. I backed up to the windows at the Mall to check and sure enough, they weren’t working. The cyclops break light, tail lights and turn signals worked, just not the break lights, sigh. I proceeded to the dealer and explained to the salesman that I have no idea how long my break lights were inoperable. We drove the truck around to the shop and left it with a service rep. We went back up front to work out what to do about my problem riddled truck.
I told the salesman I didn’t want another Colorado. I also told him if the price was right and I didn’t have to pay too much out of pocket, I would buy a Silverado. He then told me that you, Mr. Bell, will be in the next day to evaluate my situation and then we’d have a better idea about how much the price difference will be. He gave me the impression that I will be fairly compensated for my truck.
The service department couldn’t figure out the problem with the break lights so I was given an 09 Extended Cab Silverado 4X4 as a loner. Nice truck, but more than what I need. I got a call the next day that my truck was ready. It appears there was a bad trailer hitch ground causing the break light problem. I had the hitch installed by someone the salesman recommended and therefore I won’t have to pay for repairs. I signed for my truck and went back up front to find out what kind of deal the salesman would offer.
The salesman tried to talk me into the 4X4 Silverado, but I told him all I want is a 2X Extended Cab with minimal options. I even spotted one on the lot that I was interested in. He then told me you were supposed to be in later that afternoon and that’s when he’ll have some figures for me, and that he’d call as soon as he knew. He assured me that Bob Bell Chevrolet would take good care of me. My plan was, if the deal was good enough and I got a fair price for my truck, I’d drive off with a Silverado and Bob Bell Chevrolet would never see that truck again.
An hour later the salesman called and told me that Bob Bell will give me the Blue Book price for my truck, which is $16,000. I said, “I thought Bob Bell was going to work with me on this.” He said, “Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just telling you what they told me.” I said, “You people screwed up my truck and you want me to take the hit for it?” The salesman rambled on about some incoherent crap and that’s when I hung up on the fool I let lure me in under false pretences. My guess is he knew the day before what the offer for my truck was going to be, but didn’t have the balls to tell me to my face.
When they had my truck over night to fix the tail lights, they must have tinkered with the Key Fob too, because while it’s still temperamental and works whenever, the horn doesn’t toot when it locks. I checked the manual to see if it was on the second of four settings, and it was. I tried the other settings and the horn didn’t work for them either. That night as I was leaving Sears I tried to toot the horn to warn someone they were about to back into me, but it didn’t work. No wonder it wouldn’t toot for the Fob. Fortunately the person backing up saw me at the last minute.
The following Friday morning I went to the dealer and pitched a fit in the showroom. I waved nine pages of documentation around as I proclaimed loudly that, “Bob Bell must really like me, or my truck, because every time I bring it in to get something fixed, I have to bring it back to get something else fixed! Where’s Mr. Darr?! I want to see the Manager!” All eyes were on me as someone yelled from the salesman’s perch, “He’s not here.” I said, “Then I want to talk to the Service Manager, or someone in charge!” Too bad there wasn’t any perspective customers milling about, because I believe my tantrum would have convinced them to go elsewhere to buy their new vehicles.
Some guy claiming to be a sales supervisor and I drove my truck around to the service department where we were met by the Service Manager, who also claims to not know about my problems with the truck. I don’t understand how he didn’t know about my truck being in repair for ten out of one the hundred days I've owned it, but yet he knew my letter to you was posted on the internet. He was indifferent to my documentation, but said he’ll have the horn fixed right away, and that I should bring it in Monday and he’ll see to it that the windshield is replaced, transmission is inspected, overspray and scratches buffed out, left front end rattle checked out and since the Key Fob is now mysteriously working, nothing will be done about it. The horn problem was traced to a loose wire, right.
On Thursday the Service Rep called and said the truck has a new windshield and a walk around inspection met with everyone’s approval. During my walk around I found sealer on the fender that the Body Shop Super quickly removed. As I was driving away from the dealer I heard a tapping sound coming from the right rear wheel area, like I picked up a rock or something. I pulled over and checked it, but found nothing; although, I could still hear it, and that front end rattle that they couldn’t find after driving it four miles, according to the paperwork.
Friday morning the Low Tire indicator light came on. I checked all the tires and found the right rear tire had a screw in it. That must have been the sound I heard the day before, but missed the screw when I inspected it. No sense in complaining to the dealer. It would have been more convincing if I had seen the screw then and drove right back, but after the fact, I know they’d say I picked it up somewhere else. I paid a service station ten bucks to plug it, sigh.
While my truck was in repair this last time, I went to another Chevrolet Dealer and test drove a 09 Colorado to see if its transmission made the same BOING noise when it shifts from first to second, and too my amazement it did. I don’t know why I didn’t notice my truck doing it before, but shit happens; however, that still doesn’t explain why I experienced the three reverse shifting problems in the first two weeks of owning it and now it appears to be fine, which also doesn’t explain why the truck was in repair for eight days to do a one hour buff job. I’ve asked everyone who touch that truck to explain those mysterious eight days, and not one person had an answer, imagine that. The windshield looked good and the body shop did a great job buffing and polishing out the overspray and scratches, but the front end rattle is as bad as ever and the key fob is as temperamental as ever too; however, sometimes it wouldn’t let me in the truck either, I had to use the key, sigh…..
When all this began, I had a great Service Rep, Ron, whom I’ve dealt with for years. He was always courteous and concerned about my issues. Then, for whatever reason, I was passed off to someone who treated me like a source of income and talked down to me, and customers in the lobby, like we were children. That’s when my revolving door experience with the service department began and my confidence waned. Then this last time I had Dan, who, like Ron, was courteous and concerned about my issues. I felt confident that my truck was in good hands again, but again I was passed off to the inconsiderate one who would rather be influenced by those hell bent on revenge than put the customer’s satisfaction first. It’s people like them who give GM and your dealership a bad name.
Mr. Bell, I have to ask, if this were your vehicle, at what point during the last four months and eight returns to the service department would you suspect that maybe some of these issues go beyond being just shoddy repairs and are instead deliberate sabotage? In the internet posting of my first letter to you, I surmised that I believe GM and/or UAW officialdom are pulling strings to make my new vehicle purchase as unpleasant an experience as possible and thereby frustrating, and while I still believe this to be true, the end results could not be achieved without an employee who is willing to compromise their integrity. As to whom that person or persons are, I can’t say for certain, but I have my suspicions. You figure it out; it’s your business and reputation they’re dragging down. They should consider themselves very fortunate that I’m not the vengeful or violent type, damn it.
With today’s economy and car sales being what they are, one would think that every customer is a valued customer and therefore would be treated like royalty, but that’s not the experience I had with Bob Bell Chevrolet. I was treated like a pariah by some of your employees which resulted in my new truck having more paperwork in four months than my S-10 did after ten years. Enough is enough. Uncle Mr. Bell, uncle. Bob Bell Automotive Group will never see any of my vehicles ever again, and I will see to it that everyone knows how I was treated. In the last month I know for a fact that I’ve redirected a coworker and a friend to your competition and I will continue to do so from this point forward. Now I understand why some dealers park new cars and trucks around the front of their businesses. So irate customers don’t drive their, dealer manufactured, problem riddled vehicles through the showroom doors.
No response necessary Mr. Bell, unless it’s with an $8,000 check for the loss I incurred when I sold the Colorado your people screwed up, and that I no longer felt confident with. Better to get rid of it now and minimize my losses, than to keep it and pay through the nose to fix whatever your people did to it that will go wrong later.
Not a Satisfied Customer, Doug Hanscom
Soldiers Of Solidarity