Thursday, January 29, 2009

Small Town Car Dealer vs the Customer (aka Enter the OEM)

On May 25th, 2008, I purchased a 2007 Saturn Ion from a GM dealer in the town where I work.
Before I made the second payment on it, the car left me stranded with a bad ignition switch. After several attempts, and telling me they couldn't find anything wrong, and 2 P.O.S. loaner vehicles, it was finally fixed.
About six weeks ago, I went to the gas station on my lunch break, pumped gas, went inside and paid, then went to leave and the key would not turn in the ignition. At all. Fortunately, the gas station is directly across the street from the dealership, so I called, not very happy, and they walked over and pushed the car into their service bay. I was later told that it was some related component of the ignition switch.
This morning, I went outside to warm the car up, and, you guessed it, the key would not turn in the F-ING ignition. After a lot of cursing, sweating, and struggling in the snow, I managed to dig my husband's truck out of the snow bank its been sitting it and drove to work.
At this point, the only reason I even came in is so that I could personally walk into the dealership today and show them the Italian side of me. I don't get that side out very often, but when I do, IT. IS. NOT. PRETTY.
So, sitting here at my desk, seething, someone gave me a suggestion that hadn't occurred to me; call the OEM (for those of you outside the automotive or trucking industry, that means Original Equipment Manufacturer, in this case, Saturn).
Good idea. I didn't know if they would help or not, since I bought the car from a non-Saturn dealer, but it was worth a shot.
Rebecca is by far, the sweetest sounding and most patient customer support rep I have ever spoken to, and yes, working in Customer service myself, I made sure to let her know how much I appreciated that.
In spite of the fact that I don't know my own VIN number and the car isn't accessible at this moment, Rebecca opened a case for me, patiently looked up my information.....and took over.
This is not my first Saturn, and after this, it will not be my last.
Rebecca politely asked if she could put me on hold while she contact the dealer in question, told me it should take about 2-4 minutes, and thanked me for my patience. Less than three minutes later, she was back, having imparted the necessary information to the head of the service department, and informed me that he would like to use his own towing company to retrieve my vehicle from my home, and asked that I call him so he could get my permission to do so.
He is on his way to my office right now to get my keys so that he can tow my car the 20 miles from my home to the dealership.
Rebecca also said she planned to monitor the case closely, asked if she could call me back between the hours of noon and 2 today, which she believed would give the dealer adequate time to retrieve said vehicle, and start heading in the direction of a solution. She also said she s going to look into finding a way to help "compensate me" for my inconvenience. She said that I took the right action in contacting her, and have me her direct phone number to call her back if I had ANY questions or concerns at all.
I love Saturn. And, I am really looking forward to seeing how this pans out....


I'm Just a Girl said...

Sorry to hear about your car trouble! Isn't it great when you get good customer service?

NV said...

Hats off to Rebecca. Crossing my fingers that you don't end up having to go Soprano on the dealership anyway ...

MonkeyGirl said...

Wow! I guess I should have turned 25 feet sooner when I bought my new car (Saturn dealer is 1/2 block closer than the Mazda dealer)! Good luck and Rebecca rocks!