Dealerships - Not Always Terrible?
HillRat last edited by HillRat
Had to take the EuroWagon in for a manufacturer's warranty repair on the passenger seat which mean going to a dealership. 6 weeks ago I went to the Buick dealership closest to my house in Alexandria, VA and it was not a life affirming experience. The people I spoke to on the phone were great but things immediately went off the rails when I got to the dealership.
This was the saddest, most broke down looking, new car dealership that I've ever been in. That includes the Kia dealership that used to be a Mercury dealership that still has a gigantic "statue" of a cougar in front of it ten years after it changed hands. Parking lot was busted up with massive potholes, signage was either non-existent or faded into illegibility. Nothing about the place inspired confidence. After standing around for 5 minutes I manage to get the attention of an older gent. I give him the rundown and ask him, "Hey man, what can you do to help me out here?" Dude immediately responds that I have to show up first thing in the morning, leave my car there, and they'll get back to me.
That's not what I was told over the phone but I persist, gently asking if I can come at the end of the day and wait or if I'm there when they open can they get me in/out quickly? Dude gets an attitude and tells me about how backed up their shop is and blah, blah, fucking blah. He goes on for two more minutes being a nasty dick so I thanked him for this time and left.
In the intervening six weeks I torn my quad tendon during a rugby game, had surgery, and have been limping around like Frankenstein's monster with my knee locked in place. Getting the car fixed was not on my mind but I know that I'm out of warranty on June 21, so I get back to it.
I call another dealership in Tyson's Corner and they were awesome. Person I spoke to explained that even though the car was already looked at they need their techs to verify the problem, which is reasonable and fine when you tell me that up front. I explain that I can't drive and would prefer to not make my wife deal with all of this (she's perfectly capable, this just isn't her ministry) so they tell me about their valet service where they come pick your car up! I ask with trepidation how much this is going to cost, knowing full well unless they say something insane like $500 I'll go for it, and was told that it was complimentary. What, actual service from a dealership?
They came and picked up my car this morning and left their dealership vehicle in my driveway. Apparently if this was going to be more than a day or two, they would have done some paperwork and made this a loaner but since we have a second car it wasn't necessary.
Get a call from the dealership telling me they have the car and they check alignments when cars come in, said my car was badly out of alignment. This is something I think I would have noticed while driving, but I haven't driven in a month and my 17 year old has been driving and the streets in DC suck and the car has 30k miles on it, so maybe? I'm told it's going to be $130 so I tell him go ahead an do the alignment.
Was he lying? I don't know, but I kind of don't care. He's got problems just like I've got problems and one of his problems is not letting people leave without spending money. When I consider what a round trip Uber to Tysons from my house would cost or having my wife sit out there all day or any of the other options to get me to this point (car is at the dealership and I'm at home working), they all would cost me $130 or more in hassle/aggravation/time so it's money well spent.
I want to do good business with people. I have zero desire to rip someone off or get over on them, it's not cool and not how I want to live my life. Part of that is not always negotiating everything to death and making life hard for the person you're dealing with by being a cheapskate. Hopefully by showing that I'm not some sort of skinflint dickhead that's going to argue over everything right from the start, my service advisor will treat me right and this is the beginning of long partnership with this dealership.
Picture of the Rolls that took my daughter to prom on Saturday night for your trouble:
ranwhenparked last edited by
@HillRat Yeah, there's good and bad, like with any franchise. You know how every town has both a "good" McDonalds and the other McDonald's that nobody goes to? Same deal
@ranwhenparked The people I talked to on the phone at the second dealership (and the guy who picked up my car) said that they get a lot of customers that had been to the other Buick dealership and ended up with them.
DrDanteiii last edited by
The Rolls gets rarity points, but oooooof, its no looker with those wheels.
I'd say I'm 50/50 on dealership experiences, both purchases and service.
Good experiences with buying:
BMW, subaru, and honda
Good experiences with service:
Toyota, BMW, and honda
Bad experience with buying:
toyota and Acura
Bad experience with service:
ash78 last edited by
@HillRat It's a broken state of affairs, IMO, when manufacturers have their dealers competing for business among each other, rather than against the actual...you know...competition.
The McDonald's analogy is a good one, but that's broken, too.
Personally, unless I'm adamant about a specific product and have no other options, this kind of behavior drives me away from the brand in general. For large purchases like cars, I try to let the manufacturer know about the disservice that these dealers are doing. Not that it matters, but at least they're not pretending everything is fine.
WasGTIthenGTOthenNOVAthenGTInowA4 last edited by
@HillRat As someone who worked at a Buick dealership, I can confirm that they're not all terrible. THe interesting thing is sometimes you talk to a service rep that's great, sometimes you talk to one that sucks. Like everything else in life, it's a bit of a crap shoot. I spoke to customers who couldn't have been happier with the experiences they'd had with us, and some who were feeling like they got ripped off.
I actually don't hate those Rolls wheels, but the ride height is clearly all wonky from them. A few inches lower and it'd be a looker.
ZHP Sparky - the 5th last edited by
@HillRat Totally with you on people being incompetent/lazy at their jobs being infuriating - and ALSO on not wanting a "deal" or being cheap about EVERYTHING...that's what gets you shitty service in the first place, when it becomes clear to companies that CHEAP is what drives business...then CHEAP (and shitty) is what you get.
If someone is being reasonable and clearly trying to provide good service I'm happy to pay for it. If they cut me a deal or throw me a bone as a result of that, all the better.
WhoIsTheLeader last edited by
Shop-Teacher last edited by
@HillRat I think you made the right call. I try to do business the same way.
Also, "Not her ministry." I'm going to use that in the future. Same here
It's a broken state of affairs, IMO, when manufacturers have their dealers competing for business among each other, rather than against the actual...you know...competition.
I don't think these dealerships are in competition with each other, it feels like one dealership is stuck in 1995 and happy to be there because they have a customer base that doesn't expect anything more from them, while the other place is trying to be modern and relevant.
ash78 last edited by
@HillRat Sure, not trying to split hairs -- but to me the two dealers you mentioned are (indirectly) in competition with each other.
If a person who lives equal distance between two dealers, then choosing one over another almost always means something isn't working.
It just seems ok to us because we've gotten accustomed to it over decades of this. Dealers run their own show, but IMO, a local millionaire holding the purse strings over a multi-billion-dollar global manufacturing company always seemed a little backwards to me
Sovande last edited by
@HillRat I just had a good experience too. They comped the repair after making me wait and then sent a text asking if I'd like them to pay for an Uber to the dealership to pick up the car. It's a bit unnerving when they're nice...
@Sovande It's very confusing.
nowhere last edited by
@HillRat No, they’re not all terrible. In fact I really hope that when the time comes for me to buy my next car Honda will have something I want because the nearby Honda dealership has been so good to deal with. For both service and sales, they’ve been pretty damn good over the years.
@nowhere It's been so long since I was treated like a human by a dealership that I had forgotten it could be this way.
@Snuze Indeed it is Koons and they were great. Sorry they didn't treat you right.
Maybe they're just "setting the hook" before they start with the nonsense?
@HillRat I bought my Camaro through them, their sales people were good, but their service department was horrible. It soured me on them for life - if they had the last car on earth and tried to sell it to me for $1, I'd still walk.
But I am glad things worked out well for you. As others have said, it may depend in part on who your service writer. Maybe you got someone better than I did.
@Snuze The "win a customer for life" convenience of the valet service came out of necessity during the beginning of the pandemic. Maybe they used that to up their game?
@HillRat I dunno, I bought my car at the end of 2020 and had problems with it/them through early 2021 before I eventually lemon'd the car. But like I said, its possible, likely even, that I just had a particularly bad service advisor.