I recently purchased a used minivan from a local family and it has a few quirks. I reached out to a local dealership to fix some of the problems, and the following is the customer service experience I had.

This story is not about complaining but suggesting how things could have gone much differently. I’m not sure if I took the best approach or if I missed something, but this is how the day went for me.

A Call To The Dealership

The driver side door of the van swings all the way open instead of stopping at three-quarter open like it should. The reason being the door check wasn’t attached to the door frame. So a buddy and I reattached it, but when you shut the door there were still two loud clanging sounds inside the door. Obviously, the fix didn’t work.

Normally, I take my vehicles to Marlin’s Auto Service but because I needed to get a key with a chip in it and I wanted them to look at the sliding doors too, I took it to the dealership. When I called to set up the appointment, everything went well and I quickly got to the right person (good start).

After discussing the cars issues, I set up an appointment for later in the week. The customer service person asked good questions, quickly set up the appointment, and made it seem like the issues would be easy to resolve (still going well).

The Reception Area

When I first arrived, it wasn’t clear where I should go. I didn’t know if I should park by the service area or out front (customer experience not going as well). I decided to park in front. When I walked to reception a gentleman was talking to the receptionist about an MMA fighter and is clearly there to flirt, not to do business. This made my conversation with the receptionist a challenge (experience is getting worse).

I repeated myself three times and the receptionist repeated herself twice before we finally got things figured out. She then pointed to where I needed to go (not great treatment). It wasn’t that confusing of a place but she could have walked me over.

The Service Office

As I walked into the service office, an employee greeted me by name. Then we went over the paperwork and estimated time to complete the diagnosis/work (going well again). He told me they will get back to me in about three hours with what they find.

After he explained to me where to drive my vehicle and how to pull in, I brought the minivan around and gave him the keys. He then pointed me to the waiting area where I waited for my wife to pick me up (experience is improving again).

The Phone Call

After a couple hours, I get a call. The service rep shares the estimated cost of repairs to the driver side door and the sliding doors. I said no to the sliding door repairs because the cost was way too high. I’ll fix them myself for a tenth of the cost. Got to love YouTube!

The service employee said he would call when they finish the work (service is improving again).

The Next Phone Call

I got a call about two hours later (great). He said they were finished and what my bill was. The door cost approximately $400 to “fix” but they didn’t fix it (bad service). A spot weld was loose which was causing the problem, yet they still replaced the door check (awful service).

Reality is the door check wasn’t broken. I know this because I reattached it and it worked except the clunking (service fail).

Paying For The Service

After a few hours, I head to the dealership to pay for the service. While talking to him, he suggests I take the minivan somewhere else to fix the door (really, you guys can’t just weld it). After some more discussion, I requested a discount for the “fix” and he gave me $40 off (customer service fail).

After this experience, unfortunately, I will never take a vehicle to this dealership or buy one from them either.

Here’s What They Should Have Done

I don’t work for a dealership and never have so these suggestions may be a bit off, but this is what I think they should have done.

  • For first time customers, provide instructions on where to park. Also, give them instructions on what area to go to when they arrive.
  • Make sure the receptionist isn’t distracted by flirty boys.
  • Reception should the customer to where they need to go. Don’t point.
  • Don’t do the “repair” at all because they know the part isn’t broken and they can’t fix the weld.
  • Apologize for the crappy situation.
  • Provide the deepest discount they can. Eat the cost of the labor.
  • Suggest a couple shops I can take it to that will fix it and provide their contact information to the customer.

No business is perfect with their customer service, but there are some obvious blunders here. I think customer service can be excellent. But because of this poor experience, this dealership will never get my business again.

What would you have done in this situation?

Scroll to Top