Friday, November 13, 2015

Letter (rant) to my dealership's service dept.

TO:  Kerry Toyota
ATTN:  Service Department Staff

I am writing this letter because I am a long time customer … an unhappy long time customer.
As I sit here, thinking about what I might say to allow you to clearly understand where I am coming from,  I’m saying to myself, “What are you thinking? and why are you thinking it?”

Is it you hope that if I keep returning to your service department with the same complaint about my 2003 Toyota RAV4 and you keep assuring me that you have diligently checked everything possible trying to find the problem but are unable to do so, that I will become discouraged enough to give you my little truck as a trade-in on something else that will take me at least six more years to pay for, that you will have done your job?

My little truck is 13 years old but it is not worn out, a piece of junk, an old rust bucket or ready for the bone yard.  I change the oil every three thousand miles religiously.  My father taught me to do that.  I have kept to Toyota’s recommended maintenance schedule at the required intervals.  I keep my little truck in a garage all the time.  Your mechanics have told me a number of times … “it still looks like the day it was driven from the showroom floor or from our stock.”  That’s because Toyota makes a great product and I respect that fact and do all I can to keep it that way.  

I purchased my last Toyota back in 1991 from the dealership down in Covington.  It was a Camry, a GREAT Camry and it lasted me as long as this RAV4 has so far.  I am 75 years old now and hope that it will not be necessary for me to purchase another new Toyota before I shed this mortal coil and move on to a better place.

You say you are motivated by providing the best customer service available. Allow me to inform you that you have not gotten there yet.

Don’t you like making money by replacing worn out parts on you cars?  Aren’t you concerned with the future safety of all your customers?  Why would you not take the time and effort required to remove a caliper and physically inspect the pads for wear and cracks when a customer repeatedly brings their truck in complaining about brakes that lock up and are so noisy all the time?  Just removing a tire and looking at the edges of the pads is no way to estimate the condition of one’s brakes.  Removing that little rubber plug from the back of a brake drum, shining a light through it and seeing how thick the shoe pads are is not the way to evaluate the condition of brakes.  This truck has 78,000 miles on it and the brake shoes are the original ones that came on it as far as I know and I should know, being the only owner of said truck. They could be glazed, hard as diamond without any remaining friction ability left.  The drums could be grooved where the shoes have ground them down, needing resurfacing. You know all this, but still, you estimate 15 minutes labor to do this thing, an ½ hour labor to do another and expect your staff of mechanics to stay within those time limits.  

If you inspect brakes as should be done and realize that some expensive work would be required to put them back in safe condition, do you fear that a customer might believe you are taking advantage of them, gouging them, asking them to let you do unnecessary repairs just to make more profit?  I’m sorry, I simply do not understand your motivation here.

You recently discovered that I had a broken rear spring at a time when I had complained about unusual noises under the truck.  That was great!  I had you replace it, didn’t I?  Then, I heard more noises and you investigated and found that the ends on the sway--bar were bad.  That also was great!  I had you repair that, didn’t I?  Once again, I will state that I do not understand when it comes to your response about my continuing complaints about my brakes.  I wasn’t rushing you, informing you that I was in a hurry or anything.  Take the time, do the work and make the repairs, keep your customers safe and happy.  Isn’t that your job?  

SO, yesterday, I took my little truck over to Sears Automotive and told them all the symptoms associated with the brakes.  They did a free evaluation of the situation and informed me about what they found and what they might do to remedy the problems.  They also informed me what it would cost, up front, before they began the work.  At that time, they said the pads on the front were CRACKED and that was most likely some of the reason I was hearing squeals and squeaks when I braked.  I asked for the old pads so I could show your service department later what they had found.
I insisted that they resurface the drums and replace the shoes because of the 78,000 mile factor I was concerned with, about them being glazed and hardened.  They did as I asked.  

They resurfaced the rotors and replaced the pads and did a general maintenance all around. I saw the truck up on the lift as I passed by, heading out for lunch with the wife and daughter who had stopped by to check on me. The axles looked all clean and bright.

The little truck was finished and waiting for me when I returned from lunch.  As best I can figure, Sears had approximately five hours of time invested in this repair.  The total charge was less than three hundred dollars.  This guy was happy.  I only got happier as I drove home.  The brakes worked flawlessly and quietly.  No complaints from this end.


What am I hoping will happen as the result of this writing?  
I hope that you will hear me and make some changes in the way you do things.
It wouldn’t hurt if you told me personally that you were sorry for the way things has taken place and that you would try to do much better in the future.

My Brother recently purchased a new Corolla from you.  I have already talked to him about this.
My daughter also purchased a new Corolla, but not from your dealership.
She has asked me to come with her as she takes her car to Sears for brake replacements.
She knows, having dealt with a certain service dept. agent at your dealership, that women are treated as less than normal customers due to missing testicles. I have witnessed that same employee's’ attitude toward women customers first hand and personally.  It is not hearsay. I hear that you have promoted him.  Way to go Kerry Management.


Thank you for listening   -  Clarence Bowles

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