Normally I write a sports article but Kosmo is going that direction a bit today, so I will focus on a more Kosmoesque topic for Tuesday … Customer Service.

My wife and I recently bought a new car. Well somewhat recently. We picked up the car at the dealership on February 21. The negotiation went well, I haggled enough that we were happy with trade in values and all was agreed upon.

Unfortunately the dealership did not have the color of vehicle that my wife really wanted so they made a trade for the color we were looking from a dealership out of state. They were not exactly sure if the features were all exactly the same as they had two in the color we wanted and they were not sure which would show up in the trade they were making. So we negotiated based on the higher priced vehicle.

The day we picked up the vehicle, we were hit by the manufacturers credit guy. Now I work at a place that has a great credit union with fabulous rates. He also kept trying to sell me warranty and maintenance plans. I had to politely explain no fewer than four times that the reason I keep buying this brand of vehicle is the reliability, I have never had any issues with them.  So basically “no I am not interested in spending more money on a warranty plan”.

The dealership had put in a charge for $600 for gas, detail and dealership accessories on the final sales bill. WTF? I asked you if I needed to detail my old car , and you told me “no”.  I am not paying for gas … I just bought a 30K plus vehicle from you and you did not add anything additional on to my car, so what are you trying to pull here?

After 2 ½ hours at the dealership (we had an appointment to pick up the car) we finally got to drive it home. My wife procrastinated a bit and waited until the last day to title the car, pay taxes, and get her plates. When she showed up at the DMV they politely explained that they did not have her title yet from the dealership. When my wife called the dealership (realize she is still at the DMV at this time) the dealership said, “it was lost a couple of weeks ago in the mail, didn’t anyone call you to tell you”.

After some vented frustration, my wife secured a loaner car from the dealership. A week passes. Nothing. She calls the dealership again. “Looks like it might be 2-3 more weeks before we have it as there is a computer problem with the State of Colorado” (which I think was still code name for – we have no idea where it is but we don’t have it yet for you).

This prompted a visit from Johnny Goodman to the dealership. After I expressed my complete dissatisfaction with the lack of communication and ranted and raved for about an hour, the dealership agreed to pay my first month car payment (only after I basically told them they needed to). I was having a real problem making a car payment on a vehicle I could legally not drive due to a mix up at the dealership which was completely their error, not mine.

Another 3 weeks went by and we finally got the title. My wife is now driving the car. I was called the day she picked up the title by our salesman who indicated he just found out about this a week or so ago (completely a lie here – trust me, everyone in the dealership told him I stopped in to talk to him the night I came in to look for getting my car payment made … I did make a HUGE scene that night so I am quite sure I left a lasting impression) and then he had also contacted my wife and I … but only after we had filled out a less than complimentary survey and the results went from their home office back to the dealership. Why would you respond to a bad survey and not even call to inform a customer that their title had been lost? An answer to this question I will never know or understand.

The worst part of this is the dealership is literally a half of a block from my house. When salesman go outside for a smoke break they could wave to me on my deck of my house. They had 5 phone contact numbers for my wife or myself yet chose to not call us until we initiated to them that there was a problem.

Hopefully those that read this will have better experiences than I, or will go the extra mile in their jobs this next week – realizing that sometimes problems develop a life of their own and just get bigger and bigger. All which could usually be solved by simple a phone call. As we get more technological in our world, the verbal or face to face communication suffers and seems to get worse and worse. Unfortunately this dealership has lost my business for good as I will never buy another car from them. And as an added bonus my wife and I have pretty much told anyone who will listen our story of great customer service.

Until Next time … stay classy Performance Toyota of Lincoln.

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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