Friday, October 12, 2012

Lost keys and lousy customer service

One Saturday this summer I though I would be adventurous and take all four kids to the splash park and let Shel have some much needed time alone. I packed a bag, got everyone ready and headed for the back door. After getting everyone shoes on I realized that the key to the van I THOUGHT I had in my hand was not there. I had not made it out the back door yet. The search for the key was on. Since I had not left the house I was certain that I would find the key within minutes.
The key has been swallowed by the Bermuda triangle which is my house. (FYI This key has STILL not turned up months later)
I cannot find it ANYWHERE. I have emptied drawers, pulled out appliances, re-arranged bedrooms, and I cannot find that key.
Without a key we were not going anywhere. I had a full two days of the weekend remaining to look for it before I NEEDED to use the van to get to work.
48 hours later there was still no sign of the thing. I called a neighbour and asked for a ride to work which he graciously provided. I called a friend and asked for a ride home and she even MORE graciously provided me with a vehicle to use instead - and the calls to the Honda dealership began. WHAT A FIASCO.
On Monday I called the dealership from work to ask about getting more keys. When we purchased the vehicle we were given a code and told that if we needed to order keys we need only provide this code and we could have more keys made. When I spoke to the individual I was informed that the van needed to be towed into the dealership because the new keys had to be computer programmed to the van. I was told the key had to be ordered from Edmonton and would take one day to get there and it would cost $180.00. I informed them my van would be on the way immediately and ready  to be worked on if the key was ordered and arrived on Tuesday. I called a tow truck and the van was picked up Tuesday morning and taken in. The dealership is about 150 km from where we live in another community. The van arrived on Tuesday. I called on Wednesday to see if I could pick the van up and was told the key had not been ordered and I had to talk to the parts department to order the key, then once the key was in I had to talk to the service department to book a service. I spoke to the parts department and ordered the key and was told it would be in on Thursday and the maintenance scheduled as soon as it arrived. Apparently the service and parts departments within the same building do not talk to one another. I am supposed to know what part I need for maintenance, order the part myself and THEN schedule the maintenance myself.
I called AGAIN on Wednesday night to make sure everything would be there Thursday ready for pick up and was told I would get a call on my cell phone as soon as it was done.
I got a ride (ONE WAY) to the city for work as I had arranged to work there for the day so as to be able to collect the vehicle. After work I called the dealership FOUR TIMES while they tried to track down the order!!!! I was told finally - after more than an hour of waiting - that the key was not in fact ordered, was not there and I would now have to wait until Friday. I explained that I HAD spoken to them, I HAD CONFIRMED later the previous day and that I was more than 150 km from my home and STRANDED now. They didn't care.
All this time I was texting my spouse to let her know what was happening. She was as fed up with them as I was and called the 1-800 customer service number and complained.
I still had to find a way to make arrangements for myself overnight.
The next day the key DID come in and the van WAS fixed. Amazing what a call to the 1-800 number can do.
What became evident to me in the process of this whole endeavour was that there was some conflict between personnel in the parts department and the service department of this dealership. It was CLEAR that the people were in the process of some kind of "pissing match" and that instead of resolving it internally this conflict was bleeding out and impacting me - the customer. In phone calls I I was transferred multiple times, hung up on and calls were not returned. I was given bad information. I was misled.
 In all my years of owning a vehicle this is by FAR the worst experience I have ever had. Does a car company honestly expect a customer to know what part they need and to order it themselves? Am I just living in a bubble in which I expect the dealer to know and order the part on my behalf when I make an appointment for service?
From beginning to end this was a fiasco. I did FINALLY get a key, but the cost was such to my personal time and to my family and friends that in spite of really liking my vehicle I will not get another one from this dealer AND I will warn others away from it also. The MOST unfortunate thing is that our car is fairly new and I expect we will have it for many years to come. This is the only dealer of this type of vehicle within a great distance and we will be forced to deal with them again.

Post script: We have already had to deal with them again and unfortunately our experience the first time was not an isolated experience. Our great dane puppy chewed up some seatbelts and they need to be replaced. We called and ordered them OURSELVES from the parts department. We were asked which seat belts they were. We explained they were from the middle row on the passenger side. The parts person asked what we meant by "passenger side". After that was all sorted we ordered the part. At least we thought we did. When we called back weeks later because we had not heard anything we were told the part had not been ordered because they were specially made for each vehicle and could not be returned once they were ordered and did we REALLY want them. We do. We did. I do not understand why so many weeks had passed and no-one had called us back to ask us this question (though I don't exactly know why they needed to ask after we had called and ordered them in the first place?!)

They have now arrived. We have scheduled an installation. I just HOPE and PRAY we can get them installed in a day and not a week. And I HAVE warned someone interested in getting a vehicle like ours not to do it from this dealer!!!

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