Friday, October 9, 2009

The economy is tough, but come on... a big one finger salute to Obrien Salem Volkswagen.

Sticky windows are a well known FAIL on VW's New Beetle. It's an ailment requiring the attentions of a can of silicone spray 2-3 times per year since the 2006 model came home with us. In the summer it's a minor inconvenience; in the winter it's damn cold. Thus, after much cursing and coaxing after picking up a FREE jolt at Dutch Brothers today, I swung by Obrian Salem Volkswagen. I expected a quick 3 minute fix, as I'd gotten over half a dozen times before. (Yeah, I know, I could buy my own can of lube, but... I haven't.)

There is no love at the counter. They want to take the vehicle in and look at it. Oh goodie, I think, maybe there's an actual permanent FIX for this issue that has plagued the car since day one. The service guy spends about ten minutes creating a ticket, getting my signature to evaluate, then he has to call someone to shuttle me to work.

The shuttle driver was a real treat, seriously. Really nice guy. Best thing about the place, hands down.

Later in the day, the service desk calls; they suggest a "special" lube application that requires them to take the door panels off, so it'll cost $50. Isn't that warranty work, I ask, since it's been a known problem with the windows since day one? Oh, no, the warranty doesn't cover lubrication. And also, did I know that I'm due for my 40k tune up? They do x, y, and z, and that's about $650... possibly extra if other things needs tending to.

I was silent for a moment. Being at work, I'm well into my "repress what you really think/feel, and channel the grace of... well, someone with way more grace than I actually have" zone.

My answer was direct but lacking emotion. "No, I'm not going to have any of that done there. I'm not thrilled with being expected to pay for a temporary fix to a known problem with the vehicle. I'll be taking it to German Motors for the routine service. I'll just pick it up."

Fine, the guy said, promptly hanging up.

Arriving to retrieve my car, he says, as he's turning away from me, "Oh, yeah, and we lubed the windows, no charge."

So let me get this straight: instead of doing what I asked which would have taken three minutes and left me a happy customer , you wasted my time in the morning, made me late for work, pissed me off on the phone, and then wasted my time and inconvenienced the friend who had to take me there mid-afternoon to pick the car up just for an attempt to up-sell me?

Another great example of how NOT to keep a customer, in this economy or any other.


  1. Oooooh! I'll hate them for you, too! That's just bad business.

  2. I used to be a service advisor/manager. So I can see both sides.

    But I don't like the O'Briens either. So I won't defend them.

  3. It would be nice if companies could take customer profiles, and interact with people accordingly. I'm sure such methods work, and cause other people to open their pocketbooks. But if you play me, it just pisses me off and sends me elsewhere. =-)

  4. We took our rabbit in for the first time for warranty work last week and I was really not impressed. They weren't out and out rude, but certainly not friendly. They didn't look at several things on my list, or if they did, they couldn't tell me what they did. And when I scheduled the appointment, I tried to tell him what needed to be fixed and he wouldn't listen. So, it has to go back in because they had to order parts.

    I have always heard good things about German Motors. Do they do warranty work?