Balise Toyota

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false advertisement, lying by the service representative
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS -- SUBJECT: Complaint - false advertisement, lying by the service representative

My car, Toyota Avalon, 1999, required the 60,000 miles service. I called a number of Toyota dealerships in my area to find the best price. The average price quote I was given for the service was $450. However, 'Balise Toyota' (1399 Riverdale Street , West Springfield) representative Tina, quoted the 60,000 miles service at $380. Though the dealership is located about 55 miles from my home, I decided it was worth the $70 price difference to service my car there. I made an appointment and came to the service station on Saturday, 04/17/04, at 10:30am. A service representative (a male in his 30-s) told me the service price is $655. After I expressed astonishment at the number, he told me the quote I was given didn't include platinum spark plugs replacement, which adds about $160 to the service. I asked whether the platinum spark replacement is in the Toyota maintenance schedule for the 60000 service and did not receive any response. I repeated the same question two more times and still didn't receive a straight answer. When I asked why they lie on the phone about the service price, he told me the 'quote was given by a cashier who is not quite competent in the repair issues.' Needless to say, I left the dealership immediately: I wouldn�t leave my car at a place where the cheating starts before a customer enters the door.
When I came home, I found:
a) Platinum spark replacement not only is recommended by Toyota manual for 60000 Avalon service, it is actually required in terms of Emission Control Warranty;
b) Three Toyota service stations I called asking whether their 60000 service quote includes platinum spark replacement answered positively. All three of them assured me they follow exactly Toyota's service recommendation list, and their price quotes reflect this.

I was outraged by this incident: I spent two hours of my time driving to the dealership and back, $12 for gas and tolls to find out I was plainly cheated.
I have 3 cars in my family: two Toyotas and one Acura. After each Acura
Service we receive a phone call asking us to rate the service. As one can expect, the Acura service is always excellent. I knew Toyota generally offers much lower lever of service, though I didn't expect a Toyota licensed service station to lie and overcharge so blatantly.

When I choose a garage to service my car, I always followed the car manufacturer recommendations. My impression was that a service station with the 'Toyota' name should follow some service standards. The conclusions I made after this experience:

1) In fact, they do not follow any standards.
2) Why not serve your car at an independent garage? At the very least it's cheaper.
3) Why buy Toyotas? If you pay a little more, you'll have real service.

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User Replies:
shadowkillr32 on 05/04/2004:
Wow, you sure got ripped. at least you did not use their service.
Anonymous on 05/04/2004:
Rose: In fact each dealership sets the standards themselves using the recommendations from Toyota so it is very important to review exactly what you get for your money. I have seen errors all the time when service is quoted primarily because someone quotes on a service that they are unfamiliar with. According to your owners manual it states timing belt replacement at 60K, but I bet if you call all the dealers you originally called the timing belt replacement was not included in their price (probably how the dealer arrived at $655). Most Dealers consider the timing belt a separate operation and use it for an up sell so before you go driving 50 miles again ask what the 60k service includes. Using an independent garage may save you money but it usually comes with its drawbacks. 1) They usually do not use factory parts (important with Toyota because tolerances are so tight that many aftermarket parts do not perform as well) 2) Unfamiliar techs and improper training on specific vehicles. 3) Factory service comes with a 12month/12,000 miles warranty, many independent garages do not guarantee their work. In closing I would suggest settling in with ONE repair facility that way you can get to know them and they can get to know you and the history of your vehicle. Shopping around by telephone for the best price is like shopping for a white shirt, Everybody has them but you don't know the quality until you arrive at the store! Good Luck.
Anonymous on 05/04/2004:
"Why buy Toyota's, if you pay a little more, You'll have real Service" you quoted. Interesting since your the one who called all these different dealerships and drove 50 miles to save $70.00.
gman3fan on 05/05/2004:
Dealer you've hit it again! I wouldn't drive 50 miles to save $70 either. What this consumer should have done a long time ago was built a trusting relationship with his local dealer by having his regular 3K services done there. Instead he probably takes it to Wal-Mart for the $12.95 oil change.
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