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When General Motors Lost Me
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SEVERAL CITIES AND STATES -- Watching TV tonight there was a story about how GM was losing business because they weren't building cars that people wanted or that quality was poor. But 28 years ago GM lost me forever, not because of quality or that the car was unsatisfactory. All new car models have some teething problems to sort out. They lost me because of dealer arrogance and non-service from the hour I drove the new thing from the dealer showroom.

In 1981 I decided to "Buy American" again. I had owned Fords from 1928 models through 1957. Then I owned various Volkswagens, a Plymouth, a Chrysler New Yorker, a Triumph 2000 in Britain, and finally a 1973 BMW 2002. None of these cars had been fault free, but I never had experienced dealer arrogance and refusal to work with me as I did with all but one GM dealership.

In 1981 I was working in Houston, owning the BMW, and needing a second car, primarily for my wife to drive. The 1981 Buick Century was a highly advertised new model with front wheel drive and a number of innovations. I had looked at several cars and decided on the Buick. Buying American was a large factor in my decision.

Following negotiations, I picked up the car from the dealer, Hub Buick, and was a proud owner for about 10 minutes until I noticed that the gas gauge was showing empty. When I pulled into a station for a fill-up, the attendant said, "Say, you should do something about that tire." With about 25 miles on the odometer, I replied that there couldn't be anything wrong with the tire. But there was. Bare cord was showing over a six inch patch of a rear tire. Needless to say, I hurried back to Hub Buick to inform my formerly helpful salesman of the problem.

His reply was that "it had nothing to do with the car dealer" and that any recourse that I might have had to come from the tire dealer, who was closed by that time. I drove the car about 30 miles home on the freeway, holding my breath. The next day I took off from work to drive back into Houston to seek help from the tire dealer. His reply was that "it had nothing to do with him", but was the responsibility of the transporter who had not properly secured the car to the rail car or highway transport. He did not know which. Another visit to Hub Buick was equally fruitless. The next day I replaced all four tires with a set of Michelins at my own expense.

About two weeks later my wife called me from home to my office to tell me that she couldn't start the car. I got somewhat in the doghouse by implying that maybe she didn't understand such a fine high tech automobile. When I got home, I applied the routine: check ignition (there was spark); check gas flow to the injectors, there was none. Check fuel filter, no gas to the fuel filter. Then check the fuel pump, which I couldn't find. I came to the reluctant realization that it had to be inside the tank; a situation that was beyond my troubleshooting ability.

A call to Hub Buick did result in a wrecker to drag the thing from Clear Lake to center of Houston. They confirmed that the problem had to be a faulty fuel pump which required dropping the tank and installing a new pump. But the rub was that with such a new model, there were no spare fuel pumps in Houston. Three weeks later they did manage to find a pump, but there was no offer of a loan car, so I had to pay for a renter those three weeks.

Several months later I was back home in Baton Rouge when the first scheduled checkup came up. Though at the time it was running OK, I took it to the nearby Buick dealer/service organization for the recommended service. After getting the thing back, the next day my wife drove it about 22 miles to Denham Springs for her art lesson.

That afternoon she called with the information that the Century would not start. This time I knew better than to question her competence to start the thing. A call to the Buick dealer/service place resulted in their sending a wrecker to Denham Springs to bring it back to Baton Rouge. The result was that I had to pay $110 for the wrecker service, but they did replace a faulty distributor rotor button for free. At the scheduled service, they had replaced a perfectly good rotor button with the faulty one.

The final straw was on a trip from Baton Rouge to Orlando. Somewhere east of Pensacola the thing lost power and began belching black smoke. We stopped at a town in the panhandle, rented a motel, and, next morning, took it to the Buick dealer. They said that it probably was the oxygen sensor that had failed, but that they could do nothing about it because they had no spares. We struggled on to Orlando at about 40 mph, laying down a smoke screen that would have done a WWII destroyer proud.

In the nearly four years that I had it, there was only one good dealer experience. The Buick dealer in Orlando took the thing in, provided a loaner car so that our Epcot Center/Disney World trip was not lost, and was able to repair the thing for our return. I don't remember the cost. It may even have been covered by warranty. But living too far from Orlando to use that dealer caused me to leave GM for all time.

Shortly after, before the catalytic converter crashed, we traded it for an '85 Volvo 740. We have had nothing but Volvos since, and never have had a poor Volvo dealer experience in spite of driving each of them over 145000 miles. The only really good thing about that Century was how the front wheel drive handled snow and ice on ski trips to Colorado.

I have never missed an opportunity to tell my family, friends, and others of my experience with Buick dealers, and I assume that the rest of the GM dealers are the same. Lately I had a similar experience on taking a friend's Chevrolet Malibu to the dealer to replace a radiator cap. Until the service person tried it himself, he implied that I was too stupid to remove the radiator cap. But when he tried it himself, he couldn't either. The hand grip part of the cap had separated from the rest of the cap and it took special tools to accomplish the feat.

Things have not changed much lately. Last year I took Buick up on an offer of a Golf shirt if I would test drive a 2008 Lucern. The dealer sales person did not seem to know the difference between a Lucerne and a Lacrosse. I was taken out in a Lacross, and when I questioned the difference, was told that there wasn't much except the price. They did give me the shirt. Even if the offer had been a free Cadillac I think I would turn it down or give it to charity. Maybe not: I wouldn't have wanted the charity to have to deal with GM dealers.

GM cars
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WEST MILFORD, NEW JERSEY -- Having had many cars in 35 years of driving, I can only say that GM deserves all of the problems that are crashing down on it right now. It earned every one of them. Whenever I had a problem with one of their cars, all I got was a run around or an attitude from their service department ("oh God, it's him again"). The only decent cars GM ever made in my opinion were those with the big cast iron 350 V-8's in them. They were gas hogs but at least they held up. In my experience, the American dealerships are liars and cheats. They only want to make a fast buck, throw the car at you then they turn their backs on you.

Their salespeople are real buddy buddy to you when they are trying to sell you the car but once they have your hard earned money, they are nowhere to be found when you have a problem. They don't think about how many people will hear about your problems with one of their cars. There is no integrity any more with these people. Well, what goes around comes around.

I went to Fords in the 1980's after dumping my 1971 Chevy Vega which blew an engine. Then after it was replaced with a new one, burned oil after only 20,000 miles. I had 2 Mercury Marquis - one (1986) with a 302 engine (broken piston at 160,000 miles), 2nd one (1998) still going at 100,000 miles (by the way, you cannot grease the front end of these cars. They're supposed to be lubricated for life. What a crock! Have had 3 front end repairs on it for a total of $1600.00. My mechanic put in the grease fittings with each repair). However, they have been decent cars otherwise, quality was fair to good.

Have a 2004 Ford Freestar minivan with 65,000 miles-quality fair to good except the brakes are poor and barely stop the van. I also have (2) 2005 Honda Civic sedans. Mine has 65,000 miles. Never had any mechanical problem whatsoever. Only had one problem, went to the car wash one day and the clear coat started peeling off the rear bumper. Honda fixed it under warranty. My daughter's Honda has 25,000 on it. Same thing. Absolutely no problems. People tell you to buy American, my attitude is: I will buy the best product for the money, no matter who makes it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!

GM and the UAW brought these problems on themselves with their arrogant and ignorant attitudes. I don't feel sorry for them. I'm only sorry that they didn't have the foresight to listen to Deming about quality, or their customers about service. I'm sorry for all of their suppliers who will lose business and maybe their jobs. I'm sorry we are bailing out a company with our tax dollars that will be back again in a couple of years with their hands out for more. GM, Ford and Chrysler have made their beds. Now they have to sleep in them.

Keeping Your Word (Or Warranty)
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WEST MILFORD, NEW JERSEY -- Saturn, you've lost at least one customer and probably many more who heard how you treat loyal customers (at least from me). How unfortunate, when you think you've found a decent and honest car company, you're brought back to the reality of another company that practices deceit in order to make their company stay in business for the short term while not concerning themselves with improper treatment of their current customers or the long term.

My problem started when the car (2004 Ion) was under the manufacturer's warranty. The air conditioner stopped blowing cold air. The car was brought to the dealer. It was discovered the Freon was discharged, no leak was found. Saturn recharged the system. I wasn't too concerned because the problem was brought to their attention while the car was under warranty, even though they did not fix it.

One year later, when I went to use the A/C for the first time that season, the same problem occurred. I brought it back to the dealer, they recharged the system under warranty and no leak was found. This was becoming an inconvenience including the times there was a power outage at the dealership and the time they stranded my wife at work when they said they would pick her up and bring her back to the dealer to get the car.

I guess that kind of stuff happens. Another year passes and the same problem occurs at the beginning of summer. Now the car is out of warranty. They discover the Freon has leaked out again but this time they find the leak. It would cost $1000 to fix it! I'm still not that concerned because I have all the receipts from the past that clearly show it was a manufacturer's defect while under warranty.

I contacted the manufacturer in the past while the car was under warranty to make sure this was documented and I called them again this time to protest this charge. They checked into my claim, again, and offered to absorb all but a deductible of $200. Their deceit began to sink in. I argued the fact that their warranty states “The warranty covers repairs to correct any vehicle defect related to materials or workmanship occurring during the warranty period.” It was obvious the defect occurred during the warranty period but they would not stand behind their own warranty.

I tried to explain the problem by simplifying it, comparing it to a flat tire. If you bring your flat tire into a service center and they simply refill it, but not find (or look) for the leak, no one can honestly consider the tire repaired. After three times they finally find the source of the leak. Either the repairman doesn't know what he's doing or they're obviously dishonest.

At this point I'm still thinking someone with authority will become involved and rectify this situation as a reputable company should and treat the customer properly. I noticed in the warranty booklet that you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, which I did. It seemed like the solution. I was sent a response after the filing process which stated “I regret we will not be able to help you”.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It's consistent. The end result is I had to swallow my pride, disregard all the service invoices I have and pay the $200 Saturn demanded. Although Saturn recouped their $200 with dishonesty and deception, they lost a good customer who talks to a lot of people. The first chance I get, I'll sell the car and have nothing to do with Saturn, or GM for that fact, again. Anyone want to buy a used Saturn?

Bad Business
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It seems to me a company that boasts about customer satisfaction refers only to the most expensive cars in their line but do the majority of people really drive those cars? I would think most people who drive Chevys are the working class people who fill the middle class section of the country. The ones who go to work everyday just making enough to feed and house their family. Do they brag about their satisfaction or just that of those who buy Cadillacs or Corvettes?

My story starts about five years ago, I bought a new car from the local dealer here and had nothing but trouble. At 3000 miles the tail light and turn signal shorted out and did it every three thousand miles until finally at 18000 miles I grew weary of the runaround and the dealership not able to figure out why it happened. I started to inquire about trading it in because of the fact it was such a safety hazard to drive without tail lights or turn signals when they told me they would do nothing really to assist me into another car and offered me five grand on the trade it based on the fact they would never be able to certify it as a "Certified GM car because of all the problems it had."

I was floored, I could not believe it, however they did offer me four free oil changes. Devastated I had no choice but to buy a new car and was forced to refinance 8000.00 of the remainder of the balance into the new car. I went all the way as far as I could go through their customer service office but was never even given an apology about the lemon they sold me.

Now four years after buying the new car I still owe just under ten grand for the car and was involved in a collision. Being as the dealership had always serviced the car and the damage to the car I opted to take it to the collision center there. They have had my car for 32 days telling me for the last two weeks how it would be Tuesday when on Tuesday they only extended it to Friday. Friday it had to be the following Wednesday and so on.

Today they call telling me it is ready. I take the rental back, go to the collision center. The car looks OK but when I start it the airbag light was on. The man asked if I had a problem driving it like that as he told me they didn't have anyone to look at it besides they were getting ready to close. Oh he was nice enough and offered to take me home but being as he was a total stranger to me I passed. They closed behind me before I had even found a way home telling me I would have to come back the next day.

Now I may not know much about business but it seems to me all the times I sat in the waiting room to the service center most of the people sitting there seemed to have the same story or similar. A retired gentleman told me once of his truck and how they could not figure out what was wrong until his warranty went out and he had to pay over a thousand for the repair. How can they survive with the dissatisfaction so many of their customers carry? Well that is my story and I just wanted to voice it in a public forum. Perhaps one day the right person will hear them and some justice will be served somewhere for someone.

Customers Are Responsible??? Buyer Beware
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OHIO -- General Motors customer service 2nd level representatives are the "Final" level and decision maker in the company. It's amazing that they are not allowed to forward you to any management; give a physical address or correct department to send a consumer complaint to; or even give you the name of any manager. I was told it is company policy. Wonder why??? Could it be TOO many consumer complaints and now they don't want to hear it... I did my research too late - don't make the same mistake.

This whole issue started because our 2003 Pontiac Aztek started making a horrible noise - out of nowhere - on a Thursday evening. We immediately parked it until we could get service. We ended up at a Midas because we didn't know what it was - sounded like it could be the brakes - and Midas was the first shop we came to - we didn't want to drive the car any further. When I described the noise to the guy behind the counter, he smiled, said "I think I know what it is" and asked if there was any yellow discoloration around the rims - to which my husband replied, "yes there is".

He then advised us that we had hub bearing problems, a known and ongoing issue with GM vehicles. He told us he knew of several people who had to have them done more than once while still driving under the initial warranty and that GM - who is aware of this ONGOING problem with their vehicles - had a recall. He checked his computer for the information and told us to take it to a dealer because we were under that recall. He also advised us that we probably had some brake issues and we could bring it back and he would look into it. He then gave us a print out showing this problem on a list of other problems.

Unfortunately, this was a Saturday and the dealership closest to our location had a service area that was closed until Monday. Monday arrives and leaving work early, I take the vehicle in. I called first and was curtly advised that as long as my vehicle didn't exceed the mileage, (which it doesn't) I shouldn't have any issues. Let me stop here and just say that I grew up in a GM buying family. My first car was a GM, and since I got married, this is the 2nd GM we have purchased together - and it will be the LAST GM we purchase.

I arrived at the dealership and met a very courteous service advisor whom I advised of the hub bearings and brakes problems. He did some research and advised me that the hub bearings were not under recall - they were under a manufacturer "extended warranty" which GM had implemented because they are aware of this ongoing problem. However, our company "extended warranty" had just conveniently ran out. He then went to talk to his manager, and came right back telling us there was nothing that could be done. I was shocked!

We were not the first buyers on this vehicle and since the original purchase date was in January of 2003, that means the "extension" ran out in January of 2008. I asked why we were never notified and told them that we were not the first owners on our previous GM vehicle, but that when there was a problem with the fuel line we received a letter and thus immediately took the vehicle to the then closest dealership - which was a whole lot nicer to us as customers than the one we are currently dealing with -- The service advisor "advised" me to contact GM. (Okay - maybe we should have caught the hint when our Bonneville had a recall.)

He also told me he had to run a diagnostic check to tell us the problem - and of course that involved a service charge that would not be included in any repairs. I had shown him the printout and he took it to do his research (and never gave it back).

I called the company in good faith, expecting an admission to their dropping the ball in notifying us and for them to cover the problem. In explaining the situation to their extremely courteous 1st level customer service (after I was hung up on the first time) I was assured this would be immediately escalated to a higher level to be handled and they were extremely sorry for my inconvenience.

As anyone who has dealt with the customer service at GM is aware - the first level is where the "customer service" attitude ends. After this, I received a couple of messages on my answering machine - one advising us this was being looked into, and one very garbled and hard to understand message advising us of GM's final decision and that there was no further recourse available to us. I received a call from the service advisor. He told me that GM had decided to pay for the parts but we had to pay for the labor. I wasn't satisfied with this because we never received any notice of the problem. How unfair is that?

I wasn't aware that it is the CONSUMER'S DUTY to check for recalls or manufacturer defects with warranty extension. I guess we all better check periodically to see what issues our GM vehicles may be facing - because obviously it isn't the company's responsibility to let you know anything. Needless to say, I have tried to get in touch with someone higher than the customer service 2nd level folks, but since they are the end all and be all in decision making for this company - I was advised there is no further recourse. I guess we buy their products at our own risk? Never again.... Buyers Beware!

General Motors Shell Game
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TOPSHAM, MAINE -- I've spent the last three months playing a shell game with General Motors and three of their dealerships and all of the shells were empty. While traveling in my 2003 Chevrolet Pickup in Georgia in late December, I had a breakdown. Prior to the breakdown, my truck had been problem free. Duvall Chevrolet of Clayton, Georgia, determined that the Transfer Case needed to be replaced. After some discussion, I agreed to have the Transfer Case replaced with a GM replacement Transfer Case with a 3-year warranty. I was in a travel status and continued west after the repair was completed.

I had only gotten about a hundred miles when I realized that I had a fairly significant vibration that I hadn't had prior to the repair. I called Duvall, who told me it was probably nothing serious and I should talk with my hometown dealership when I returned. Subsequently, I also determined that I had fluid leaking from an area near the Transfer Case, which I had never noticed before.

I stopped at Herb Adcox Chevrolet in Chattanooga, TN, where I was told that the Transfer Case was leaking fluid and that a damaged U Joint was the cause of the vibration. As I understand it, the U Joint is connected to the Drive Shaft which is connected to what else: The Transfer Case. Guess who paid? Me. Adcox topped off the Transfer Case fluid so that I could return home and see my local dealership, Goodwin Chevrolet of Brunswick, Maine.

Goodwin inspected the vehicle and determined that the problem was a crack in the Transfer Case Adaptor Housing, which is connected to what else: the Transfer Case. Guess who paid? Me. I don't pretend to be a mechanic, but it defies all logic that these problems that were non-existent prior to the Transfer Case replacement weren't related to the original problem or the work that was done.

I submit that any rational, objective person would conclude that there was a direct relationship covered by the warranty, especially since the warranty work was essentially the same work as that completed replacing the Transfer Case Adaptor Housing (That's straight from Goodwin Chevrolet. Of course, they could have been funning me).

I filed a complaint with GM Customer Service (File # ** - they sure have a lot of complaints), but GM didn't find any beans under the empty shells. They reached the self-serving conclusion that none of these problems were related and warranty didn't cover any of my expenses. My advice: Don't waste your time buying GM warranty parts and don't buy a GM product either.

I have this message for GM: In my life, I've purchased 8 General Motors vehicles, including 5 new ones. God willing, I'll purchase several more vehicles before I pass on to greener pastures. I'll never purchase another General Motors product because you treat good customers like trash. The next time you folks are staring at the boardroom wall wondering why sales are declining, look in the mirror and remember Missing Bean in Maine and millions more like him.

Catastrophic Mechanical Failure
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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -- I was so very excited to find a dealer in my area that had a Solstice in stock for sale! On August 26, 2006 I purchased my 2007 Solstice off the showroom floor of a dealership, Penn Pontiac, Baltimore, MD to be exact, despite horrors with the "salesman" at the dealership. The problems started immediately when I pulled in my driveway with my new prize and my neighbors gathered around to take a look. (How could they not?!) One of them pointed out to me that there was a large screw in my tire. Then, I put the convertible top down and found the rubber weather seal badly damaged.

No problem, right, it's a brand new car? Got right on the phone to the putz that I bought the car from whom wants to argue with me "how do I know you didn't do it on your way home?" (I live ten minutes from the dealership!) This was on a Saturday evening. When Monday evening (after work) rolled around, I had a friend meet me at the dealership to give me a ride home. I was fully prepared to return the car to them if they were not willing to replace the tire and repair the weatherstripping.

After a very heated go-round with my favorite sales rep he finally agreed to do the repairs. Promptly on the 10th of the next month my first car payments, yes plural, showed up in my mailbox. This genius sales rep and the credit manager at the dealership got me financing at two different banks simultaneously! I have a payment due in 10 days, but who do I pay?

Back to the dealership I treck. I could see my favorite sales rep roll his eyes when he saw me coming through the door. It took an act of congress but I did get the financing squared away (without so much as an apology from the dealership.) Oh, by the way, did I mention the "great" bonus I got for buying my car from the fine folks at Penn Pontiac? Free oil changes for the life of the vehicle! Actually, it was a nice little perk (or so I thought). Well, 3000 miles rolls around and I go for my first oil change. No, kidding, it was free! Next time I go back for my second oil change, I ask to have my tires rotated as well. No problem; oil change was free and I paid $19.95 to have the tires rotated. Fair enough.

But, as has been said, the third time was a charm. NOT! I got my oil changed and went to the cashier and proudly presented my free oil change card only to be told that this would be the last free oil change I would get. The dealership had been taken over by new owners; the Bob Bell Automotive Group and they will not honor my free oil change for life perk! Well, didn't that just suck??!! Oh, well. What did I expect?

I wrote a nasty letter to **, the former owner and to Pontiac protesting the rip-off. Neither cared. ** never responded at all; GM responded, but didn't do a thing. I couldn't believe the complacency of GM's customer service person who called me! Anyway, the Bob Bell group is pretty big in Baltimore so surely my nightmare was finally over, right? WRONG! It only went downhill from here.

Time for oil change #4, so off to the new owners at the dealership I went. I was also due to have the tires rotated again. I waited an hour or so for them to finish my car and paid the cashier my bill. Around $49, I think. Not too bad. I go out and get into my car and start out of the parking lot thinking that something didn't feel quite right. But, the parking lot was gravel (yeah, can you believe that one?) so I rolled out onto the highway.

I got about 50 feet around the corner and knew something was DEFINITELY wrong. I pulled back onto the parking lot via the other entrance and got out of my car to look. I couldn't believe it! Right front tire had only ONE lug nut on it! Needless to say I was scared to death thinking of what could have been!

I walked back into the service area and asked the service manager if he was trying to kill me? "Why," he said. I invited him outside with me to look at my car. "Oh, I'm sorry. I get that taken care of right away." He called over the intercom for ** who turned out to be some kid who worked on my car that was dumber than a post. "Gee, I'm sorry," he said. He fixed my car and I never did see the service manager again. I was still pretty shaken so I just took my car and went home. This took place in late October / early November 2007.

Here comes the icing... On January 21, 2008, at about 5:10 PM, the height of rush hour traffic, I am about 1.2 miles from where I had just left work, on a very high traffic road, driving 40 MPH (the speed limit) in the right lane when, without any warning whatsoever, a loud BOOM! And my car went into a 360 degree spin landing in (luckily) a center turn lane. Scared me unbelievably! How I managed to not hit anyone or have them hit me is nothing short of a miracle! I managed to get the car off the road into a gas station that was fortunately right there. I had difficulty getting the car to move.

People came running from everywhere. I assumed that I blew out a tire, but upon examining the car, there was nothing blown, leaking, dragging or visibly broken. I called AAA and had the car towed just 3 blocks down the road to Anderson Pontiac. The tow truck driver had a very difficult time getting the car to move up on to the rollback. When we got to the dealership, the service department was already closed and again, the tow truck driver had a hard time getting the car off the truck. He thought that I maybe broke a tie road causing a wheel to lock and throw me into such a violent spin. I left the vehicle with a note and went home.

Next morning I called the dealership and spoke to a very nice person there who told me that from what little he'd seen that it was most certainly not a tie rod, but rather a problem with the rear-end and he would call me when he had more information around noon.

Well, it was finally 3:00 and I knew that this was not a case of "no news is good news" so I called the dealership. I spoke to the same guy who informed me that the BOOM I heard was the rear differential "exploding". Whatever that means! He continued by telling me that he would have to replace the whole rear and that he couldn't locate one anywhere in the country. He told me that the dealership would pay for my rental car and that he would let me know in a few days what he could do.

First, I want to comment on the difference between the service department at this dealership versus the other one that I had been going to. Everyone here from the time I rolled up with the tow truck forward has been so professional and knowledgeable I was shocked. While it is very comforting to know that my car is in good hands, I really wonder what the residual damage is to the vehicle and whether or not I should accept a vehicle back with only 23000 miles on it after such a major and violent incident?

I have better than 5 years worth of payments left on this car and what's to say that something else couldn't happen as a result of this incident? And, with all of the historical information available to buyers today, how would I ever sell it? DO you think maybe this car has dark cloud?

I Purchased a Lemon and Manufacturer Doesn't Care!!
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HERMITAGE, PENNSYLVANIA -- I purchased a 2007 Pontiac Torrent on September 9th, 2007. 8 days later all the lights came on, saying it needed service (stabilization/traction control/anti-lock brakes/all-wheel drive (supposed to be on-demand)). I took it to the dealer and they ran a test and said the speed sensor was bad, they had to order the part, so I had to make another trip for repairs.

After the repairs I went for a quick shopping trip to a store next door and then got 5 minutes away and the lights came on again. Since I had just left the dealership not long before that, I turned around and went right back and they ran the test again and then produced a bulletin that said GM knew about the problem and that it was lights only. I had also contacted Pontiac 2 times, one time they told me it was a lights issue and that the all-wheel drive on demand was still on-demand, the first one gave me free oil changed, like that was going to make me feel safer. It paid more to get the added safety features.

Well, it continued to make funny sounds and the lights never went off, so I contacted Pontiac again and got another rep, who said she wanted to change me from an unhappy Pontiac customer to a happy one. She also wanted me to get it in and have them retest it, and guess what - the bad part they supposed replaced with a good part, the good part was bad also, or else the dealership lied and never replaced it to begin with.

So I asked them if the repairs this time would help my gas mileage, since there was an electrical issue, and at first he told me no, then upon checking he said it should help because the wheel axle was turning. So I said, "that means the all wheel drive is working all the time", and he said YES. I said "no wonder the gas mileage sucked, you know, if the roads were bad and the all-wheel drive was active, I wouldn't mind the gas mileage going down, but not on good roads." So anyway I had to take it back in again for the repairs and he said "this should help your gas mileage too", and I said "I hope so, but was told that before, and you know what, my gas mileage still sucks."

I will hold off giving the name of the dealership's name, other than to say they are in Hermitage Pennsylvania and recently bought the dealership. You know, I have always been taught that you should always give someone the item they bought, but you know, this dealership did not give me what I bought. I bought a 2007 Pontiac Torrent with stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes so that I would feel safer when driving, but did not get all of the features. I bought an expensive LEMON, and you know what, I will never ever buy another vehicle from this dealership (or any of the car lots within this company's operations) and will never buy another Pontiac.

Hey if they don't care about me, then I don't care to buy from them. You would think in this highly competitive field, they would care more about their customers. But I guess that is what I get for thinking. This is a dealership and a manufacturer problem, and they need to get their acts together.

My Journey From Hell. Copy sent to BBC Watchdog
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As an admirer of your program, when I lived in England, I was wondering if you could help me, as I have nowhere left to turn to. My horror story started on 9th May this year on my return journey from England to Spain! My car broke down in France, the car an Opel Zafira 2 liter turbo diesel, although first registered in 2002; had only 60,000 kilometers on the clock. Having had the car transported to the nearest Opel dealership, I was told by the garage that it required a replacement part engine,

(This was a shock, considering the low mileage) and I was quoted 700 euros, and would take 3 weeks to repair. This was on the 9th May, I continued my journey to Spain by public transport. On arrival at Barcelona en route to Menorca I had my wallet picked from my pocket, and lost all my credit cards, money, driving license, and important documents, even my identity. I thought my luck couldn't get any worse, but unfortunately it did.

On 22nd May I returned to Newcastle by air to spend a week with my sister. On 27th May I decided to phone the garage as it was getting close to the 3 weeks completion date, and inquire how they were progressing with the repair. I decided to forfeit my return flight to Menorca, book a flight to Paris, collect my car, and continue my journey home. On phoning the garage I found that they could not, or would not speak English, and as I couldn't speak French, all they said was "goodbye".

I started to get worried, and didn't know what to do next. I was given the telephone number of General Motors in Luton by a local garage, and phoned their Customer Care dept. They gave me the Customer Care telephone number in France. I phoned them, (this is where my problems really started). They told me they would have to open a case. Contact the garage in France to see what the position was, and phone me back.

On returning my call five days later, I found out that no work had been started on the car, and because the car was registered in Spain I would have to contact Customer Care in Spain, because they would have to open a case. I contacted Customer Care in Spain, and was told that they would liaise with the French team to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

One week later I hadn't heard anything from France or Spain. I tried to reach the persons concerned with the case, and every time I was told that they were busy, and that they would get back to me. I heard nothing for another week. Eventually, I was informed that the garage didn't think it was the engine, and needed a fax from me to give them permission to open the gearbox, as they thought the problem could be there, and the cost would be 450 euros. I heard nothing from anyone for another two weeks, despite numerous phone calls.

Then I received an estimate via email, the estimate was in French, which I didn't understand, but noticed that the cost for repairs had escalated from seven hundred, to two thousand eight hundred euros, and the garage requested a fax from me accepting the estimate before they would continue. I felt that I was being exploited, as I later found out that part of the estimate was for doing some work on the CD player.

Later I phoned Customer Care in Spain to ask when the car would be ready. I had spoken in English with this person before. She said she preferred to speak in Spanish. Although I can speak a little Spanish, her English is far superior to my Spanish, and she refused to continue the conversation in English. I was so upset, that I decided to contact Customer Care service in Luton England. Told them the problem with everything, and they decided to open a case as well. They were annoyed with the treatment I had received from the Spanish dept. and said they would speak to them.

Finally on the 4th July after more than two months had passed, I got a telephone call from the Spanish dept. saying the case was nearly closed, and my car should be ready by the end of the week. On the strength of this information I booked a flight from Newcastle to Paris for the 6th July and then a train to the garage to enable me to collect my car, and thought that this could be the end of my problems, but it was not so.

On 5th July I received a phone call from Customer Care in England to say that the garage was still waiting for a part for the car (a flywheel), that they said they were trying to obtain from a small island with a time difference of 5 hours, and if they were unsuccessful it would be 21st September before the garage received their back order of this part. I could not believe what I was hearing. That would mean that the garage would have had my car for 18 weeks.

On the 6th July I received a call from England Customer Care to say that they had found one in Italy, and would arrange to have it delivered to France. I told them I was booked on a flight to Paris that same day, but it would be the 10th July before I would arrive at the garage, and hoped to collect my car then. They couldn't understand why the Spanish customer care hadn't informed me of the change of circumstances. It seemed to me that the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing.

When I arrived at the garage, my car was in pieces. They said they were still waiting for the part, and couldn't tell me when the car would be ready. After waiting 12 weeks, and being back to square one I decided to go back home to Menorca. While writing this, I am still waiting to hear from someone. I have spent over 150 pounds on telephone calls and more than 500 pounds on travel regarding the car. Also an estimated 200 pounds more when I do collect the car. The treatment I have received from General Motors Customer Care has left me deflated and empty. Please can you help me?

H3 Head Replacement Customer Service
By -

I purchased my Hummer H3 exactly 1 year ago. 6,000 miles into ownership and while on a long trip, I encountered a head/cylinder issue. Dealer had it for a week and replaced the complete head. I discovered while researching the issue that this was very widespread in the new H3's. I also discovered in reading Hummer forums, that GM was issuing extended warranties for those who had this problem. I contacted GM and was told that I would be given a 7 yr/100,000 mile extended warranty on all engine and drive train components. After numerous phone calls to GM, I received the letter 2 months later.

The letter did not contain the promised coverage that GM had quoted me (was only on certain engine components.) To the phones again I went. Meanwhile while I am ironing this out with GM, I see numerous others on the forums are getting various perks added along with their extended warranties (years worth of oil changes, another year of OnStar, a couple got bumper to bumper coverages, etc., etc.) I brought this to GM's attention and told them I wanted what everyone else was getting.

I was then told (almost 4 mos into this now) that I would be given for all my trouble a "GMPP" (basically bumper to bumper) warranty and that I would receive it in a couple weeks in the mail. 1 month later I still had not received it so again I called GM - was told "oh sorry, that person had no business telling you that we would give that warranty to you - and we will NOT!" Meanwhile they then tell me that my original component letter that I had was NO GOOD either and that I must return the letter to them! I of course refused to return it UNTIL they made good on their promises.

Long story shortened, we have battled this issue for now nearly 6 months and as of 2 weeks ago they promised me in writing this time via email a specific extended warranty coverage offer IF I would return my letter to my Service Manager for which I did in good faith since I now had a written offer of resolve from GM. I would also add that I discussed the fact with my Service Manager, my fears of relinquishing the letter and what all they had done to me in the previous 5 months. His response was, "Oh I would never let this happen to you. We are here for YOU!"

Today I get a call from GM informing me that they are not giving me anything and are closing my file as a "dissatisfied customer!" (Now that they have my original letter!) Of course I was very irate as well as in total shock that they would do this to me after making promises in writing. They offered me no excuses or reasons as to why they were reneging. Guess what my Service Manager's response was today after I called him? "Oh gee sorry and nothing I can do!" I have seen numerous other H3 owners with the head replacement get extended warranties, so why would GM treat me in this manner?

I am just in total disbelief that GM would lie over and over again and pull such a scam to get me to return my letter (which I was told was no good anyway) and then break promises - not once but on 3 separate occasions. As far as I am concerned this is total lack of regard for we customers who helped make this H3 the HUGE success that it became in purchasing it in its 1st production year (something I have always refused to do in the past!) My family and I have been long time GM customers (Cadillac) and as far as I am concerned, GM just lost all credibility with me!

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