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My Journey From Hell. Copy sent to BBC Watchdog
By -

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
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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!

Can't Get in Passenger Door
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BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -- "IT CAN'T be done." "We have no intention of doing it." and "We won't do it." are not answers you hope to hear from a supplier when you ask them to remedy your problem with their product. Yet that's been General Motors' attitude to establishing keyhole access to the passenger door of the Chevrolet Colorado pickup they sold us June 2, 2005. When we park at Safeway I'm embarrassed, knowing Tim Hortons customers can watch me standing beside our truck, waiting for my husband to climb into the driver's seat and reach over to unlock the passenger door so I can get in.

As I wait in rain or snow, arms stretched by bags of groceries, I imagine one diner saying to another, "Is that woman too lazy or too snooty to open her own truck door?" I'm neither. And for 17 months I've waged an endless – so far fruitless, battle with GM to have them make available the 3-part key cylinder lock which, when installed, would let me open my door with the ignition key.

My battle with GM began after I took my first ride. We had parked at the library. As we got ready to drive away, I took out my key and looked for a keyhole. But I couldn't find one. "If I say I can't find a keyhole, he's going to call me an idiot," I thought. And he did... until he couldn't find a keyhole either. To cut production costs (it's called de-contenting) GM omitted a keyhole in the passenger door. (At the same time, GM added a key lock to the tailgate "to prevent the $1,000 tailgate from being stolen.")

GM has omitted passenger door keyholes from various models going back several years. However, GM admitted it was taken aback by the number of Colorado buyers who complained about not being able to access the passenger door with a key. At the time we ordered our Colorado, we were offered a package that included power windows, air conditioning, and remote access. Unlike past years when you chose your new Chevrolet off the dealer's lot as is, now you can order smorgasbord style and wait for Detroit to assemble your made-to-order truck.

We turned down the $2,000 power package and opted to unlock the doors with the ignition key. Unfortunately, the salesman never warned us our truck won't be accessible from the passenger door. When I complained to the dealership our passenger door lacked key access, both the salesman and the sales manager pretended to be surprised.

From the outset – with the exception of a local mechanic no longer employed by our dealer, GM's attitude was "This is how the truck is designed. We can't and won't modify it.” One GM headquarters spokesperson suggested we drive alone. A GM receptionist in Detroit laughed so hard when she heard my story. I had to wait for her to sober up. Even the administrator of the complaint website,, was at first skeptical of my complaint.

Then in May 2006 I read on The Shreveport Times' website that GM was recalling 400,000 Chevy trucks with faulty back-up lights. The trucks were built in Louisiana. So is our Colorado. I contacted the Shreveport Times reporter. He, too, doubted my story but from the local Chevy plant learned "the parent company, General Motors Corp, is aware of the situation and is taking steps to rectify it. Its engineering department is scheduled to add the key cylinder to base trim level Colorado production in August. It will also be made available to dealers at that time." So far it has not been made available to our dealer.

The reporter gave me a contact phone number and email address for Detroit GM. I've hounded GM since and received numerous promises parts would arrive any day but nothing yet. I'm not going away. I know other Colorado owners want the same as we do.

GM Roadside Assistance - No Show
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

MOORESTOWN, NEW JERSEY -- I got a flat tire in the pouring rain. I called GM roadside assistance. I was told it would be about 45 minutes. After an hour waiting, no one shows. I called GM roadside assistance. They told me the guy's truck broke down, they will not be coming and they never called to cancel. Therefore, I must wait another 45 minutes. This started at 8 pm, I got home after midnight.

2003 Saturn Vue 2.2 Timing Chain Quick Fix / Repair
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We own a 2003 Saturn vue with the 2.2 Echotech engine (timing chain) and we noticed a slapping sound near the timing chain area at idle and the noise smoothed out at a higher rpm. We took the vue to an authorized repair dealer and they briefly looked at it and said it sounds bad so I left it over night for their techs to look at it and after $200.00 later they said the motor needs to be replaced new $3500.00. Plus install or a used engine with 70000 miles so I informed them to get it ready and I'll pick it up after paying the $200.00 fee.

They said they found metal in the oil so they put new oil in the engine. After looking at the paper work I noticed they didn't even install a new oil filter? Then I was told that I may not even make it home without destroying the engine so I took it to a honest and capable mechanic I know. He said it sounds like the timing chain is slapping the motor casting after removing the top of the engine valve cover and discovered a bolt had backed making the timing chain guide to loose for the chain tensioner to adjust as needed.

After looking at the problem we decided to make a piece to hold the guide in position because the bolt worked loose and watered out the bolt hole and could not use a bolt so we took measurements and we machined a piece to retain the chain guide. He installed it and the engine sounds great and hope to get another 120000 mile out of our vue. The job can be done by any decent mechanic. We have the dimensions to make more (but the secret is to get it fixed before the chain breaks slapping noise is a good indication). Any questions I can be contacted.

By -

1507 W ASHLEY RD BOONVILLE, MISSOURI -- I worked long and hard to have nice things including a nice car. I was very stupid and bought a new 2008 Buick enclave just $48,959.00. Not a lot right? Anyway I fell in love with the way it drove and looked. I could get in and out easy. I have trouble with my muscles and sometimes it's hard to get from a low setting car. I traded up from a supercab truck. We live on a farm. I keep this in my garage and we share rides to work, so I did not drive it every day.

16 months later and 21,000 miles, I drove to work. Weather here had been very dry and that day it rain some. Went to get in the car and my friend said "did you know your floor is wet?" After looking at it, the whole floor was sopping wet. It had come from the side arm next to the windshield area and down the dash. Took it to the dealership they thought it was from the sunroof. I had just had it in there for the recall on the plugs for the sunroof. That should have been my first clue. Anyway they said it was fixed. Again the same thing happen back I went. Did I tell you it's a hour drive one way to the dealership, so same story same song.

Once again it rained with some snow, and that's right it was wet! I have talked with everyone that they sick on me with the warranty and they do not seem to understand that I did not want to have a car that cost so much, leak! I now have it home and they say its fixed. It's going to rain today and I can't wait. Does anyone know how I can get something really done here. I have done the BBB, attorney gen., the warranty people. Who can I get to that will take me serious.

I will not buy GM again. I just want another car without a sunroof or water or the leaking. I want to be fair. I will pay a fair difference for one because I have had mine to drive sometimes without water. The dealership is only too happy to trade with me. They want to give me oh a $23,000.00 and they think they are being very generous. They want me to buy a new 2010 Buick Lacrosse for a small $41,000.00. Tell me give me you help. Do not buy GM. Never never never. Thank you.

Chevy Express Van junk
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WARREN, MICHIGAN -- Without a doubt the worse vehicle I have ever owned, especially based on the miles driven to date (36,000) on a Truck that is always garaged. Fuel pump started to malfunction at 12K miles, gave out at 20K, 2 months after the 3 year warranty expired. GM's response? Tough. Brake pads fell off at 18K, windshield wipers wouldn't turn off at 18K, Cargo Door hinges almost frozen up at 20K, door welds starting to crack from effort required to open (known issue). Side view mirrors that vibrate at any speed over 25 MPH making them useless (known issue).

Bad poppet valve fuel injection. 30K (known issue), required replacement, known issue, State of California sued GM requiring them to extend the Warranty. GM Brand Quality Manager for fuel injection reaction reaction: "you were probably using inferior quality gasoline" and, "its old, tough luck." Dex-Cool antifreeze destroyed intake manifold gaskets leaking antifreeze from the intake manifold and would have destroyed the engine had it not been caught 36K (known issue, GM is being sued via a class action lawsuit).

GM Engine Brand Quality Manager reaction: "Sorry, its old and your vehicle/engine is not part of the class action lawsuit". Shock absorbers all bad except right front at 36K miles. Makes vehicle dangerous to drive. Have not reported to GM yet. Suspension noises I am hearing are probably broken springs that resulted from shocks being inoperative. Air conditioning needs charged yearly (known issue) slow leak that cannot be detected, probably from the condenser as they have been known to pinhole and leak prematurely.

Coolant leak from poorly designed and routed lines that supply the rear heater core that run underneath the van. Exposed to road salt and weather. Have not yet figured how to repair. This was my 1st and last purchase of a GM vehicle. Not even because of the extremely poor design of the vehicle and its bad reliability, but more because of GM's response to these issues, mainly feigning ignorance of everything I reported to people in the company who know and yet act like this is the 1st time they've ever heard of these things. I have owned Ford products that have gone 200K miles with 1/10 of the work required to keep them on the road. Even my Chrysler and Jeep vehicles went over 100K.

Fixing Power Steering Failure
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I own a 2005 Saturn ION and commute about 20 miles daily. About a year and half ago my power steering dc motor was shutting off by some internal process. Since I am an engineer I found this problem interesting. I tried to understand what would cause the power assist to shut off. I peruse a few web forums and found their explanations for the failure. Didn't match what I was experiencing. The two main WEB reasons are bad fuses and bad motor.

A fuse, such as the ones in the ION is a piece of wire connecting between two terminals. When the current through the wire exceed the rating of the fuse it burn out, like a light bulb. It does not come back. If you can power cycle (turn off then back on) your ION and it clear pwr str then it is not a fuse. Unless the fuse holder is loose and that kind of mechanical failure would be notice on the dealership lot.

Base on my understanding of DC motor which is OK. A DC motor with a short would blow the fuse and disable the power steering until fuse was replaced. Then it would blow again as soon as the car turns on. If the DC motor coils had an open path then motor wouldn't work. Thermal expansion of materials could cause a physical break to expand. That would disable the motor until it cool off. Again if you can power cycle (turn off then back on) your ION and it clears pwr str then it isn't thermal expansion.

I believe the real cause of the power steering failure is a bad thermal sensor, or a thermal sensor circuit with too high of a gain. An internal microcontroller decision point set too low could cause the failure. Why a bad thermal sensor? I drove all winter and my power steering was fine. Once the temperature went above 75 degrees the power steering started to fail again. The sensor reports a higher ambient temperature in the summer. The since it a DC motor sense circuit the micro shuts down the power steering. At lease that is what I believe my car is doing. It should be possible to use a heat gun to simulate this failure, if you know where the sensors are located.

My Disappointment With GM
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MOUNT AIRY, NORTH CAROLINA -- I purchased a 2006 Corvette convertible new and had nothing but problems. The rear end had to be completely taken out and redone. Pump had to be replaced. Active Handling light kept coming on. Air bad light kept coming on - meaning it could deploy at anytime or not deploy when needed. Grinding sound-very loud every time you turn. Terrible backlash which was also acknowledged but GM refused to fix because they said this sometimes occurs. Tires totally worn through on inside only threads were showing within the first year. GM said "not their problem". I have contacted ** on so many different dates all documented.

This is not all of the problems I have had but it gives you a general idea. I asked GM for a loyalty certificate so I could get out of this car because it is a nightmare and ** said "I'm sorry but we are unable to help you and you do not qualify for any loyalty certificates." I have purchased 12 new vehicles and 2 that were a year old in the last 12 years. These were all Chevrolets. 4 were Corvettes and 6 were Duallys. This car has been a terrible injustice to me and GM will not stand behind their product.

** led me to believe until the last moment that I would receive a customer loyalty certificate. She has all these calls recorded and I have pictures of my car on the rack with everything (ALL PARTS) of the rear end was scattered on shelves and the floor and tool boxes. I have pictures of all this if you would like to see them just email me and I will gladly forward them to you.

GM always advertises their customers are their priority and they back their product. From first-hand experience, I can tell you that in my case and my opinion, their motto should be "you bought the car-DEAL WITH IT!!" I have an entire folder with all the complaints, correspondence with ** and pictures. STILL, GM REFUSES TO HELP ME!! (LIKE I SAID ALL THE PROBLEMS AREN'T EVEN LISTED).

Multiple major problems on 2003 pre-sale Deville Cadillac eight years old.
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DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- I am 75 years old female and a 30 years driver of Cadillacs. The only auto I have own in my adult life and want buy anything else. I have invested thousands and thousands of dollars on new and a few pre-sales since 1981. They have been reliable, dependable, well kept, and very beautiful. In 2007 it was time to trade my 1999 Brougham that I purchased new and it was over $50,000 that I paid in full for that auto but it was having some problems. This auto had almost 100,000 miles on it so I was encouraged by the dealer not to pay over $ 2,000 for repairs but to trade.

I am always ready to buy another Cadillac and they knew it doesn't take much to convince me to trade and I had bought several from this dealer. However, this time I bought a LEMON and I am shock. All the major repairs and more is needed on this auto. When I was shown this car it was beautiful, a 2003, 43,000 miles, my favorite color Pearl, gold rims, gold decors, beautiful inside and out. This was in 2007 and the auto only 4 years old. I thought this was a very good buy and I was please. I only got less than two years in warranty and when the warranty had expired so the dealer said all HELL BROKE OUT.

As I stated above the service was frequently everything went wrong. I couldn't believe what was happening to an auto that look so good and not many miles and I am the only driver and doesn't drive that often. A safe driving record, live in a very small town, and don't drive much but go to my doctors in Savannah 35 miles away. I am retired, handicapped, can't walk much so I have to have my car to get around and I can drive with no pain but can't walk. I had to get GM EXECUTIVE OFFICE TO COMPLAIN TOO AND SEE IF THEY would pay for all these problems. I believe this is factory problems.

They helped a little and I still need more. I am afraid they want help anymore. I have 77,000 miles now on this auto. Window washer not working I have to take the fuse out when I drive and put it in if it begin to rain. I told GM I am not rich live on a fixed income, can't work and don't have thousand of dollars to pay for all these problems I didn't do. I just got a very bad deal and still need help. My blood pressure stay up, I am a diabetic, so many health problems. I have given them over these years now I BELIEVE IT'S THEIR TIME TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

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1.0 out of 5, based on 11 ratings and
254 reviews & complaints.
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