Why can't they just admit when they made a mistake?
BOTHELL, WASHINGTON -- A few years ago I took my car into the Goodyear service station in the Canyon Park area of Bothell, WA. I had made an appt. to have a full tune-up done, and in addition, replace all 4 tires. I dropped it off and walked home (about a mile) because they said the job would take them several hours due to it being a busy day. About 1/2 an hour after I got home, the front desk person called me and she said that the tires my car needed weren't in stock. I felt like they should have had them there since I'd made an appointment and all, but what can you do? So I asked her how long it would take to get the tires in. She said 3 to 4 days.
Of course, I would rather not wait so I asked her if there was anything else we could do...maybe have them transferred today from another nearby Goodyear. She said they couldn't do that, but that they did have some tires in stock that were of a lower speed rating. Now let me say that I don't know a heck of a lot about cars, but this seemed fishy to me. I asked her, "Is that safe? Can that be done without harming the car?" She said "Yep. It's no big deal to downgrade the tires. In fact, it will be cheaper for you."
So I agreed. Big mistake. I got my car from them later that day and as soon as I drove out of the parking lot I noticed my car was pulling to the left really hard. I immediately turned around, drove back in and explained that the car was pulling to the left. I asked her if they had aligned the car after putting the tires on and she said yes. Just to be sure she had the mechanics check the alignment. They could find nothing wrong. I then explained to her that the car was not pulling before I brought it in and now it was, therefore logic says it must be something Goodyear had done. She said, and I quote, "We didn't cause this problem. There is clearly some other mechanical problem with your car and we can't fix it. You need to take it to another garage." I should note that when this happened, my car was about 3 1/2 years old and had *never* had any mechanical problems (at 6 1/2 years now, I still have never had a problem except this one).
I was pretty angry but you can't MAKE someone work on your vehicle. So I took it to another garage, one that specializes in Subarus. I explained the situation to them and they said they'd have a look. As soon as the mechanic had it up on the lift, he came out and said, "This car has the wrong kind of tires on it. It requires a higher rated tire. You can't go down in ratings. You have to get the correct tires put on it and until you do, I would not drive it on the freeway. It's unsafe at high speeds." And of course, they charged me $70 for their time.
I took it back to Goodyear with the paperwork explaining the problem from the other mechanic. The front desk woman got flustered and first told me that the other garage was wrong. Lower rated tires were fine and I should just go away. Then she said, "How do we even know it's actually pulling? I only have your word for this." I handed her the keys and said "Drive it yourself." She refused but she did get a mechanic from their shop to come out with me. Now this is the fun part...we get out on the road and he says "Yeah this thing is really pulling...so what's the deal here? What's the situation?" Apparently she hadn't explained the scenario to him. All she had told him was to ride with us and verify if the car was pulling. So I told him about the lower tire ratings and he IMMEDIATELY interrupted me and said "Oh no! You can't do that. You can't put a lower rated tire on this car. I can't believe she told you that. She really should know better." Her own mechanic busted her!
We got back and I finally got Goodyear to agree to replace the tires with the correct ones. I had to pay the fee to upgrade of course which is fine; the correct ones were more expensive tires after all. However, I felt that Goodyear should take $70 off the price given that I had to pay another garage $70 to get them to admit their mistake. They refused. I was told "You went to that other garage by your own choice. We didn't tell you to go someplace else." But the thing is...they did tell me to go to another garage! When I asked to speak to their manager I was told they didn't currently have a manager and that he had been fired the week before. No wonder the place was in a shambles.
I tried to write corporate to correct the problem. I explained it and laid it all out to them as I did here. I even attached copies of my receipts from both Goodyear visits and my visit to the other garage (with the part that explained the mistake by Goodyear). The response? About what you'd expect: A letter thanking me for being a good customer a few coupons for $10 off an oil change. Like I'm ever going back to Goodyear to use those coupons!
I think what bothers me the most is even in the end, that front desk person wouldn't admit her mistake. She wanted me to drive off in a car that was unsafe to drive, all because she refused to admit she'd been wrong. I also wish corporate had been willing to make some real effort to make up for the problem, but oh well. Goodyear has pretty much lost a customer for life as far as I'm concerned. They may overall be a good company, but it only takes one negative experience like this to put a bad taste in your mouth for dealing with them.