Nissan - Terrible Customer Service
DARTMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS -- Back in September 2008 I purchased a new 2008 Nissan Altima. This purchase came after several weeks of pricing and comparisons. My final decision was between the Altima and Toyota Camry. Both vehicles had comparable options and pricing, along with very similar gas mileage (a primary reason for purchase). As it turned out I decided on the Altima and, after price shopping found a dealer that provided great pricing along with a good sales experience. This dealer happened to be about 40 miles from my home, but I had a Nissan dealer right down the street from where I lived for service, so I figured no big deal. The Altima purchased had an automatic car starter installed (a $500.00 option) in it - not by my request, but already in place when I looked at the car.
A few months after the purchase, as the weather began to get cold, the car starter no longer would start the car in the mornings. Additionally, when an attempt was made to use the car starter, not only would the vehicle not start, but would continue to fail to start even by means of the push button ignition for about 20 minutes after attempting to start via the car starter.
A call for service was placed at my local dealership (Nissan of Dartmouth, in Dartmouth MA), and the service department informed me that the car starter needed to be service from the dealer who installed it. Keep in mind that as I shopped around for the Altima, every dealership I walked into had a display in the sales departments advertising the automatic car starter - this was not a dealer specific option, it was offered at all the dealerships.
With an 80 to 90 mile trip to get service, I found this rather odd, and submitted a complaint to Nissan through its website. I received a confirming email along with a case number (6333518), and phone to call Nissan. When I called Nissan my experience was very much like many of the others I've heard when reviewing Nissan complaints. They never pick up the phone, hiding behind voice mail, and seem to intentionally call back when they know your not home. Even after giving alternative cell phone number and times to call. I finally called and managed to fight through the frustrating voice message system they have and got to speak with a real person. When giving the new customer service person the case number, he informed me that the case had been closed. I questioned why the case would be closed when they never contacted me in person - no response! He proceeded to re-open the case and assign it to a different regional specialist, who did call me back. Again not using the cell phone information, but my home phone. I spoke to her only by chance as I was working from home that day (something that is very rare).
After explaining the situation to her all over again, she said she needed to call both dealerships for additional information. She phone me back in a couple days informing me that the car starter is not factory equipment and it would need to be serviced at the dealership that installed it. My response to her was a car starter is not offered as a factory option, and that all the dealers advertise and sell the car starter and the dealer never told me I had to have the starter service at his dealership only. I also presented a different scenario where a person buys a new Nissan with a car starter, and moves to another state. Does that mean the warranty on the car starter is not honored? She acknowledged that that would be the case. I let her know how disgusted I was with Nissan and ended the phone call. I'm sure she was delighted because she could now close the case. I'm convinced Nissan customer service is not interested one bit in resolving customer issues, only getting the cases closed as quickly as possible.
Bottom line advice from my experience. Ask the dealers when purchasing a new or used vehicle if any components on the vehicle have "special" warranty conditions.
Also, when comparing vehicles from different manufacturers be sure to carefully consider the potential for vehicle failure. An example in my case is the push button ignition, (which was a contributing factor to my problem), and the Nissan's CVT transmission. Both these "features" look nice on the lot, and the dealer will boast about those elements, but think of the service implications something like this could have. Both are incredibly expensive to fix, and in my opinion carry a greater chance of failure due to its high tech, and newness.
Had I considered these things more carefully I'd have purchased the Camry, at almost the same price, but with a more traditional and reliable transmission and ignition system.
TERRIBLE customer service.