General Motors Complaint - General Motors reaches new low in national customer service
DETROIT, MICHIGAN -- I live in Hilo, Hawaii. The Chevrolet dealership closed on the Big Island about a year ago leaving no factory warranty service in the interim until another service company could be found by GM. In that interim, My Chevy truck at 50699 miles experienced a check engine light. Taking it to a reliable neighborhood mechanic, he found several engine codes and recommended a general tune-up, which I did. It included new spark plugs. Within a hundred miles, the light came on again. This time the code was isolated to P0305, which denoted a misfire problem in the fifth engine cylinder. The mechanic switched the spark coil pack with one of the other cylinders and cleared the code for a cost of $109.38. That didn't solve it and so I took it back for another look at the same code. The fifth cylinder plug was replaced and a compression test was run with the result of 160 pounds pressure. We also added injector cleaner and tested all the vacuum lines for an additional cost of $177.50. This did not solve thje problem and the neighborhood mechanic thought that the next step would probably be pulling the intake manifold to check the injector seals. This of course was going to be quite expensive. At this point, I felt we had done all the normal and customary service items; however, I felt it was better at this point to go to a larger mechanic shop for a second opinion. The mechanic there said he had heard that there was some kind of valve seating problem with the five cylinder truck engines, but that the fix was bigger than they could handle since it involves a new head and valves. I next by happenstance found one of the best Chevrolet mechanics (now unemployed since the Chevrolet dealership was closed). He was able to access GM's service website and learned that the condition I had was covered by GM Special Coverage 07123A with an extended warranty issued about two or three years earlier. Even though my truck had been bought and serviced at the Chevrolet dealership, I was never informed of the problem or extended coverage. Evidently the 2004-6 Colorado and Canyon trucks had heads with poor quality valve seats which would prematurely wear out. The ex-mechanic, who knew the West Coast district service rep, made a call in my behalf as to what should be done. He was advised that GM had just set up an authorized service dealer and to take the truck to them. He provided me the name of the dealer service manager and instructed me to use the West Coast District manager's name. The service was warranted and the work eventually accomplished even though it took two months (even with calls every couple of days with a promise always in a week or so). The dealership had all kinds of problems getting the new head from Chevrolet and even the proper tools for doing so. GM even wanted one of their own mechanics to fly to Hawaii to verify everything before letting the dealer proceed. I at one point offered to FEDEX the tools and parts from the factory at my expense to speed up the repair. (The national Customer Service said it would be difficult to do so because they were no mechanics and had no idea how to even figure out what parts I was identifying for them in behalf of the dealer.) It was very difficult not to have a vehicle for two months, but the dealership said they had other GM vehicles that have been at their shop even longer than mine all waiting on Chevrolet to act. Because of the unreasonable time the vehicle was in for warranty, I was in contact with the National Customer Service Center, where a case number was assigned (71--801620873). Unlike the dealer who tried hard, the National Office is where all of my problems were because they did not try at all to help.
At the point of six weeks with no vehicle, I inquired about a loaner vehicle. They gave me the story that since this was a national problem under the auspices of the U.S. Government's Transportation Department, they could not by law give a loaner car. (Of course I was incredulous at so ridiculous of a statement given me evidently in an effort to get rid of me.) The agent on the next phone call then changed the story and said that they could not preauthorize a car, but that if I was to get one, I could try to submit it for reimbursement. I responded that I was not a gambling or rich man and that I needed to know in advance. They said that they would try to make a business case for such a loaner, but that it might take quite awhile to get back to me while they discussed it. I said that as long as you are working on a loaner car, I needed to submit my receipts for reimbursement for the diagnostics after the tune up that I did before they had a new dealer take on the warranty work. They said they would look into it. Not once did GM ever apologize for the two months my vehicle took for factory repairs. Finally I did get a call saying that they would not allow a loaner car since I no longer had a bumper-to-bumper warranty (which was now another angle for them to deny a reasonable request). Also they denied any reimbursement of the diagnostics even though their service bulletin specifically said: "All customer requests for reimbursement for previous repairs for the special coverage condition will be handled by the Customer Assistance Center, not by dealers." When I read this statement to the agent, they said that they would only pay them if the entire repair had been done by a non-dealer mechanic, even though that mechanic had no access to warranty parts or bulletins from Chevrolet. Ironically, it was GM's own District Service Manager who instructed me to take the truck to the new dealer. Even the dealer's paperwork noted: "Customer had diagnostics done earlier," which diagnostics they copied so as not to waste GM's time and expense in duplicating the same. GM therefore saved money on the repair, then denied me subsequent reimbursement for what they saved even though their special condition paperwork provided reimbursement. I was of course upset and asked to reschedule a conference call including the District Service Manager and the Customer Service Agent. The agent called back in two days and said that the Dist. Serv. Mgr. didn't want to talk about it (evidently since he was the one who put me into the "Catch 22" situation to begin with). What was also comical was that the agent said she had thoroughly studied all the paperwork, policies, and dealer files to make her final decision of no reimbursement whatsoever. She then assured me that I would have the truck back soon. I responded by asking how seriously had the agent really done her homework because: (1) I have had my truck back for two weeks which the agent didn't know but would have known if she had really made any effort; (2) I had not yet submitted any receipts, cost total, or claim form for reimbursement; and (3) the agent seemed surprised when I read her own policy to her from the special condition paperwork from GM itself which apparently would not normally be in the customer's hands. At this point I asked for a management-level supervisor to take over. I was categorically denied this and told by the agent that she and the Dist. Serv. Mgr. (the one who avoided the two conference calls) were the only two employes of GM who could make any decision in my regard and that the case was closed. Incredibly this unilateral decision was made with the agent knowing that my company was one of the largest general contractors in the country and with a GM fleet. The agent (self-representing herself at the highest level of GM) willingly gave up the fleet business for the sake of saving about $280 (even after I had said that I could accept the condition of no loaner car). So buyer -- beware and take heed!