Geriatrics Chevrolet

Posted by on June 3, 2010

Buy a Ford — that’s my recommendation.
But if you must buy a Chevy, stay away from Gerry Lane Chevrolet on Florida St. in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
That’s what I was thinking, as I worked on the service survey I received on my Colorado.¬† This was a survey for the first visit to the shop, but I had received it the day before taking it in for the third visit on the same mechanical problem.¬† They couldn’t even spell my name correctly on this survey.¬† I was not happy with the customer service that my daughter and I had received on the first two visits, and I would not be satisfied this time, either.¬† But to be fair, Gerry Lane’s Service Department finally fixed the problem on the third visit.
I want to make it VERY clear.¬† I have no issues with the salesman that sold us the truck.¬† I feel he was very honest and fair.¬† Byron Hall is a great man, and I recommend him as a salesman.¬† But, Byron,¬† come to the light side — get a job at Ford before Gerry Lane Chevrolet¬†ruins your sales reputation.
So Byron showed us the Colorado, and we paid for that truck in full up front, with money my daughter had inherited from her father.
Chevy should thank us for boosting their sales during this economic crisis.
The problems with the truck had started in April, when my daughter came home from work one day complaining that the Check Engine light was on, and that the truck was running rough.¬† My husband listened to the truck, and he said she was describing the problem to a T.¬† So I instructed her to take the truck in to Gerry Lane’s to be worked on.¬† While the truck was registered to me, it was really her truck, and she needed to learn how to deal with these things.¬† So on April 29, she brought the truck in.
She told me later that the service advisor Michelle told her that her truck had a lot of carbon buildup in the engine.¬† But the repair receipt says “Map Sensor performance causing check engine light.¬† checked all wiring for map sensor.¬† checked ok.¬† checked map sensor and found readings inaccurate.¬† replaced sensor and rechecked after repairs.”¬† They changed the sensor, changed the oil and oil filter, changed the air filter, and performed a major fuel and air system service.¬† The truck was less than a year old.
Then on Mother’s Day my daughter drove 2 hours out of town, and when she returned, she told us that the truck was misfiring again, but worse.¬† So she brought it back to Gerry Lane’s, as I was going to be at a 2-day meeting for the district with my principal.¬† She brought the truck in at 7:50 am and left at noon, with the truck not going on the ramps yet.¬† When I got out of lunch, I called about 1 pm, and was told then that it was on the ramps and they would call me later to let me know what the problem was.¬† Well, I got out of the meeting that day after 4 pm, and they had not called me or my daughter, so I called back and spoke to Dean.¬† I explained that I was not happy at having to bring the truck in again, and that I expected “fixed” to mean fixed.¬† Dean got a mechanic on the phone who told me that it was the catalytic converter, and that the part was ordered and would be shipped overnight.
Apparently “overnight”¬† does not mean the same thing to Chevrolet as it does to most people.¬† When I called back the next day, Michelle told me the part did not arrive.¬† She explained that they only receive one shipment of parts a day, so we would have to wait another day.¬† She told me AND I QUOTE “I don’t think this will be the case, but sometimes overnighted parts can take 30 days.”¬† Come on!¬† And she didn’t seem concerned about it.¬† She had no idea where the part was, she says, or why it was overnighted, and she told me that they could not even track the part — even though they had paid EXTRA to get it overnighted.
Then Michelle wanted to put ME in a rental.  Not my daughter.  She was only eighteen.  So they wanted to inconvenience ME too and put me in a rental, and I was supposed to allow my daughter to use my own car.  Oh,  Gerry Lane was going to pay for the rental, but I was going to have to use my own insurance to cover their rental.  I refused!
And I reminded her that I paid for this truck up front, and that it was less than a year old–too young for a 8-year warranteed part like the catalytic converter to be going out.¬† She then tried to tell me that when you buy a vehicle you have no guarantee that it’s going to work properly.¬† 2 vehicles coming off the same assembly line, and one may work while the other doesn’t.¬† Kind of explains why Chevrolet had to be bailed out doesn’t it?¬†
¬†And she also tried to tell me that the truck was probably riding rough because my daughter put some trashy gas in it.¬† Well, if that were the case, then why weren’t they telling me that they were going to dump the gas tank?¬† oh, and why wasn’t my husband’s F-250 and my Chevy Malibu doing the same thing?¬† We bought gas at the same place.¬† I knew better, and so did she.¬†
Yes, I drive a Chevy Malibu.¬† Not my first love either.¬† The car is 7 years old, and less than 50, 000 miles and it sounds like it won’t make it to ten like the two Fords I owned before it..¬† It had a/c problems, too, within 2 months after I purchased it.¬†¬†They “repaired” it, but it still doesn’t work right.¬† And frankly, I can’t afford to miss work and “live” at the Service Department.¬† Note:¬† That service department was at another dealership in another town, not Gerry Lane’s.¬† But you see my¬†reservation here.¬† 2¬†Chevrolets bought from 2 different Chevrolet dealerships.¬† Both have mechanical problems within the first year.¬† Both mechanical problems do not get fixed¬†the first time.¬† Could be coincidence.¬† Or it could be that Chevrolet just hires incompetent, inexperienced service people.¬†
I should have stayed with Ford.¬† My first two vehicles were Fords, and lasted 10 years without mechanical problems.¬† Then came the Malibu.¬† So we did buy a Ford next, the F-250.¬† It’s not given us any problems either.¬† And I had vowed to myself that I would not get another Chevy when I replaced the Malibu.
But then came my daughter.¬† And it was her own money.¬† And I would be turning over the truck to her when she finished school this May.¬† And here I was again losing time from work, and my daughter having to rearrange her work schedule to be able to catch rides with friends.¬† All because I didn’t listen to my inner voice, and bought a truck from Gerry Lane’s Chevrolet.
And again I want to reiterate:  My issue is with the SERVICE DEPARTMENT, not the salesman.  And particularly with Michelle.
The catalytic converter did not come in that day, nor the next day.¬† But Michelle was happy to report to me that she walked over to the Parts Department and found out that the part was coming from Lansing, Michigan.¬† And ?!¬† I told her Lansing has airports, and airplanes can get here to Louisiana in the same day.¬† I reminded her that freightliners can make it overnight as well.¬† Then there’s FedEX or UPS.¬† Oh!¬† and don’t forget the post office.¬† They all deliver overnight.¬† So, if the part was in stock, why wasn’t it here?
She assured me they were doing the best that they could.¬† And she said, and I quote, “That’s how the mechanics get paid by working on the vehicles.”¬† I told her, “Don’t give me that.¬† Your mechanics are going to get some pay whether they work on a vehicle or not.”¬† And she told me, “No, they only get paid when they work on a vehicle.”¬†¬† She tells me they don’t get paid if there’s no vehicle for them to work on.¬† Well, maybe that’s the problem!¬† They want to get paid, so they arrange for my truck to need to be returned for more servicing.
She kept telling me she didn’t know what I wanted her to do.¬† I told her:¬† I want my truck fixed.¬† I suggested that she go speak to a supervisor and ask them what she could do to either trace the part or¬† get one.¬† I even suggested that she try a different source.¬† She told me that Chevrolet only has ONE warehouse in the whole entire country.¬† And then she asked me again what to do.¬† I couldn’t help myself.¬† I told her:¬† Why not get into your car and drive up to Lansing to get my part?¬† There was a little hesitation, but she replied:¬† “Well Mrs. Leger if I do that I may cross your part on the way.”¬† And I told her.¬† “Great!¬† Then you would get my part sooner, and get home faster to fix the truck.”¬† Then she wanted to hand the phone to someone else, and I told her “no, I’ve told you what I wanted.¬† Fix the truck.¬† And I’ll be calling back to check on it tomorrow.”
Well, Lo and behold!¬† 2 hours later my daughter called to tell me that Gerry Lane’s said the truck was fixed.¬† So how did they get the part if only one delivery is made a day, and that had occured before my phone call?¬† Did they not know that they had the part?¬† Or better yet — did they even change the part?
Well, I won’t know for sure, but what I do know is that the next day (Friday) my daughter calls me at work to tell me that the check engine light is back on once again and that the truck is riding even rougher than before.¬† So I called Gerry Lane’s once again, but ask the operator to connect me with a supervisor in the Service Department.¬† She connects me to Debbie.¬† Debbie does not identify her title.¬† I learned later that she was actually a warranty supervisor, but I didn’t know that when I talked to her. I thought I had been connected to the supervisor in the Service Department.¬† So I began telling her that my truck is having the same problem again for the third time, and rather than listening to my compalint, she connects me to a service advisor.¬† My call got “demoted”.¬†
This service advisor, Willy, listened to my complaint about the truck, wanted to hand me over to Michelle.¬† But I told him, I didn’t want Michelle.¬† I was through with her.¬† So we made an appointment for my truck on Monday, with the explicit instructions that I did not want Michelle handling my truck again.¬† I took off from work, during final exams, to bring the truck in for the third time.¬† My daughter and I waited in line at the service line, and she pointed out Michelle, who came to set up the truck.¬† I told her then in person that I did not make the appointment with her, but with Willy, and I would only work with Willy, but Willy insisted on me letting her do the initial paperwork because he was already setting up 2 other customers.¬† I tell him, she can do that initial paperwork, but then I don’t want her having anything else to do with my truck, and we wait in the waiting room.
Eventually, I remember that I had asked for printouts of the diagnostic reports, and send my daughter down to get them.¬† She returns to tell me that they’re telling her that Michelle will remain as our service advisor because she started the job in April and it’s still the same problem, that the service manager said this.¬† What the crap!¬† She couldn’t get it fixed the first two times, and they insist on putting her back on the job again!¬† Do they not want to get rid of me?
I went down to the service Manager, Craig Anderson.¬† Ah.¬† A manager.¬† Now, why wasn’t I connected to him on Friday instead of sent to Debbie?¬† Anyway,¬† I tell him, Michelle is not handling my truck.¬† He assures me that he’s going to, and tells me that he had talked to the owner about my truck and its problems on Friday.¬† I ask for my printouts, and he tells me they can’t printout diagnostic reports.¬† Their computers hook up to the vehicles but can’t printout.¬† I tell him perhaps they should update their equipment to the diagnostic machines that Autozone uses, because Autozone gave me a prinout.¬† He explains the codes are read off their diagnostic machines and transcribed (written) onto the repair report in the computer, and tells me I should have gotten that on my receipt.¬† I told him I did, but prove to me that those codes came off my truck.¬† I mean, if those are the correct error codes, then why is my truck not being repaired?
He starts to explain each code and tells me on the second visit that there was no error code for the catalytic converter, that all it did was rattle under the truck.¬† So my daughter spent 3 days hitching rides waiting on an overnighted catalytic converter that did not arrive overnight — all for nothing!¬† Which leads me to believe that they never even replaced the converter.¬† The second receipt actually says, “P0300.¬† Found CAT Converter rattling under vehicle when under load.¬† Checked Code and found P0300 random misfire.”
Imagine that!  The same code from the first visit, which he also points out had never been addressed in the first 2 repair visits.  I point out to him, that this why I kept telling Michelle to do a post-diagnostic after they claim they fix the truck.  If they would bother to do that, then perhaps when they return a vehicle to a customer that vehicle will actually be repaired.
But Craig assured me he would be handling the repairs on the truck, and that I would get it back fixed this time.¬† And I did.¬† Report says:¬† Scan Test P0300 Engine misfire.¬† P0106 Map Sensor performance¬† Found wires broken inside the insulation at sensor.¬† Replaced Map Sensor Pig Tail.”¬† They had to replace the replacement part from the first visit!.¬† Of course, a post-diagnostic would probably have found that out back on the first visit on April 29.¬† But Gerry Lanes doesn’t believe in post diagnostics.¬† Or in printing out their reports.¬† Or in listening to their customers.
As¬† I look at this third receipt,¬† I notice that Michelle is listed as the service advisor.¬† Even though, I know that she didn’t handle the truck, she’s being given the credit for fixing it.¬† Why?¬† Why reward such an incompetent employee?¬† It’s this incompetence, after all, that has placed Chevrolet in the need for bailout money.¬† So why reward her?¬† And why piss off an already dissatisfied customer.
I waited until now to write about this on my blog for several reasons.¬† School was in its last week, and finishing up grades was more important at the time.¬† Then I was sick.¬† But I also wanted to give some time on the truck, to see if that check engine light wouldn’t come back on.¬† It has not.
Coincidentally, as I began typing this today, Craig Anderson called to check on the truck.¬† Could be just a coincidence.¬† Or was it the fact that she brought the truck in for servicing at All-Star Chevrolet last week?¬† It was a non-related incident.¬† The driver window had jumped off track, and we didn’t want the truck rained on.¬† An All-Star salesman happened to be going through my daughter’s drive-thru window when my husband got their to seal up her window with a garbage bag.¬† He left his card, and told her to bring it to All-Star to get it fixed.¬† She did the next day.¬† And it was fixed, in 30 minutes– and fixed right the first time.
So I’ll concede that perhaps don’t overlook all of Chevrolet, just Gerry Lane Chevrolet.
As for me, I will NEVER buy another Chevrolet.  When the Malibu goes out, it will be replaced by a Ford.  Mostly problem-free, long-lasting, capable service department, cool air conditioning.  Ford tough, and I like it that way.


Last modified on June 4, 2010

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