October 12, 2005

Liars and/or Thieves

Back in May, I took my first child, or rather my car, to the Volkswagen dealership for an oil change. This was a part of the 70,000 mile check up to make sure all was running well on my car. I hadn't really experienced any problems except a squeaky belt whenever I started my car, so I didn't expect really much to be discovered during the physical.

So, it was a day off I had so I brought the car in, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. The longest oil change of my life. So finally, after the oil was changed, and the car inspected, I was informed of two HUGE problems with my baby.

The first one was that my break pads were in serious need of replacement. I was curtly informed that whomever I had put my pads in before had done a bad job. (At that point I gently reminded them that I had purchased the car from that very dealership as a "certified preowned vehicle" and asked why it wasn't discovered sooner, i.e. during their 70-point pre-sale inspection) I was then cautioned that my struts were bad. The service manager told me that normally, struts shouldn't be movable, but mine could be moved a quarter inch. He told me that if I didn't hurry up and get them replaced, he had seen cars brought in where the tire of the car had broken through the hood because of the problem that I apparently had.

Seeing that I had already wasted the entire morning there and had other things to do that day, as well as that fact that I just didn't have the estimated $900+ I needed to repair my car, I asked if it would be possible to have the work done the next time I needed my oil changed. I was told that they couldn't make any guarantees, and that the sooner I had the problems fixed, the safer I would be when I drive.

So May goes by, June, July. Time for another oil change. No cash so I just postponed the repairs and had my oil changed at the standard, far more convenient Jiffy Lube.

So then, here in October, I finally had enough saved up to use on car repairs (after making such life critical purchases such as a digital camera, mp3 player, and some new furniture) and make the appointment for the repairs.

I dropped off the car yesterday for the oil change, some recall work, and the brakes and struts. They didn't have a cost estimate for me when I dropped it off, but was informed that somebody would call me with how much everything would cost at some point later in the day. I waited for a call, but never received one. Late in the afternoon, I decided to call them up and see what the story on my car was. After having to leave a message for someone to call me back, I was called to be told my car was ready for pickup. Slightly nervous that I hadn't approved whatever cost of the labor would be, I asked what exactly was done to my car. I was told that the recall work had been completed, and the oil was changed.

And that my brakes and my struts were just fine.

So were they lying then or are they lying now?

I do know my brake pads will need replacing at some point soon as I do periodically hear a squeak or two. And when driving over potholes and rough roads, I do hear pops from my struts, so I can imagine that at sometime in the near future I will need to have something done to them as well.

But aside from the fact that the dealership, or the stealership as it is sometimes called, did not give me new brake pads when I actually had them listed on my service order just baffles me. First, I'm not planning to get them replaced and am told that I need to and am warned what would happen if I didn't. And then yesterday, I bring the car in for them to do it, and then they don't because apparently all is well!

My conclusion is that I will no longer take my car back to the dealership for service. Not because they are thieves and cost too much for work on my car (both time and money) since I already recognize that and still kept going back because I did appreciate the quality of the work. But no, I will not go back because they are liars.

And my belt still squeaks.

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