It started with a trip to New Jersey – never a good sign – to the Honda Dealer I’ve been using since my beloved Potamkin Honda closed their Manhattan dealership 18 months ago. The same Honda Dealer (Hudson Honda, in case you’re wondering) who six months ago sold and installed brand new Goodyear tires on my Honda Pilot. The same Honda Dealer who, on June 27th, told me that there was nothing wrong with the brakes on my Pilot, even though I described the sound I heard each time I hit the brakes – a sound like something rubbing intermittently.
Guess what? There was a problem with the brakes. The rotors were warped, which was diagnosed and fixed while we were in Indiana. While in Indiana I was also informed that my tires, those brand new Goodyears, were faulty, being ‘out of round’ (tire version of warped); something that should never happen to tires with less than 3000 miles on them.
Hence my trip to New Jersey this morning. And thus began the Hudson Honda song & dance of “why we’re not responsible”.
Upon arrival at the dealer in beautiful West New York, NJ, and upon repeating for the 3rd time my reasons for being there, I was told, “Well, you can’t see warped rotors, so there would be no way for the mechanic to know.” Except I described the problem in detail. “Oh. Well, the fact that you park the car in a garage and don’t drive it all the time can cause the tires to change shape and rotors to warp.” Except I’ve parked the car in the same garage for over 7 years, and I do drive it 2 or 3 times a month. Never had this problem before. “Oh. Well, probably we can just rotate the tires and you won’t notice that vibration anymore.” No thanks. I don’t want to wind up here in another few months with the same problem. I’d like them replaced. “Well, we’ll check and see if we have any tires, other than that line of Goodyears, to put on instead.”
One hour later, I am informed that they do not have any suitable tires handy, except for their high end line, which will cost me a mere $845.
Come again? $845 to replace faulty tires that they at Hudson Honda installed? I think not.
But of course the manager wasn’t there at that time, so I left, drove home and called around 4pm, when I was told Manager Dennis would be available. He was, and I repeated my situation to him. He said, “Well, did anyone check the tires while you were here to make sure they really aren’t round?” Yes, after all, that’s why I went out there. I hear him yell, “Hey George, did the mechanics check her tires while she was here?” A mumbled response, and then he tells me, “No, no one checked the tires.” Are you KIDDING me? What the ____ was I doing there, then? But that’s not the best of it. I was told if I want to return the tires I need to go to a Goodyear Tire Dealer. “So”, I said, “Even though you sell Goodyear tires to all of your customers, putting them on hundreds of cars, you are telling me that you will not replace the ones you installed on my car, even though they are faulty, because you say you can’t return them to Goodyear?” Yes, that is what they are telling me.
Oh, how I love writing letters to the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs!
If that wasn’t enough, the day ended with an on line chat to a Customer Service Rep in China to try and decipher how to offload video from a brand new camcorder we got for Maya so that she can shoot high definition, macro and even (gasp) underwater. While talking with ‘Donald’ I mentioned that in the FAQ’s section of the product description, the question of whether or not the camera is compatible with a Mac Computer is answered with “the USB connection is compatible with most computers for file transfer.” Donald’s response? “We never said the camera is compatible with a Mac, and we only accept returns for faulty products.”
Oh. my. god.
Paypal dispute center, here we come. (Ok, this one is partially my fault because I should have known better than to order off of a website that is pretty much a Chinese wholesaler. But still, I take issue with blatantly misleading advertising…)
I wish I had some deep and constructive things to say about what we learned from these less than pleasant experiences (customer service generally sucks?), but I don’t. I suppose the one thing you can say is that this kind of stuff happens in life, you deal with it, don’t let it get you down and move on.
As Richard Carlson would say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff….and it’s all small stuff.”