Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Recall

I don’t pay much attention to cars. That’s my husband’s job. I want my car to get me from here to there with minimal effort on my part. So when something goes wrong with the car, I get exceedingly frustrated.

Back in 2005-ish, the turn signal in my Malibu went berserk. It blinked like a toddler after a nap – ridiculous fast and without reason. The rapid blinking went hand in hand with the turn signal lights refusing to function. This went on for a good six months or so before I noticed a news story online about recent Chevy recalls.

After some minor research on my part, I found that indeed there was a recall notice about the turn signal that exactly described what I was experiencing in the Malibu. I sent Scott to the Chevy dealership to get the problem fixed.

“How’d it go?” I asked when he returned nearly two hours later.

“Well, they told me that what was happening was not listed under the recall and to fix it would cost about $300 dollars.” He sighed. “We just don’t have the money for that right now.”

“Of course we don’t!” I was mad. “But it shouldn’t cost us anything because it is a recall.” I sent him back.

An hour later he returned shaking his head. “No go. They insist it isn’t a recall issue.”

“We’ll see about this.” I mumbled.

After a few minutes searching Chevy’s website I found an 800 number to the Chevy headquarters. After getting the run-around with automated voices and punching buttons, I finally got a real actually person on the phone.

“Hi, I’ve got an issue with my car.” I said.

“Umm…You should probably call the dealership, ma’am.” The woman replied.

“Yes, see that’s the issue. I’ve been to the dealership and they refuse to help.” I could hear my voice getting a bit more terse and clipped.

“Okay,” the woman sighed, “tell me what’s going on and I’ll see if I can help.”

I recapped the problem with the turn signal and explained that we had seen the recall for the problem exactly as I had described it.

“Huh,” the woman finally said as I came to a halt. “Well, honestly, if the dealership doesn’t think that it is a recall issue, there isn’t much I can do.”

Now I was pissed.

“Excuse me,” I cut in, “Did you not just hear the part where I said the dealership didn’t even LOOK at the car? They just told us it wasn’t covered under the recall?”

“I-” she tried to get in.

“No. I have been a loyal Chevy customer for ages. And if this is how you are treating your clients, that you can be damn sure that I will never buy another Chevy and I will make sure that none of my family will either!”

“Ma’am, I am very sorry,” she started verbally backtracking, “I didn’t mean to imply that the dealership was correct. Can you hold on one second and let me call the dealership.”

“Fine,” I scoffed.

A few minutes later the woman came back on the line.

“Ma’am, can you get the car to the dealership in the next half hour?”

“Yes.” I told her.

“Okay, they are holding an appointment for you and they will take care of the problem…But I must inform you that if the problem is not covered under the recall then you will be expected to pay for the work.”

“Fine,” I told her.

“I hope that this resolves the issue and you will consider keeping Chevrolet part of your family.”

“I’m hesitant to agree to that.” I told her honestly. “I’ve had to jump through a lot of hoops to get this issue resolved.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I completely understand.” She gave a small embarrassed laugh. “I would be frustrated too.”

I finished up the call, sent Scott back to the dealership for the third time in one day and when he returned another two hours later, the car was fixed.

“It was covered under the recall.” Scott smiled. “And you need to be the one to deal with every company we have to deal with ever again.”

“I was sort-of bitchy wasn’t I?” I laughed. “But it got the job done.”

Later that night I checked my email to find two 50% off coupons for car service: one from the dealership and one from Chevy.


  1. I can't stand dealerships. They are about as scrupulous as an investment banker or a drug dealer who says, "just give me the money and I'll go get the drugs." Yeah right! Uh, I mean, so I've heard. Glad you were tenacious and got the job done using 100% less curse words than I would have.

    1. Well, I did curse a lot off the phone. Having been in the service industry and education, I know (unfortunately) how important it is to not curse in a professional sense. The more I was cursed at, the less likely I am to try to be helpful.

  2. Good for you! I do this with companies often. Especially with something as large a purchase as a car. Customer service needs to be better.

  3. Well done! I love this post. Glad you're still going strong. Amazed we've ended up in the 500's. You're currently 555 to my 556! Happy to be neighbours.

    1. It's doing a number on me, that's for sure!! You've been keeping up pretty well too!

  4. Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z Challenge...lovely blog...good luck with the rest of the challenge...

    Donna L Martin

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you liked my story!

  5. my wife would do what you did. I'm the one going back three times. I'm pretty non-confrontational.

    1. Which is weird since I really am non-confrontational... but sometimes I can get all up in someone's grill!!!

    2. Do people even say that anymore??