Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

I told you the story of our epic efforts to get our television repaired, back in the summer. It took about 45 days for it to happen. I thought, as bizarre as that experience was, it had to have been a fluke. Customer service wasn’t truly a thing of the past. And that’s what I believed, right up until the day, about a month after the Television caper, I went to the car dealership to have my back brakes done.

To preface, I knew both sets of brakes needed to be replaced. We did the front brakes first. When I picked the car up, I noticed the ABS and Traction lights were on. I figured they’d go off as soon as I started driving. They didn’t. But since I had an appointment for about a week later, and it was summer, and believing they had just not pushed some reset button or other, I didn’t worry about it.

Then came the day I brought the car in for the back brakes. I told them about the lights. It turned out, that when they fixed the front brakes, they somehow managed to break the do-hickey that encased the ABS controls. It needed to be replaced, and, since it was partially their fault (the part had been badly rusted they said, but they shouldn’t have broken it) they would give me a discount. The part had to be special-ordered. So they replaced my back brakes, and gave me an appointment for the following week to have this part installed.

Did I mention this was happening in the midst of their learning a new computer system and at a time when they were dealing with some of the massive recalls that GM had last year? I love my Buick, but like most car companies, apparently GM had been forced to issue a lot of recalls in 2014.

I arrived on the appointed day, and went to the service desk only to discover that....the service rep I had dealt with the week before had forgotten to enter my appointment into the computer. They were too busy to work on my car, I was told. I was annoyed. They apologized and made another appointment for me to come in the following week.

I went in, they had me listed this time, and I settled into their waiting area, to wait. Twenty minutes later, the service rep came to me to inform me, that they couldn’t find the part they’d special-ordered for my car. Which meant another wasted trip into the city. Rather than have me wait a week, they gave me an appointment for Saturday. They only do special jobs on Saturday, the rep said. I accepted the appointment without feeling particularly special at all.

Saturday came, I arrived on time. But after about fifteen minutes of waiting in the nicely appointed waiting area, the service rep came to me and said that while I had arrived on time, the part had not.

He promised me that it would be there on Tuesday, and that they would do this repair on Tuesday, and at a considerable discount to me. The fourth time was the charm, and my car was fixed.

On January 29th, just a couple of weeks ago, I approached my car, as I had a doctor’s appointment, and discovered that overnight, somebody had side swiped my Buick—the only thing damaged was the driver’s side mirror. I jerry rigged the darn thing with elastics since the plastic casing was broken, but the mirror was not, and was still attached to its wires.

I got home, called the dealership, and arranged to bring the car in to them February 4th at 1 p.m. Having learned from my previous experience, on the morning of the appointment I called, and asked, was everything a go? Good call on my part. The good news was the part had arrived; the bad news was it hadn’t been sent out to be painted to match the car.

My friends, I can’t make this stuff up. My editors would shoot it back to me, with an edit note stating it exceeded the believability factor.

The receptionist transferred me over to a service rep who promised to see it was done, and he told me to come in on Monday, the 9th. Again, that morning dawned, and I called to check on the part, only to learn that I had no appointment in their system [and yes, sadly, it was the same rep]. So I made one for yesterday.

I called them yesterday morning to make sure they had my appointment showing and that the part was in. Yes to the first and they wanted to call me back once they found out just exactly where that part was.

Friday morning—two days from today—I’ll be going in to the dealership, maybe, to get my new mirror put on, I hope. Of course, I will call them first. And yes, I would go to another GM dealership, if there was one in the area for me to go to. But at least I haven’t made any unnecessary treks out into the cold and snow this time.

The telephone really is my friend.



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