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The Customer Is Always an Ungrateful Little Snot - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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August 22nd, 2009


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10:56 pm - The Customer Is Always an Ungrateful Little Snot
When I bought my new car, there was a small scratch on it. The salesman agreed to have it taken care of, as well he should. He also threw in a free oil change after falsely giving us the impression that he was going to lower the price by fifty bucks.

When I brought the car down for some misting inside the taillights, they buffed the scratch down as much as they could, but they didn't have the paint to finish the job. I said it'd be more convenient if I just had it taken care of when I came in for my first oil change, and the salesman said that was fine.

About three months after I bought my car, a lady called to schedule an appointment for my first oil change and to finish the scratch, and I said that I hadn't hit 3,000 miles yet, so I would schedule the oil change when it was time. Sure, she said.

WELL.

I schedule my oil change for today, when it is most convenient for me. I also want to have the rest of the scratch taken care of. And the salesman says that it's been six months, and the scratch had to be taken care of within ninety days. It would have been nice had anyone told me this. He does have a bottle of touch-up paint for me, though!

As I drive down, I have imaginary conversation after imaginary conversation bitching this guy out. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask him to paint a little scratch that was on the new car that he sold me. It's not as if it's been exacerbated since. I told him multiple times that I'd get it done along with my first oil change, and he never clarified that my first oil change better be within ninety days, or his promise was null and void.

I am sitting in the salesroom when the salesman notices me and says, "I've got something for you, buddy!" Buddy? Oh, he thinks I'm cool with this whole arrangement.

He hands me the bottle of touch-up paint, and I say, "So I just put this on myself now?" I am casual about it, not ultrasarcastic or anything.

"Well, yeah," he says. "It's been six months. Did you think you could bring it back a year from now?"

"No!" I say, upset at what he's implying. "At my first oil change!"

"No need to raise your voice," he says, and I take it down a notch.

"You said you would take care of it at my first oil change."

"Which is three months," he says.

"Which is 3,000 miles," I correct.

He says that the paperwork said everything must be taken care of within ninety days, he could bring it out and let me see it. I tell him that when I told the lady I would bring my car in when it hit the mileage, she said that would be fine. After about a minute of his making a case for ninety days and my making a case for not being told about it, I give up.

"All right," I say. "I'm going to be calling Mazda on Monday, just so you know."

"For what?!" he exclaims. He starts walking toward the service department. He motions to the five-dollar bottle of touch-up paint in my hand. "I paid for that myself, by the way," he sneers, the "you ungrateful little snot" being implied.

"I appreciate that," I say, but he's too busy going off on me to care.

"I'll see if I can have someone put that on for you," he says, as if I must be lazy and incompetent to want someone professional to paint over a scratch that was on the new car that was sold to me. "I can have just as much attitude as you!" he says. Attitude? He thought that was attitude? "Because you came at me real strong, and for nothing!"

Wow. None of my imaginary conversations ended like that. He was angry at me? I AM THE ONE GETTING FUCKED OVER HERE. My resolution never to come back here again is cemented.

I can't even concentrate for the next few minutes, I'm so shaken by his reaction. I'm afraid he's telling the service people to do some shit to my car in retaliation.

He comes back out and...he is a different person. He seems to have chilled out. He says that there are a number of new scratches, and he wants to clarify which one was there from the beginning. I tell him.

They bring out the car post-oil change and, I notice, post-car wash. Aaah, nice. I point out the scratch and remind him that they buffed some of it away but needed to do the paint. I give him the bottle of paint. He does not snap at me about anything. He says it'll be about ten minutes.

More than ten minutes later, he brings the car out, and I take a look at the scratch. They've done a pretty shitty job, honestly, painting a thick coat over the length of the scratch rather than covering the few little stretches of white. It almost seems more noticeable now, since they don't appear to have buffed it or anything. But at this point I just want to get out of there and I don't want to introduce any more conflict and risk pissing the salesman off again. He's made an effort to make nice, so I do the same.

"So are we good?" he asks. "No calls?"

Again, not wanting to reopen the old wound, I just say, "Yeah," and shake his hand. As I'm leaving, I realize I don't have the bottle of touch-up paint, and, hell, I might as well make sure I have it. I turn around and park. At first, I go to the service guy because I don't want to talk to the salesman again, but he doesn't know what they did with the bottle and suggests I go to the salesman. I ask the salesman whether he has the rest of the paint, and he says he put it in my glove compartment. Ah. "Please drive safely," he says politely.

I know I said no calls, but I still feel like I want to tell someone about my shitty experience with this guy. He finally did take care of the scratch as he promised, but he was a fucking dick about it. Is there some sort of loophole in my morals?

Oh, oh, clearly I meant no calls within ninety days.
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: That '70s Show

(26 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:airbefore
Date:August 23rd, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
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There is absolutely no excuse for someone to treat a customer in that manner. Raising your voice to a customer? UNACCEPTABLE. Part of being in customer service is keeping your cool while dealing with upset or unreasonable customers(oh which you were the former not the latter). Call them. Call anyone and everyone you can. Call the dealership and speak to the sales manager, customer service manager, and general manger and then call Mazda. Hell, call his mother if you can find the number. PICK UP THE PHONE, DUDE.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure how to get in contact with whoever is higher than this guy, because he seems to be one of the sales managers. He's the person you can contact on the website.
[User Picture]
From:airbefore
Date:August 23rd, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, you have to work the phone until you get the person you want. You might have to make several calls before you get there but you can eventually do it. My first step would be to call the main number for the dealership and talk to the operator that answers. Inquire about the names of the sales manager, customer service and general manager. Once you have the names it should be fairly simple to work from there.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!
[User Picture]
From:bookie85
Date:August 23rd, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
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You never get to yell at your customer. Not even if the customer is in the middle of a full on meltdown screaming match with you. You have to be the calm one. There is no excuse for what that guy said to you. Call his boss, document that behavior. Right now, with the car industry (and every other industry) in the toilet like it is they can't afford to be pissing off their customers. Even if the economy was all sunshine and roses, they still don't get to treat customers like that. You bought a car from him and earned him a nice little commission, so he gets to be nice to you and kiss your ass forever. That is how commission based sales works, "buddy." Argh. I hate stupid sales people.
[User Picture]
From:raelee
Date:August 23rd, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)
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I'd call but, if you want a loophole, write a letter. Include pictures of the shitty job they did fixing the scratch. Send a copy to the manager/owner of that dealership. Send a copy to Mazda, send a copy to anyone else along the chain. Make sure to note how you not only won't purchase from that dealership again, you won't return there and you'll make sure anyone else thinking about purchasing from there knows about YOUR experience with them.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I was already going to be creating a Yelp account to say nice things about my body shop, and now I have something else to do with it. OAK TREE MAZDA, BITCHES. STAY AWAY. I know sales and service are different departments, but they've lost me for service too.

A letter is a good idea, although I may call anyway since someone below suggested that the scratch may have been covered under warranty anyway, which means I was right to begin with. How could I find out what address to send it to? Just put "c/o General Manager" or something?
[User Picture]
From:dcjensen
Date:August 23rd, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
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I think the scratch would be under the initial warranty, not some made-up 90 day window.

Mazda warrants that new Mazda cars and trucks will be free of defects with normal use and prescribed maintenance for 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Ordinary maintenance items or adjustments, parts subject to normal wear and replacement and certain other items are excluded. This transferable "limited warranty" is included on all new Mazda vehicles sold and serviced in the United States.


So complain.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
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Oh snap. Thanks, that definitely gives me something to go to Mazda with.
[User Picture]
From:dcjensen
Date:August 23rd, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
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Xposty from b.org:

PC, that warranty info I gave you is from mazdausa.com

Also it lists:

HEADQUARTERS
Mazda North American Operations

P.O. Box 19734
Irvine, CA 92623-9734

Attn: Customer Assistance Center
1-800-222-5500
[User Picture]
From:dcjensen
Date:August 23rd, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
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Another xposty...

Oh my, I just found this on your dealer's website:

[link]


Project 100

Welcome to Oak Tree Mazda. Located on Stevens Creek Blvd, serving San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. Oak Tree Mazda is the Bay Area's premier Dealer for new Mazda and used cars. We want you, and every one of our valued customers to feel welcome, comfortable, and to be thrilled with your new car purchase.

Project 100 is "our goal to provide 100% customer satisfaction to 100% of our customers - 100% of the time!" For you, Project 100 means that we will provide you with a better environment, a higher level of service, and VIP treatment. We will go out of our way to exceed your expectations, and provide that "something extra" you won't get from other dealerships.




They also have a link to a "Testimonials" website where you can rate your experience with the dealership... Heh.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
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PROJECT 100 FAIL. FAIL.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:punzerel
Date:August 23rd, 2009 12:54 pm (UTC)
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Oh no :( Definitely call Mazda. Why wouldn't you? Even if you think a customer's being a douche, you still have to be polite and humour them - I mean, you can refuse, of course, but you have to do it politely. And certainly not be all passive-aggressive and do a shitty job.
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:August 23rd, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
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Write a letter and include pictures of the scratch, as was suggested in another comment. And then call to confirm receipt of the letter and to reiterate your unhappiness.
[User Picture]
From:arie
Date:August 23rd, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Maybe I'm just a bitch, because my response to that whole whiney "I PAID FOR THAT MYSELF" (because I screwed up and I'm trying to shut you up) thing would have been. "I see. Well here's your bottle back so you can return it. I'll contact Mazda directly and work this out with them. That will avoid the need for you to have any further personal financial hardship because of your error in communication."

And, yes, I have actually said something to that affect to someone.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
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I seriously was thinking of saying something like that. Because sheesh.
[User Picture]
From:lynevere
Date:August 27th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
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How's that bitchy? That seems a perfectly reasonable response to me. (content, if not tone.)
[User Picture]
From:scripted22
Date:August 23rd, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
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I definitely would call!

If it was me and a problem with my Honda, I probably would call the general manage of that dealership first. I don't know exactly how everything works, but our salesperson and mechanic always tell us that if we are not 100% satisfied at any time, to give the manager the first chance to make it right for us. I think the whole dealership can get into huge trouble if Honda hears about the problem first. That could be why that guy freaked when you said you were going to call Mazda.

So I'd probably call or send a letter (with photos, maybe even sent certified) to the manager of that dealership. With a letter, I would say that I expect to hear within one week (or two, or whatever) what will be done to rectify the situation or my next phone call is to Mazda. (But that guy was such a jerk, I can see a case for going straight to Mazda as well.)

Good luck! I hope you get a GOOD fix on that paint job after you complain.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
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How would I contact the manager?

As for a good fix, I don't want to have to go down THERE again. And I don't think I have pictures of the original scratch or the buffed version, so I'm not sure how much I have of a case for how it was to begin with, although you can see the strip of paint they lay over it now, if that's bad enough for Mazda's quality metrics.

I knew if I posted, people would pressure me to call anyway! Thanks for the help.
[User Picture]
From:hackerguitar
Date:August 23rd, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
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Call. I did this with one of our dealers lately, and made damn sure that they knew about the "no call" agreement - in other words, that the sales/service staff had done the absolute minimum work to effect repairs for damage they had caused, and had done so only after a threat of a call to authorities.

That led to the dealer having a few Issues Of Note to deal with; I received a number of phone calls and (further) repairs at no charge.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 23rd, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Did you have to go back to that dealership for the repair? Because I don't want to go there again. Not only because it's inconvenient but because I don't want to see that guy.
[User Picture]
From:hackerguitar
Date:August 24th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
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Yes, we did. We made clear that attitude or screwups (malicious or not) would be met with further calls to customer service. It was not fun but the car was fixed properly and they repaired the damage they'd caused during the prior service event. Their choice was to grit their teeth, smile, and do the work right b/c they were being watched by their customer service group.
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:August 23rd, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
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Wow, what an ass.

I've certainly wanted to yell at people at work before, but not when they were right.

Drop a dime on this guy and his shoddy work.
From:sainfoin_fields
Date:August 23rd, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
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I didn't comment on this last night and then I actually DREAMED ABOUT finding you at work (you work at a supermarket btw) just to tell you should call and complain. Your coworkers thought I was a jerk about it, because apparently we're cousins and the convalescence of my/our grandmother was somehow involved. Then I drove you away, possibly to the dealer again, but you were annoyed because I was driving from the backseat.

But anyway.

Call.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:August 24th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
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Aw, your subconscious is looking out for me.

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