Consumer Encounter Date: July 31st -present
Location: Nissan of Roanoke Rapids
People I encountered: Brian, Stephanie, Mike , a nameless technician who gave me a full view of plumbers crack while changing a fuse and the little sweet cashier lady.
You are warned all the time about all of the BEWARE mantras that go along with a woman shopping alone in a “man’s world”. Well they all came into place during my current dealings with getting my car repaired at my local Nissan Dealership in NC. While I hope my consumer experience isn’t the norm, it still isn’t acceptable. Now when I say current I want you to know that I’m still dealing with this. It’s just so drawn out I thought the post warranted itself and you’d find yourself checking for updates (and a laugh) until it ends. Now this isn’t funny by any means, I’m just to a point where certain aspects of it is and I’m too tired to cry about the others so laughter it is.
Anyone who knows me personally knows I document, document, document by any means necessary so let me start from the beginning…
So my customer experience begins in my small town where my car, my baby, my lovebug aka my 2008 Nissan Sentra decided after almost 9 years that she wanted to have a temper tantrum. So in for repair I go at my local dealership, which I guess I should mention is not the dealership where I purchased the vehicle way back when.
Starting on July 31st I took my car to my local Nissan Dealer to be looked at for repair. I did not have an appointment and was bringing the car in due to it not starting properly the prior weekend. Once I was able to start the car this day I immediately took it over to see if I could have it looked at. I spoke with Brian who explained due to me not having an appointment that it may take awhile but he would see if someone could look at it by of course fitting it in, which I acknowledged that I understood but I just was wanted to hurry and get it there while it was starting.
Luckily for me they were actually able to get it back within about 20 minutes and he was able to come back and tell me it was two sensors that needed to be replaced. Unfortunately he did not have the parts needed in so the earliest he could get to it was the following Wednesday but assured me if I could have it there by the afternoon before that he would make sure it would be worked on first thing so I could be back on the road because they could likely have that done by lunch. Because the car was starting at will I wanted to bring it early as well so I would not risk being late for the actual early morning appt. or have to have it towed. I got the car there the next Tuesday afternoon. I paid the diagnostic fee which he stated would be deducted from the overall service bill when the sensors were replaced.
I called that Wednesday morning from work around 8 to let Brian know it was there. He had just arrived he stated so hadn’t checked in but they would get it up and start working. I had not received a callback by lunch so I called Nissan for an update and was told Brian was gone to lunch but he would be back in about 20 minutes and he would give me a call back. I waited maybe another hour and called back and spoke with Brian. He stated he would check with technician and then once they test drove etc. he would give me a callback. Around 430 that afternoon he did indeed callback and stated the car was repaired and ready to go. I was told they closed at 530 so I went right over to go get my car/pay my bill before they closed. They had also fixed an item that was covered by a recall they stated as well.
While some of the original symptoms vanished, the slow starting issue continued with the car however and I returned to Nissan after making another appointment where I explained that issue was continuing. I received a survey email from Nissan asking for my rating of the prior visit where I mentioned I was scheduled to go back because it was not fixed in totality and noted that the person who scheduled my appointment didn’t even respond to the fact of me mentioning I was returning due to it not being fixed previously. No, “M’am we are sorry that happened and will look into it” or anything or the sort.
Upon returning on August 23rd I was told this time that it was the battery. I asked at that time why did the battery not show up on the prior visit. I was told that he simply didn’t know and couldn’t explain it. (*insert blank stare) At first it was going to another wait for parts but he stated I could go buy my own from Wal-Mart or parts and it would be much cheaper than the really expensive one they had there on site but he could order another one but it would be a day or two to get and repair and recommended I didn’t drive it so I told him to go ahead and order the one I would have to wait for. He went to go do just that but came back and stated that that they now had a compatible one from AutoZone (I believe) that was just as a good as the Nissan one and they could do that one immediately. He stated he would discount the labor on this-though he wasn’t supposed to-I assume as a courtesy. (I did not ask for this, this was offered).
Again, I was grateful that was the final fix so I and it wasn’t getting done the same day so I was happy about that even if it made no sense as far as why it didn’t show bad the prior visit. This is my first time having to have “major” repair done on my car since I purchased it in 2008 so I considered it a blessing to not be any worse even though at the end I was still going to pay after multiple visits but at this point I thought it was fixed and of course wasn’t aware of that. I was just hoping not to have to sell a kidney or any other organs to science in order to pay for it all.
So again I paid and left with my in a state of repair or so I thought. The following day my car was still having the starting issues when I went to start it. I called Nissan and asked for the Service Manager and left a message on her voicemail. I then decided to just go over since it was my off day. I had someone at my home doing lawn care (that sounds fancy but they were just cutting the grass) so I had to let them know I had to leave unexpectedly because the phone wasn’t going to cut it. If anyone was going to lie to me they were going to have to do it face to face. When I got there I asked for the Service Manager and they went to look for her in back but she happened to come in while I was waiting as I was told she managed both the Nissan and Honda dealership next door.
The entire ordeal up to that point was explained to Stephanie including my return visit and prior visits. She pulled my account up on the computer and reviewed it and noted the symptoms from the visits etc. She immediately took me out to the service area and advised the tech that they needed to pull my car in and figure out what was going on because this was my third repair visit. He made sure to mention that it was the other Tech Leader (Brian) who handled my case but she just reiterated to have it pulled in as she was aware.
I waited in the waiting area and at the end of that day Stephanie came back and stated they were not sure at this point what it was exactly. She stated they thought it might be a module draining the battery but weren’t sure and asked me if they could keep the car overnight if she could provide me a loaner car. I stated yes. She then asked me to bring the car back on the following Monday for repair and she would get me a loaner car and they would look at my car again and figure out what was wrong.
CWM Asks: What Are The Car Makes You Trust?
1. HONDA 2. TOYOTA 3. VOLVO 4. NISSAN
Honda got the most votes! Who is your fav?
Once I left that day and barely got off the lot I realized my dashboard clock/radio was not working and returned to the lot and explained I had nothing working on my front panel. He ran to the back to get a Technician who came out and found they had put some fuses back in the wrong place and got it back on right there in the bay area. I asked him if he was sure they hadn’t put anything else back in the wrong place that might kill me and he stated No and that they wanted me to be safe. Well alrighty then. #prays
On Monday, I brought my car in. I was told to drive over to the Honda dealership next door where she was and she would get me set up. I went over to the Honda Dealership and explained I was there to see Stephanie. I was told she was in a meeting and they would let her know. I waited in the waiting area. The tech later came to ask for my key so he could move my car out of the “waiting bay” while I was waiting. Stephanie then came and we completed the process for the loaner, she gave me the key , mentioned they get my over to Nissan and pointed to the loaner vehicle, which had already been pulled up into the waiting bay for me.
CWM Asks: What is your dream vehicle?
Lexus RX 350 SUV
77 Bronco in Cobalt Blue
At this point I would call for updates on the car because no one had called me at all. I was told they were still checking during these calls and things like potential calibration issues were mentioned and I was told I would be called back on one call that afternoon but no one called back that day or the day after and it went into another week. Because I work 12 hour shifts I was checking so I would know if I needed to go on my off days to pay/exchange. I was surprised they didn’t call me more with updates without me initiating them even if they didn’t know what was wrong. But I figured no news (or calls with bad news) was good news. I received a call on another day that he mentioned a potential fuel line issue. I called back to let him know that I got his message and reiterate what he said the problem may be etc.
On, Thursday, September 14th I received a follow-up service call on how the service was from the Nissan dealership. I guess she didn’t realize before making the call that my car was still there for repair for that service date so I didn’t bother calling her back. That same afternoon, Brian called me back and left a message stating it appeared to be Fuel pump and that he hoped to know for sure by that midday the next day. Upon getting off after lunch the next day (my half work day) I hadn’t heard from anyone so I stopped by before heading home to check on the status. He checked and stated it was indeed the Fuel pump and he was sure he was going to have to order part but that he would call me that afternoon with the info.
He did indeed call me and I checked my messages on the next morning. He told me what the issue was and the total cost and stated there was some other issues but he wanted to discuss and he would be the following day until 1. So I called him immediately after retrieving the message. He gave me the issue info again as well as two other things that could be fixed as well if I decided too. The main issue was another $700 (I had already invested that much in the first visits) as well as some auxiliary issues not related to this they said (oil leak and a weak CV axle) totaling about $900.
At this point I imagine when you see a junk car in a yard and you wonder what happened. Why did they park it? Yeah….
Again I took him back through the issues and wanted him to be firm on the fact that this was “the fix”. this time since I had paid out before and ended up back in the building again. I also asked for more detail on why this issue didn’t show previously, what Nissans procedures were on rechecking things once a car is allegedly repaired and why it took them a few weeks to work their way back to checking the fuel pump in the last day or so. Brian gave his explanations but some were generic responses like responses similar to “thats just how it is sometimes” or not able to give me a concise yes or no that worried me because I am of course the one funding these repair scavenger hunts.
She’s the Consumer but She has questions..
As the Consumer I basically wanted to know why they were so dependent on the diagnostic machines to tell them what was wrong and not on symptoms leading them to the problem in addition to that. When he asked, “what did I want them to do” I assumed that meant he was out of answers and patience and my chances at getting answers or any expansion on their customer service was a no go so I asked to speak to Stephanie.
He informed me she was no longer Service Manager but the current Manager Mike was there and I could speak to him. I spoke to Mike and explained and asked basically the same questions I asked Brian so I could get some solid answers. When I questioned the time, processes , policies etc. he stated they got my car late and that it sat on the Honda lot for week before they got it because they forgot it. I stated but I had an appointment and nobody questioned where it was or called or anything. So basically when I first called no one had even looked at it but no one bothered to mention that. At this point I really wanted to speak to Stephanie about that week wait but of course she was no longer there to give any explanation.
After his explanations, I asked him during this time if this was the best price I could get on the repair due to the multiple visits. And this is where I lost all hope in any understanding or concern. Mike proceeds to-just Brian did when he offered the discount with the battery visit and the discount I didn’t ask for- present it to me as something they were doing for me for no reason and proceed to narrate for me the fact that they don’t give discounts for inconvenience and that they were helping me and remind me that they had given me a loaner car. I then wrapped up the conversation because none of that was necessary and gave him permission to go ahead and order the part to fix the fuel pump.
She’s the Consumer but She is Over the Lack of Concern
Later he calls back and leaves a message that there was an issue with the parts and to give him a call back. I called back and he was busy and needed to call me back in 10 minutes. He called me back and stated the part was on back order and it would be Monday before he would know how long the back order was. He stated he could get another market pump, again from AutoZone but that I would lose the life-time warranty on it because they couldn’t guarantee it there. I told him to go ahead and order the Nissan Part. He stated he would call me back on Monday with the time frame once he heard from them as they had to email them. He then proceeded to apologized for our earlier conversation and mention he had discounted the services but again explained that they were trying to help me because there had been some missteps on their end. And of course I am thinking to myself, ” AND YOU’RE JUST NOW SEEING THOSE?” *gasps
Since he mentioned earlier that Nissan does not discount for inconvenience I am not sure who financed the aforementioned discount. Perhaps the thought of his current salary once freed up from his dismissal financing it lead to the discount. I have no idea and didn’t dare ask what generated offer now. Again I didn’t bother to give him any feedback on that as- I was afraid he would remind me that they gave me a half tank of gas in the loaner vehicle as well and that I should just be humble and consider it a gift- and just advised him I would look for his call or message on Monday concerning the time frame on the parts arrival.
That is where things stand now as of today. I will be contacting Nissan about my experience so far as I reflected back to the Customer Promise on their wall inside the dealership and the photo I took on my 2nd visit when I was already flustered.
“The treatment you receive is just as important as the vehicle you own. All of us at Nissan promise to work tirelessly to exceed your expectations.
Here are our promises to you:
• We will respect your time.
• We will market our products and services honestly.
• We will employ a professional, well-trained and knowledgeable staff.
• We will maintain a clean, comfortable and modern facility.
• We will offer only products and services that meet your needs.
• We will provide clear explanations of all pricing and paperwork.
• We will deliver your vehicle clean with a full explanation of features.
• We will treat you as a guest in our home.
Nissan builds innovative, high-quality vehicles engineered to deliver a passionate and rewarding driving experience.”
I hope they will one day be able to keep their promise and most of all I get my car back free of the original issues and not having 12 new created ones when I show up. As a consumer you have the right to get the service you deserve. For anyone expecting a Christmas gift this year you can cancel it. A fixed car has taken your gift budget for 2017 so see you in 2018. 🙂 Be sure to return to the blog for the updates on this experience.
Betty is home. And allegdly fixed. I say allegedly because when I went retrieve her this morning, turned in my loaner car and paid my bill…well Betty still wouldn’t start. Ok, let’s go back a little to where the story last left off.
I contacted Nissan via their Consumer Affairs contact on their website about the issues so far. I also sent it to them via Facebook where I got this response:
We apologize for the frustration you have experienced and encourage you to direct your concerns to our Consumer Affairs team. Doing so will ensure this matter is reviewed and addressed by the appropriate department. To speak with a Specialist directly, please call 1-800-NISSAN-1, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. Alternatively, you may submit more details of your experience via email here: https://www.nissanusa.com/apps/contactus.
I had already sent it via the website (it was already a lengthy issue) and thanked her for the info (insert sarcasm). I guess 5 pages of issues doesn’t generate anything but the generic Social Media responses of “Please redirect your frustration elsewhere ma’m or I may be forced to actually forward this to the appropriate department for you”.
After the conversation with Manager Mike the story picks up on the following Monday when I was to be called about the parts info. I didn’t get a call on Monday. On Tuesday I got a call from Mike stating the fuel pump was on back order until late November from the warehouse. He said they did some searching around and found one at another dealer who would ship it to them and it would probably be late Thursday before they got it and would keep me informed.
On Friday at 5:41 PM, I got the call that my car was ready to go and that I could pick it up the following day until 1 pm. I was already trapped in my work hours matrix of 12 hour shifts so I called the next morning and left a message letting them know it would be Monday before I was able to pick up.
First thing Monday, me and my sleep deprivation traveled to pick up Betty. I felt like a mom picked up her kid from the airport after a long goodbye. Again just happy its finally fixed right? I went in and paid my bill and then returned to the service area to turn in my Loaner car to John as my technician Brian was not in the area at that time. I left and hopped in my car (which was a whole new level (aka it wasn’t that clean when I dropped it off) of dirty inside the door see picture only to be greeted by the car turning off. I then tried to start it again. It turned off again. I exhaled and grabbed my purse and went back into the service area where Brian now was and explained my car still was not starting. He asks questions indicating he clearly isn’t aware of all my issues and thinks I have previously picked my car up. I explain that I just picked my car up five minutes ago and it won’t start in your parking lot. Let me explain something about Brian. He is always starting at that computer screen and seemingly ignoring you. You know like he barely makes eye contact and even though it may be work related you always feel like he’s watching ESPN and you’re bothering him. Anyway….
Brian then goes to get the technician. He comes back and explains the technician will be out shortly to look at the car. I wait and the technician comes and we walk out to my vehicle. He starts explaining how many times he checked the car before I picked it up and it never did this. He enters the vehicle and plugs up his diagnostic computer and we spend the next 30 minutes or so bonding . The technicians name was Justin who I had actually encountered before. He explained and fixed and gave me some insight on issues overall with Nissan Fuel Pumps and even ways to save money if this fix wasn’t it again and I had to replace my whole ECM system (the cars computer), but getting one from a Salvage yard and letting me know they could put it in as well. The Nissan one would probably run me $300+ with labor. Great. Another bill. Another not fix. Yeah. And after over $1300 dollars going out, you think it might be the computer itself that’s crazy? The very computer that’s telling me to fix all this stuff? Wow.
During our bonding session- yes I stood there the entire time- he found my RPMs were set really low for some odd reason. One of those things not explainable or checked prior I assume. Anyway mine were set on 25 and he said they should be 80 something so he changed it to 100 and that seems to fix it. He left it running and exited on his way back inside so I turned the car off and immediately started it back up because it’s been running the entire time we were sitting there so I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be walking right back inside again.
I drove Betty home. And let me just say when you have been in a different car for so long, your car feels foreign to you. I felt short and kept adjusting my seat and realized how high the seat was in the other car and now it was making me feel even shorter than I am *lol
After getting home I got a call from Brian asking did they get everything straight. I told him it was running but I wouldn’t know for sure until the next morning or mornings because that is when the problems seems to appear-after sitting. He stated he had talked to Manager Mike and he stated if there were any more problems with this same issue to just bring it back and there would be no charge to me.
And by the way, I never heard from Nissan. Nothing via email, phone or mail but I will keep you informed on that as well since it’s been 9 days so far since I contacted them. In all fairness I think every company should have an opportunity to explain or respond to these She’s the Consumer episodes so I will continue to reach out. Now every company won’t care. I am sure you have had instances where the customer service you received from the corporate sector was worse than the service you were complaining about but we still want to give the opportunity.
My car has been sitting for some hours now (its almost 6 pm the same day) and I am about to go out and will see if she starts easily. When I went out the car was having the same exact issues. Only new addition was the first time I started it, it actually wouldn’t register any of the gas in my car- it showed empty and the gas light was on-when I had a full tank. I tried it again and it again turned off but this time the gas registered. I started it again and this time pushed the gas and it held but this means I will spend another day off at the dealership tomorrow because I have to take it back again. I’m extremely tired people.
And I guess I shouldn’t have been so quick to cancel my black market organ selling appointment. *exhales
I took Betty back this morning. I described the issues to Brian and he again noted I wouldn’t pay anything. I took my laptop with me in preparation to be sitting a long time since I had no appointment. After awhile Brian came and said they were giving me another loaner (this time a Nissan Sentra-the first was a Versa) and retrieved my license and insurance. Mike, or who I assume to be Mike- as he had the office but he never introduced himself by saying, “How ironic –I’m Mike the guy who had a problem with you having the first car now giving you another.”….but I digress
Anyway he assured me of no cost for the car or the repairs from this point. He stated that would look into the ECM and repair as needed (no mention about all the other items fixed only because the computer said so which are now a waste and the computer is cheaper than the prior repairs-go figure) and it would probably take a few days to get the part but that this visit would not take as long as the prior and I would be given updates. I got the keyless entry fob and some instruction since this car was a little more high tech than Betty or the last loaner so that I wouldn’t embarrass myself setting off alarms in random parking lots.
Funny Epic Fail Story Moment: While I’m sitting there signing paperwork on the loaner, why does my phone ring saying that the dealership p is calling me. I ignore it but mention it and keep going. When I get out I check it. Well it was another one of those infamous in-house customer service, “How was your service during your last visit” calls. Again apparently she didn’t know I was back in the building and that the service was still open. I just keep closing invoices and not receiving the service solution.
So it’s back to work tomorrow after my two days off. My co-workers won’t believe me when I tell them the latest. I am not sure I even believe it myself.
While they seem focused on the time, I am focused on the fix. They have provided me a car so at this point I don’t think about how long it takes as long as its fixed. The right fix. I don’t want my money wasted replacing parts that didn’t need to be replaced. They seem to think I would rush to pick up there car only for me to get there and it still not be fixed. So again I need to focus to be on the fix.
Hey, its been a hectic few weeks for me. There never seems to be enough time for everything and I always feel like I’m functioning on some level of “I have too much to do” but here are the last three updates on my car from phone call updates I have received.
09/28/17 – All information has been filed with their Nissan Technical assistance line and they have requested they do a series of tests first and they are currently working on that and getting all data back to Nissan for next steps
10/06/17 – Intake, gasket,cleaning out. They basically are still working back and forth with Nissan Technical Assistance and Parts have been received , removed and still working on now.
10/12/17 – It seems they did the first set of things and car was still doing the same thing. They now were told to replace some type of sprocket and that part has been ordered. To replace this part will require removing timing chain/belt as well so they will do all of that.
A blogger I follow on Instagram was testing out a new vehicle to promote Lexus and I mentioned my situation while mentioning they were my car’s first cousins. She recommended I look into the Toyota brand. What is your favorite brand of automobile? Whose service do you swear by?
So that’s where it stands …I think I must have got the one car from the factory that was the test dummy or something. It’s so weird to me that it wasn’t something easier to figure out. I will probably be scared to drive it once I get it back. O_o
Late October 2017 – Also in the midst of this my car was due for inspection/tag renewal (these are combined in NC) and so I called to ask if that could be done. I got a call back from Mike stating it could and that they would get it done and I didn’t have to make a trip to pay now. He called back the next day or so – 10/26 – to confirm it had been done and I would be able to renew everything.
Similar call received on 11/8..parts replaced..still working…etc.
December 9th, 2017 : Update! Could this be the end? On this cold, rainy and dreary day after I hadn’t heard anything in a several weeks, Mike called this morning to say the car was ready to go and I could pick it up until 1 when they closed or of course Monday. This was my off weekend so I went right over to get it. He was not in when I got there and the Lead Tech Brian wasn’t sure what needed to be done so he asked if I could wait for Mike to come back because he would be right back. I waited in the lobby and when Mike returned he explained the issue (timing chain off—not looking at my notes for this but apparently that was the culprit all this time. No explanation on how that affected the other $1300 of replaced items but my baby is back. He took me to the cashier where he stated also I owed $29 for the inspection and that “if it mad me feel any better, it all cost him more than it cost me.” I know, I know…Mike is the king of inappropriate customer service quotes but what can you do. Someone, somewhere gave him that leadership role. I am sure that was to stop my pending, “Can I have my money back for the things I paid for that you guys said was the “guaranteed fix” but always led to another bill. So over 4 months later I am back in my car for what I hope is for good. Of course I haven’t had to start it after sitting yet but it did start this time before I actually left the lot unlike last time.
Once I paid for the inspection and got my key I asked Brian if my car was on the side where it was last time and he said yes and asked Mike if that’s where it was. When I went around in the rainy and no car. I thought ,”Oh I’m being pranked or they have replaced so many parts that its now a Pathfinder.” But no such luck because as I look around and see it on the side of the building at the end. No they didn’t pull it to the door for me. I just sat in it and let it warm up a minute before leaving just in case. If it wanted to explode I wanted it to do so there and not in the middle of traffic. I was greeted by the same low tire pressure light that had come on prior. I am sure they had bigger fish to fry with this fiasco than time to add air to the tires. (stop laughing) It seemed to drive just fine on my errand and back home so I am hopeful but tomorrow and the next few days will be the true test.
And just think…after $900 more in repairs that they mentioned I will have my baby back to herself again!! Stay Tuned!
*CWM has reached out to Nissan Media reps for their thoughts. We will keep you informed.
December 13, 2017 – She has started successfully each day since pickup.
Experience submitted by AJ Wesley
Want to know Nissan Corporates response to this experience? What’s been your dealership experiences when you left the hubby or significant other at home? Maybe it would have been the same no matter who was seeking the service. Did you get good service or end up purchasing a new vehicle for cheaper than your repair costs (sarcasm)? Was I wrong to expect to at least expect a free Pepsi and a half gallon of gas after this experience? Did I ask too many questions? How would you have handled it? And be sure to Shout out your favorite mechanic or dealerships in your area who are doing it right! Thank you for all your feedback, commentary and emails and online dialogue about this episode.
If you would like to share your consumer experience send us an email to email@example.com with the Subject Line, “She’s the Consumer”. #carrepair #shestheconsumer #Nissan #womenwhobuy #ourmoneymatters
Latest posts by Connected Woman Magazine (see all)
- Then & Now : Monchel Hollins
Her change in mindset, changed her course in life and saved her from destruction. - December 15, 2017
- Each Day Is A Gift
We should be thankful for whatever we have and not dwell on the things we don't. - December 15, 2017
- She’s the Consumer : Episode Two – My Amazon.com Experience
Amazon Delivers Customer Service Along with Everything Else - December 9, 2017