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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
To whom it may concern,

This is coming from the desk of a relatively high-spend and repeat customer. A customer who generally speaking has been trouble free, never complained about timing, and been satisfied, up until now, with the effective and trouble free service received from this Midas location. Up until now.

My last experience has been a lesson in perhaps placing a little too much trust in the process.

On or about May the first, I contacted your assistant manager, Rick, to get a quote for a relatively straightforward rotor and pad swap on my 1991 Chevrolet Sprint Turbo. A vehicle I have been driving for some time, and working on getting roadworthy in conjunction with your location. Some work I have completed on my own, and other work I have had done with Midas. This is not the first vehicle I have brought to your location, but will likely be the last.

The telephone quote for a brake flush and pad/rotor swap with customer supplied parts was roughly 200 dollars.

At the midpoint of the operation, Rick informed me that he had a 'Mitchell problem" and that he quoted me incorrectly, based upon the information available to him. It is at this point that I reference common knowledge on this vehicle and platform. Every Metro/Swift/Sprint/Firefly from inception in 1988 to the end of the brand in roughly 2000 has employed a bearing on rotor design, excepting cabriolet models. While I do not expect immaculate knowledge of every product, I expect a service advisor to do the proper research before issuing a quote, this is not a high end vehicle and they made more of them than loaves of bread in the 90's. Blaming this on Mitchell or Alldata is laughable as Mitchell is a pretty comprehensive suite with very reasonable data. The quote rose from 200 with flush to a completion invoice of over 400 dollars (which I was not informed about until the time came to pay), this along with the line at the midpoint of the operation from Rick "Oh, it should just be a little bit more". Yes, 200 dollars more. Twice the quoted cost without a flush (More on that in the next line) apparently is "A little more". To add insult to injury, the technician called Calipers as well, bumping the invoice cost to over 800 dollars. This from an original quote of 200. More on the calipers to follow.

Upon review of the invoice, which I paid begrudgingly once the caliper lines were removed, additional erroneous line items were present for parts that were not used in the operation. The technician who completed the work indicated that he could not complete the flush due to a bleeder screw being seized, yet I was charged for brake fluid. Upon noting this, Jason, the management trainee, removed the charge and issued a refund. Nonetheless, why was it on there? Who reviewed this before issuing the charges?

None of this comes close to the major source of irritation. I brought my vehicle to your location in a functional condition. The brakes worked quite well, stopped straight and true, but I was concerned that a vented non-drilled rotor and standard pads would have trouble dissipating heat associated with greater stopping loads on a 6.8% larger diameter wheel. Thus, I ordered proper replacement drilled rotors and a better set of pads. Your location installed them.

The tech completed the work, and took the car for a drive before handing it off to me. He indicated *everything* was good except that he had trouble retracting one caliper piston, something I find to be a concern. My brakes worked quite well and the pad material on the ones that came off were equal in wear to the new pads that went on. I repeat, the technician indicated to me that things were good when he handed the vehicle off.

I took the vehicle down Stony Plain Road, north on 163rd to 107 ave, and over to 150st and 105 ave. By the time I got there, my driver's front brake assembly was so hot it was smoking. I burnt my finger on the rotor and melted plastic on it ten minutes after parking. This from a simple low speed drive with minimal driving. My previously healthy caliper is now seized because of the workmanship associated with a simple pad swap. Insult to injury: your technician drove this vehicle and straight faced handed it off to me indicating that things were ok. I was given an unsafe vehicle to drive with no warning.

And, I say healthy in that I experienced no brake fade, never had drag, and had proper float distance. I know that the new rotors and pads are in spec for my vehicle because the passenger front is working fine and not subject to the same drag.

And now I am booked in for another 480 dollar service due to what should have been a simple operation. I am on the hook for replacing calipers that had no issue before the work was completed. Also of note, during previous visits with this vehicle no problems were ever indicated with the braking system. Midas does do checks on every visit, or so I'm told.

Let me reiterate that. I brought a healthy braking system to you, a braking system that up until now had no real issues, was quoted 200 dollars for the work, then told it would be double, and it is now double that because of damage caused during the process of the initial work order that I'm not particularly convinced is the fault of anyone but the person doing the work.







This has utterly soured my opinion of Midas as a chain, your store in particular, and once this work is completed, and the bill paid, this letter will be posted to every local auto forum I am a major member of. Every recommendation I make to friends, family, and those I know in the local car community, will be to avoid not just your store, but the entire chain. You have charged me in total 680 dollars over what this should have been, and I intend to remove that from your pocket and your business by ensuring that less customers arrive at your door.

I feel that as a customer, my trust has been abused, and my intellect insulted. And that is not proper. As a business, I would not be in business if I made this regular practice. You have one opportunity to win your customer and his network back. This is that opportunity, make it right, please. I apologize for the tone of this letter, however I have, on sober thought, realized that this is not how things should have been yesterday, and that is a source of irritation.



Clayton Smith

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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 5:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
As an update to this story. I sent a copy of the above to corporate HQ, who came down on that location quite hard. As I paid and picked up, no apology was issued, and Rick met me by my car and threatened to find me after work hours if I didn't rescind my statement. Needless to say, death threats with a side of tire rotation is on special at midas this week :)


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:09 pm
Posts: 4998
Location: Palm Springs: Too hot from June to Oct.!
Rick needs to watch a few episodes of 'Undercover Boss'.

$800 bucks and it STILL wasn't right?

Wow.

The side which was overheated probably should have new wheel bearings.
That's part 510001, in case you run into problems.
Once they overheat, the grease has a tendency to run out and the bearing will start making noise within a few hundred kilometers.
Keep an eye on it.

With a large truck, you put the back side of your hand near the hub to feel for heat, not touching anything.
Then you go to the other side and compare, doing the same thing at the end of each axle.
Our cars can be checked in the same manner.

Rick wouldn't be looking for me after work to kick my a*s.
He'd be sporting a black eye, looking for a new job.

Edmonton is a nice place; let's keep it that way.
Excellent letter and posting, BTW.

_________________
DIY Broken Bolt Removal: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41042
DIY Clutch Adjustment: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=48281
DIY Wheel Bearings: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=29003
DIY Shocks: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=45483
DIY Wheel Align: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42479
Once you get the cars dialed-in (compression, leaks, bearings, alignment, brakes) swap in new rubber and glass, you've got something which should last for years!


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:53 pm
Posts: 645
Location: brainerd MN
It is unfortunate, So Many "Up Sell" shops remain in business. Our company policy is We "Eat" our Errors, Fully showing the customers, what extra work was done, but with "No Charge" written Next to it on the bill. The hope is that this will bolster customer loyalty. and any loss will be recovered over time, Through repeat business, This is how any honorable, reputable shop should operate. Just for what it is worth, It is Legal in the U.S. to exceed a written estimate by 10% without Prior authorization. any More and the customer has to agree to the Addl. Cost. Sorry about your miss- fortune. Jonathan

_________________
Current stable:
1987 Sprint Turbo (Porsche Guards Red) 75k 5sp,AC, w/cruise, Resto-Mod,owned since 1997) (looking for dash-pad)
1989 GTI (white)104k 5sp,AC (Resto-mod completed 1999). (looks great, But rusted out ,need clean southern body.)Help!?
1991 Vert (red) 129k 5sp,AC, Resto-Mod, 75% Done.(Clean SW car)
1993 GT(Teal) 103k 5sp,AC,w/PW (Resto-Mod,60% done.)(Clean SW car)
1994 Swift GS 4Dr sedan (Painted 2005 Ford Kona Blue) 95k 1.3 SOHC 5sp


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Thanks all. yes, this is the first shop in a long time I have tried to forge a relationship with, and it did not go well. As an update, the service advisor who wasn't involved with this little fiasco handed in notice today as well. Had a chat with her and she isn't pleased whatsoever with what up. Not directly attributable to the situation today, but at least I know that opposition is also from within.

I'm tired of this. I got ahold of a friend in sales, and am probably signing on a new vehicle tomorrow or the next day. Ironically, what I've put into the little red wagon so far monetarily would have been about 20 car payments. Low payments, but still, no muss no fuss all warranty.

What makes it worse is that since picking up the Sprint today I've had an intermittent stalling and lack of throttle response that is exceedingly worrying. I drive to Saskatchewan tomorrow to start the work season and am now questioning whether or not my previously well running Sprint will even make the journey. What a goddamn shame.

So tl:dr, find a good shop if you need one, and don't trust one that you have questions about. Ever.

Prairie to Pine, you bet your boots. What you lose on one customer upset is easily gained by patching it up. I think the stat is that in many cases a satisfied customer will talk to a few people in his or her circle, and strongly recommend an establishment based on their experience. A dissatisfied one will tell a whole bunch more and have the same impact. After the threats and attempted intimidation, you bet the line in my letter is going to be enforced. I will get my pound of flesh even if it means never seeing the money myself. As long as it stays in the next client's pocket.

Phil n Ed, you too. I'll note that bearing number in case I need it. With luck they at least repacked the bearing when it all came apart the first time.

As to giving ole Rick a snapshot? I wanted to, and would have, but it's far deadlier to injure a man's career over his own stupidity than to injure his face over a threat. It's gonna be hard to start again at age 55 when the franchisee gets wind of all this. Five keystroke death punch.


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 10:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:53 pm
Posts: 645
Location: brainerd MN
Some unfortunate statistics; If I Sell a car, and it is everything I say it is, and The person buying it, Has a great experience and I stand behind it because it is the right thing to do. Not because I had to, Only 5.5 people will ever hear about it, Yet, Let something go wrong, or the person believe they were taken advantage of. it is a proven statistic that over 80 people will hear about it.
So my request is this, If someone in ANY business. goes above and beyond the call of duty, Let your friends and family Know. and if someone does you dirt, Give them a chance to correct it. If they fail to do the right thing, then bring on the power of networking to bring down those who have lost the right to be in Business. In short, Patronize and advertise for the good Guys, They are out there. Best wishes to each. Jonathan

_________________
Current stable:
1987 Sprint Turbo (Porsche Guards Red) 75k 5sp,AC, w/cruise, Resto-Mod,owned since 1997) (looking for dash-pad)
1989 GTI (white)104k 5sp,AC (Resto-mod completed 1999). (looks great, But rusted out ,need clean southern body.)Help!?
1991 Vert (red) 129k 5sp,AC, Resto-Mod, 75% Done.(Clean SW car)
1993 GT(Teal) 103k 5sp,AC,w/PW (Resto-Mod,60% done.)(Clean SW car)
1994 Swift GS 4Dr sedan (Painted 2005 Ford Kona Blue) 95k 1.3 SOHC 5sp


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:17 pm
Posts: 1403
Location: Alberta, Canada
Might be worth your time to bring your car out to my shop if you have work you don't want to tackle yourself. I run a full service repair shop, and know these cars in and out. An hour drive from the city is worth it to save a bunch of money, and the runaround.
Your story is quite typical, when I first started my shop I didn't fully realize what people were running into at other repair shops. As an example, more than once I have had customers from an hour or further away needing a basic front brake pad and rotor service. I explain that it may not be worth the drive out to my shop, simply because I can't save them a lot of money on a basic job like that($300 total give or take on most older cars with easy knock off rotors, like a turbo/vert/mk4 sprint/metro model). I get a call back the next day asking me to order the parts, as they tried a few other shops and invariably land up with $1000 quote, always including flush, calipers, and various other services. Customer comes out and I do the basic service needed. Up selling happens. I don't deny it anymore in defense of repair shops like I used to.
All that said, I think I can offer a bit of info on some of what happened. $200 was a fair enough quote, but I'd bet the turbo model doesn't show up in all data as far as noting the much easier design they have than the normal 3cyl models. I bet they upped the labour charge due to thinking that your car had the 'trapped' rotor design that the regular n/a cars have, which has basically double the book time to replace rotors on, due to having to pull the hubs and press it back together. In reality, doesn't take long, but the book time is high. This comes from shops absolutely fretting over always using book time, which comes from attempting to keep quotes consistent and accurate to other shops etc. In your case, they just weren't justified at all. If they had quoted you on turbo style knock off rotors and your car had press on/off style then I guess they may have had a leg to stand on adding labour to your estimate.
I will defend them on the caliper thing. Been there, done that. One risk of old cars and not doing the whole job(calipers as well as pads and rotors), is the slight risk of a sticking caliper after replacing other brake parts. I do not always replace calipers, and generally never have an issue, but at least two times I have had the exact same thing happen to me. I do the brakes, test drive, works great. Car comes back with burning smell or what ever and one caliper is sticking on. The caliper gets 'used' to being in one place, hence the reason it works fine on old pad/rotor combo. Once it's shifted back further into the caliper bore, it sticks and fries things. Maybe it's buildup in the caliper, I'm not sure. I'd say it's happened to me twice in 18yrs, but most recently on a geo metro, my mothers car. I certainly wouldn't have sent it home with her if I had known the caliper was going to act up. Theres a good chance the tech who did your brakes was in the same postion, they likely fumctioned and felt fine on a short test drive.
Sorry to hear about your fiasco though, it's pretty aggravating I'm sure going through that amount of hassle, when really just wanting some pads and rotors installed for a fair price!!!

_________________
1995 Swift w/16V 4.39s, 3tech cam, Esteem t-body, Header, needs more.
1995 Gt Mustang "Boss Shinoda" package.
1999 F150 4x4 Supercharged
1967 Mustang 428 auto, never ending expensive project
1993 Civic si h22a, fell in my lap, couldn't resist!


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 7:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Hey Cody,

That's a long note and I will address it all in a few hours. But you are saying that a mk2 turbo has knock off rotors? If so I'm doubly pissed because that was the rationale for them charging me double, that they were the more complicated style.


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 9:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:17 pm
Posts: 1403
Location: Alberta, Canada
I did ramble a bit, in hopes of offering lots of information regarding a frustrating experience. Yes, The mk2 turbo has a conventional knock off style rotor, it's the easy style to replace. I figured that was what they were getting at with the labour up charge, claiming it was the more difficult style. That said, just checked my labour book and it shows a severe service labour of 1.8hrs for the more complex one, 1.5 for the knock offs like yours. $200 was exactly accurate I'd say at about $100/hr lab rate.
The calipers were just a bad luck thing, but the tech was correct when he called them due to feeling the piston stick. $300 installed for a new pair of calipers at my shop. Did they check rear brakes? Pretty common to need wheel cylinders as well at this point, I do most every one of these cars I check over or fix up. They leak or seize, and the seized bleeder screw indicates they havent been touched for a long time.

_________________
1995 Swift w/16V 4.39s, 3tech cam, Esteem t-body, Header, needs more.
1995 Gt Mustang "Boss Shinoda" package.
1999 F150 4x4 Supercharged
1967 Mustang 428 auto, never ending expensive project
1993 Civic si h22a, fell in my lap, couldn't resist!


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:41 pm
Posts: 19
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Had it in there four times and never have had the brakes checked on the rear. Usually that falls under the courtesy checkup (upsell bonanza) but no, drums have never been off.

I think the largest frustration really was the lack of communication. I sat in the waiting room working on my laptop half the day while waiting for the work to be done, as I always have. Completely accessible. Had they been forthright about the cost upfront, I still would have paid and gladly. 200 was on the ball, but 400, not so much, even with issues related to age or wear. Funny thing is that I had that entire front end apart not two weeks ago doing everything but the brakes. I should have looked to see which setup this one had. A slight bonus, found 12mm studs from the last owner's upgrade path ;)

At any rate, I pick up my new Dart today or tomorrow. Anyone want a decent mk2 snail wagon with way too much work into it?


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