November 15, 2005

I Hate Lou Bachrodt Automall.

UPDATE 05/18/06: Since the time of the below written post I have had to take my vehicles back for other repairs. Things have improved, and I no longer have the same issues with this company. See the updated review here.

Orriginal Post:

For those of you that have been around a while, you all know how much I love my truck. When I first bought Janine, I shared with you part of the story as to how I was able to swing the cost of this truck. It all had to do with the Lou Bachrodt Chevy dealership in Rockford Illinois. Their service department sucks in ways most foul. In March of 2004, my wife was involved in an accident. The Chevy Venture we had just bought 7 months earlier looked like it was totaled. BTW, if you are curious as to what a Chevy Venture will do to a Ford Focus, let’s just say that the focus loses with injuries and the Venture my wife walked away from with out a mark. The accident was an off-centered head on.

This incident started the whole ordeal with the service department. The fixed it, we were able to pick it up in late May. When we went to get it, there were problems so we left it for them to correct. They did and a couple of days later we were happy to have our van back. After a couple of days, the ABS lights started coming on. We took it back, they said there was a problem with the assembly and replaced it. We were fine for a couple of weeks when the front wheel started making a funny knocking sound that you could feel through the floor board. We took it back they said one of the supports was bad and they replaced it. A couple of weeks later the brakes are grinding. We take it back. They say the pads and rotors are bad and need replacing. Fine, this was on one of the font wheels that needed replacing in the accident I thought. I pay for new rotors and pads. A month later, the brakes are grinding again. I take it back, and AGAIN they say the pads are bad. Every time we took it back between April and August, they would bill additional to our insurance. Why? They where the ones that didn’t do it right the first time. When our insurance stopped paying, they tried to bill us. That was when I got involved with the billing process. Fortunately, my insurance’s legal department became involved and resolved the issue.

After explaining that they where just replaced, they said sometimes that happens and replaced them for free. A couple of months later the van starts making a funny knocking sound from the front passenger side. We take the van in and drop it off early in the morning. I call them to see what is going on around 1:30PM and they ask me when I’m dropping it off. To say I was a bit annoyed that they lost my vehicle would be an understatement. They find it and say they can’t get it to make the sound when I go back that evening.

A couple of days later the sound is worse. I make an appointment and drop it off. By 9 AM, they call me to say they can’t hear the noise, can I come and see if I can get it to make it. I leave work to go show them how to check for a noise. Upon arrival, I am greeted by my service adviser and a technician. We climb into the van and go for a drive. We aren’t out of the parking lot when I hear the noise, I turn to the tech and say, and “You do hear that right?” He apologizes for bringing me down; he doesn’t know how he missed it. Later that day I’m told the front passenger brake assembly is bad and needed replacing… Wait, wasn’t that just replaced a couple of months earlier? As well with new rotors and pads? YES IT WAS! But they did it for free… So I was okay. It was this time that I noticed they where having a sale on trucks. This got me to thinking that maybe it was time for me to get a new vehicle.

We get the van home and you’ll never guess what. The same noise is there! We call the dealership and tell them we will be dropping the vehicle off on Friday. I’ve finally hit that more then slightly annoyed stage. When I called, I told them that I would be dropping the vehicle off BEFORE 7 AM, as I had to be to work by 7AM. I was told by the same service advisor I had used the three previous visits, Gus Santa Olalla, that he would take care of it. When I dropped off the van, I saw all the trucks there and decided I was going to buy one that day when I picked up the van. When I got to work, I called the sales guy I liked and told him I wanted to buy a vehicle, and set up an appointment with him.

When I hadn’t heard from Gus by 2:00 PM I thought I should call to see what was going on. When I called, he said he was waiting for me to drop off the vehicle. Now I finally lost control of my anger. I explained that I had again dropped it off early that morning. When Ktreva and I had gotten there at 4:00 they had the van in the service bay, and you could tell it had not been looked at. When I went to address my concerns, with my loosely composed self, Gus seemed not to care. He was busy focusing on other issues and customers paper work and just nodding. He didn’t even look at me while I was talking. Finally, I said to him, “Do you just not care about my concerns?” He became defensive, saying he was paying attention and tried to paraphrase what I had said. At this point, I didn’t care; it was the straw that broke the camels back. I told him that I did NOT want his people working on my vehicle anymore and that I will take it somewhere else. I collected the keys and walked into the showroom to tell my sales guy that I no longer was interested in buying a vehicle from his company.

When I tell him why, he asks me to hold on and talk to the GM. That is exactly what I did. After explaining everything the GM said he was sorry, he didn’t want to loose me as a customer and let him look into it while I look at the trucks. He said he would make me a good deal, and he did. It’s amazing how much anger a $12,000 discount cures. Now I didn’t put this in my original tale, but the day I bought it they told me I could take it home that night. I had told them I did not want their service department touching my truck. After the paperwork was done and I was waiting with the GM, a VP and the Financing Manager the Service manager comes in and tells me he can’t let me have it that night. Since it was April 1st, everyone thought he was joking.

Nope while washing the truck, one of his guys slipped and broke the driver side mirror off. It was going to take at least three days to order the part. The GM said he would take a mirror off another truck and put it on mine. (I have the fancy electric expand/retract mirrors for towing) I would be able to pick it up the next day by noon. True to their word, they called me at 10:30 and the truck was ready. They had called in some mechanics on their day off to fix it.

That was seven months ago. Why am I telling you this now? Well the dealership is up to old tricks. I took my truck in because the door wouldn’t open/close properly. They told me it was a simple fix; it probably was just the striker. I told them I didn’t think so, but they insisted. I left Janine with them this morning. When I went to pick her up at 3:30, I was apprehensive. They called and told me it was just the striker that needed adjusting. Fine, but I didn’t think that was going to do it. When I get there, sure enough the door opened and closed just fine. I thought maybe they fixed it, so after initially refusing to sign for it until I had a chance to inspect the vehicle; I went back and signed the paperwork. It didn’t cost me a dime.

All was well until I hit the road. Now it sounds like I’m driving around with my door ajar. Do you know that whistling sound you get when the door isn’t shut all the way or if you have, the window cracked open? That is what it sounds like, I rolled up and down the window a couple of times, and then I opened and shut the door a couple of times. Nope, it sounds open. So now, I have to take it back. I’m having horrible flash backs to the van problems. How many times am I going to have to take my truck back to get it fixed? If it weren’t for the fact it was warranty work I’d take it elsewhere. The problem is that all the GM dealers in Rockford that would do it, are owned by the same company.

Oh, and to make matters worse, they lied to me about the problem. I have the invoice in front of me of what they did. They replaced, completely, the striker AND latch assembly. There is a “charge” for a special order. Since it is warranty work, that means either they are milking General Motors or they really did and pulled it from another vehicle and have to replace that one.

Tomorrow on my lunch, I have to take my truck back and let them work on it again. They had better prey on all that is good and holy in the world they fix it right tomorrow. If they don’t, I’m not sure what kind of unholy hell I will raise.

Posted by Contagion in Compay/Product Reviews. at November 15, 2005 07:08 PM | TrackBack

Sounds like a nightmare dealership. Arghh!

Posted by: oddybobo at November 16, 2005 09:44 AM

Seems like you need to get the GM on speed dial. It is amazing what they will do when they know their employees are screwing things up. Heck, if you think they're milking General Motors, I'd put a call into them, too.

Posted by: Ogre at November 16, 2005 10:01 AM

Geeze - I would get on the phone with auto mechanics in the area - see if any of them do warranty work for Chevy or if you MUST take it back to the dealership. If you must - I would seriously consider a dealer elsewhere - like Elgin. See if you can talk to the service people on the phone and if you drive it down can you wait for them to work on it. Extra time and annoyance - but if it gets fixed right... that would be a bonus.

As for the service department - get on the Chevy web site and find out who you can complain to. Tell them you're gonna sell every Chevy you own and you will buy Ford... plus you've put the entire story on your web site for the world to see. That should get some response!

Posted by: Teresa at November 17, 2005 09:56 PM