Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Tragic Tale of Our Car

A few months ago our car was making a rattling noise on the front passenger side and it got so bad we finally decided to have it looked at. They said it was the driver's side tie ride and proceeded to fix it. As we were driving off, it still made the noise but the mechanic assured us that it was just the ball bearings or something and that it was fine. The noise got progressively worse so a few days later we took it back and after taking a look, the guy said it was actually our struts on the passenger's side and that they needed to be replaced eventually but weren't a safety issue. Considering we had just dropped a few hundred for the other part (which was a safety issue) and not wanting to drop a few more hundred on something that wasn't urgent we decided to wait it out. The noise continued to get worse and every time we went over 45 mph I felt like we were going to die but the mechanic continued to reassure us that all was well.

Well, as many Mass residents know and I'm sure love, each year you have to take your car in for inspection. Being the dutiful/ticket fearing citizen that I am, I took our car in and within a minute the guy came out, looked at me like I was an idiot and asked, "Have you not been hearing that loud, awful popping noise every time you turn?" I told him that yes, in fact I did but we had already had it looked at and the mechanic said it was fine. He then proceeded to tell me that it was in fact, not fine and that it was a serious safety issue and that if I didn't get the passenger side tie rod fixed then one day I could be turning, the car would break and I would lose control and crash and die. Great.

So of course we took it back to the mechanic and pointed out the life threatening passenger side tie rod. The mechanic was aghast at how they could have possibly missed that and said they would get right on it and it would take 2-3 hours and we should be good to go. Nate had taken the car in at 7:00 am so that it could be done early enough to get on with our day. Unfortunately, the place was a little way from our house so he had to catch a bus to come back home, which only ran every hour and half. So even though they hadn't called us after 3 hours, he decided to head back so that he was at least there when they got it done and we wouldn't have to wait a crazy long time for the bus. When he got there, they said they had run into some problems and it would be a little longer. Not wanted to take the bus back just to turn around and come home, he decided to wait it out. Well, a few problems and hours later... the car was done. That is right - what was supposed to be a 2-3 hour job turned into an 11 hour job. He dropped it off at 7:00 and left there at 6:00. To top it off, as they were giving the car back they mentioned that they had accidentally messed up our front axle but that they would fix it for free, we just needed to bring it back in after they ordered the part. Nate told them that I would bring it in on Tuesday morning at 9:00 and the manager promised they would have it all ready and it should only take an hour.

If only that were the end of the story. Flash forward to Tuesday. I bring in the car as arranged at 9:00 am. I give the mechanic my keys and sit down with one of my many pregnancy books. About 20 minutes later, the mechanic comes in and informs me that they just ordered the part and it will take about an hour to get in and then another hour and half to install it. Annoyed that the part wasn't there but not wanting to be that annoying customer, I said ok and figured 2-2.5 hours wasn't bad and could have been worse. Three hours later, I hadn't heard anything from them so I went to the front and asked them how much longer they expected it to be. The guy went to go check and a few minutes later I saw our car being pulled into the garage. That is right, they hadn't even started working on it. I was ticked but figured oh well, at least the part is here and it will just be about an hour. Twenty minutes later the mechanic came out and told me that they had ordered the wrong part and it would be another 3-4 hours before it would be done. According to him, most cars are automatic so they got a part for an automatic and were surprised to find out that ours is actually a standard. Wow, right? I was more than frustrated at this point and extremely hungry and faced with the same bus dilemma Nate had found himself in the previous Saturday. Deciding it wasn't worth it to go home, I walked to the nearest McDonald's and plopped myself down for some quality time with a couple McChickens, a Rolo McFlurry and the rest of my birthing book.

(Just a thought on McDonald's - I would say that the Rolo McFlurry is easily the best idea they ever had. Shortly followed by their free wireless internet and the dollar menu.)

They hadn't called me but from previous experience I figured my presence my be a vital part of them actually accomplishing anything so after the expected "4 hours" I went ahead and went back in to get an ETA. They said the part was there and they just had to finish installing it. An hour later they came back and said the part was in, they were just waiting for some fluid to come it to finish it off and once that was there then I would be good to go. Why they didn't get the fluid earlier, I don't know but really at this point I just wanted my car back. 45 minutes later, they handed me the keys with a big smile and said I was good to go and apologized for the long wait. I was so mad, I hardly knew what to say so I just said "Not a problem" and walked out. But once I got to my car, I decided there was no way that I was just leaving without them knowing exactly how ridiculous they were being so I went back in and told them that I was very dissatisfied with the service that I had just received and that I wanted some kind of refund to compensate me for the last 10 hours I had been there. They started giving me some bologna about how they hadn't even charged me for the service or the parts that they had done that day (I didn't know at the time it was their fault or else they would have gotten a mouthful from me for that one) and blah blah blah and they couldn't do anything and I would need to talk to their manager and wouldn't you know it, he just left and I would need to call him the next day. I asked if they could call him right now and they said no, but he would be more than happy to talk to me the next day. Sick of the whole thing, I left and was just glad to be home.

The next day, Nate called up the manager and was informed that he would be in later around 11:30. He called back at noon and was told that the manager didn't come in on Wednesdays. Ya, ridiculousness all around, I agree. Nate was so ticked off at them he said I would have to call them or we wouldn't get anything so the next day I called and after being put on hold for 10 minutes, I finally got the manager. Just as I started to tell him my frustration, he interrupted me and said there were a bunch of people in front of him and he needed to switch phones! Another 7 minutes later, he finally got on. Lucky for him. I thought he had snubbed me and I was about to hang up and call the store owner (though at this point I don't know if that would have done anything.) I explained the situation and he gave me some excuses about how it wasn't their fault, the parts guy gave them the wrong part, he had order the part personally, our car is just extra weird, etc. etc. etc. I told him I understand but I still thought it was completely ridiculous that not only did they not catch the initial problem, but had to have us point it out but then two times in a row it took them 8-10 hours to do a job that we were told should have been 1-3 hours. He said he understood and wanted to know what I wanted done about it. I thought, are you serious? Isn't this the part where you say "I am so sorry, here is your money back or a lifetime supply of free service for ever and while I am at I am going to make a fool of myself in the public square or anything to make you happy and retain you as a customer"? But I guess my standards of courteous customer service too high. By the end of the conversation he agreed to give me three free oil changes which he said should get me through the next year or so. Better than nothing, right? Except for the part where I never want to go back to that place again.

Thinking that we have finally seen the last of this place, I took our car to get reinspected. Part of me was hoping that we would fail so I could back and yell at those guys some more. To my surprise, we passed. As the inspector was handing me my keys, he asked who we had fix our car. I told him it was NTB and he just said a small, oh. Thinking that didn't sound good, I asked him why he wanted to know. He said that they had only need to replace the mounts for the struts and they had replaced the whole thing. Not only that, but they hadn't even put in our tie rod correctly. But he felt so bad for me that he went ahead and passed me anyway. Needless to say, I was furious. So now we are in the fun process of trying to get that fun mess taken care of but of course, we can't get anyone to return our calls.

So the moral of the story is: NTB sucks.

1 comment:

  1. :> I love your blog... sorry about your car... but I am loving all your baby items.