Bait and Switch - The Automotive Manufacturer's True Customer

by Matthew Kephart - Date: 2006-12-29 - Word Count: 589 Share This!

The auto industry has been signing my paycheck for the better part of 10 years. In that time I have been exposed to numerous revelations that as a consumer knocked the wind out of my sails.

The top of the list is how the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers; GM, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, etc.) view the consumer.

I was in the market to downsize from a Chevy Suburban to a not so mileage reckless vehicle. After perusing the market I decided on a Chevy Cavalier. I know, quite the change but with the rising gas prices (I WISH I could pay those prices now!) and the amount of miles in my ever growing commute, it seemed like a logical move. Friday arrives and I venture off to my local Chevy dealer and lo and behold they have a vehicle that suits me to a tee. I wasn't about to utilize their financing and told them I would return on Monday for delivery after I secured my financing through my Credit Union (CU). The salesperson said no problem, It will be here. Upon my return (with check in hand for that particular VIN) I was informed that the brother of the owner came and took my vehicle off the lot for his daughter over the weekend. WHAT?! They didn't have a matching vehicle on site but did find one from another dealer that would have to be delivered. You don't have to stretch the imagination to realize I was slightly steamed. Not only in principle but I had to go back to the CU to get a new check for/with a new VIN. Once back from the CU, they informed me that the newly found vehicle was buried axle deep in mud but they had found another Cavalier at a different dealer. Slightly steamed doesn't come close. What should have been a simple paper signing and drive-off has now turned into a third trip to the CU. Did I mention my CU was about 20 miles away? It's amazing how steam can build on multiple unnecessary trips. Now, back at the dealer and I am relentless about venting to every person that remotely looks as though they work there. I think I scared a lady that was getting an oil change, sorry. Long story short (too late), I finally took receipt of my new car at 6:15pm after spending my entire day there. My parting words to the salesperson, manager and owner are brash to say the least, but I was able to assemble some verbage to the extent of I expect at minimum a years worth of oil changes (that's 3 tops). Needless to say that has never occurred. In fact I was so adamant about this I sent Chevrolet Corporate Customer Service an email, explained the situation and was rather astonished (albeit educated) by their response. You see, according to Chevrolet Corporate, the dealers are their customers, and we are merely consumers of their wares. We are the Dealer's customers. In short, Chevrolet Corporate informed me that they have little or no say in the workings of the dealers as they are their customer and gee, keep the customer happy, right? End all be all, I don't do business with that dealer anymore and will tell this story to anyone that will listen. It's the only avenue I have left. Oh, Chevy Corp sent me a coupon for a free oil change. THANKS!

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Related Tags: car, new, dealer, service, oem, customer, consumer

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