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How to deal with an arrogant dealership

my 5 yr old MINI hasn’t been into the dealership since the warranty expired. two reasons: luckliy, until this week, i haven’t had any major problems; expensive for me to drive an hour for routine maintenance, like oil changes and such.

i had to bring it in to get the PSP replaced. i habe a nother issue with that (this failure is common in older MINIs and MINI would not issue a recall), but the current problem is that the service dept.told me that b/c i wasn’t a “loyal” customer, they felt they didn’t have to cut me any deals (from the service guy: “weellll, it’s looking really bad for you re us extending ‘goodwill’”). in the end, they paid for half. other customers at other dealerships have had most of the cost covered.

since when does one have to be a loyal service customer to have a dealership stand by its product?? never mind that i was humiliated by an arrogant a-hole.

i reported the failure to the National Safety Board and plan to write to the prez of MINI about my treatment at the dealership.

any one want to comment?

Well that’s just the way life is. Loyalty is a two way street. You have all your work done for five years somewhere else, but then when you need a dealer to do the work, you want a special break. It just doesn’t work that way. I think you are lucky to get a 50% discount on a five year old car IMHO. That’s why I drove 100 miles round trip to get my oil changed that I could do myself-just to foster a relationship.

That’s called the free enterprise system…they have the right to ruin their credibility with their customers, you have the right to spread the word and ablige them. Nothing “like word of mouth” to make or break a local dealership.

From reading your post I’m of the opinion that you simply do not want to spend money on your car and were no doubt standing at the counter demanding something for nothing.

Recall? Just because a problem exists (even a chronic one) does not mean that a recall will, or even should, be issued. Every car on the planet has problems.

When the warranty is up, it’s up. Anything after that is a blessing and neither the dealer or the car maker is under any obligation to grant you a good-will warranty of any kind.

I’ve always been of the opinion that dealer service dept. counters should be fitted with video cameras. A playback would often clear up those little assumptions and details that are left out.
You wanted a comment; now you have mine.

I have to side with OK4450 on this one. You’re out of warranty - meaning the dealership and the manufacturer owe you nothing. The fact that they are offering to pay half is a great deal. You may just want to accept it, be grateful, and content.

I wouldn’t expect much love from a dealer if you never go there. You’re only an hour away, so that’s not much of an excuse-I used to have a two-hour commute to work each way for a few years. At least show up occasionally and be chatty and friendly-attitude goes a long way. A Mini while small is far from simple and unsophisticated and has some fairly advanced engineering. Given that, it’s a good idea for it to visit a Mini specialist or dealer periodically anyway. Be glad you got half off and don’t bad mouth the dealer. Just wait until the next time you show up now after you’ve bad-mouthed them.

Oh and please read what you write before posting-between the spelling errors and choppy sentences it makes it a bit rough to read.

For you regulars,respect you all and value your comments,but when I brought up the loyalty issue a few weeks ago no one seemed to feel building a relationship with your mechanic was worthwhile.I expressed the opinion that even if it costs more to use your loyal independant for services that a chain could do cheaper you should support your independant.It was just go for the best price.

My take on this is that they probably always intended to extend a goodwill 50% discount to you, and that the service writer just wanted to make you squirm a bit since you had “cheaped out” on servicing your car for the past 5 years. In other words, he may have been trying to make you give some thought to your behaviors and how your avoidance of the dealership was not necessarily a good idea since you suddenly decided to show up requesting charity from them.

Should he have done it this way? Perhaps not, but then again, they are running a business and you have not patronized that business for 5 years. Try to put yourself in the position of the dealership. Since they are not running a charity, did you really deserve to have them pay 100% of the cost for an out-of-warranty repair, given your avoidance of their service facilty?

Do you think that the guy who has serviced your car for the past 5 years would be willing to give you this repair job gratis? Apparently not, since you did not go to your regular service guy seeking a free repair job.

I say that you should be grateful for what they gave you, and that you should stop griping.

I’m confused. It’s amazing how many posters say “Only go to the dealership for warranty work. Pick an independent for all other work.” Then, when someone posts that he’s done just that, he gets criticized for it. Please explain.

The OP did not do just that. He went back to the dealer, expecting something for nothing, expecting a replacement clearly not under the warranty. If he had followed the advice, he would not have been at the dealer. He did say he “had” to bring it to the dealer to get a “psp” replaced. I don’t know what a psp is or why it would take a dealer to replaced it, but I suspect that it could have been done by an independent mechanic.

I often fault dealers for their prices and practices, but not this time.

The question of the dealer providing a good will fix is no different than an independent doing likewise. If you are a regular loyal customer, either is more likely to provide a good will fix.

The question of the dealer providing a good will fix is no different than an independent doing likewise. If you are a regular loyal customer, either is more likely to provide a good will fix.

Well worded. For the OP’s question, this says it all.

Actually, I’m not one of those. I advise avoiding chain operations (Jiffy Lube and its clones, Sears, Meineke, Monro, Midas, Aamco, Lee Myles, Cottman, Discount Tire, etc.) and would definitely take a competent independent mechanic over a chain any day, but I have consistently used the dealership for everything except batteries and tires.

Since my dealership charges less for oil changes than the independents, provides me with a free loaner car, and uses genuine OEM filters, I always use the dealership for my oil changes, as well as for other service procedures. And, since their price for a timing belt change on my previous car was competitive with independents, I also used them for that job. For the big maintenance jobs (30k, 60k, 90k), I go to the dealership since my use of the Subaru credit card provides me with enough cash vouchers so that I get these major services free-of-charge. By using that Subaru credit card for virtually everything that I buy, I have received enough cash vouchers to take care of all of my big-ticket service needs–at least so far.

If I knew of a competent independent mechanic in my area who does everything that my dealership does, for the same price, and who accepts Subaru’s cash vouchers, then I would consider going to that independent. But, since that animal does not exist, and since I have received exceptional service for two different cars at this small dealership over the past 12 years, I don’t plan on going elsewhere. When I walk in, I am greeted by name by the service manager, the parts guy, the dealership owner, and the saleswoman from whom I have bought two cars (at exceptionally good prices).

There is certainly something to be said for establishing a relationship with the service department at a dealership, and even if Subaru ended the cash vouchers tomorrow, I would probably continue to go to this dealership. Their prices are competitive (when I do pay cash), they treat me well, and on the one or two occasions when I came to them with a problem that was questionable as to warranty coverage, they did right by me.

On the other hand, if this dealership was like some of the really bad ones that I have read about in this forum, then I couldn’t do as I have been doing. But, in my case, I see no reason for changing my patterns of patronage, and unless something changes drastically over the next couple of years, I will probably buy my next car (clean diesel!!) from them also.

My advice is to do your “due diligence” when buying a car. In addition to getting a good price, buy from a dealership with a really good reputation for both customer service and for the quality of their service department. And then, continue a relationship with that dealership to as much of an extent as possible. It can really pay off in many ways.

Thank you, VDCdriver. That is the kind of explanation I was looking for.

Remember that a HUGE chunk of a dealership profit is from their service department…they do what ever they can to promote your routine service. Yes, an extra hour out of your life/energy consumption IS too much if another is closer at hand. They are neutral as far as your “feelings” are concerned, as we should be regarding their service. Take what you can get from them and move on, dispassionately.
I personally think that if you don’t do a lot of your own work, than your car of choice should be as affected by service availibility as any other factor.

There is only so much slack they cut to customers(you really are not)past warranty. You simply put are at the bottom of the heap and should feel lucky and gracious they paid for half.

The fact that the repair possibly should be a recall has nothing to the dealer the who gets stuck with the bill if Mini does not pay. Take it up Mini not the dealer.

Be glad they gave you any break at all. Like you I don?t use a dealer unless my car is under warranty and once it?s out of warranty it goes to my mechanic with my other cars.

But on the rare occasion when my mechanic suggests that it might be better if I went to the dealer for whatever reason. Normally because he would have to order the part from the dealer and it would be cheaper for me to have the dealer do the work, the custom at the dealership in my town is if they install the parts you get a slight break on the cost of the parts. But, I don?t expect the dealer to cut me a break. I?m not a good customer for the dealer, I don?t buy many cars, and I keep my cars a long time and replace them when they become unreliable. I don?t have my oil changed there, they don?t detail my cars, and they don?t do much work on my cars. So I?m not a good customer of theirs so why should they cut me a break?

Just because a part that?s prone to fail fails doesn?t mean the dealer has to eat the cost. Many a car or truck have parts that are prone to fail, too bad it happens. That fact you got anything off means the dealer was being nice to you. You should have thanked them for what they did. So when you write to the ?prez of MINI? you should tell them that the dealer gave you a break on the part, and how happy you are that dealer stood behind the car as much as he could, given that you don?t use the dealer much at all. After all he could and should have charge you full price.

my apologies for the spelling errors. they are actually typos. i should’ve proofread the message, agreed. i write in choppy sentences as a matter of course. no one forced you to read the message.

i didn’t bad mouth the business to anyone but posters on message boards. since when is that a crime?

the car is 5 years old. the warranty expired 2 yrs ago. i should’ve made that clearer.

all things being equal, i would’ve been delighted to keep using the dealership for oil changes, antifreeze flush, brake work, etc.–all the routine stuff–but i can’t afford their prices. also, for the past year, i lived 1700 miles away from home. my independent local mechanic , someone i’ve gone to since the warranty expired, can change the oil and do a safety check for under $50. MINI charges at least $80. i’m retired on a fixed income, a low fixed income.

that couldn’t be further from the truth. first: no counter at the dealership. i sat at a table. i made no demands. i quietly, and i mean quietly, talked with the service manager about the problems affecting the power steering pump in MINIs. it’s very well known among those in the MINI community that it has a high rate of failure. i didn’t expect the service person to agree with me (although some owners have told me that their MINI service people acknowledge this problem).

2 years. i haven’t been to the dealership in 2 years. this is the first mechanical problem i’ve had with the car. if there had been others previous, i would’ve brought the car to the dealership. in the futire, when’if i have problems, i will go to the dealership. they work only on MINIs. and they’re good, very good. their treatment of me wasn’t as good.

yea, i expected that they might pay 100% based on the experiences of other MINI owners who have experienced this same steering pump failure! i did ample research before i brought the car in. this defect is so common that one owner started a petition to send to the NSTB. there are long. long threads on the MINI boards about this problem. the pump has failed in cars ranging from brand new with 300 miles to mine (60k miles).