Sad state of General Motors


#1

I’ll start by saying I’ve been a buyer of GM vehicles for 30 years but after the experience I just had with them I wonder if they will survive.



It starts in February 2007, I brought my Trailblazer in for a warranty concern with the 4 wheel drive, it would make a grinding/chattering noise in 4WD AUTO. The dealership confirmed my concern and diagnosed sticking clutches. They said it needed a fluid change(it had 27,000 miles on it) and I would have to pay for it. I explained to them it should be done under warranty if the fluid is defective or if the clutches caused the fluid failure they should be changed with the fluid. Of course they declined to do so and I declined to have them change the fluid.



The recommended service interval for the transfer case is 50,000 miles under the severe service schedule.



I am a ASE Master Certified Tech and have have over 25 years of experience in this industry so I changed the fluid in the transfer case at 28,000 miles.



The service 4wd light came on early this last December(it has 58,000 miles now), I did some diagnostics on my own but determined I needed someone with more experience in drivetrain problems. I brought it to a GMC dealership where I had worked before and had a tech I knew and trusted diagnose the problem. He found the transfer case had failed and would need to be replaced. Cost $1900.



Remembering I had a previous issue with the transfer case I contacted GM about getting some assistance in paying for the repair. They have declined any assistance, stating first that the fluid change was not done at a “certified dealer”. I pointed out that no where in the owner’s manual does it state that sevice has to be done at a “certified dealer” The owners manual states clearly “that a person with the knowledge, tools, and equipment can perform maintenence on his own vehicle”



They again denied any assistance, this time saying it was because I did not have the fluid changed when it was in for the concern in Feb 2007. I reminded them again that I had the fluid changed and had the documentation, no change in their position.



I found a TSB on the model of transfer case in my vehicle concerning grinding and chattering in 4wd auto. It states there is a defective clutch and bearing in this model and they need to be replaced. I brought this to their attention, the person at GM said she had never heard of this TSB. Assistance denied.



I explained that we have purchased numerous GM vehicles over 20 years, family members still work at GM, I worked at a GM dealership for 5 years. We are currently looking for another vehicle to replace our Saturn when the lease is up in February. No change. No assistance.



I am at the end of my rope. Every time I contact GM they change their story on why they won’t assist me. I’ve come to the conclusion that they are just putting me off and eventually I will just go away.



I know this isn’t a car question, I just wanted to share my experience. We hear stories similar to this on this board but I never thought it would happen to me.


#2

My personal experience is if you use dealer for service/repair/maintenance at least during warranty period you get leeway after the fact. This is the only dealer I use a dealer during this period however happily from my end this relationship is ending soon (<5k left on powertrain warranty).

Two out of three cars I have owned (Honda, Subaru) I got warranty up to 12k after powertrain expired due to customer goodwill. They paid 100%. One was full rebuild of a manual transmission.


#3

It sounds like GM employees are begging you to take your business elsewhere. If I was in your shoes, I would happily oblige them.

If you still want to support an American-based company that uses union labor, you can always buy a Ford. Unlike GM, they have made some noteworthy advances in quality and customer service.


#4

I’m sorry for your troubles. I have a 2000 Blazer with the Autotrac system currently on the fritz. It’s had more than its share of troubles to date, but I won’t bore you with the details. While doing some research on the system, I came across this discussion, one of the points was to use a synthetic fluid (light blue in color) in the Autotrac transfer case.

http://www.automotiveforums.com/t572914.html

It’s a shame that GM is not more forthcoming considering the state of the industry.

Good luck,

Ed B.


#5

Who do you talk to at GM Customer Assistance? When they deny your request, do you ask to speak to a supervisor? I’d move up the food chain. The folks working the phones don’t have much leeway. Maybe a supervisor might be able to swing something.

Also, follow up with letters. Keep a copy of each letter you send and attach copies of all the old letters to each new one you write. Be every bit as reserved as you are here, and you might get somewhere.


#6

While I’ve never worked for a GM dealer I’ve seen this kind of thing on other makes and models.
GM does not have a patent on this practice.

GM, like all of the others, knows that a customer may get irritated, aggravated, and downright mad but when push comes to shove they also know they don’t have to do anything for the customer no matter how valid the complaint.
They know that nothing can be enforced without a lawyer being involved and that most people won’t or can’t do this.


#7

Yeah, I talked to a supervisor but it didn’t do any good. Everytime I provide documentation they just change their story.

The latest came today. When I asked specifically what is the reason or reasons they are denying assistance she stated that the fluid change is “NOW” not the reason.

She said that there is no history of a transfer case problem. Plus I attempted to diagnose and repair the code 327 that was stored when the indicator light came on. It wasn’t done by a “certified GM technican” so they won’t offer assistance.

Like I was saying they keep changing their story. First it was “you didn’t change the fluid” when I provide proof they go to there is “no history of a problem”. When I point out I had it in under warranty for the grinding and provide the proof they say it was because I attempted to repair it. They have an excuse for everything.

I did open a claim through the BBB and it did result in someone else from GM calling me but in the end it was the same result.

What I found interesting in talking to 3 GM reps was they were all women, they had no mechanical knowledge of cars, didn’t know the difference between a normal and severe maintenence schedule, and it just seemed like they lack the general knowledge about how the automotive repair industry works. Yet they were making the decision about whether to help a customer with a repair concern.

I doubt I will ever get anywhere with this, I just don’t have the time or energy to pursue it anymore. I’m sure that’s what GM expected me to do.

That’s too bad for GM, my wife(whose uncle works for the powertrain division) wants to look at Hondas to replace our Saturn.


#8

Tell me again why GM is in trouble. I forget. :slight_smile:


#9

Sales drops likely have something to do with it; much like Toyota sales dropping over 15%, Nissan over 30%, etc.


#10

GM still sold more cars than Toyota in '08. At the beginning of December, the almighty Honda was trading at around $18 and change, off from almost $35 since only August.


#11

I Find That Customer Service On Practically Everything Is A Thing Of The Past.

It’s especially tough on those of us who have been around long enough to remember when it existed. I worked in places where any employee would be fired instantly for treating any customer the way that they are routinely treated today. People don’t even answer phones any more. You call and a recording tells you how much your buusiness is appreciated and then it kicks you into some kind of answering machine. What the #*&% is that? By the third ring, you were fired from a couple of places in which I worked that dealt with the public. They now call you back at their convenience.

We used to work faster as we got busier in order to keep up. Have you stood in a line at a major retailer at the check-out or return desk when they are busier than all &%@! ?

Customer service is almost gone. I really enjoy it when I find the exception. Businesses know it costs a lot more to make new customers than to keep old ones. Why don’t they do it?


#12

It seems to me they are in violation of honoring their own warranty. They cannot impose upon you a limitation as to who can provide/perform required maintenance procedures or service. Their only recourse is if they can prove that a service or repair was done incorrectly and resulted in the problem. Defects in materials or workmanship should be excluded from any previous repair or service scrutiny.

The rub is that in order to prove your case, they have to actually definitively diagnose or actually repair the problem. Once the fault has been found, then you can argue the merits of them honoring their warranty.

Sometimes, it seems that it would be easier and less costly to just walk away. Personally, I tend to get more outraged and persistent under these type of situations as a matter of principal.

I believe there is a recourse you can pursue in arbitration. The warranty material that came with the TB should detail how to pursue this avenue. I can’t recall what came with my '04 TB but most manfrs have this option to resolve disputes.

I am really surprised and dismayed at the defensive position they have taken. I’ve heard a number of more positive responses under similar circumstances. Curious why they are being so ridiculous in your case. I hope we see a positive resolution sometime in the near future.


#13

Too bad. I have had many similar cases with GM over the last 30 years. Failed engines at 32,000, bad transmissions, pealing paint, and on and on. Each time I thought they would respond differently. But no…the same attitude. I have swithced to Honda and Toyota since and they back their cars and trucks amazing well. The listen, and prompltly fix the problem. Recently they relaced a friends transmission at 100,000 miles for $1,400. He even had a loaner car free. A person would like to buy GM and support them but, it is too frustrating I also had a Lincoln that spent more time in the shop then on the road. Every repair was a fight. I hope the ‘big three’ come to understand what they are doing to themselves. I finally had my magazine substriptions sent to the dealer!
Jeff1945.


#14

Personally I’d get a Lawyer…or at the very least file a claim in small claims court…You may also try contacting the States Attorney General. They may be able to help.

BTW…good possibility this transfer case was made by Chryco.


#15

To put it bluntly GM is broke, is not interested in your problems.


#16

Yea…but Toyota doesn’t have 9 corporate jets…pay their VP’s MILLIONS in bonuses…or their CEO $25m/yr. Most people in Business…if sales are down you cut expenses…


#17

I did start the arbitration process through the BBB but after reviewing my claim they said I didn’t qualify because the vehicle is out of the factory warranty.


#18

You should no longer be dealing with the dealership directly. All of this should be put in writing and sent to corporate GM (with copies to the manager of the dealership). Name names, list the changes in their responses and demand compensation within a reasonable period - within 10 days is good.

BBB is useless. In California there is the BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) that can advise you and help. Maybe your state has something similar.

Hopefully, you are keeping a file with copies of receipts and any written communications that you have.

Your other option is to present this in small claims court. If all you say is true and you can provide evidence, you’ll win your case.


#19

Bummer! I missed that point. Still, it would have been nice for some goodwill gesture on their part considering the age/mileage and what I perceive as the normal MTTF for such an assembly.

I’ve always wondered about companies that spend more time trying to recruit new customers than taking care of the ones they already have…


#20

I agree, it seemed like a no-brainer.

When I worked for a GM dealership a case like this would have been settled right away. The customer would pay a deductable, anywhere from 25% to 50% of the bill and GM would pick up the rest. I figured I had a strong case considering I had a documented complaint about the transfer case.

What really doesn’t make sense is we have family that works for GM, we have purchsed many GM vehicles, and we would like to continue to buy GM vehicles but we are considering other makes of vehicles because of this.

You would think that GM would want to keep this part of their market but apparently not. They would rather save a $1000 to $1500 in this case instead of thinking about future purchases.