Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Chevy Farm

Otherwise known as Westgate Chev... if you live in Edmonton, you probably have seen the tv commercials they put out, featuring Gord Gent, the "owner" of the business. All typical of this type of industry, doing the proverbial "Hey, come see us, we have a large selection of quality new and used vehicles", and the normal implications of how great they are and how well they treat their customers.

Sadly, like many in the industry, they speak the words but do their best to get out of honoring them. This post is about my brother, a person with a deep interest in cars, quality, and a desire to believe.

A few years back he went on a shopping spree, looking for something comfortable he could "retire" with, and came across a used Cadillac at 'the farm'. Knowing cars like he does, he researched his books and found this particular model had been known for some nasty electrical problems. Those issues were brought up with the sales person, and an extended warranty was suggested with the promise that it would cover everything. (Are you seeing where this is going? Well, you would be right.)

Shortly after buying the car, problems came up with not only the electrical system but also with some "shudder and vibration" issues which pointed towards the fancy transmission system. As well, usually in the winter months, the car battery would just die.

Covered first by the normal used vehicle warranty, and then the extended warranty, the car made many trips into Westgate. Often for days at a time. They replaced this and that, tightened this and that. But the problems were never fixed.

They said the problem was the computer, which is housed inside the car radio. So they pulled that out, put in a new one, and then charged him about a thousand dollars. Even though he was told the electrical and electronic systems were covered, apparently the car radio by magic, is not included with that. Of course, he mentioned that the sales person told him it would be, which is the reason he bought the extended warranty in the first place. But the sales person left the dealership shortly after he bought the car, so he conveniently could not be questioned about the promises made.

To make matters worse, the radio system had CD's inside of it, which they never removed when they replaced the unit. And it took over 6 months of complaints before the CD's were tracked down and returned. Damaged of course...

And yes, you would guess right when I say the radio was not the problem at all.

Other problems happened, and Westgate said "Oh we can't fix that, you have to take it to the Cadillac dealership"... which he did, and had to pay for repairs for things that were supposed to have been covered under the warranty.

Any time my brother tried to discuss the issues with the Service Manager, all he got was the run around. Does that surprise you? Now.. when I found Westgate finally climbed up into the social media world, I tweeted them, asked if they would want to correct a wrong and of course they replied "sure". I sent them my brothers contact information... weeks went by and no call. So I tweeted them again and they responded with the proverbial "ok, will look into it". And a few days after that someone did call.

The response? "Oh well, you waited too long, we can't do anything about that now". And what about a refund on replacing parts that didn't need replacing in the first place? "Oh we can't do that either".

What Westgate Chev can do however, is give you the run around... refuse to deal with the things you paid for, charge you more money to fix things that have NEVER been fixed, and politely tell you to fuck off afterwards.

Oh yeah.. the fella that called said he would be more than happy to sell him a different car.

Well Westgate. You know what? The same issues exist. The electrical still has problems, the vibration is still there, and the battery still goes from a full charge to totally dead while the car is parked and not running and not doing anything. Apparently the computer thinks that in the winter time, it needs to just turn something on at random intervals which quickly drains a full charged (and in good shape) battery.

Westgate was given several chances to correct these issues before this blog post was created, and they knew it was coming...

Their response? To un-follow me on twitter. Yup, that sure solves a lot...

I suspect they may find a few cars parked in their area this summer, displaying signs about the rip off, and educating potential customers about their (total lack of) really great service. Oh wait... my bad. Lip service is still service, yes?