Horrendous experience at Toyota dealership service center

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Cwal, May 17, 2019.

  1. Cwal

    Cwal New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    20
    11
    0
    Location:
    Savannah, GA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Hi there, I was wondering if anyone else out there has had significant issues with honesty and integrity at their local Toyota dealerships? I had my 2007 towed to one after nearly breaking down next to a shop that was up front about not being comfortable diagnosing a hybrid. The car has 196,000 miles on it and it was very clearly a battery issue so I felt completely safe and comfortable having it taken to a dealership. I was quote $5500 for a new battery and another $1,500+ of what were communicated as vital repairs, totaling out at just over $7,000. I’d done my research about battery replacement costs months before this happened, knowing that it was just a matter of time, and was absolutely floored by this number. When I asked him to explain it, he simply said that’s what it costs. I contacted another Toyota dealership 10 miles away who quoted me $2,300 installed, after providing my VIN number. When I informed the first dealership of this, the man told me that I must have misheard or just misunderstood what he said, that he was trying to do me a favor and look out for me, etc. He further went on to tell me that he had called and spoken to them, though he didn’t know a name, and spouted off other numbers that were nearer to his own. As he said this, I was looking down at the detailed notes I’d written including the name of the manager who gave me the quote as well as the numbers he passed along to me. I told him that I couldn’t possibly trust his judgement and their diagnosis with such a gross discrepancy in price for the exact same part and labor. I paid to have it towed to the other dealership and am coming out of there with a $2,800 bill for the battery, AC belt, and a new water pump. The other items that the first dealership mentioned as essential (they suggested I buy a new car instead!) were non-issues.

    I received a phone call from one of their customer service representatives and voiced my concerns over the situation. Today I received a survey from Toyota and not the particular dealership in which I was very honest about my experience. Soon after I received a very inappropriate text message from the initial service advisor I dealt with saying that he saw my survey with Toyota and was upset because it will hurt him and effect his pay. My car was towed from their dealership two days ago and he deemed it appropriate to go through my personal information and contact me. This must be a violation of their privacy terms, I feel very unsettled that this person has access to my information. I am waiting for contact back from Toyota directly.

    If you are in the Savannah, GA, do not take your vehicle to Chatham Parkway Toyota. I shudder to think at how many people they have taken advantage of.

    I was clearly wrong that dealerships (although usually more expensive than other shops) are a safer place to be from all of the lying and price gouging out there in the auto service world. Is this a common experience?
     
    Data Daedalus, Prieth, Skibob and 4 others like this.
  2. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    2,209
    836
    0
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Unfortunately the generalization of dealerships (Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Ford, Chevy, BMW,etc) being deceitful (sales and service) is too common. The good dealership experiences are too few, IMO. This also happens with independent repair shops, electricians, plumbers, general contractors, etc.

    Good for you to take notes and guard those. Like poker, don’t reveal your hand.

    If you are a woman, you may have been given the crazy price b/c the service writer is preying on your sex and generalization that most women don’t know much about cars. $7K in repairs is nuts, and they absolutely were steering/pressuring you to a new or used car.

    What a POS person to complain to you that his unprofessionalism, is going to cost him money! Person never learned or can’t appreciate the Golden Rule. I doubt it violates any privacy concerns. By default, the paperwork probably says we can/will contact your for marketing purposes. I don’t see Georgia having very strict consumer privacy laws.

    If you are truly concerned about privacy, get the evil google voice. You can set-up preferences on how google calls and text messages get to you. It’s a great service! Give this # to business, sales people, dealerships, etc.

    I would encourage you to contact your States Attorney General or Auto Repair Board, make this dealerships life worse. If the appropriate Georgia agency does anything about it.

    Make your story go viral: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, local news consumer advocate person, etc. That dealership and Toyota won’t like that.
     
    Cwal likes this.
  3. Cwal

    Cwal New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    20
    11
    0
    Location:
    Savannah, GA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Thank you for the response. You got it right. I am a 35 year old woman who most people assume is much younger and this experience was 100% influenced by that. I spent my 20’s working in the letterpress industry, where I ran the presses, diagnosed, and did all repairs. Even then, I had men constantly ask “who fixes this for you?”. I know my way around machinery, but am by no means a car expert. Maybe it’s time I change that...

    I actually never signed any paperwork that might give them permission to contact since my car was towed in and I only had them do the diagnosis before I had it towed out. It was totally reasonable for the customer service representatives to contact me regarding the matter, but for the service guy to do so felt entirely inappropriate. It was an attempted further manipulation and was something else that never would have happened if he had been dealing with a male customer. I can’t imagine what he thought he would accomplish, I simply replied “Do not contact me again.” and took a screen shot to send over to Toyota.

    I do think that it is worth it to escalate this matter further and am researching the proper avenues.
     
    Data Daedalus likes this.
  4. ILuvMyPriusToo

    ILuvMyPriusToo Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    643
    418
    0
    Location:
    Outside Philly, PA
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    II
    +1, complain loudly to Toyota about both the initial experience and harassing follow-up, as well as to consumer agencies. Sorry you encountered the problem but you are far from alone (and many wind up paying those $).

    Also, be sure praise the other dealership that was up front (sometimes that gets lost in the process) - in essence, they have validated your concern that the first dealership was trying to take you for a ride.

    Given your experience, if anyone from that dealership calls, I'd suggest you just hang up or inform them you are recording the phone call (that should keep things civil).
     
    Data Daedalus, Prieth and Cwal like this.
  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    34,158
    23,132
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    It's an escalating stand-off: dealerships resorting to skullduggery, disenchanted owners going to alternate shops and DIY. Hopefully there are a still few dealerships bucking the trend, believing you get more bees with honey...
     
    Data Daedalus likes this.
  6. TinyTim

    TinyTim Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    247
    156
    0
    Location:
    Seattle
    Vehicle:
    2017 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Did you get the original bill of goods in writing for 7K or was it the spoken word that was used to give you an inflated bill of service?
     
    Data Daedalus likes this.
  7. Cwal

    Cwal New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    20
    11
    0
    Location:
    Savannah, GA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    A copy was emailed to me from the service advisor. I also had him print one off and put it in my vehicle so that the other dealership could see it. The dealership that did the repairs said that they could find no justification whatsoever for them attempting to charge that price.
     
    Data Daedalus likes this.
  8. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    8,388
    4,883
    0
    Location:
    Undisclosed Location
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I have to say, and it's a singular experience, I'm NOT presenting it as representative of the whole, but when I had my Prius, I found a dealership * Not the dealership I purchased from,- that I felt was really, really good.

    I've had more trouble finding a Honda dealership with a service department I trust. Luckily, so far, it's just nearly "new" car maintenance. Oil and Filter changes and tire rotations. So, as long at they get that right...at a reasonable price OK.
    But sadly this last time I went to the dealership for the standard Oil and Filter change and tire rotation, they tried to upsell me on having the cabin air filter changed. Which A. was new enough, it really did NOT need to be changed period. B. They tried to charge me $90 to do it.
    This is literally a $20 or less filter, and basically a user changeable part, that takes seconds to replace.

    So sadly when they tried to pull this? I had to file the whole place under "sleazy".
    How can I trust them with anything more substantial in the future, when they are trying to rip me off with a Cabin Filter today?
    Unwise, because they lose a customer, that might of brought them a lot of business over the years.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    80,792
    34,765
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    interestingly, you got two ends of them spectrum with just two quotes.

    i would say most dealerships would have been in the $4-5,000. range.
     
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    34,158
    23,132
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    A couple of years back a Honda dealership quoted me a very good price for a transmission seal replacement, at least I thought so: $135 CDN. That's the seal where the driveshaft comes out of the transmission: it's not a lot of fun, a lot of wrenching to get at it. Still, a very cut-and-dried, no unknowns job. And a firm quote.

    So I finally got it in, and verified the quote: "yup, that's our price". In the back of my mind I'm thinking: they will ding me for "shop supplies", an extra $15~20, that's life. But nothing more.

    An hour later, got "the phone call", and it was going to be more than double. No real explanation, just... double.

    I told the service writer to go ahead, charge what they wanted, and brace for the Yelp review. They ended up charging me under $100, all-in.

    So I'm guessing: they're using these tactics on everyone, they win most, they lose a few? The poor customer who just trusts, gets stiffed.
     
    #10 Mendel Leisk, May 18, 2019
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    80,792
    34,765
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    ignorance isn't always bliss
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  12. Cwal

    Cwal New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    20
    11
    0
    Location:
    Savannah, GA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Very disappointingly, this also happened at the 2nd dealership. I live out in the country and the only reason I was in town the day my battery went was to get a new cabin air filter which I then replaced on my own.

    After telling me that most of the repairs that the previous dealership said I needed were unnecessary, he said that I also needed a new cabin air filter. When I asked him to confirm that his shop diagnosed that and not the other he said yes. I asked him how that could be after 3 days mostly spent sitting in service garages. He didn’t have an answer. Not coincidentally it didn’t appear on the report that he sent me with recommendations. So I am grateful to them for providing a fair price on repairs that I do know were needed, but even knowing the full situation they still attempted to cheat me. I will not be back and will continue doing any repairs or replacements that I am comfortable with on my own while I attempt to find someone out there I can trust.

    To me this is problematic for so many reasons. Is this dishonesty being encouraged because it adds to their check every month? Are they not being compensated properly to begin with, making it seem okay for them to pad the bills of their customers?

     
  13. Cwal

    Cwal New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2019
    20
    11
    0
    Location:
    Savannah, GA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Good for you!

    Good for you!
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  14. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    1,401
    1,428
    2
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Vehicle:
    2015 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    The thing the bothers me the most about the original posts story is how the guy had the audacity to text them a private message. I would save that text message, print it out and mail it Certifide mail to the manager of that dealership with a complaint about privacy. If no one signs for the certified letter and you never get a return receipt, you will have a pretty good idea of what type of dealership this is.

    It seems that it is becoming more "hip" to become an "opportunist". In other words, it is ok to screw people over..........until caught. I have had plumbers, electricians and contractors flat out lie to my face and feel completely happy they did. I now use utube and the web to find out how to fix things myself, or, where to get them fixed by people with good reputations. The blatant lying and severe loss of revenue has forced me to learn to DIY. In fact, I built my wife her much wanted shower in our master bathroom, by myself, in under 3 months (on my days off and after work) for under $2,000. All complete legit, will pass all codes, and, I KNOW IT WAS DONE RIGHT! with non inferior parts!

    I repair my own electricity in my home. I repair all plumbing backups. I build my own walls. I built my own patio covers and, I repair my own cars as deep as I can. When my water heater goes out, I will install it myself. In fact, did you know that you can drain your water heater every year to eliminate the sand built up? Of course not! It's more expensive to buy another one! I know we all can't do everything, but believe me, if you have to do it yourself, if you make the time, take your time, ask questions, most things we all can do on our own. When someone stiffs you with your savings and dissapears, you will suddenly have the fire in the gut to do it yourself. This my own way of getting back at the cheats and liars out there............you ain't screwing me no more!!
     
    Data Daedalus and Cwal like this.
  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    34,158
    23,132
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    I had a plumber tell me that 40' of pipe between the hot water tank and the kitchen sink would not impact our energy usage. I gratefully can't remember his logic, but I think he was sincere. Either way, he didn't get the job, lol.
     
    Cwal and Montgomery like this.
  16. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    8,388
    4,883
    0
    Location:
    Undisclosed Location
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I suppose on the semi-positive side, the good thing is that the automobile cabin air filter is becoming the equivalent of the " Canary in The Coal Mine" as far as determining the potential toxicity of a repair facility.
     
    Cwal, Montgomery and Mendel Leisk like this.
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    34,158
    23,132
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Our OEM canary turns 10 this fall. Ok, only 81K kms, but still viable.
     
    #17 Mendel Leisk, May 20, 2019
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
    Data Daedalus likes this.
  18. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2018
    1,987
    1,880
    1
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius c
    Model:
    Two
    This is one of the inherent risks of taking an old car to a dealership: they are likely to encourage you to trade it in on something newer.

    This should underscore the importance of finding a good independent mechanic who knows hybrids, or timing your ownership such that you're out of that car before it tries to feast on your wallet.
     
    Montgomery likes this.
  19. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2018
    2,344
    1,154
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Personally I think if you felt threatened by the service person you should contact your local police department and tell them your story. It’s rather weird the guy would go out of his way to harass you. What would happen if he gets in trouble or demoted because of this? If nothing else at least there is a record of it.
     
  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    34,158
    23,132
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Seems like a growing trend: someone maybe comes out to clean the eaves troughs or whatever, and after you get an employee review survey. I recall one instance recently, someone was doing something for us, and after, cheerily asked that we give them all "10's".

    They did a good job and all, just seemed kinda awkward. And for the life of me I can't remember what it was they did, lol.

    I can remember I had porridge for breakfast, so I've got one up on @bisco .
     
    bisco likes this.
Loading...