Car taken for repair of fuel pump & fuel control module. Car returned with warning lights not related to fuel (break & others). G.M. "car ok to drive"
Make: Volvo XC-90 V8 2005
General Manager Honest-1: *** ******
Car stalled in road w/ three four warning messages: gen.mtnc., anti-lock, psgr.-air bag, and fuel system. Car taken to Honest-1 in Burnsville, MN.
First call: Advised to replace the fuel pump at a cost of $1590 apx. No additional information regarding other car conditions or further repairs were mentioned. Work was authorized.
Second call: Informed of delays because they did not have the tools and were not aware that rear seats had to be taken to complete the repair.
Third call: Informed that after installation, the fuel pump was burnt due to faulty fuel control module. I inquired about why the diagnostic procedure did not provided with this information initially. They replied that they had followed proper procedure. They informed me that a new fuel control module and harness had to be installed. Additional charges were discussed and work was authorized.
Fourth call: Informed me that the car was ready for pick-up. Payed $2051.61. When I got in the car and pulled it out of the garage I noticed that there was an additional message pointing to break failure and that the car should be stopped, in addition the red break warning light and the ABS warning light were on. Honest-1 connected the computer to the car and informed me that there were 17 messages related to the main computer. I informed the general manager, *** ******, of the situation. He offered to take a test ride with me and suggested that I take the car, that his impression was that the car was safe to drive. This did not make any sense to me. After lengthy discussion he offered to additional testing at no cost to find about the problems. I asked for my money back. He said it was not possible. I asked for him to document what had transpired in the conversations leading to the discussion, to which he also refused. I called the master franchisor in Minnesota, *** ****** and left him a message on his phone. I did not receive any replies. After a lengthy discussion I called the police so the complaint would be documented.
Police Officer: ****** *******, badge # ***, City of Burnsville Police Department. Voice mail: ***-***-**** Email: **************@ci.burnsville.mn.us
Fifth call: The Gen. Manager informed me that the 17 error messages were happening because the battery had been discharged, hence the communication between the different modules of the car's communication system were not communicating with the main computer. Proper charging was taking away most, but that the break module was not being able to communicate with the computer. In addition, I was told that I would either had to pay additional money for the repairs or take my car, as they could not do anything more.
1. Why the initial diagnostic procedure did not show all the conditions and problems the car had?
2. Why was I not told in the calls about the conditions that were present when I went to pick up the car?
3. Why I was not told upon payment of the additional conditions and problems the car had?
4. Why after acknowledging that they knew about these additional warning lights that came after the repair they did not communicate that to me?
5. Why was I told that the car was safe to drive with so many warning lights on a red break warning light on?
6. Why after acknowledging that having the battery died caused the communication problems with the other control modules in the car they refuse to fixed them all?
I would like for Honest-1 to return me the car in working conditions and take responsibility for the damages they caused due to their negligence and incompetence.
To have the car returned with no additional warning lights or messages or to pay a qualified second party for any additional repairs caused by their incompetence and mishandling of repair procedures.
Business' Initial Response
The customer's vehicle was delivered by tow truck in a "no start" condition. The Service Advisor was informed that the vehicle died while driving and that several lights were on the dash. Upon initial inspection we found that the gas gauge read at empty so we put 4 gallons of gas in the vehicle to determine if the cause was simply because there was no fuel. Still the vehicle didn't start. We then followed normal diagnostic process by checking for fuel and spark first before checking the vehicle's computer system. The vehicle had spark but no fuel pressure. We then checked for power and ground at the fuel pump and found both to be present and determined that the fuel pump had failed. We replaced the fuel pump and were able to establish fuel pressure but still could not get the vehicle to run consistently. We found a service bulletin issued by the manufacturer pointing toward the Fuel pump control module. We removed the module and and determined that it failed as well. We also found evidence of it having been overheated. Two of the pins in the connector were melted. The customer was upset about the shop not diagnosing the issues together and upfront, and also about the time the repair had taken. He asked to speak with the General Manager about the issue so to voice his concerns. The General Manager made concessions in the form of discounted diagnostic time and reduced parts pricing. Both parties agreed to the terms. The new module was installed along with an updated harness purchased directly from the manufacturer to correct the issue. The vehicle was test driven and the customer was called and told the vehicle was ready for pick up. When he arrived he paid for the repair and took his keys. He came immediately back in and complained that more lights were on then before and that the steering was stiff. We checked the computer for trouble codes and found 17 communication errors in the system ECM, and codes for abs, and differential failures that couldn't be determined at that time. He asked for his money back we informed him that the repair the we performed to correct the initial concern had been done successfully and that we were unable to return the money. He stated that he was very upset and felt like he was taken advantage of. We offered to let him keep our loaner care, which he had for all but the first day of the service, for another day and that we would do some more testing at no charge in an effort to determine what the problem was and whether or not we caused it. this still was not satisfactory to him and he called the police to make a formal statement. The officer arrived and heard both sides and stated that he believed that it sounded like the business had done what was asked and that there were other issues with the vehicle. He recommended that the customer allow us to perform the additional diagnostic at no charge and consider bringing in a 3rd party such as the dealer. The customer agreed and he left. The next morning after doing some testing and research we determined that the communication errors were caused from the battery going low. It had to be jump started initially and during testing. We charged the battery, cleared the codes and test drove the vehicle. The communication codes did not return but hard fault codes in the abs system did return immediately along with the the differential code which was determined to be a known issue that was diagnosed previously at ****** *****. We called the customer and stated that we would be willing to go a step further and remove the brake module and check for possible loose connections or compramised wiring but informed him that after that if nothing could be found then any additional diagnostic would be at his expense. He agreed by phone. We checked the wiring and brake module and found no signs of damage or loose connection. We called him and stated that in order to resolve the issue we should bring the vehicle to a 3rd party. I informed him that if it is proven that we caused the issues that Honest-1 Auto Care would stand behind their work and pay to have it corrected. we told him that we knew of another shop in the area that specialized in these vehicles and recommended that the truck be taken there. He stated that he knew of the shop and agreed to take it over there. In an effort to help the customer we helped him shuttle the vehicle over to the other shop and allowed him to keep our loaner car at no charge. We talked about the issues with the shop owner and repeated in front of witnesses that if it was determined that we caused the problems with the vehicle that we would cover the expense. Everyone agreed. During the testing process the vehicle stalled on several occasions. The other technician couldn't determine the cause so started checking the vehicle. During the process he removed the fuel pump and re-installed after not finding any obvious problems. The vehicle was test driven for 80 miles after without any issues. The possibility of and installation error was dicussed but the other shop (**** **********) was not able to say for sure what the issue was. Further testing determined that the CEM module had failed and also that the brake module may have failed. The CEM does supply power to the brake module. The customer was given a quote for the repairs from **** and told to take his vehicle but the customer refused saying that he believed he should not have to pay because it cannot be proven that we didn't cause the brake and CEM modules to fail. We then involved a diagnostic resource company called *********. They have specialists on staff that know their specialty manufacture's vehicle's inside and out and deal with difficult and complex issues on a regular basis. In speaking with the engineer he informed us that failure of the CEM module is very common in this model and he gave us some trouble shooting techniques and specific testing procedures to help isolate the issue. He also stated that failure of the CEM module also causes instermittent stalling and I also asked him frankly for possible ways of how we could have caused the CEM and brake modules to fail by replacing the fuel pump and fuel pump module. He stated that in his experience he had never seen it happen and didn't believe it was possible. I delivered the information to **** and asked that they perform the testing that was suggested. They did so and reported to both the customer and Honest-1 that the cause of the fault could not be determined and it could not be proven that we caused any of the issues with the vehicle. In an effort to help the customer in this unfortunate situation and reach a resolution we offered to perform the repairs at 50% of our normal price, continue to extend the use of our loaner car at no charge and pay for the 3rd party opinion( which could not provide evidence that we caused the issues) even though the customer stated in his complaint that the abs light was on upon arrival.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I have dreaded to write this letter awaiting the proper response to my customer service situation from *** ****** and ***** ******, but Mr. ******'s responses have not only been inappropriate, but contentious and disrespectful. I would like to have the voice of the customer be heard at your level with the hope that this case be resolved and hopefully some organizational learning to happen. You can find the emails and invoices attached to this letter. Although this has been a lengthy ordeal, I will keep my recount of events as close to the customer experience as possible. Most of the conversations happened with Mr. ******; Mr. ****** only replied to my first email and answered the second one through Mr. ******.
Prior to describing the sequences of events that took place, I would like to acknowledge two personal premises that influence my thought process. The first is a bad service experience. I took my car to Honest-1 to have the brakes look at last year. One of the past local franchise owners recommended to have the pads and rotors changed. I asked for him to show me. The mechanic repeated the procedure of checking the rotor width. I pointed to him that he was using the wrong tool to measure the width and he acknowledged that that they did not have it at the time. I took the car to one of the local ***** dealers who confirmed that the rotors did not have to be changed. The second is my qualifications. I am an engineer who has operated an auto parts remanufacturing facility, have been a franchise owner, have operation's experience at upper levels of management, and hold a doctoral degree in management specializing in leadership and operations management.
Summary of Events
1. On May 28 when I took my car to Honest-1 I spoke to **** *******, service advisor, about my prior negative experience. I also mentioned the warning messages that the car showed. The car had no warning lights on.
2. The service recommendation was that I had to replace the fuel pump. I agreed to the service. No other service conditions were reported. I was given a loaner car which in my opinion, was the car used to get parts (i.e, broken driver window, dog hair all over, dirty, engine light on, etc.).
3. After two days I received a call from Honest-1 stating that they did not have the right tool to replace the pump and had not realized that to do the job they had to take the rear seats out of the car.
4. After an additional two days I was informed that Honest-1 had burned the new fuel pump and that they had to order a new one.
5. On June 4, I was called to pick the car. I paid the $2,051.65 bill trusting that the car would be in proper order. The car was returned without the interiors cleaned to ameliorate the strong gasoline and grease odor, but most importantly the car had three warning lights that I had not seen before. I removed the car from the garage and parked it in front of the office. My concern was that none of these warning lights were on when I first took the car and that one of them was a red break light with an accompanying message to safely stop the car. Why was I not told about this prior to the car being returned?
6. I mentioned this to the attending clerk who said that the car was drivable. I talked to Mr. ****** who agreed to have the car connected to the diagnostic equipment. The car showed 17 error messages. The mechanic said that there was nothing more he could do. Mr. ****** drove the car with me and upon arrival at Honest-1 suggested that the car was good to drive. I asked him how he knew this, when a red break warning light was on, to which there was no answer. He did not either have an answer as to why the other warning lights were on. Mr. ****** and I engaged in a lengthy discussion because I requested that the money be returned until the problems could be sorted out. He continuously refused to do so. I requested that our conversation be documented, to which he declined. After more lengthy discussions, I called the police. Mr. ****** agreed to have the car checked thoroughly at no cost to me. We agreed that if the problems were not caused by Honest-1 that it would be my responsibility to fix them, otherwise Honest-1 would fix them.
7. The next morning I filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
8. I received a call from Mr. ****** informing me that the car had to be taken to ****, Inc., an auto repair shop specializing in imported cars and with an established local reputation in the Burnsville area, to be further tested.
9. Honest-1 had requested the services of ********* who engaged in conversations with ** **********, **** owner, about the problems with the car. While at ****, I made frequent visits to check on the status of the diagnostic process. While at **** the following happened:
a. While driving the car with a fuel pressure gauge connected, the fuel pump stopped working several times, leaving the car stranded. This is a clear indication that the original problem was never properly fixed by Honest-1.
b. Better diagnostic equipment was used to identify the errors.
c. Honest-1 informed **** that as part of the repair process the battery had been drained, disconnected, and re-charged.
d. The electrical connections were checked. I personally reviewed the electrical diagrams with ** and his specialist. The fuel pump module, CEM module, and break module are interconnected, as well as other car modules.
e. **** checked the fuel installation, disconnected the pump and installed it properly. The car was tested for 80 miles with no drop in fuel pressure.
f. I requested a report from **** which is attached to this letter stating the details of the problems found. How is it that the car had all these problems that were not there before?
g. To leave the car in safely driving condition the CEM module and the break module had to be replaced. Cost at ****, $1,100.
10. After a couple of days, Mr. ****** called me and we argued about what the results meant. At this point I was getting extremely tired and frustrated. We initially agreed to split the cost of repairing the CEM and Brake modules, but Mr. ****** added the condition that the car had to be repaired by Honest-1 because he had to recover some of his costs and overhead (i.e., rent). Cost of repair by Honest-1, $1,400. I refused, stating that trust had been broken, that the whole incident had clearly demonstrated Honest-1 incompetency, poor technical proficiency, and lack of diagnostic and repair equipment in dealing with the problem at hand (see email sent to Mr. ******).
11. In my final conversation with ** he stated that Mr. ****** had called him to find out how much Honest-1 would be charged by the diagnostic done by ****. His reply was $300. How is it that Honest-1 total repair cost is what **** had quoted me plus the diagnostic cost that Honest-1 had agreed to do for free? What is the message that Honest -1 conveys when wanting to do a repair they cannot effectively do?
12. On June 24 I picked my car at **** as I was not going to be bullied into a situation that could mean further time delays, and worse, have the car be further damaged by Honest-1.
I refuse to analyze this case at the level of expert, which I am more than well qualified to do, but it will suffice to say that there is a clear misunderstanding and lack of knowledge between what the service-bundle is, how customer service is to be accomplished, and service recovery. Most importantly, there is no notion that customer trust is at the heart of the business done by Honest-1. What's the price for Honest-1 reputation?
As a customer, I only have few means to have my voice heard; this letter, BBB, the emails sent, and relating my experience to all of my students as I review the chapter on service. Although I was advised by a specific lawyer that there could be grounds for reckless endangerment and embezzlement, I have chosen not to pursue this venue. The time, money, aggravation, and risk do not merit this action.
I have omitted most of the in-depth details that speak to the tone of the conversations, the aggravations, the times I felt disrespected, taken advantage of, etc. I this ordeal I just wanted my car returned in the same working condition that it initially was, nothing more.
Business' Final Response
Per a phone call from the company, they have requested a formal mediation session in an attempt to gain resolution.
***Please contact the BBB if interested in mediation.