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Dear reader:

I’m very glad to join this forum. I wanted to share my horrible experience with Smart Car San Francisco. I was a very happy owner until they happened. So if you have some time. Check this out.

Tues, Aug 16, 2011, the engine light went off on way my home in San Jose. The car drove fine the rest of the way home.

I trouble shoot the car at home that night. The gas cap fine, all fluids were fine and no noises or sounds that would indicate that something was wrong were found. The only weird thing it was that the car wouldn’t go in neutral.

Wednesday morning I called Smart San Francisco, 50 miles away from San Jose and the only location that deals with warranty. I talked to Irene and communicated what’s stated above and that vehicle has gone trough all the services, and that according to forums, was either the combination valve, fuel sensor, or fuel pump, She said that she’ll talk to service and that it’ll be ok for the car to be towed there. Car was towed at 10am, by AAA, from San Jose to San Francisco at my spence.

At noon, I called to check if vehicle was there. “Yes, is here, one of our service agents is pulling it in Right now”-Danielle.

At 2:35pm. Service Writer Lemus called me and asked, “Where’s the car? What’s wrong? My car was at dealer for over 4 hours and no one knew about it? Why were my messages not communicated? Mr. Lemus asked for my email for authorization. I spelled it out for him. The whole day went by, and I never received an email from him.

Thursday morning, I called (3days already into it). He’s answer “The email bounced, send me an email with the authorization”-Lemus. And so I did. Later I called. “Mr. Ramirez, we still haven’t found the problem”-Lemus. Later that afternoon, I received a call from Mr. Lemus. “Were the sparkplugs change, have they been change”-Lemus. I laugh caused I communicated all that info days ago, and he still not in the same page?

Friday 430pm, after calling every hour w/no returned calls, he said over the phone that the transmission needed to be updated under warranty minus $100 deductible. But in regards the engine code; Mr. Lemus said that warranty wouldn’t cover it because of aftermarket filter and box. He recommended returning the car to stock and running the test again.

I followed his advice (even though Stevens Creek Smart Service dept. did ok the aftermarket air filter and intake over 40k miles ago. Note: excellent Customer service. too bad it close down). I Authorized for the parts to be installed, to turn car back to stock (no installation charge he said, I’m trying to help you), so they could test it on Monday and see if the same engine code came back on.

Tuesday 8:30 am I received a call from Mr. Limus. It wasn’t the air intake. After turning car back to stock and testing it, the engine code came back on. Your fuel pump is going bad, is cover. So all you have to pay is for the parts we installed to go back to stock. Well have it ready by wed Morning.

Wed 10am. I called. We are waiting for a part. It should be ready by end of day or tomorrow. I explained to him that based on our last conversation, I have taking the day off and that my ride to the train station couldn’t take me later or tomorrow. Mr. Lemus said ok. Be here by 2pm. Car will be ready.

11:30am, I was already on way there in the train. The phone rang “we are missing a part. But we’ll mail it to you”-lemus.

2:11pm I arrived at the dealer. “Your part just came in. It should be ready in an hour”-Lemus. I decided to stay and wait.

45 minutes later, “still waiting on a part”-lemus. "I’ll put all new parts in back of car. You can come later or next time you have service we’ll take care of if at no charge." Then he showed me the bill. $271. I was Shock because the day before Mr. Lemus quote me $80 and $19 for filter, but once I got there the bill just got bigger? Not Right!

Mr. Lemus said that warranty refused to allow me a rental, even tough is on the contract. Why do I have to pay for $151 for a Tranny software update? The dealer said that it wouldn’t engage on Reverse. When in fact it did. What it didn’t want to do was to get on Neutral.

At that point I decided to just paid and leave. He seemed concern about my rating on the service once I get a card on the mail. Maybe because I told him how disappointed I was on Smart customer service. No car under warranty should go trough this 7 days of questionable work ethic, and unnecessary expending. I’m bounded by the Law enforcement code of ethics to leave an exemplary life. I not going to let this horrible customer service get the best of me.

On the way home I asked myself; how they accomplish all this testing, how did they change the car back to stock so they can test it, but they never put parts on? And when I arrived to pick it up, all these new parts are in a bag for later?

So much misinformation and or manipulation of the facts, that I seriously doubt they were ever honest with me. The parts I paid for. The parts need it to do the test were never installed. It just doesn't add up.

At the end. The car was there for 7 business days plus a weekend, not just they miss diagnosed the car but they dragged their feet at it. It shouldn’t take that long to replace a fuel pump. They ask me to purchase OEM parts needed it to put on for further testing but they never installed them?

What’s extended warranty for? Feel extremely disappointed on the bad timely manner in which they handle my car. I know it’s not an $80k Mercedes. That’s just a little $17k car under warranty. But people should not have to go trough this hell for a car that’s under warranty!!!!! What did I pay $1’700 for? He stated that he was trying to help me. But it feels all they wanted was my $271 and to leave.


Aftermath:

Friday Aug 26, 2011. I called extended warranty at 9:50 am; I spoke with Manny Hernandez at Warranty. I communicated all stated above. And asked him why they did not give me a rental. Manny look at the file and spoke with his supervisor. It turned out that the dealer never called them to tell them about the fuel pump. Manny said that if they had, warranty would have provided me with a rental. Also he agreed that charging me for some parts that they were not going to install, to run more tests, is plainly wrong. Manny advised me to submit a complaint to BAR, and to communicate this malpractice to the dealer owner and manager.


This is horrible. This should not happen. How can I help so this not happen again to anybody that comes to this dealer? I feel that I’m not just have been lied too, but I’m starting to wonder if they actually fix the car. How can I trust this dealer? Surely I feel taken advantage off, and that my $349 monthly payments to Mercedes Financing is not good enough!?. I’m very unhappy with Smart and how they handle this long visit.

I'm so very disappointed.
 

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For a counterpoint:

Our smartie recently had transmission issues where it couldn't find reverse. A call to the SF Center got us an appointment quickly. IN our case we towed it up to SF ourselves since we have it set up to tow behind our motorhome - we can also tow it with our Ford Escape. Anyway, we get there for our 1:00pm appointment and check in with a writer: Frank. We tell him that we have the factory-authorized extended warranty and ask him if he needs the paperwork for that - he says no.

The next day he calls us and says that it needed the latest firmware upgrade and that he could not verify our extended warranty so the bill would be $180 or so. We called the warranty people and found out that when the San Jose Smart Center originally sent in the paperwork for the warranty they got one digit wrong on the VIN, so we had that corrected. We then drove up to SF to pick up the car, and paid the full bill.

At that point, Frank said he would contact the warranty people again and get it all cleared up. He called us up a day later and said that he was able to get the warranty straightened out, and they would be sending us a check for the extra money we had paid for the service - the check arrived a week later.

We are happy with the way they handled us, and other than the fact that I hate driving in SF, and that their parking lot leaves something to be desired, we are happy with them as a dealer.
 

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I had a simillar experience back in 05 when i owned my 04 c320, service @ the phoenix motor company mercedes benz was horrible, i guess it all depends on the service writter, this happens everywhere. Back then i was 19 and driving a $40k car felt a bit weird everytime i went in for svc.
 
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