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Discussion Starter #1
Well, what an interesting month May has been. On April 12th, I asked my dealer why there were folks posting here that they had received their car in Dallas when they had ordered/configured theirs after I had. On April, 27th, I received a call from the dealer telling me that my car was at the dealership. No emails or other notices had been received.

On 5/1, I joyfully picked up my beautiful blue/black Smartie and on Friday drove to Houston and Lousiana to see my husband. I returned on Sunday and had put 1000 miles on the car. For the most part, everything was wonderful. The A/C froze up once and we noticed some difficulties in shifting into park at times. But it was infrequent and I just thought that I had not done something correctly. I had SO much fun driving and met so many people everywhere I stopped.

On 5/5, on the way to work, the check engine light came on. I contacted the dealer about the problems and they told me that they would not provide a loaner. So, I arranged to have them come to tow the car. That afternoon, there were 3 times that I could not shift the car into or out of park for over 15 minutes. About 3 hours after calling for the tow, it arrived (I live 2 hours from Dallas). The tow truck driver was very nice and careful with my baby.

On 5/8 I went out of town and on 5/9 my husband called to tell me that they had just returned my car to me...well, they returned A car to me...but not mine! OMG!

Eventually my car came home and, since I am still out of town, I have not driven it. Nor have I read the details on what all was wrong. But my husband now tells me he wants to take it out of town with him and leave me with my other car. Why? Cuz it is so fun to drive. And this from the man who was unsure about me getting the car!

I love my car - but it is so frustrating that after owning it for 4 days it is in the shop for 5 and I get NOTHING out of it. Customer service is, as many others have noted, a major problem. As with typical supply and demand - since they know so many folks want a car, they don't have to meet common standards because someone will eventually buy the car.
I hope the dealers start paying attention, because this trend will not last forever.
 

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I love my car - but it is so frustrating that after owning it for 4 days it is in the shop for 5 and I get NOTHING out of it. Customer service is, as many others have noted, a major problem.
What kind of customer service do you expect? Did the dealership pick up your car and deliver it back to you? Did they fix the issue with the shifter?

Your pal,
Meat.
 

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To be fair, the dealer for one didn't notify her her car was en route and, for two (pun intended!) brought the wrong car back to her on their first attempt (what, they all look alike?) So that's about a five out of ten in my book. And no it ain't Lexus but the Dallas dealer is co-located with a huge M-B dealership. :)
 

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I know on the sales side they've been delivering 40-60 cars a month. (They have 900+ allocated for the year ) So juggling between calling customers and scheduling for deliveries they may have overlooked here and there. Plus, they are probably short staffed to keep up with the delivery schedules with all their customers. On the service side, the last time I was in (nothing mechanical) they had 3 smarts in for service plus a bunch being prep. for deliveries and they only have 1 or 2 techs certify to work on the smarts.
I understand your frustration and hope that does not deter your love for driving your smart car.

I do want to say that I haven't had any problems with my smart since I pick her up in January. The sales consultants, parts department, and the service department has been very helpful to me whenever I have questions or concerns about the car.
 

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To be fair, the dealer for one didn't notify her her car was en route and, for two (pun intended!) brought the wrong car back to her on their first attempt (what, they all look alike?) So that's about a five out of ten in my book. And no it ain't Lexus but the Dallas dealer is co-located with a huge M-B dealership. :)
To be fair, the dealership sent a tow truck out at least three times (for a total of 12 hours of driving time) to pick up and deliver her car. I don't know of any dealership that would do that for a sub-$20K car. And, again - to be fair - I'm not sure that the dealership didn't say her car wouldn't be back the next day; there's nothing in their post to indicate that communication was required or did not occur.

And I'm reasonably certain that the tow truck driver doesn't work exclusively for Smart, so it's not at all impossible that the driver could have picked up the wrong car and delivered it - it probably doesn't have license plates on it yet.

Whether the Smart dealer is colocated with another dealership isn't particularly relevant as they both operate as separate dealerships.

Just playing devil's advocate here; the dealerships seem to be getting an unfair rap on these boards lately. Not sure why.

Your pal,
Meat.
 

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I don't know why either, unless it's bringing the wrong car back and failing to notify a customer their car is 30 days out, give them the VIN#, etc. This is supposed to be a new way of buying a car (the "smart buying experience"), not the same old, same old we've put up with for years. Sorry, but the dealers signed on to this - it's up to them to deliver IMHO. And BTW, the long tow truck drive - part of the deal when the car is out of commission. It's what they should of done; not like there's a smart center on every corner. Hold their feet to the fire! :)
 

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I don't know why either, unless it's bringing the wrong car back
Bet they don't do that again.

and failing to notify a customer their car is 30 days out,
Bet they don't do that again.

give them the VIN#, etc.
Bet they don't do that again.

This is supposed to be a new way of buying a car (the "smart buying experience"), not the same old, same old we've put up with for years. Sorry, but the dealers signed on to this - it's up to them to deliver IMHO. And BTW, the long tow truck drive - part of the deal when the car is out of commission. It's what they should of done; not like there's a smart center on every corner. Hold their feet to the fire! :)
As far as I can see - and, mind you my experience is only limited to the three dealerships in my area - it is a new way of buying a car. When I go to a dealership, I either have an AAA discount, a Masonic nod and handshake, or a previous business relationship with the dealership that gets me better than fleet pricing on whatever it is I'm buying. Much like any of my posts on message board, I go in armed with knowledge and ready to draw my line in the sand to get the price I am willing to pay.

With Smart, it's completely different; there's no high pressure sales pitch, no "what can we do to get you into this car today?", no closer, no back and forth with the salesman's "boss" to get the best deal because the salesman really is on your "side." :rolleyes:

With Smart, you order your car, you wait, when you're ready to give up or have just about forgotten that you ordered it, your car shows up. Or you can go the orphan route. Sure, there may be a different radio, powdercoated wheels or some other accessories added to that car doing it that way, but you can get the car right then without the demented and sadistic pressure of a salesman.

Every orphan I've seen hasn't been marked up with anything I wouldn't get by myself. They've had wheels & tires, or a radio, or aftermarket leather ... one had all three. None of them was exorbitantly marked up, and the benefit of having the dealer do the install is that it's now part of the warranty.

And, BTW, I don't know of any dealership that would drive 2 hours to pick up a $15K car.

I'm not sure why everyone is convinced that by buying a Smart they should be treated as if they've just purchased a $50K+ Mercedes - regardless of whether or not the Smart shares a parking lot with a Mercedes dealership. It's a Smart. It's different.

Your pal,
Meat.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
1st - the dealer did not arrange for picking up the car. The dealer made me call 1-800-whatever to make arrangements.
2nd - given the 6+ hours of tow-transit, giving a loaner would have been much less expensive!
3rd - the last 3 sub-$15K priced cars I purchased all provided loaners for warrenty work.

What kind of customer service do I want? The kind that says "you are a customer, we value your business and your opinion." I could walk into any dealership and pay cash for any car I want ** they assume because I want a $15K car that I will never consider anything else on their lot. Bad error. I have walked out of dealerships for this same type of treatment.

Even my dry cleaner checks the tags on the clothes to the items on my check-in info to ensure accuracy. Delivering the wrong car ** very scary. Hope they did the work my car needed and not the work that the other car needed...

Not sure why defending the dealer is so popular. If they are having trouble meeting their commitments, they should find the source of the problem. If a Doctor made this type of error (wrong procedure for a given patient) - he would be sued. If I made an error of similar magnitude - I would be fired. Just because they are a corporation does not give them a free pass.
 

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1st - the dealer did not arrange for picking up the car. The dealer made me call 1-800-whatever to make arrangements.
Fair enough. You did what you're supposed to do to get your car picked up. Isn't that how it's supposed to be done?

2nd - given the 6+ hours of tow-transit, giving a loaner would have been much less expensive!
Again, sounds fair. My question would be: giving you a loaner would have in some way eliminated the need to tow the car?
3rd - the last 3 sub-$15K priced cars I purchased all provided loaners for warrenty work.
Cool. Please provide the manufacturers. I've only had loaners from Land Rover, Hummer, Chrysler - and not for the PT Cruiser.

Neither Honda nor Toyota provided squat.

What kind of customer service do I want? The kind that says "you are a customer, we value your business and your opinion." I could walk into any dealership and pay cash for any car I want ** they assume because I want a $15K car that I will never consider anything else on their lot. Bad error. I have walked out of dealerships for this same type of treatment.
Uh huh. So ... a dealership that sends out a tow truck, fixes your car in a day without having you come down and sign a release allowing them to work on your car, and tows it back doesn't say "you are a customer?"

Methinks you protest too much.

Even my dry cleaner checks the tags on the clothes to the items on my check-in info to ensure accuracy. Delivering the wrong car ** very scary. Hope they did the work my car needed and not the work that the other car needed...
They didn't give you an invoice for the work done? There's no 'hope' involved; look at your paperwork.

For the record: my dry cleaner checks the clothes on my items. I've had lost clothing, iron marks and smelly clothes. But hey, at least the dry cleaner 'ensured accuracy.' :rolleyes:

Not sure why defending the dealer is so popular.
It's more than quite apparent that it's not popular. Even after bending over backwards to get your car fixed and towed across half a state to get it back to you in a day you still think they suck.

If they are having trouble meeting their commitments, they should find the source of the problem. If a Doctor made this type of error (wrong procedure for a given patient) - he would be sued.
Did Smart fix the wrong thing? That seems to be a pretty important question here, as you're accusing them of not fixing your car correctly. So, cut to the chase: is your car fixed or not?

If I made an error of similar magnitude - I would be fired.
... you're a doctor? :rolleyes:

I am failing to see how Smart has 'failed' you as a customer.

Your pal,
Meat.
 

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I'm not sure why everyone is convinced that by buying a Smart they should be treated as if they've just purchased a $50K+ Mercedes - regardless of whether or not the Smart shares a parking lot with a Mercedes dealership. It's a Smart. It's different.

Your pal,
Meat.
Wait, you mean I didn't buy a Mercedes and I'm not entitled to everything the Mercedes customers get for more than double what I paid... !@#$

Meat, thanks for saying what I would have. Seems there's alot of people thinking that they should get the service comensurate with a luxury car and *****ing because they don't. I don't even get a free cup of coffee when we take our $34K (sticker) Ford Explorer in for service. The good BMW dealer here even has changed thier loaner policy that the service has to take more than 3 hours (no oil changes) and the car must be under factory warranty and we paid $47K for that car.
 

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I think the general point here, is regardless, it sucks a lot to have a brand new car that's broken. Any arguments?

New cars are supposed to work. For some of you lucky peeps they do (yippee!), for a lot of us they don't. I never thought I was buying a Mercedes -and actually I hoped I wasn't as they, according to Consumer Reports don't make a single reliable, recommended vehicle. I just thought I was buying a simple, neat car that would run. sometimes. Oops. My mistake.

Your pal
Anthony
 

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Not trying at all to confront or argue, but how many is a lot? (Broken cars) Anybody got any real idea good ones vs bad ones?
 

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I agree with the above posts. It's an unfortunate incident for a new car. I know if I was in her shoe, I would not be happy.

I don't care if you spend $16K for a car or $60k for a car, you should be treated the same. I disagree with those that says that the level of customer service should be an entity of the price you pay for your car. NO. You sell an inexpensive product. I'm buying your inexpensive product so I should expect less quality service than if I'm buying your expensive product? Explain to me how that works?

Anyone that runs a dealership like that has a big problem of going out of business.

If anyone have ever taken a course held by Dale Carnegie, I would highly recommend it. It teaches sales and customer service. My company has sent me through this course twice.

You have a problem Mr/Mrs customer? What can I do to make you happy? OK......DONE!!!

That's how you treat your customers. No Ifs Buts about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you blackbeagle & anthony94114 for actually reading the posts and looking at all sides of the discussion.

mmmeat - at your initial posts - I thought you understood the situation. Now I think you just like to argue. But, for the record - I had the car for FOUR days. It took FIVE to fix and SIX to get the right one back (not 1). I work 45 minutes from the dealer. I could have driven over to drop off and pick up IF I could have had a way back and forth.
The towing was arranged by Smart USA - NOT the dealer. Which BTW was a fun conversation because my VIN was not even in the computer yet. But, the young man from Smart called me after 2 hours to see if the tow had arrived and again at 3 hours. THAT is excellent customer service - he did not assume the job was done - he followed up to be sure I was happy. The dealership, however, has not gone to any length to see if I am happy.

BTW - I tried to buy a cargo cover. Three phone calls, one email and 2 weeks later, no response as to the cost of one or if they even have them in stock. I think I will go to Austin or Houston to take care of this type of item since their customers seem to be happier based on what I have been reading in this forum.

My Honda and Mazda dealers ALWAYS gave me loaners for warrenty work. None of the American makers appear to do so.

I have not read the invoice because, as I said, I am still out of town. I trust that my wonderful hubby has done so. But, if they don't check which car they load onto a tow truck, what assurances do I have that the invoice matches the work done? Would not be the first time a car repair shop billed for work that was not done.

I am not a doctor. I am a computer programmer. My errors can result in train derailments. Errors can cost lives.

Two hours is no where near half a state away - in Texas. That would be about 10 hours. LOL.

Thank you blackbeagle and anthony94114 - this is exactly what I have been trying to communicate. If this dealer treated me well as a low-end customer, imagine how much more likely I would be to return for a high-end car? But, at this point I have no incentive to return to them for any other car in the future. In fact we are in the market for another car now for my hubby. But not at this dealer.

The reality in the retail world is that you sell CUSTOMER SERVICE - you give the product away. Then you have customers for life. This is true at the beauty shop, the dry cleaners, the grocery store and at a car dealer. When the customer has options to get a product at any number of locations - the difference is the level of SERVICE.

Let's just put this baby to bed. My initial point was to inform others of what they may have to undertake should they find themselves in the same prediciment. Sorry to have tried to assist.
 

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True customer service

Let me extend this thread and tell you all about my customer service training years ago. I managed an auto/tire shop. Once a month, they would send us to the "Auto University" for some customer training (where everyone had to wear a suit/tie). Then they implemented this bonus program. Get this, EVERY customer that buys a product or get service from us (even a $10 oil change) gets a call from the 'call center'. "Please rate our service on a scale of 1 to 10". That's it.

As a manager, if you don't hit at least 9, you don't get your bonus. Period. Even if an Ahole came in and was rude about his/her car. You HAD to treat him/her like they are family.

Our motto? What can I do to make you happy?

Those were the most frustrating years of my life. We tried to be fair but there were some people that wanted to take advantage of us. We still bent over backwards for them. It killed me in the end. I couldn't take it anymore. I had a tire hanging on a rope in the back of the shop and I took a baseball bat to it every week out of frustration due to the that we gave stuff away to make the customer happy. I ended up quitting after 6 years.

But the president of this company swore that he would turn this franchise into the Target of Customer Service. He succeeded. We had the highest level of customer service for any retailer in the Midwest (according to some survey). That wasn't just auto retailers, but ALL retailers.

I wish more dealers would follow this example.
 
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