Posts Tagged ‘carhelp’

January 7, 2013 @ 6:40 am
posted by mego


A simple request for a $26.99 oil change ended up costing 94-year-old Helen Turner over $800 when she handed the keys to her 2004 Subaru Impreza over to an employee at a local Midas shop in Farmington, Connecticut. 

Aside from the $26.99 oil change, Midas charged $297.24 to replace four spark plugs ($63.13 each in labor costs) and $398.02 ($263.03 for labor) to replace the valve cover gasket. The extra repairs, minus a $50 discount coupon for the repairs, cost $725.25.

Turner, who says she felt fearful and intimidated, agreed only to the work the Midas representative told her was essential.

‘He came out and said I need it done,” she says. “I’m 94 years old. I figured, ‘Gee, I need a car. I better get it fixed.’ Then he said there’s a lot more that needs to be done on it, bring it back next week. I told him I’m not going to bring it back right away. I was afraid of the guy because if I argued with him he’d take the car and make it worse.”

Turner eventually questioned whether the work was even done. Though the itemized bill, obtained by The Bottom Line, indicated Turner was at Midas for 2 hours, 9 minutes, she says her car was worked on only a fraction of that time.

“After he changed the oil,” she says, “he came in to me and said, ‘Well, we’re going to start on the other job now. It’s going to take 2 1/2 hours. I said, ‘Oh, my God, I have to sit here for 2 1/2 hours.’ And he came back in 20 minutes and said, ‘It’s all done.’ I said, ‘I thought you said 2 1/2 hours. He just smiled and put the keys on the counter.” Hartford Courant, 22 Dec 2012.

Thanks to a friend and the Hartford Courant, Tuner was able to get the bill reduced to a mere $400, but she still isn’t a happy customer. 

Moral of the story?

For customers, find a trusted mechanic, check your bill carefully, and if in doubt, say no and wait for the service as long as the delayed repair won’t damage your car or risk your life. We recommend our own referral service for the best rated mechanics in your area. 

For mechanics, treat your customers as if they were your own 94-year-old grandmother. Don’t upsell them, make sure they’re aware of the cost before you do the service, and hire a great reputation management company for car dealerships and mechanics, like *ahem*

Image: Stock Photo via Hartford Courant

October 23, 2012 @ 7:20 am
posted by mego

A customer dispute, that went viral, has ended after a South Carolina dealership agreed to purchase back a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS that was serviced, and damaged, by dealership employees. The incident started when William Clark took his Camaro in for service and recorded employees doing burnouts and discussing how they would make Clark pay for a clutch they ruined.

“…the voice recorder hidden in the door pocket catches employees doing several burnouts and hard launches in the Camaro; Clark later says the techs drove it harder in 20 minutes than he had in three years. Once back in the shop, the mechanics realize the Camaro’s clutch has been fried, and come up with a plan to blame the damage on Clark, saying to “write it up as him buying a (expletive) clutch,” while saying another part failed under warranty so that General Motors would pay for its replacement.” Yahoo! Auto, 8 Oct 2012.

After the dealership offered to pay for the repairs, but refused to purchase the car back, C lark posted the recording online, and 4,000 comments later and with intervention by General Motors itself, the dealership agreed to purchase the Camaro back and auction it off for charity.

Lessons learned? For customers, choose your service provider carefully, and use a peer-reviewed service, like CarHelp, before service. For dealers, create a culture of great customer service, and use a reputation management service to help solve online disputes.


August 13, 2012 @ 10:56 am
posted by mego

The image above is an important example of how crucial customer service is in the auto industry. It happens so quickly: a customer feels taken advantage of by a dealership and takes extreme measures to vent their frustration, someone takes a photo and posts it online, and within a few days over 500,000 people have viewed the image. So, how do you prevent situations like this?

Here’s a few tips:

  1. Review any point of contact for customers and troubleshoot. Does your line go directly to voicemail? Are you responding to customers in a timely manner? Are you charging fair prices? Are the employees you use for sales and front desk able to treat customers kindly? Check out this article for more exceptional customer service rules.
  2. Go on Undercover Boss. Ok, it’s unlikely you’ll be chosen for the show, but you can create your own version. Have a friend bring a car in for repairs. Or hire someone to mystery shop at your dealership. Get honest, and outside, feedback from people you trust.
  3. Hire Carhelp for online reputation management. For more information, click here.


What does your business do to prevent or resolve customer complaints?

August 16, 2010 @ 6:12 am
posted by Mego Rider

Buying or leasing a car can be a long-term commitment.  Signing on that dotted line, you know you’ll be responsible for covering the payments on the vehicle for two or more years and over time your needs can change. When you commit to a vehicle today, there’s no way to predict your financial situation and lifestyle requirements years down the road. Before your lease is over you could change jobs, or need to trade in your Porsche for a practical minivan as your family expands. So what can you do if you’ve taken on a car lease for a vehicle that’s just not working for you anymore?

Pay to Terminate the Agreement

It is possible to end the lease early, but you will pay a termination fee (based on how much time is left on your lease) and have to pay back all payments owed for the remainder of your lease period. If you’re looking to end your lease because of lack of affordability, this option isn’t realistic. Even if you can afford to, paying a huge lump sum on a vehicle you no longer want isn’t ideal anyway. Consider this a last resort option, but know it is available to you.

Transfer your Lease

The better option is to find someone to take over your lease since you won’t end up with large fees to terminate your lease. Basically, this process involves “selling” your car to someone who will be legally taking over the lease for the remainder of the term. The process can be laborious if you try to do it on your own, but there are lease transfer companies like Swapalese or LeaseBusters that will advertise your vehicle and work with the financing lease company to transfer the lease agreement to the new owner . They do charge a fee for their services, but the process is far easier on you.

Sell the vehicle to the dealer

In many cases a dealer will sell your vehicle and pay off the lease company if you buy or lease a new vehicle. If you call the general manager or owner of a small dealer, they’re much more likely to help you find out. What they do is call the latest auctions to find out what your car is selling for. If the auction price is close to your lease payoff, you can often negotiate your lease as a ‘trade-in’ and if there is money owed, simply wrap that into the new lease or car loan.  This is often the easiest way to get out of a loan. There may be early pay off fees, but again it can be wrapped into your new lease.  Remember, when you sign a new car lease the payoff schedule is probably one of the most important pieces to negotative.

How to Avoid Breaking a Car Lease

Leasing a car is a long-term commitment, so while you can’t predict what might occur in the future, you can attempt to anticipate and plan for it. Think you’ll have a family before the 5 year lease term will be up? Buy a car that will accommodate one or more child. To ensure your leased vehicle always remains affordable to you over time; choose one with a monthly payment well below your maximum budget. has more tips on what you need to do to prepare for breaking or transferring your car lease  .

July 29, 2010 @ 4:40 am
posted by Mego Rider

Somebody asked us the other day where we find the posts and news to update our Twitter and Facebook accounts. Here are five great car blogs we regularly visit for updates and factoids on the auto business! Read more