masiwife said...She's right; thanks.
Thank you all for your words of support and understanding. I know to some it sounds like pointless whining about an every day occurrence that happens to all of us. Please don't think we don't know the difference between inconvenient and unfair. We live with a teenager - we define the terms DAILY. When you pay more for repairs in the first year of ownership than you pay on your car loan, you have bought a lemon. Masiguy LOVED his Saturn Vue and that enjoyment has been destroyed. To all of us out there in the world of consumerism, let this be a learning experience: Be gentle with your customer. They may just be your last.
Masiwife sort of out jumped me and posted this before I could get my thoughts together and come up with my own post. So now I want to clarify, make corrections, set the record straight and apologize. (This might be long...)
1) I feel the need to apologize, in a sense, for getting as "emotional" and upset about this as I have. I don't apologize for being mad, but I apologize for not acting like the smart, savvy marketer some people graciously give me credit for being. I know that sounding intelligent and articulate make a far better impact than flying off the handle and attacking somebody. I got a little carried away and didn't think clearly before posting some of my thoughts and feelings. However, that said, since my family was placed in jeopardy by the incidents, I don't think many folks would disagree with how I acted.
2) Here are the final facts of what happened:
As Masiwife mentioned, after the expensive repair, the car died again the very same night. It died because it turned out that the dealership plugged the new computer wiring in the wrong way/ incorrectly and the bad connection caused a short that blew a fuse. Once that was fixed, the problem was gone (I really, really hope).
Saturn paid for me to have a rental car while my car was being serviced, after I insisted that I expected to have a car to drive.
Once the final repair was completed, the dealership didn't charge me for the final "fix"/ correction of their mistake.
Saturn Corporate offered me 4 oil change coupons or one $100 service voucher as their apology for the inconvenience. The service voucher/ oil change coupons would be good at any Saturn dealership and I would not have to visit the same dealership, since I have no faith in their service department anymore (I think with good reason).
3) I picked up my car and turned down the coupons and voucher. I did this because I no longer wish to support Saturn and their retailers. If I need to have the car serviced, I will go to the independent repair center that my wife has taken all of her cars to in the past. He's always been cheaper than anybody else and his service has always been perfect. He gets my business again- he worked on my Volvo in the past as well.
Now, after the last failure of the car, I swore to Saturn and the dealership that there was no way I was ever getting back in the car and that I expected to be driving something different- but not the same car. I also demanded that my repair cost be refunded since the car failed again right away (before it was found to be a simple "mistake"). After dealing with the Area Manager from corporate in Tennessee, I found that was not going to happen. I misunderstood the fact that they were not going to charge me to fix the mistake as they were going to refund the cost of the repair- this was in no means true and was my misunderstanding. It also became clear that there was no way that they were going to get me into a different car (new or used). The cars only come with a 3 year/ 30,000 mile warranty and my car is an used 2002 with a bit over 90,000 miles on it now and no extended warranty was purchased. So, Saturn was adamant that they had fulfilled their end of the deal and that any further repairs (including the faulty fuel gauge system) would be my sole responsibility.
I am torn on this actually. It is a used car and it doesn't have any warranty. That is all very true. However, my sticking point continues to be the string of bad service I have gotten from the dealership and then the apparent willingness of Saturn Corporate to support them.
Remember, before this string of incidents I was a big supporter of Saturn and my car; nearly all of my Daily Drive posts have taken place in that car. I bought in to the cult of personality that Saturn has developed and was very happy with my purchase. I confess that part of my "hurt" over this has been the shattering of a dream and an ideal. Even as a smart and savvy marketer, I am still just a regular person who can be just as emotional and even irrational as anybody else. I know that I handled this poorly initially and for that I do apologize because I should serve as a better example to others. My behavior has not exactly been "exemplary"- it just proves that even somebody who makes a living as a Marketer and with a past deep in Customer Service can succumb to passion (and a dose of fear).
If you feel that I have been wronged and want to offer your support, then send an email to Saturn Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org (this is the only Customer Service email address I was able to find and is the one that I received replies from). If you want to reference my claim, the number to use is- SR: 1-22516385. Ask them to forward your email to Sam Mancuso, the Director of Marketing for Saturn. I doubt it will happen, since I asked them to forward my previous emails as well, but maybe they will... who knows.
If you prefer to call, you can call the 800 # I called: (800) 553-6000 (prompt #3 for customer service issues).
A very special thanks to my great friend in Sydney, Gavin Heaton, for his post on this topic as well. Thanks mate- I am very touched. Gavin has great suggestions as well- figures, since he's freakin' brilliant.
I don't know if this will do anything, but since a bunch of people have asked me how they can help, this is all I could think of. Outside of that, just consider my tale before you buy a car.
Now, I am done talking about this unless something else dramatic happens. I am going to return to great pictures of the kids, talking about my bikes and my lunch rides, posting pictures of my socks and generally getting back to better topics of discussion.
Again, thank you all very much for the support. This community of friends is one of the greatest "possessions" in my life.
(PS- Sorry this was so freakin' long.)