The one reason why I didn’t believe in sending your car (especially if it’s a used car aging gracefully) to the dealership for repairs is the cost. For me, that was the sole reason why I avoided bringing our old Corolla to Toyota even if the dealership was located a lot nearer than my trusted mechanic.

Now that I’ve purchased my own car (which I’m turning into a budget project car), I have to give props to Nissan for changing that mindset. They’ve totally convinced me that all that dealerships are good for is for them to sell you a brand new car. Wrecking your old one might even be one of their marketing ploys.

I’ve joined the ever helpful Nissanbayan (don’t get me wrong, the people here are real topnotch and are very helpful to Nissan newbies like me) and I was quite convinced that Nissan Commonwealth was the place to go for great service from a dealership. Unfortunately for me, the old, larger Nissan complex is now being turned into an IBM call center thing. Only one company owns Prince Motors (the Hyundai dealership right next to the old Nissan complex) and Nissan Commonwealth, so they had a sign indicating that Prince Motors is now servicing for Nissan Commonwealth. They still bear that “Nissan Commonwealth” so I thought they be offering the same service. Boy, was I wrong.

Here’s the story.

My car was experiencing idling and starting problems. The details of which, you can read at my Project Car B13 section over at AutoJab.

Since the car has an ECU, I decided to have the dealership check it out since they have the proper scanning device to check the car out. I had them diagnose the car and came out with one . The car’s wirings were worked on by two-bit auto electricians (made by the previous owner) that the ECU wasn’t getting the proper signals. The service attendant told me that it’s a cheaper alternative to have my engine wiring harness fixed. A brand new one from the factory costs half of what I paid for the car.

They quoted me something like Php3500 inclusive of parts to have everything fixed. Okay, that seemed to be manageable so I decided to have my car repaired there.

The week following that day was totally atrocious. They promised that I’d get the car after 3 days only for them to extend for a week. Since they were charging around Php500 bucks an hour for the job, I knew that my service bill was mounting. I asked if I could pull the car out, they told me that the car wouldn’t run at all given the state that it was in. The job ended up to cost me Php 10,500. Literally an arm, a leg, 3/4 my torso and probably a good chunk of my liver too. I tried to look for the manager but they had the excuse that the service manager wasn’t there. Piff.

Needless to say, that didn’t do the car any good. The idling and starting problems are still there. Upon inspection by my trusty mechanic, Nissan didn’t really do anything with it. They merely soldered a few wires together something that a guy doing home electronics can do for 3 minutes. Their only advantage was that they had the scanner to analyze my ECU. Though I should’ve explored other shops who had the same capabilities but without such level of “incompetence(?)” for the lack of a better word.

Ten thousand buckeroos, damnit. I could’ve just swapped the car’s engine to more powerful one (eliminating my starting and idling problems for good) by doubling the amount I shelled out for their crappy workmanship. Roughly a month’s salary! Nissan Commonwealth made me starve for the holidays! I am furious until now. Really.

I really haven’t had time to drop by their shop to complain and have them fix whatever they did wrong. The last time I was there, I overheard how one irritated customer (who was driving a swankier car) complaining about the shop’s workmanship and they had that “We can’t be wrong, ’cause we’re the dealership” excuse.

A week ago, I got a text message from their “customer relations person” asking me if I was satisfied with their service. Since I saw that as an opportunity, I carefully replied that I was dissatisfied and enumerated my complaints. I got a reply that they’d be talking to their service department regarding that. It has been a week and I haven’t had a single feedback. Talk about brain dead CRM.

I know I could really raise hell for this like make letters and talk directly to top management even write to newspapers and magazines about my dissatisfaction. I read one magazine recount a near-fatal accident caused by a dealership’s (another automaker) incompetence. But I wonder what would that do. One thing, I learned in my days in marketing is the Pareto principle is a bitch. What fraction is my 10k to their total business?

I really don’t have the time to waste for them. Though I have to admit that I feel like I died losing that Php 10,500. (Who wouldn’t?) But honestly, if I would spend a lot of man-hours to bicker with them and their horrible service, I’d rather focus on money-making efforts and earn back that amount.

But they had me convinced that, based on my experience, their whole service and customer relations sucks eggs.

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