Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How to Complain about a Toyota Dealership to Corporate

I am writing this letter out of complete frustration with the Mike Erdman Toyota dealership in Merritt Island, Fl.  I was not only treated poorly; I was also threatened and called a liar.  On September 9, I purchased a new 2017 Toyota Tacoma, my 7th Toyota, with the last four being purchased at Mike Erdman Toyota.

On 6 November, 2016, I contacted the Toyota corporate office to talk to the service department.  After being looped back to the receptionist 3 times due to no one answering, she said she would take a message and have them call me. 

They did not call.  On 7 November, I was able to get someone to answer in the service department (I believe he said his name was Joe), and explained a problem I had with paint chips on my Toyota Tacoma.  I said the problem was not warranty work, but I wanted to bring the truck back to the dealership to ensure the paint matched and work was done properly. 

Joe said he made an appointment (he told me to see Jim Shaw) and contacted the paint shop.  He also said a rental car was available (which I took to mean the cost would be covered by Toyota care/guard).  On 8 November, I took the truck to the garage adjacent to the main building, and got out of the truck. 

A man was standing outside the office and asked what I needed.  I said I had brought my truck in to get some paint work done, and was told to see Jim Shaw. The man said ok, and just stood there.  I asked if he was Jim Shaw, which he affirmed (why didn't he introduce himself?).  After looking at the damage, he suggested I take it to a paint shop. 

I explained my previous conversation with Joe, and he said his note only mentioned touch up paint, not something more involved (I am sure he is right because my email appointment notice said the same thing). 

I told him I wanted it fixed right, and touch up would not do it. After some initial confusion (he seemed confused on why I was there and whether he could help), he asked me to wait while he tried to help. 

He asked if I needed a rental car, I said yes, and asked if the  cost was covered, he said only on warranty work (which is not what I was initially led to believe). Anyway, I went into the customer lounge and began watching the news (election day). 

After a few minutes, Mr Shaw came back and said he wanted me to talk to their in-house body man (I don't recall his name).  He checked the area on the truck and said he could do it for $300. 

I agreed, and Mr Shaw took my driver's license and insurance card, and asked me to wait in the lounge again.  Shortly, Mr Shaw came back and said the total cost would be $362, which I agreed to, and said he had gotten me a loaner car to use while my truck was being finished (5 o'clock the next day).  He said he had more paperwork to do and left. 

While I was watching the news, a female customer came in, changed the channel, and left to another lounge area, stating the both tvs had to be on the same channel (she didn't ask if it was ok, she just did it).   The show she was watching was offensive to me, so I got up and changed the channel back to the news. 

She came in, took the remote, and went to complain to Jesse Torres, who I think works in the service department.  He came back with her and changed the channel back to the offensive program.  I told him I found the program offensive, and preferred to watch the news.  He then turned off the tv in the lounge I was in, and left with the woman. 

I left the lounge and went to stand in the hallway between the service window and the other lounge.  When Mr Torres came back by, I told him the woman was not even watching the show, she was reading, which he saw.  He just shrugged his shoulders.   After a few minutes, Mr Shaw came to the window and told me everything was almost ready.  I apologized to him for hovering outside his window, and told him I had nowhere else to go. 

At about this time I heard the General Manager, Mike Farrell, ask Mr Torres what was up with “the guy with the $300 repair job.”  Mr Torres said, “The idiot was fighting with another customer over the tv...” 

At this point, I called the CEOs office at Toyota HQ. You don't want to hear my side?  He said, No.  They are bringing your truck back.”  I asked for his business card and went back to the small service room to wait.  Mr Torres followed me and started to say things, and demanded (didn't ask) in a threatening way for me to “step outside.” 

I at first refused, then relented when he said he wanted me to talk to the general manager (who was not interested previously in what I had to say).  On the way, I said, “You talk a lot.”  He said, “Yes, and I can back it up.”  I asked, “What do you mean?  Are you threatening me?”  By this time, we were back in the hallway outside the Mr Farrell's door, who met us.  I said, “Did you hear that? He threatened me.” 

Mr Farrell said, “I didn't hear him threaten you.”  I asked, “So are you saying I am a liar?”  He said, “If you want to look at it that way, then yes, I am calling you a liar.”  I said, “What happened to this place?  It used to be so customer friendly.”  Mr Farrell said, “We will no longer be servicing your vehicle.”  I turned around and went back outside and waited for my truck.

Sir, I am very upset about my treatment.  I have owned 7 Toyota's over the last 20 years, with the last 4 purchased.  I have always received excellent treatment from the sales, service, and financing staffs.  I even convinced my son (Aaron) and daughter (Amelia) to purchase new vehicles at Mike Erdman, in addition to numerous friends we have referred there. 

I am perplexed about the treatment I received today.  Has Toyota gotten so bad that they have forgotten how to treat their customers?  Do they not realize the “ripple theory”  is a proven fact(I will tell 10 people, who will each tell 10 people, and so on)? 

My entire visit to was a nightmare, and to top it off, I must find somewhere else to get my warranty work done on my two Toyotas, because Mr Farrell said I could no longer bring my cars there for servicing. 

I would suggest your employees undergo some customer service training, since they presently don't seem to care how a customer is treated.  Also, is Mike Erdman so cheap they can't afford TWO cable outputs, one for each tv? 

While my initial treatment was not good, Mr Shaw at least tried to rectify the problems.  However, the issue with the tv should not have happened and should have already been easily remedied, which probably would have prevented the whole second half of my poor treatment (maybe, although I still think Mr Torres and Mr  Farrell were exceedingly unfair).

I apologize for the length of this complaint, but I felt I needed to be very specific.  I am writing to Toyota headquarters because I am reasonably confident if I were to write to the dealership directly, it either would not be investigated, or it would be covered up by the employees involved. 

Please help ensure other customers are not treated like this.