"NORTHGATE GMC EDMONTON"
- Saturn Outlook
My experience with Northgate GMC was in terms of warranty service for the timing chain on my vehicle. I made an appointment for drop off on Thursday January 12th. I was contacted near the end of the work day that they would not be able to look at my vehicle until the next day, Friday, January 13th. This was a little inconvenient, but not a surprise, considering it was a special service warranty issue. So I got in the shuttle, picked up my vehicle and returned the next morning. It was diagnosed the next day, but I was told that they won’t be able to start working on it until later. Again, being patient and trying to understand the situation, I was agreeable. It was warranty service for a pretty major repair and I was thankful thus far that it was going to be taken care of. I was contacted and it was explained to me that they would have to keep it for the weekend. Okay… this was a bit aggravating and inconvenient, but yes, why not… my vehicle was getting repaired after all, and the customer service rep was very friendly and nice. She told me that a courtesy vehicle could not be provided as it is not covered in this type of service… however, I discovered that right there in black and white on the final page of the special service adjustment memo (11340C) “The General Motors Courtesy Transportation program is intended to minimize customer inconvenience when a vehicle requires a repair that is covered by the New Vehicle Limited Warranties. The availability of courtesy transportation to customers whose vehicles are within the warranty coverage period and involved in a product program is very important in maintaining customer satisfaction. Dealers are to ensure that these customers understand that shuttle service or some other form of courtesy transportation is available and will be provided at no charge. Dealers should refer to the General Motors Service Policies and Procedures Manual for Courtesy Transportation guidelines.”.
Well, too late to complain and why bother at this time? I should have been offered a vehicle, but no worries, I can roll with it. It was already Friday night and I was to get my vehicle back on Monday right? Monday came and I was told in the morning that it will be ready that day by approximately 3:00 p.m. This is where my experience slightly soured. I had already made arrangements, got a ride, picked up my son from school. I was called again, rather late and told that it won’t be ready at 3:00 but later, due to an air-conditioning recharge issue. I explained that I was practically on my way and would still be there around 3:30 and would wait for the vehicle to be done. I had my son with me as I was to take him to Cello practice at 5:00.
We waited quite a while and was eventually approached by the service rep and told that the vehicle won’t be ready. Apparently, something to do with not being able to get the air conditioning to work. All this from my timing chain? Okay… now inconvenient and a missed Cello practice. BUT… they offered a vehicle through the attached rental agency and we eventually made our way out of there. I appreciated the loaner and was trying to be understanding about the delays. I was told I’ll be contacted in the morning and that it should now just be a matter of a wheel alignment and then I can pick up my vehicle.
I received a confirmation call on Tuesday morning that the vehicle was ready! Yes! Finally success after 5 days in the shop! I came back to Northgate around 11:00 to drop off the rental car and pick up my vehicle. The customer service rep was warm and accommodating and got me to my vehicle right away.
This is where things go off the rails. I started my car and went through the usual routine of getting ready to drive, including turning on my stereo to listen to music. It was a touchscreen head unit and is supposed to light up when turned on. Nothing, didn’t turn on, just a dead screen with some fuzz from the speakers. It was 100% working when I dropped it off. We use it every day, and the kids and I practically listen to the same tracks regularly. I went back in the shop and explained that it wasn’t working, and that I can’t drive off or it will be in question whether it happened before or after service. I requested that I not pick up the vehicle that the tech look at it, and that I’ll return later when functioning, as it was when I dropped it off. I took another shuttle ride back to work and left it with Northgate for another afternoon.
I was contacted by the customer service rep (top-notch and great, BTW) and she explained to me that they fiddled with it and got the music on but the screen was not functioning and further, that they don’t do those kind of repairs and hence cannot fix it and I should try repairing it or resetting it myself. I think basically repeating back to me what the tech had told her. By now, after several delays and in a situation where I have a non-functioning head unit I told her that I was frustrated that this was not acceptable and that would not work for me. I dropped it off in working order and want to pick it up in working order. She was calm, collected and polite and said she would get back to me.
She contacted me later that afternoon and explained that they don’t do the repairs in house and would send me to their contractor, Certified Radio for service. I was to call them, arrange an appointment and drop off for service, to give the name of customer service rep and that they would handle it. I agreed we would proceed from there.
Let me make one thing crystal clear at this part of the review: I did not ask for or request a new stereo or something unreasonable… I simply wanted the unit to function, AS IT WAS when I dropped it off. Nothing fancy, I figured it was a simple repair, an issue caused by the disconnected battery or something.
I contacted certified radio, explained the situation and arranged to drop off in the morning. It was explained to me that my vehicle would have to be left for the entire day. I agreed and showed up the next morning shortly after 9:00. A very nice guy (great customer service) from the front desk greeted me and walked with me out to my car. I showed him what was happening with the heard unit and we walked back inside. This was the entire experience… no tech even looked at it, pushed a button or even physically touched it. A guy named Donnie told me they don’t do repairs, they only do replacement and within 10 minutes, selected a new head unit with comparable functionality and called Northgate. They did not respond quickly. I told Donnie I needed to go to work, so opted to drive back and drop the vehicle the next day, rather than waiting for word from Northgate.
The Customer service representative from Northgate calls me in the afternoon and informs me that they refuse to fix it, as they’re not responsible for it. Seriously, THEY SENT me for service, received a quote, and then reneged. Now, I was mad and said I wanted to talk to the manager. First response: “he’s not around right now and can’t talk to you”. I insisted that I get his number- second response: “I don’t have his card with me and so don’t have his number”. I insisted that I would wait until they could find a person somewhere in the organization that had his number. Finally, his number was provided. I called him immediately and left a (admittedly heated) message demanding he call me back and address this issue, now, today.
He called me back and talked in circles. He still refused, based on three things he repeated continually throughout our conversation: (1) “I trust my tech and he says he didn’t break it. He repeated this many times and in many ways. (2) “The radio was off when you dropped it off” – he said this about three times. Seriously, because the stereo was not playing music when I rolled up, this was the argument that they were not responsible. TRANSLATION: it was already broken and I was lying to them. This one realllly made me mad. As if I scheduled warranty work and decided to scam them for a radio. (3) They didn’t send me to Certified Radio to fix the problem… it was only to get an opinion. First of all, this is totally a lie, a straight up deception. Here’s the deal… if you wanted an opinion, you would have CALLED Certified Radio and asked their opinion. Remember NO ONE EVEN LOOKED AT IT, so it is IMPOSSIBLE that they gave you an opinion on something they inspected, looked at or assessed. I was obviously sent there for service and Northgate GMC backed out when the quote for replacement was sent to them. You don’t SEND a customer to a location to get an opinion on something that contracted technician didn’t even see. It was a waste of my time, and it was inappropriate, and Steve talked in circles about how it was only to get an opinion. Honestly, this just put me over the top. Yeah, sure… That’s why I was told to leave my vehicle there the whole day… for an opinion. If it was for an opinion, why did the Assistant manager, Donnie, IMMEDIATELY price out a new unit and contact Northgate GMC awaiting the okay to install? Why would I be made to wait to wait to get the green light for an opinion? No… he called them with the replacement price, they didn’t want to pay, then changed their story on why they sent me there. Now the story was that I wasn’t sent there to get the problem taken care of… now it to spend the entire day getting an opinion on what broke it, with no inspection whatsoever. Keep in mind what I mentioned earlier, I didn’t request a new radio… I just wanted it working as was when I dropped it off.
And surprise-surprise, guess what? In their opinion, it’s possible it was not Northgate GMC’s fault, therefore, Steve wasn’t willing to cover the tab. He’s an old pro, I’ll give him that… he went on with circular logic for several minutes in several directions… “It’s probably broken because of extreme” weather conditions… this is how these things break, bla, bla, bla”. I say: “but it was in your shop for 5 days! It’s been warm and +6!”. Steve says: “Oh, but the radio wasn’t turned on when you dropped it off”. (Basically telling me several times that I was lying and trying to get it under the radar.) “But you sent me for service!”. “No it was only for an opinion”. “But it was working when I dropped it off!” “I trust my tech and if he says he didn’t break it, he didn’t break it… we have a great reputation and I stand by our reputation”. We talked in this roundabout too long- I got tired of it. There was no breaking through with logic and I explained that I’ll escalate it and send a formal complaint the GMC Canada.
So, according to Northgate GMC, my head unit decided to break at the exact time it was getting service; was working when I rolled in, and not working when I rolled out. Just a coincidence, and my fault apparently. Must have been the weather.
Here’s the bottom line:
(1) I was very pleased that the warranty work could even be done and I’m extremely thankful that it was done in what seems to meet a high-quality standard. There was some extra work done under the warranty that I wasn’t expecting (water pump, air-conditioning recharge etc), but what do I know? I’m not a mechanic and it seemed thorough and was at no cost due to special service coverage. VERY happy and do appreciate to work. This part was great.
(2) The Service Representative, June, was amazing. Always professional, polite and supportive. I appreciate her very much. I think she was basically caught in the middle to no fault of her own. She dealt as best she could with the decisions handed to her from service management. Definitely a shining star in this organization. She really made a lasting positive impact.
(3) The shuttle drivers. I believe literally the best in the business. Friendly, quick, smart and thoughtful. I especially remember Truman- what a great guy. They made a big difference.
(1) The delays
(2) The lack of a vehicle being provided as per the Special Service adjustment 11340C
(1) The radio / head unit not functioning when I picked up my vehicle
(2) The initial response by the service tech regarding the radio
(3) The lying and backtracking surrounding the service of the radio
I do admire that Steve stood by his technician and I respect that he supported him throughout- most people would be lucky to have such a boss. I get it, I really do… I’m not a regular customer at Northgate GMC and I have my vehicle in for a rather hefty bit of warranty work, and the level of commitment is difficult to gauge- I would not want to pay for a radio mishap either. However, it’s not the broken head unit that was the problem. The problem is how Northgate GMC decided to proceed. Denying liability, not addressing the actual problem, deflecting and then covering up. Completely unprofessional. If they are willing to do it in this situation, it’s reasonable to assume that they will do it in others. This compromises the integrity of service and therefore I cannot recommend them for service.
On a final note I would encourage you to read other reviews and their rating on the Better Business Bureau for more insight if you’re considering a shop for GMC certified Service