The bad, the worse… and the GREAT.

Posted: September 2, 2008 in best things, bitching, Drama, WTF

First off, I must give a shout out to Bill from Premier Transmission. He was kind, he was courteous, he was funny, and his, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it,” assurances really took a lot of anxiety out of the situation. He made me really WANT to take my truck to him for repairs, and he’s at the top of my list the next time something shitty happens. Which it will. This is my life, after all, so OH YES IT WILL.

I must also give kudos to Douglas, our service rep over at Chapman Chevrolet, who, after listening to and understanding our circumstances, really went to bat for us.

So. The story goes a little something like this. Last Saturday Calvin and I were out running some errands. We dropped off rentals at the movie store and were just progressing out of the parking lot. Calvin gassed it to get out into traffic, and… nothing. The truck would not move. No forward, no reverse, just revving like it was stuck in neutral. He turned it off, turned it on again, put it in drive, nothing. Put it in reverse, nothing. We were stuck.

He managed to convince the truck to back up long enough to pull back into the parking lot and out of the entrance. I called AAA and the tow truck driver took it over to the dealership for us and dropped the key in the after-hours drop box (2:00 on Saturday on a long holiday weekend = CLOSED until Tuesday morning).

We nabbed a rental car from Enterprise and have been enjoying the novelties of a Nissan Altima for the weekend. It’s a pretty zippy car, and fun to drive after having a truck for so long.

So. That was the bad. The WORSE came when we got the call from Chapman this morning. Doug said we’d need a completely new transmission, to the tune of $3200 dollars. We responded with, “But it’s covered under our warranty, right?” To which he replied, “Your warranty expired in May of this year.”


So I’m back on the phone, this time with GMPP. Friends, this is your public service announcement. DO NOT get an extended warranty with these people. We had the normal three year warranty on the truck when we bought it, and were told that if we didn’t want to purchase the extended warranty at that time, we could wait and get it any time in the future, before the end of our manufacturer’s warranty, to extend it beyond the three years to a full SIX YEAR warranty.

So, I extended the warranty back in ’05, with a year left on the original warranty. I was told the coverage would begin at the end of the original warranty, and continue on for three years. I’d have a $100 deductible for any repairs rather than having them for free, but I’d be covered until 2009.

When I called GMPP this morning, they were very haughty, very rude, and proceeded to inform me that the warranty extension applied to when I signed the contract, not at the end of my original warranty. I was incredulous and asked them why on EARTH I would want double-coverage for a year? Why would I buy an extended warranty when I was still and already covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty? Their attitude was that stupid people did such stupid things all the time.


I escalated to another supervisor, and then a manager. I explained calmly, and then less calmly as I kept getting stonewalled, that the agent I talked to when I set up the coverage told me it would start at the END of the original warranty. Because, hello? THAT’S WHAT AN EXTENDED WARRANTY IS FOR. I got absolutely no help whatsoever from GMPP and was told in no uncertain terms that “GMPP will NOT be participating in any repairs.”

Calvin and I figure that they burn people like this all the time. I bet there’s an opportunity for a class-action law suit for the way they mislead people like they did us. Anybody know a lawyer that does pro-bono work on stuff like this?

So anyway. At this point I called Doug at Chapman back and asked him to not perform any repairs while I called around to various shops for estimates. I called ELEVEN different places (I just counted), and felt the most positive about Bill from Premier Transmission. He told me he was sending his tow truck over to Chapman to bring the truck back to his facility. I called Doug, went to his voicemail, and left him the message that Bill was coming by to get the truck.

Doug called back and said the truck was ready for release, but the “diagnostic charge” will be $99, please and thank you. OH HELL NO. I just passed the phone to Calvin, I was SO NOT EQUIPPED to talk to Doug at that point. Calvin took over from there and explained our whole situation – the crap with the warranty people, the fact that our truck has been in and out and in and out and IN AND OUT of service for the four years we’ve owned it, the fact that our truck only has 28,000 miles on it so the fact that we’d even need a new transmission on such a low-miles truck is ridiculous, and even though we’re over on TIME according to our warranty, we’re far FAR under the mandated 100,000 miles, and so please and thank you, but we’re NOT paying the diagnostic charge.

Doug was very understanding, and agreed that the charge wasn’t reasonable, so he’d talk to his manager and release the truck for no fee.

So. We figured we were in for over two grand worth of repairs, but it was better than the $3200 that Chapman quoted. At which point we ranted about how “it could have been worse” seems to be our mantra, and WHEN DO WE GET TO HAVE SOME LUCKY THINGS HAPPEN TO US? It’s like Karma figures that we can handle our lives in a responsible manner, so the windfalls and lucky happenstances and good timing that happen to other people? WE DON’T QUALIFY.

But then? Things got to the GREAT. Doug called back. “Cancel the tow truck!” he said. He explained that he’d talked to his manager, explained our circumstances, and that the dealership would now perform the repairs we needed for FREE. As in ZERO money. With a “technically” expired warranty and over three grand worth of repairs. No money out of our pockets. I asked Doug if I could buy him dinner, and he said, “Well, I sure would appreciate it!” He said that the customer comes first, over money, and you know? I actually believe he meant it.

I called Bill back and let him know we wouldn’t be needing his services after all. He seemed pretty shocked that a dealership would step up and do the right thing here, but also happy for us. I asked him if I could mention him here and let him know we’d think of him first if we needed anything in the future.

So! Something inconvenient that turned into something SHITTY turned into something pretty damned great. My faith in customer service has been restored.

However! Our truck is still out of warranty and has turned into a maintenance nightmare, so we’re sure we’re going to be trading that fucker in at the earliest opportunity.

  1. Heather says:

    I’m glad it all worked out.

    However, please don’t talk to me about Karma…

  2. cariskicker says:

    So sorry you’ve been stuck with a lemon. ESPECIALLY over a holiday weekend.

    While you are test driving it I might as well add… Nissan Altima’s are fab to own. 🙂 I’m on my second and my first lasted 8 years with driving 17,500 miles per year. Other than tires and a couple batteries I had zero issues until the air compressor bit the big one. I just traded it in for my second Altima and I love it too.

    Good luck with whatever you end up with and I’m so glad that Chapman came through for you.

  3. Taoist Biker says:

    Wow. I’m so stunned that a car dealership did something humane that it’s hard to think rationally!

    That warranty thing is a horrific ripoff. I’d almost say “unbelievable” but I’ve come to a point where I believe all too much, I guess.

    Good on ya, though!

  4. Jeanette says:

    I’m glad things worked out OK for you. My husband was in the auto repair business for 30 years and believe me when I tell you that when you find someone like Doug or Bill you stick with them!

  5. Kimmy says:

    I was tasting bile until I got to the end of that post, which was a very happy ending indeed. We’ve had stuff like this happen to us as well, and it absolutely SUCKS when a vehicle is out of commission. I’m glad it worked out so well for you.

  6. dyskinesia says:

    You know what my favorite thing was about this post? (Ya know, directly AFTER the part where you didn’t get totally screwed out of tres grande…)

    The part that you totally contained yourself in print for the entire description of the horrible trauma you must have gone through in dealing with those nasty people on the phone and didn’t use the word ‘fucker’ until the 6th word from the end.

    THAT was great. 😉

  7. Laura says:

    Heather – I know, honey. Your karma sucks rocks.

    Cariskicker – I really liked the Altima a lot, but we’re still in truck-ish mode. Looking at the Trailblazer next… not as big as the ‘Lanche, but still able to haul crap if need be.

    TB – I know, huh? It’s been my experience that “the right thing” is done very seldomly, especially in a circumstance like this one. Thank GAWD it worked out the way it did, or I’d be shitting bricks right now.

    Jeanette – Oh, we will!

    Kimmy – Yeah, I was rather a stress case until it got resolved. Calvin just left the phone with me and backed… slowly… away…

    Dys – (goes back and reads…) Huh! That totally wasn’t on purpose. TRUST ME, I was cursing up a STORM in my head. I wrote the entry RIGHT after we got the good news from Doug, otherwise there’d have been so many F-bombs that the damned thing probably wouldn’t have made any sense at all.

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