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2003 Forester
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Last week I brought my 03 Forester in for 90k dealer service and tire replacement, plus I wanted the brake system flushed and accessory belts changed.

'When I picked up the car I noticed the right front air dam hanging from the front of the car, bad sign...the mechanic came out and fixed it before I left. Plus they didn't have the belts in stock so that meant another service trip (1 hour each way), now I told them when I called up for the service appointment I wanted the belts changed so you would think they would have checked and made sure the belts were in stock:chair:

A few days later it started to rain a bit so I turned on the windshield washers,
low and behold they didn't work, checked the reservoir and it was full, found the wires to the fluid pump and fluid level indicator not connected, for the life of me I couldn't find the wires. He (mechanic) had bolted the fluid reservoir on top of them.

Now I'm thinking what else did they screw up, pulled the rear wheels and checked the brake bleeders and they were nicely covered in 90K worth of dirt and no wrench marks on the body of the bleeders, damn they charged me for 3 pints of brake fluid and an hour of labor and they didn't do the job:chair:

Checked the tire pressure on the new tires and the fronts were 41psi and the backs 38psi:chair:

Had a nice discussion with the service manager today when I went back to have the drive belts changed, He put the car on the lift and admitted the brakes were not serviced, he personally flushed the system, fixed the windshield washers and installed the belts.

He told me the mechanic made a mistake and forgot the brake system flush. I said how could he forget he charged me for 3 pints of fluid and an hour of labor, that paperwork he had to do after the job, didn't it ring a bell?...I told the service manager it was nice that he was sticking up for his employee but in my opinion he just thought he could get away with out doing it, no one would notice.

We came to an agreement, he no charged the belt change and gave me a card for 5 free oil changes and tire rotations. Did I let him off to easy?

Ron W.
 

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2000 Impreza, 2003 Bugeye Sport, 2010 Base, 2014 Base, 2015 Premium, 2017 Limited, 2020 Touring
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1,020 Posts
Looks like they have a crooked tech that got caught. I think they made good, but you should follow up with the franchise/dealer owner, he may not like the notoriety of owning a business where they employ less than honest employees. Who knows how many people get ripped off there, and go away thinking the work was all done. Bad juju.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,827 Posts
Looks like they have a crooked tech that got caught. I think they made good, but you should follow up with the franchise/dealer owner, he may not like the notoriety of owning a business where they employ less than honest employees. Who knows how many people get ripped off there, and go away thinking the work was all done. Bad juju.
+1
Tell them that you intend to advise other customers you know of your experience, just as you have here, and advise them to check their work done.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,501 Posts
. Did I let him off to easy?

Ron W.
No. I think you did fine. Sounds like you professionally brought it to the attention of the person who needed to know. He made an effort to take care of your concerns and gave you something extra. I would imagine he had a talk with the mechanic and perhaps this will impact negatively on that Mechanic's standing.

I would not go to Subaru. That would reflect badly on the Service manager who did try to take care of you. I would imagine in the future "You" will get better service.

Kudos.
 

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Fast & Dirty
2009 Forester XT 4 speed auto
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4,039 Posts
Contact Subaru of America and let them know along with the dealership owner.

To charge you for something you didn;t get sounds..........illegal. How do you accidently charge for 3 litres of fluid and 1 hour of labour and NOT DO IT.

You let him off easy.
 

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05 Forester XT
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541 Posts
In my experience, an incompetent tech stays that way. I brought my wife's car to an independent shop once to get the brakes serviced. 2 days later the car is stranded with the entire caliper having fallen off. The tech "forgot to tighten a bolt"
I file that under "one off" because the place is highly rated by my coworkers and the price is right.
Later on I have them do my timing belt and water pump on my 4-runner. 20k later a key from the water pump makes its way out and chew out the new timing belt (living me stranded 100 miles from home)
Never again. And I make sure to correct any good recommendation that local shop gets when the subject comes up.
 

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2009 2.5X Premium
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22 Posts
I think you did well with them. The service manager knows and I would assume he took care of discussing it with the tech. I would probably give them the benefit of the doubt and try them again, but you can be sure I am showing up with a flashlight ready to check out any work requested before I leave.

I once had a shop that I really liked, friendly, serviced my whole family, willing to only do things that needed doing, and always on the level. Was having electrical problems, took it there, took 3 days, replaced alternator, some wiring, a fuse block, relays, etc. said they fixed. First drive at night with lights on showed me they didnt when it died. Took it to another shop, guy tested the wiring harness to the alternator, plug was bad. Charged me 15 mins labor and $6 for part.
Gave original shop benefit of the doubt, went in for an oil change a couple months later, afterward got about 30 sec down the road and car started knocking loudly. They forgot to replace the oil after draining. Last time I went to that shop.
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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I don't think it would reflect badly on the Service Manager, I think the dealer/owner would be pleased at the Service Managers response and solution to the issue. The mechanic should be gone or reprimanded in some way that it doesn't (or hasn't ) happen again, I can't imagine any Service Manager wanting to babysit a licensed mechanic.

The question I would be asking the dealer/owner about is the liability of the dealership if work is paid for and not done especially if it related to a safety issue such as brakes (as this incident) and led to an accident
And if 'You' get better service you should also hope the other customers are getting the same.

Slightly off-topic but about 7-8 years ago when I had a 99 Forester, the head gasket went, slightly out of warranty by a few months, I was told that it would cost me, since Subaru would not cover it I paid the bill.
Probably six months down the road I receive a letter from the dealer/owner stating I was entitled to a refund as an internal audit found the dealership had been paid warranty rates to fix the head gasket and as a result the Service Manager was let go for basically double billing both Subaru and myself. They did this on their own, because they had a reputation to uphold, lucky me.
Service Writers and management often have financial incentives if they meet or exceed revenue targets. I'm sure this Service Manager had met or beat all targets and that's what made the dealership look into it, or maybe Subaru did a warranty audit on the dealership, with customer follow-up
Contacting the dealer/owners keeps them informed on customer satisfaction.
 

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2011 Forester X AT
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4,235 Posts
You let him off easy. This has happened to me on two separate occasions at dealers in different states. It seems to becoming more common practice in auto repair unfortunately. I would use the "gift" as proof that something shady happened when speaking to SOA.

I would not take advantage of those oil changes, nor ever return. They will not change.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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702 Posts
There's a dishonest mechanic in the house, and you can bet his dishonesty has not gone unnoticed by the other wrenches. Question is, is this a common practice in this dealership's service dept? Probably I wouldn't want to find out the answer w/ my vehicle. The free oil changes are tempting, I might take them up on that and only that. Good for you for bearding the sm with this sorry workmanship.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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06 Forester
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115 Posts
I also think that you let him off easy. I would raise hell.
But on the other hand this is exactly why i avoid dealer service like a plague and do most of the items myself. I do however see how this can be a problem for people who can't or don't want to work on their own cars.
i personally would only go to the dealership for a warranty work. I don't trust them with anything else and to not entertain their overpriced services.
 

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I think you did the right thing so far. I'd follow up with a letter to the owner, expressing both your concerns of the service you received that visit and also for any future visits. In the same letter I would also commend the Service Manager for taking care of things right away once you discovered the shoddy / uncompleted work. If you plan to contact SOA on this, it should be only by cc'ing them on the letter to the owner.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5x Tour
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100 Posts
I agree with Dan. It SHOULD be escalated to SOA but in a way that allows the Service Manager to save face. IF this is a one time deal (PERSONALLY, my cynical nature thinks it isn't), he's doing what he can in terms of damage control. If this sort of thing EVER happens again, CRUCIFY THEM!! SERIOUSLY!! I'm no lawyer BUT I believe that if it could ever be proved that the intention was to mislead you into believing work was done when it wasn't, heads would ROLL and there would be serious legal implications.
 

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2003 Forester
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17 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the replies...

The main reason I go to Subaru for service is because the Subaru line of cars are a bit different from most imports, all wheel drive, horizontally opposed engines etc.. had I been living back in the NE where they are more common most repair places are more familiar with them, I would have more options as far as where to take it.

I think I will continue to have it serviced at this location, 2nd nearest is over 100 miles away.

I will say this, I will NEVER take a loaner and leave the premises again, my usual MO is to stay and peek into the service area from time to time. I think just appearing from time to time in the bay makes the mechanic a bit more honest.

A letter to the dealer management is forth coming.

Ron W.
 

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2004 FXT Premium
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55 Posts
I'm not so sure the service manager is so innocent here. While I understand the value in "making it right," and that speaks well of him, he's got a job to do that he wasn't doing too. I would also contact SOA.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X
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1,692 Posts
What if RJSurf noticed spongy brakes and took the car for brakes to be looked at and flushed the brake lines.. and they said they did it.. even charged him for it. On the way home somebody steps off in a crosswalk and he slams on the brakes and they fail.. hits and kills pedestrian. Whose fault will it be?
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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I think you did the right thing so far. I'd follow up with a letter to the owner, expressing both your concerns of the service you received that visit and also for any future visits. In the same letter I would also commend the Service Manager for taking care of things right away once you discovered the shoddy / uncompleted work. If you plan to contact SOA on this, it should be only by cc'ing them on the letter to the owner.
I agree with this after further thinking about it.
 

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'98 Forester
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502 Posts
This is a hard issue ....being a Tech. and a Manager ..... the Service writer / Manager is the one writing up the invoices , the Tech is the one who does the work .... So if the service writer thought his tech did the job he would have charged you the fluid and labor ... tech either forgot or just did not want to do it ...I cant say what the tech did , but the service writer would not know either way ..he just charges what he is told to ..... not to say that they both are at fault or that its a basic mistake .... The one thing that bothers me is the multiple mistakes ..one thing forgotten ok we all make mistakes once an a while....But 2 things then there is probably an issue with that Tech !!

I see a lot of strange things out of Dealers now days ...today we had a Legacy in that was at the dealer for a " free " oil change ...they told her she "NEEDED" a new oil pump .... $800 ... No issues , no reasons why ... We did a pressure check and everything looks perfect , no leaks , no noises ...hmmm ..... Makes you wonder if they are just going to take the $$ and say they did the oil pump and not do anything !!??
 

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05 Forester XT
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541 Posts
Makes you wonder if they are just going to take the $$ and say they did the oil pump and not do anything !!??
Kind of like the local Toyota service rep who tells me that my truck needs new brake pads and he can schedule an appt. to do so. I bring it somewhere else to get checked and I have 80% of the pads left...
And the other Toyota place who does a "full service" oil change. I go home and can't start the truck: The battery is totally out of water...

If you want something done right, do it yourself...
 

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2003 Forester
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Discussion Starter #20
Kind of like the local Toyota service rep who tells me that my truck needs new brake pads and he can schedule an appt. to do so. I bring it somewhere else to get checked and I have 80% of the pads left...
And the other Toyota place who does a "full service" oil change. I go home and can't start the truck: The battery is totally out of water...

If you want something done right, do it yourself...
I was thinking about doing it myself, especially the brake flush, I just finished switching to 4 piston calipers on my bike (Suzuki DL-650) so I had plenty of new fluid around BUT I had accrued a good number of Subaru bucks over the years and they are starting to expire so I thought what the heck.

I'm not sure what to do about the timing belt change now, I had just assumed I would go to the dealer because of the unique engine design, maybe by next year when I hit 110,000 miles they will have a new staff.

Ron W.
 
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