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2004 Forester XT Auto
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53 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I went to a subaru dealer today to get floor mats and a rear wiper arm for one that I broke.

Sir what is the part number?

What?

Part number please.

It's a 2004 Subaru Forester XT

Sir I need a part number.

OK I don't have it.

Do you have the vin?

NO

Well, no VIN, no part...


I was sooo pissed, I wasn;t in the forester I was in my work car.

What gives have anyone had this happen to them or am I the only one?
 

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Registered
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203 Posts
I find it hard to believe they can't look up a part number at a dealer. I think the guy was just being lazy.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,039 Posts
sometimes it really makes a difference to have VIN to get the right part. often it doesn't though. there must be some way to find info without the vin, because I am not always asked for it.
 

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Premium Member
06 FXT
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2,262 Posts
I've always been polite in person and/or over the phone. Unfortunately, it's almost always an exchange with some snide parts person.

Interestingly enough, the nicest parts people I've dealt with were BMW & Mercedes people. They were extremely polite and helpful. The Honda/Toyota/Subaru guys behaved as if I was disrupting their day. Lots of sighing and "what now" attitude.
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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5,734 Posts
So the parts guy was asking you to provide THEM with THEIR own part number? That's laziness on a whole new level. Speak with the supervisor of his department, and then after that, speak with the manager of the dealership to make sure they know.

I'm thinking we need to start some sort of complaint/compliment database for dealerships. A rating system backed up by what they did/didn't do right. In fact, I'm going to start looking up how to go about doing this.
 

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Registered
2001 Forester S, auto
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444 Posts
Yeah that's a bunch of b.s... He has a computer right in front of him where he can look stuff up without a VIN. I know because i bug our parts manager with 2001 Forester parts inquiries like anytime i'm bored at work
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,039 Posts
i've had pretty good luck with the majority of parts people at toyota and subaru dealerships. mixed bag at the chevy place.

now service and sales people on the other hand ... they seem to be more extreme. some quite nice and some just nasty and rude.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,827 Posts
Take a look at the dealers website and see if you can see a hierarchy of the employees. If their is an Operations Manager or General Manager fire a letter/email off to them. It would be even better if you could find out who the Dealership principal/owner is then you could copy them. Usually if the owner is proud of their dealership and efforts there is always some information on the website. You can also try calling and ask reception for the dealer principals name or if they know of any other dealerships that are owned by them as well (I'd say most dealerships are not the sole operation) and how do you relay a message to the dealership owner.

I would explain your experience politely and mention that you and others are not in the habit of knowing the specific part numbers in advance. You also do understand that in some cases, parts, change according to VIN, but what you couldn't understand was why their Parts Department person wouldn't have looked it up to see if a VIN would actually be required for the part, that would have been an acceptable response and possibly saved you time. Also mention that customer service is important and your experience has left you considering taking your business elsewhere.

I think you got somebody who is not customer oriented and dealerships are interested in making money, if they have someone not making an effort, they will be gone quickly.

Breathe, collect yourself and let us know how things turn out.
 

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Premium Member
98 Forester...what else
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5,714 Posts
There is no excuse for this. In 2003 (and including very early 2004) the Forester had one specific type of rear wiper, after which they went to a different wiper blade style.

SOA591U215 - part number for the earlier arm wiper blade
86542SA080 - IIRC, the part number for the later 2004 on wiper blades.

Sheer laziness - which is too bad, because I'd be happy to be serving Subaru customer needs - I could use that job that this person doesn't seem to care anything about.
 

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2003 Forester
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61 Posts
actually guys, before you start going off the deep end you should know some things about the program they have to work with there.

I used to work at a subaru dealership in parts.
The parts catalog that they have absolutely sucks.
Its damn near impossible to look up part numbers without the vin. some parts are on the list of quick look up, but only the standard maintenance items.

Its a very very inconvenient position to be in behind that parts counter.

we had mazda and subaru that was handled in our department.
i absolutely hated getting calls for subaru parts, and hated it even more when my subaru techs would bring me a grocery list for a rebuild (most common thing to happen at subaru, literally, for every 2 oil changes, there was 1 rebuild. ) it sucked completely.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,827 Posts
I guess my assumption was the parts catologue would have been on a computer by model much like the old microfiche format way of looking up parts. But even the microfiche would indicate if a part was changed and a serial number would be required to get the right part.
Twenty plus years ago I was a Parts Manager in a motorcyle business and used both systems and could find parts without too much issue. That's why I mentioned that some part changes might need the VIN. I guess Subaru made it harder for everyone.

Come to think of it, I havn't had an issue before with my dealer looking up parts. They were able to look up the aero wipers from the 09-10's while I stood there.:confused:
 

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2005 Forester X Auto
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141 Posts
Did you service your car there before ? If you did, they should have been able to pull up your VIN. Or atleast offer other ways to get your VIN - maybe from your insurance card or so ? He should have been the one offerring help - or an alternate solution.
 

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Registered
2006 Forester XT Limited 4EAT
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2,000 Posts
I get it all the time. They guys have gotten to know me by now though and just roll with it. They really get flummoxed when you are asking for STi parts to put on your Forester.
A couple months ago I was told they lost my keys...They were hanging right on the wall, but with the Legacy FOB they really didn't want to believe me! He finally clicked the button and I was allowed to leave.
 

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Premium Member
06 FXT
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2,262 Posts
actually guys, before you start going off the deep end you should know some things about the program they have to work with there.

I used to work at a subaru dealership in parts.
The parts catalog that they have absolutely sucks.

Its damn near impossible to look up part numbers without the vin. some parts are on the list of quick look up, but only the standard maintenance items.

Its a very very inconvenient position to be in behind that parts counter.

we had mazda and subaru that was handled in our department.
i absolutely hated getting calls for subaru parts, and hated it even more when my subaru techs would bring me a grocery list for a rebuild (most common thing to happen at subaru, literally, for every 2 oil changes, there was 1 rebuild. ) it sucked completely.
In case you didn't know, Roo just so happened to work in said field with years of experience and expertise.

Yes, I can relate. We all could relate when it comes to shortcomings of technical and logistics of a given workplace demands. Regardless, that's not an excuse to be snappy or snide to a given patron. Remember, he/she is just some guy or gal trying to piece together his/her ride and get back to the norm like the rest of us.
 

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Premium Member
98 Forester...what else
Joined
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5,714 Posts
actually guys, before you start going off the deep end you should know some things about the program they have to work with there.

I used to work at a subaru dealership in parts.
The parts catalog that they have absolutely sucks.
Its damn near impossible to look up part numbers without the vin. some parts are on the list of quick look up, but only the standard maintenance items.

Its a very very inconvenient position to be in behind that parts counter.

we had mazda and subaru that was handled in our department.
i absolutely hated getting calls for subaru parts, and hated it even more when my subaru techs would bring me a grocery list for a rebuild (most common thing to happen at subaru, literally, for every 2 oil changes, there was 1 rebuild. ) it sucked completely.
Interesting perspective. I've worked at a Mazda-Subaru dealership before and I can tell you that if you can work well with numbers, it's all rather easy. The parts catalog is easy to learn - and you obviously weren't trained very well - or certified as a parts specialist.

Our techs would give us the RO - which has the VIN specified on it - and I'm here to tell you, once you've done as many re-builds as you claim, you should have the part lists memorized.

Only the lazy would complain about having to use the Subaru Parts catalog, which is even easier than the online catalog where I still go to find the part numbers - if I don't already have them memorized.
 

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04 Forester X, MT
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1,039 Posts
i was also thinking if you work at a place awhile, wouldn't you make a "cheat sheet" that helped you look up parts? such as VINs to use just to look up parts, keeping in mind some of the major mid-model year changeovers?

i could definitely see not actually ordering any parts without the VIN, or having a policy that without VIN the customer would pay 25% restocking or some large fee if they didn't want a part ordered without VIN.

i can see plenty of unreasonable customers getting ticked at both sides of this issue:
What, you can't order a part without the VIN???
OR
Hey, this is the wrong part why can't you idiots get me what I need (after an order without VIN)???
 

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09 Forester XT
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52 Posts
I noticed the VIN number request at local Chevy dealer as well. Went in for a 2002 tuner radio button, now think about this, same button Chevy (Government Motors has used for years in all their brands) and even though it was the low low price of $17.00:mob:, they parts person knew the part, he wouldn't sell it to me without a VIN.

In this case, it was clear the parts program(s) the service people are using is a poorly written software app(s). No cross referencing etc. And I do have a degree of empathy for the service people, however I can't help but be concerned that with a VIN number my personal information can be obtained by unscrupulous individuals.

I asked the parts person how my personal information is protected in their system and I received a blank look that would have thwarted any lie detector machine. The manager came over and gave me some interesting line about data backups, system security and when I asked him just one simple question what it is they are doing with my VIN number? I receved the 101 answer to make sure you have the correct part. OK, but why is my VIN number stored with my name if I use a credit card? Even a cash buyer needs a vin number was the answer. So....I didn't use a credit card, pard $17.00 plus tax on a part that was worth maybe four cents and felt the presence of George Orwell as I left the building.

Having witnessed my friend spend over 60K just to get his credit back from identity theft and having knowledge of data system security, I have become a bit more watchful on who has my personal information. How it is stored and will take extra effort to find a part number prior to a part purchase.
 

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2003 Forester
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61 Posts
Did you service your car there before ? If you did, they should have been able to pull up your VIN. Or atleast offer other ways to get your VIN - maybe from your insurance card or so ? He should have been the one offerring help - or an alternate solution.
There are those ways of getting the vin from other sources. depending upon the people in your service lane it wouldnt be an issue. at the dealership i was in, in parts i had no access to the service side of the files, the only way i would have been able get a vin that way would have been to call a service writer and get it that way.

In case you didn't know, Roo just so happened to work in said field with years of experience and expertise.

Yes, I can relate. We all could relate when it comes to shortcomings of technical and logistics of a given workplace demands. Regardless, that's not an excuse to be snappy or snide to a given patron. Remember, he/she is just some guy or gal trying to piece together his/her ride and get back to the norm like the rest of us.
nope, didnt know that, still pretty new here. try to lurk as much as possible to learn and post when i can.
I'm not trying to make an excuse for the way the guy acted, if he did act like a douche, i just know that the subaru parts catalog isnt a walk in the park.

Interesting perspective. I've worked at a Mazda-Subaru dealership before and I can tell you that if you can work well with numbers, it's all rather easy. The parts catalog is easy to learn - and you obviously weren't trained very well - or certified as a parts specialist.

Our techs would give us the RO - which has the VIN specified on it - and I'm here to tell you, once you've done as many re-builds as you claim, you should have the part lists memorized.

Only the lazy would complain about having to use the Subaru Parts catalog, which is even easier than the online catalog where I still go to find the part numbers - if I don't already have them memorized.
Yeah, when i had the RO i had instant access to the part numbers needed. and yeah, most of the common parts needed for the rebuilds were memorized, but i rarely ever needed to order a wiper arm, i wouldnt have considered that a common part to order.
Subaru was mainly our secondary side of the dealership, mazdas were our primary. I'm not sure about where you are from, but subaru business around me isnt as popular as other places.

I know for a fact, that when it came to work, i wasnt lazy. I know that the program we had, there was only a very limited source for lookup without a vin. when a customer would call over the phone to get a part number and had no clue what a vin even was, i would try my hardest to find whatever part they were looking for without it, but 9 times out of 10, i couldnt.

If the guy that the OP is referring to was snappy or an donkey about things, then yeah, he should complain to whoever.
But, he could have been a poorly trained guy just tossed there and trying to cope as best he can.

I'm not trying to undermine anybody elses exp working there, im just sharing the knowledge that i have of it.
 
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