I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested (thesaneminority) wrote in bad_service,
I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested

Do you try to kill all of your customers, or am I just that special?

My 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora has been having three major problems for the past three months: it's been leaking brake fluid, to the point that I've had to put more in once every two weeks; the steering wheel is wobbly and the steering column is probably broken (entirely my fault, as I got so pissed off at the brake fluid problem that I shook the steering wheel into its current state); and occasionally the car will shut off entirely while I'm driving. I can always start it up again, but it's really unnerving to have your vehicle shut off while you're making a left turn on a busy street and have to start it up again while rush hour traffic is heading straight for you.

I took it in to Shoemaker's Garage right before Memorial Day weekend. I've gone to this place with this same car three or four times, and while they're kind of on the expensive side they've given me pretty good service before this. You'd think I'd have no problems, right?

Since I took the car in the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend and expected that they would be busy, I didn't expect to get the car back for couple days. I wasn't even that surprised when they didn't call me the same day I brought it in to at least let me know what was wrong, like they usually do - they probably had a long line of cars in front of me and it was a holiday weekend, so I figured they would call me in a couple days. I waited until Wednesday to call them about my car, and they said that they'd been swamped, would look at the car that day, and call me that night to let me know what the damage was. I received no calls from them that night, or at any other point during the time they had my car, and after another week I called them back.

According to them, there was a leak in my brake line under the passenger's seat, the steering column was possible broken - they couldn't say for sure because they hadn't gotten in there yet (?) - and there were a few things that could be causing the random shut-offs but that it was probably a problem with the ignition. And that even with parts from the junkyard, since GM no longer produces Oldsmobile parts, the total was going to run me about $1500-2000.

Even if this was money that I had (as it was, my dad was going to pay for the repairs on my car because I am a broke college grad), the cost of the proposed repairs was definitely higher than what my car is worth. This car is 14 years old, guzzles gas like a dehydrated elephant guzzles water, and seems to have something going wrong with it about every three months or so. If I'd had the money, or my dad would be willing to spend it, I would have just started looking for a new car already instead of taking it in. So after a few phone calls, it was decided that I would pick up the car from Shoemaker's and drive it over to my mom's, where my stepdad would see if he can fix it for less than what Shoemaker's wanted to charge me, and my dad would pay for the parts he needs. (As to why I didn't ask my stepdad to fix my car in the first place, 1) at this point I didn't trust my car on the highway, and 2) my stepdad's been working so much and has so much to work on around the house that I didn't want to add to his workload.)

My uncle, who was visiting from Maryland at this time, drove me to the garage to get the car, where the owner pulls my car around to the front and hands me the keys with a wide shit-eating grin on his face. The entire time my car is making an incessant dinging noise, which is the alert for low brake fluid. It even has a nice little display that flashes "LOW BRAKE FLUID" at you to let you know what's going on. It's incredibly annoying and impossible to turn off or ignore, so there's no way the guy didn't know the car was beeping at him.

Now, I made sure to top off the brake fluid before I took the car in so I could get it to the garage with no problems. But I figured, I've been able to drive it a couple miles when it was low on brake fluid before, so I should be able to at least get home, right? Yeah, not so much. I spent the entire drive home terrified I was going to crash because I had to slam on the brakes to get it to even start slowing down. When we got back to my apartment my uncle and I looked under the hood to discover that the brake fluid reservoir was bone-dry, and my brake lines probably had little to no fluid in them whatsoever. So Shoemaker's apparently didn't stop to think that they should probably top off an important fluid that they drained in the first place, in a car that they knew was going to be driven off the lot. Thanks, guys, it's not like I actually needed brakes. Those other cars will just jump out of the way for me, right?

I really wish I'd said something while I was there, but I just wanted to get home and get ready to go to work, and now it's been almost a month and I don't know what to say about it or what they'd even do about it.

TL;DR: Shoemaker's Garage in Kalamazoo, MI, lets my car sit for two weeks with no call and doesn't refill my brake fluid before returning my car to me, letting me drive home a car that effectively has no brakes.
  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded