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Bill Seidle Chevrolet - Clermont, FL / Inept customer service

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My wife bought a fully-equipped 2007 HHR “LT” from Seidle Chevrolet less than a month ago. She had no complaints and loves her car. However, after making the final deal, she was called twice back to appear in person at your dealership in Clermont (a 25 mile round-trip) to re-do paperwork that the staff had bungled. No one offered her a tank of gas, a gift certificate or any compensation. Then, yesterday, January 26th, 2007 she experienced a sudden flat tire, left front, while driving in Ocoee. 970 miles were on the odometer.

Not having a nail or any damage other than a split at the wheel rim, we called, then loaded it up and came back to the dealership, suspecting a defect in the tire. Our salesman, kindly directed us back to the Service Department, where the first of the service staff we spoke to went into instant denial mode, declaring the damage a “road hazard,” and, “You must have hit something.” On appeal, Service Mgr. Lynn looked at it and called it a puncture, while poking it with a ball-point pen.(?) By this time I was getting the idea that no stone was to be left unturned to deny liability for anything and that their sole objective was to hustle us out of there.

My wife and I work for a large corporation that rates customer service just below safety in importance to the health of their bottom line. She is a manager; I train others in merchandise sales. In this case, the staff completely blew it. They were looking at two customers who had just spent over $21,000 with the dealership, who had an irreparable 17-inch Firestone tire for a car with less than a thousand miles on it. Instead of entertaining any kind of accommodation which would ultimately lead to resolving the customer’s problem, the mis-managers, sales and service, sent two disappointed customers (on a wild goose chase) off to a Discount Tires store at SR50 and Powers Avenue that doesn’t even sell Firestones. We learned subsequently that one of the staff has a “special arrangement” and used to work at that location, leading us to be sent there. We were told they’d called ahead for us, to arrange a “good will” adjustment as a Firestone owner. No one at Discount Tire knew anything.

What could have easily been an affable adjustment was made a nightmare by the actions of the staff. They were looking at someone with a brand-new car that needed a tire, and was going to have to get a new one, one way or another. All they could think of was washing their hands of any possible connection to our dilemma and getting the customers out of the dealership. The dealership doesn’t sell and service tires? Doesn’t carry tires for the cars they sell? Isn’t interested in service-after-the-sale?

The way I look at it, it would have been a far more profitable experience for Bill Seidle Chevrolet to have offered some accommodation on-the-spot, like a replacement of the tire and installation at-cost, or even slightly discounted from retail, rather than to create two dissatisfied customers and to lie to them (that they’d called ahead and that something had been arranged, of which Discount Tire had no clue) and send us on a 50 mile trek to Discount Tire on the emergency spare. When I called back on my cell phone from the Discount Tire parking lot to report this to the service manager, he hung up on me, demonstrating his incredible arrogance and ineptitude. (No one raised voices, used profanity or anything. Simply his ineptitude/impatience)

The staff, save our salesman, through this entire buying experience has demonstrated that they are unprofessionals who just don’t know how to handle paperwork or customer service. What could have been a break-even or even profitable encounter for Bill Seidle was turned completely on its head because no one on your staff could grasp the situation and save it. We came there seeking relief, and no one had the sense, at any point, to offer any kind of a compromise, which would have kept the transaction in-house, added to Bill Seidle's bottom line and put smiles on two customers faces.

We, of course, won’t be having kind things to say about our new car buying experience with Bill Seidle Chevrolet. On hold, I listened to the hold message about “extraordinary, not ordinary service.” (!) In our experience, that’s false advertising; nothing could be farther from the truth.

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