On Labor Day weekend 2007, our 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee was rendered unsafe to drive. For a few months prior, the driver's seat had been feeling lose, but over Labor Day weekend the bolts securing the driver's seat to the frame came loose, leaving it unsafe to drive. We took it to the Don Davis Arlington location on Tuesday and left it for an estimate and, we hoped, repair. In the meantime, we researched online and found that this is a frequently recurring problem in the '01 Grand Cherokee, with incidences of the driver's seat coming lose being reported as early as 2002.
Given the unexpected number of reports and complaints we found online, we began searching for recall information and were surprised to learn it was not a recall issue. We have since assumed this is because not enough people have died. It is a CLEAR safety issue, as the seat belt would likely not only fail to secure the driver, but probably injure him if the driver was in motion in the unsecured seat while the seatbelt locked into place in a collision.
However, when the dealership finally called the next day, they told us only that the track for the seat would have to be ordered from the manufacturer, it would take 4-6 weeks to arrive, it would cost $450 for the part and installation would be another few hundred. We were shocked at the time frame, but went and picked up the Jeep. Our service adviser then told us we might have better luck finding a wrecked part at a salvage yard and gave us a couple of names. We told him we didn't feel that was a safe option and were just a little surprised he would even suggest it.
We paid for the part and took the Jeep home planning to do the installation ourselves when if finally arrived. Our receipt shows we paid for the part on September 7, 2007. Six weeks came and went without a word from Don Davis. On week seven, I called and asked for the status of the part. I was told it wasn't in yet. We had no choice but to continue to wait. It was an extreme hardship on our very busy family of four to share our one working car, but we felt it was unsafe to drive the Jeep so we continued to make do.
On week eight, angered at the wait and the lack of any update from Don Davis Dodge/Jeep, I wrote a letter to the General Manager of the Don David Auto Group, the general manager of the Arlington dealership, as well as two high-level Chrysler customer relations persons. I shared with them our anger at the extremely long wait, the fact the problem hadn't been a recall and the fact the part wasn't kept in stock as it was APPARENTLY a very, very common problem. I also mentioned as a former TV news reporter, I felt this would be a high-interest consumer story in Dallas, the nation's 5th largest television market.
I did not receive a response.
On week 12, I once again called the Don Davis dealership to inquire about the part, which now had taken TWICE as long as their worst-case scenario estimate. I asked for the manager of the service department and was transferred to a man named Rowdy. Rowdy listened to my situation, and then asked if I had written a letter. I told him I had. He said he remembered reading it (thanks for getting back to me, great customer service there, guys,) then did not in any way acknowledge anything else about the letter or the situation. Instead he said he'd see what he could find out about the part and call me right back.
Half an hour later, our service adviser, an underling to Rowdy, called and said simply 'this is Terry at Don Davis, I just wanted to let you know your part is in.' It was 9:30 am on Monday morning, it didn't just get dropped off the truck! I asked, 'do you know how long it's been there?' He said 'uh, I could try to find out.' I said it doesn't matter, we'll come get it. He asked if I wanted to schedule and installation. I told him I did not plan on doing any further business with them and would come get it. He said he'd have it ready to go and that was it.
Then, half an hour later, Terry called again to say they had apparently dropped the ball somewhere (you think?) and they'd like to offer to install the part free. I thanked him, accepted, asked how long it would take and scheduled it. He said it would take one hour and to notify him the second we arrived. We went up there, my husband went in and told Terry we had the Jeep there, and Terry had a complete blank look on his face. He asked for the last name again, looked it up in the computer, then looked at my husband and said, 'didn't anybody call to tell you this part was here?' My husband told him they hadn't, that we had called them this morning.
Terry said, okay, we'll I'll have them pull it and we can have it ready in a few hours. My husband had to be at work and we were planning on the one-hour Terry had promised over the phone. My husband reminded him of this and Terry asked who I had talked to. He had no memory of the conversation from an hour before, the fact HE had called ME twice that very morning and, big surprise, he had no memory of telling us they would install the part free.
My husband straightened this out with him, and given the fact it was right there in the computer that the part had either taken 12 weeks to arrive, or somebody forgot to call us, Terry didn't put up much argument about replacing it free. However, I have yet to hear back from Rowdy, the service manager, with any kind of explanation and apology, nor do I expect to. I have yet to have any kind of response from anybody at that place, nor to I expect to. Their shoddy, inexcusably bad customer service is just appalling to me. I cannot wait to get rid of this car and never, ever buy another product that would EVER require a trip to ANY part of the Don Davis chain.
They have demonstrated, at least in our case, they have no loyalty nor do they feel any obligation to their customers, and their their quality and reputation matters not to them.