Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You get what you pay for

  When I went back to commuting this year and needed a new car, I bought a 2009 Kia Rio. It is very inexpensive. Normally a 2009 car hits the lots in 2008, but the salesmen told me that it had just gotten there and that was just the way Kia dated their cars and if he says so, it must be so, because he is a salesman after all. The car runs OK and gets 30 mpg. I really like that I can play my MP3 player through the radio. I bought this car after getting an internet bid from Des Moines Imports and am hoping for a long term relationship, but my first encounter with the service department had an inauspicious debut, at best.

  I was planning to get my car’s oil changed at the dealer since it is only a mile from my workplace. I called Monday to get my first oil change and found out there is no charge for the first change. Giving away the first purchase is a tried and true marketing technique that has been perfected by most of the drug dealers I’ve known. And as a bonus, every oil change comes with a car wash. I was sold and made an appointment for noon Tuesday. I went to the service department and gave my key to the smiling customer service rep. He told me there was an alert on the car that would require a small change to the program to keep the check engine light from coming on and would I like them to take care of that? I said OK and he smiled some more and asked if I wanted the car washed. I said OK again. And then I waited…and waited...and waited some more. At 1pm, my lunch hour was over and I went to look for my car. The service rep told me that it was still being programmed and wouldn’t be too long. He was still smiling, but I wished I had asked how long the small change would take. I went back to the waiting room, put 2 chairs together and went to sleep. I was woken up by the rep tapping my shoulder telling me I was all set and my car was in the bay with the key in it. It was 1:45 and he was still smiling. I signed for the oil change and went to my car and the rep then told me they hadn’t washed the car yet (I noticed) and would I want to stick around a little longer? He was still smiling, but I wasn’t. I told him I was almost an hour late from lunch and that if he was going to have the car washed, he could have let me sleep. So after almost 2 hours, I didn’t even get my car washed. I wonder if they really changed the oil. I don’t think I’ll be going to Des Moines Imports for any non-warranty work for a long, long time. I am happy that I didn’t have to pay for the ‘service’ but not pleased that I got what I paid for.