Our goal at Santos Auto Service is to provide quality service and parts at the best possible price. While we understand the customer's frustration, there are important points that need to be made in this case.
The vehicle was brought in by the customer's spouse who told us the customer purchased and attempted to install his own bulb. We brought the vehicle in right away thinking that the bulb may not have been installed correctly. Since the customer has a “High Intensity Discharge” (HID) lighting system, special processes had to be followed. We removed the headlight assembly (as required), inspected the bulb and found the bulb was installed correctly. We then tested the bulb to confirm that it was good, but it would not work inside the assembly. We informed the customer's spouse of our discovery and told her that the system needed to be fully diagnosed which could take a couple of hours more. She agreed to this, and we drove her home so she didn't have to stay at our shop while we worked through this issue.
The process to properly diagnose this system requires special tools, a technician experienced in electrical issues, and with respect to HID lighting systems, special procedures to protect the technician from the very high and dangerous voltages produced by such systems. Our diagnosis included the removal of both headlight assemblies so we could properly test the additional components that make the HID lighting system work, including the lighting ballasts and lighting control module, and all of the wiring between all of these systems.
We discovered that the headlight assembly had an internal fault. We searched for an aftermarket option that we could trust and found none available. The price for the headlight assembly from Mercedes was offered – sadly , they are very expensive systems and that is quite simply out of our control. We did find and offered a used headlight assembly for the customers consideration but he declined that offer as well.
The customers concern was not “disregarded” and the diagnostic charge was not “for nothing”. We in fact were able to find the root cause of his issue and offer a couple of options for a repair. While the customer declined both repair options, he at least knows what needs to be replaced. Again, this turned out not to be a simple bulb replacement issue, but a highly sophisticated electrical issue that only a proper and in this case lengthy effort would discover.
We spent a bit over 3 hours to work through this issue and we received approval by the customers representative prior to diagnosing the system. And while the charges were proper, we applied a $50.00 credit to the customers invoice as a goodwill gesture.
Regarding the power window and headlight switch issues mentioned by the customer in his review. It is not required for us to operate the windows in order to diagnose the lighting system. We did not investigate the issue in detail, but we assume that the window regulator is broken and will need to be replaced. As we did not operate the window we can not confirm the customers assertion. Regarding the light switch – the switch was broken prior to receiving the vehicle for service. While we were not responsible for the broken switch, we did offer to repair it – if possible – at no cost to the customer. He declined our offer.
The customer has been to our facility 3 times – twice in June of 2018 and once this year. We certainly appreciate all of our customers and hope this additional information will be helpful to explain why the charges were necessary and proper.
I still had the letter and was told by the staff that they would honor it for the new car as a gesture for my bad experience driving without AC for the old vehicle.
When I came in at 0800 on November 20, 2018, Mr Santos asked to see the letter and when I gave it to him, the mechanic who was to do the oil change was sitting there and was the same one as before. He became extremely belligerent and nasty to me, so much so that Mr Santos had to ask him twice to stop it!!! The guy was agitated and I started to feel threatened. Mr Santos gave me a cup of coffee and had me wait while the car had the oil change.
The mechanic’s behavior had been so rude that I will never return. He obviously has issues with female clients and I will make sure to not recommend coming here.
Thank you for your recent review regarding your visit here at Santos Auto Service. We recognize that our technician was overzealous in his questioning, and that he may have come off in a negative manner when speaking to you. This interaction does not reflect our usual high standards of service and courtesy at Santos Auto Service. Customer service is always our number one priority, and we obviously did not meet the standard in this case. We would like to sincerely apologize for the negative experience you had, and wish you all the best in the future.
Santos Auto Service
This customer's case was quite difficult and we understand her frustration to a point. Her HHR had several electrical problems that caused a cascade of issues that were intermittent and not always apparent to us while we struggled to find and repair them.
Understanding the customer complaint completely and accurately is the biggest challenge of the service writer. While trying to gain information about the conditions she was experiencing, we asked several questions or asked them in different ways in order to fully comprehend the problems so they can be addressed. This issue was compounded because some of vehicle issues were intermittent and were not reproducible on demand.
We don't expect the customers to be as technically minded as our experienced technicians. Our goal is to completely understand so we get accurate information to our technicians. When repairs are offered, our goal is to explain the issues in a manor that the customer will understand. Each customers level of understanding is different, so we may try different ways to communicate the issues so they know why we're recommending a certain repair. It's our desire that the customer understands every repair every time. We are sorry that the customer misunderstood our efforts to explain the issues and recommended repairs as making her feel “dumb”. That is certainly never our intention.
The customer mentioned that she had smelled a burning smell. After that occurred, the blower motor no longer worked, the vehicle would jerk sometimes, and she said the steering would “lock up”. We road tested the vehicle – steering was normal and vehicle did not jerk.
After an inspection, we found that the area of the blower motor was flooded with rain water which ruined the blower motor unit. This caused the motor to rust and lock up which caused the blower resister to burn up. We had to replace this first and we provided and estimate for the repair. She asked if that would fix the entire car – of course we could not confirm this. She gave us the OK to replace the blower motor and resister, and clean out the drains so the new blower motor would not get ruined.
When the blower motor and resistor were replaced, we confirmed that they worked, but then discovered that the blower controls were also compromised. They could not be tested prior to the replacement of the motor and resistor. We attempted to contact the customer but she was not able to answer and we received no return call to our messages. When she came to pick up the vehicle we explained that the blower was now working, but the switch was burned up and it only worked on high speed. She took the car that day (7/13), and provided this review two days later 7/15).
NOW – the rest of the story...
The customer came back to us on 7/20. She noted that the vehicle continued to jerk sometimes and the steering would lock up. She also wanted the blower controls replaced. We provided a courtesy vehicle to the customer at no charge while we replaced her HVAC controls and investigated the other issues she was having.
We finely experienced the issue of the “steering locking up”. From a technical standpoint, the steering did not actually lock – the power steering unit stopped working making the steering wheel hard to turn. We spent many hours looking at wiring diagrams and checking systems before we traced a problem back to the Body Control Module. We eventually found that the module connectors had gotten wet at some point, and the contacts were corroded causing an intermittent failure of signal down the CAN data bus line. This caused the power steering motor (electrical in this case) to stop working and the dash board lights to flicker. Cleaning the connectors and coating them with dielectric grease seamed to have solved the problem, as several days of testing proved that the steering continued to work each time. The initial estimate for this series of repairs was over $620.00 + tax. Her actual invoice was $591.00 + tax – a savings of about $30.00. She also had our loaner vehicle for 25 days while we were working through the repair.
It is our goal every day with every customer to not just be honest and up front about the repairs needed. We also strive to explain in detail why things need to be done or why a needed repair might or might not provide the results the customer expects. The problems to this customers vehicle were not typical of your every day mechanical failure. I hope the customer will come to understand that we value her business and hope to earn her trust every time we are needed.
The Customer brought his vehicle into us for a coolant leak. We found an upper radiator hose that was leaking. We replaced the hose, refilled the cooling system and road tested the vehicle to make sure there were no more overheating issues. The vehicle passed the road test and was given back to the customer repaired.
When the customer picked up the vehicle and drove it, he noticed a noise. He came back in and we addressed the new problem immediately – we drove with him, heard the noise, provided a loaner vehicle at no charge, and told him we would contact him with a diagnosis of the problem and a repair option.
When we put the vehicle on the lift, we found the gear shifter bushing on the transfer case was missing and the shifter rod for the transfer case came off. These parts are a significant distance away from the area of the cooling system repair, so we wouldn't have been in the effected area during the initial repair. It is reasonable to assume the bushing was in very poor shape and broke when the customer picked up the vehicle. We charged the customer to replace the gear shifter bushing and reinstalled the shifter rod as required as this was not related to the original repair.
We do understand that it can be upsetting when another problem surfaces during or shortly after a different repair. All we can do is provide the customer with the information and offer a repair option when we find additional issues.
Santos Auto Service Company