Monthly Archives: July 2014

Northtown Volkswagen – horrible service

Back in August, I took my POS VW Jetta back to the dealership where I bought it, Northtown Volkswagen at 1135 Millersport Highway in Amherst, New York, to have the ignition replaced.

When I took the vehicle in, other than the problems with the ignition and the non-functioning 12v power adapters, the car was working normally.

When I picked the vehicle up on the weekend (and I apologize, I don’t remember how long it was at the dealership, but it was at least a few days), the ignition was working fine.  I realized pretty quickly that, when I locked the car with the remote, it didn’t honk.  I didn’t know if maybe when they programmed the new key they changed something so it wouldn’t honk.  No big deal, I’ll ask about it next week.

Then I’m driving and hit the button for cruise control, when I realize that the cruise control didn’t set.  I tried a few more times, tried turning cruise off and back on, nothing.  On a hunch, I tried to honk the horn–nope.  No horn.

Okay.  So my horn doesn’t work and my cruise doesn’t work.  Well, the horn and cruise are in the steering column and they were just working on the steering column, so they probably just disconnected a couple of wires or something.  I’ll call on Monday.

At this point, I’m like, hmmmm, I wonder….  And proceed to plug in my phone charger.  Success!!  The 12v power adapter works for the first time!  So obviously they did something other than the intended work, because two things don’t work anymore and one thing magically does work.

On Monday, I call the dealership.  I was very nice about it, just “hey, I had my car in to get the ignition replaced and I picked it up over the weekend and the horn and cruise control aren’t working.  No big deal, just wondering when I can bring it in to get it fixed?”  They had me bring it in on Thursday.

Thursday I get there, meet the service manager I’d been dealing with, and explain to him what was going on.  I said “so I don’t have to pay for this, right?  Since something happened when the ignition replaced…”  He waffled and said they’d have to look and see.

I go hang out in the waiting room, no worries at all, and then about an hour later the service manager comes out and explains to me that the horn itself (located under the hood) is broken, and that the switch for the cruise control is broken.  It’s nothing that the dealership did, it’s not their fault.  It’s just a coincidence that two things in the steering column break at the same time the dealership is working on the steering column.  Then he informs me that it will cost me $552 to repair the horn and cruise control.  At which point I’m like “are you effing kidding me?”  But alas, no, he was not effing kidding me.  I tell him there’s no way I’m paying $552 to fix my car which they broke and leave.

Look at it logically:  I take my car in to get the ignition replaced.  When I drop the car off, the horn and cruise control are working.  The 12v adapter is not.  When I pick the car up, the horn and cruise control are not working.  The 12v adapter is.  There are two possibilities here:  1.  While the car was at the dealership, the horn and cruise control both broke and the 12v adapter started working, all without any human interference.  2.  While the car was at the dealership, a mechanic bumped some wires or a connection and caused the horn and cruise control to stop working, while simultaneously causing the 12v adapter to start working.  Which do you find more likely?

Now here’s the kicker….  On Thursday, I was told it would cost $552 to fix my cruise control and horn.  On Saturday, I locked my car and the horn honked.  On Thursday (one week later), I turned the cruise control off and back on, then pushed the set button.  Cruise control set.  So the parts of my car that were really and truly broken and would cost $552 to fix ended up fixing themselves, free of charge, in a week.

Obviously Northtown Volkswagen screwed up.  I don’t know if their mechanics are so incompetent that they couldn’t figure out what they did and how to fix it, or if they are so dishonest that they can’t accept responsibility for their mistakes and instead try to rob their customers.  Either way, it’s absolutely unacceptable.

They’ve lost a customer for life.  I had been happy with the service I got and, while I would never buy another VW, I would have gone to another Northtown Auto Group dealership for my next vehicle.  Not anymore.  I will not deal with a company so obviously lacking in honesty, integrity, and decency.