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.

5 thoughts on “Northtown Volkswagen – horrible service

  1. Luigi Trucchi

    The engine in the 2013 VW GTI we leased burned up at 25,000 miles. Nine days before this happened, the dealership where we leased it from refused to honor the service agreement and misled us as to whether or not it was due for service. As a result at the BBB arbitration between us and the manufacturer, we were held responsible for 1/2 of the cost of replacing the engine on a 2013 vehicle with only 25,000 miles on it. We have had to sue the dealership for the balance we had to pay due to the breach of the service contract. As a result, we have been paying $260/mo five months, the court date is not for another 3 months and we STILL don’t have the car back. VW sucks, the warranty sucks, and the service contract sucks. The Customer Care guy (Douglas Gambino) was nice enough tho — I’m sure he’s just following orders — not his fault VW corporation cheats its customers on the warranty and the service contract (while still taking our lease payments at $260/mo)

    1. Paul

      I’ve been trying to get the VW TDI Goodwill Package for the last 2 months. They keep sending it to the wrong address so I never get it. Why wouldn’t they? If they would actually send it to the address I’ve given them 3 times, I would finally receive the $500/$500 cards and be able to use them. VW is a crooked company, no doubt about it.

  2. Jonathan Bailey

    VW GTI 2011 water pump failed before 60000 mile warrenty , but because it was purchased at a used car lot not VW they will not stand behind their product. Talking with the VW technician this part is common to fail and no matter what maitence is done this part will fail. VW will not help me with this $1000 repair, ive owned this car for less than 4000 miles. I WILL NEVER BUY VW AGAIN

  3. rburnsdirect

    I purchase a VW back in 2010 this car is been in the shop for 20 repairs. So I agree with you VW sucks. Each time the repair was covered. I should of know this car was a lemon when it needed a repair one week after taking off the lot. Currently it goes to the shop every 6mos for a water pump repair. Its in the shop again for a water pump repair.

  4. lucretius

    I have a 2013 Volkswagen CC — black colour.

    Rust/paint peeling began to appear on/near the rocker panel by the drivers door of my car. Volkswagen Canada denied the rust claim under warranty.

    On December 17, 2015, I took the car to the dealer to show the rust coming from underneath and eating away at the paint on the rocker panel. The dealer took pictures and submitted them to Volkswagen Canada. Yesterday (i.e. one and one half months later), I learned that Volkswagen Canada denied the claim stating the rust and paint peeling was caused by “outside influences”.

    This is preposterous. The rust was bleeding through from underneath causing the paint to peel away. This damage is located on or at the rocker panel/door sills by the driver’s door. The damaged spot is protected by the driver’s door, so that it is not exposed to flying debris from the road.

    There is no evidence of “outside influences” as claimed by Volkswagen Canada. There is no lack of care, or failure to promptly repair. I did not get any third party rustproofing done, so there was no use of any inferior rustproofing agent or method. There is no evidence of environmental damage.

    This is Volkswagen Canada’s method of denying warranty claims. Although Volkswagen Canada has a 12 year warranty against rust, this warranty appears worthless.


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