03-05-2010, 03:36 PM #1
Have Smart dealerships lost their customer appreciation?
I have been a Smart owner for a little over a year. I love my Smart and I had really great customer experiences with my dealership during the first year.
Recently, I have had a string of unusual and troublesome problems with the Smart. My break switch went out, which made it impossible to put the car into reverse. I took the car into the dealership, and after a week of waiting for the parts to arrive, (I also had the clutch plate replaced while it was in for a preventative measure) the told me that the switch was on back order and it would take 3 to 5 WEEKS to get it in. As you can imagine, I was really upset by this and told them that this was unacceptable. The receptionist told me she would speak to the manager and see what she could do. I decided that I would take it upon myself to locate a switch somewhere else. I had to call ONE other local dealership to find the switch. ONE. I called my dealership, told them and they send a driver to pick it up. I had my car back the next day.
I just wish they would have exhausted all possibilities before quoting the customer (me) 3 to five weeks on a switch replacement.
A week later, I saw a fluid dripping out of my engine area. I immediately thought oil and called Smart. It turned out to be transmission fluid leaking from one of the axle joints. (remember I had the clutch plate replaced) I drove the car in that day. It was fixed in a timely manner, but when I picked the car up, no one could explain to me exactly what went wrong and why. Was it the fault of the repair tech who replaced my clutch plate, was it a known fault in the joint, should I expect it again? The receptionist said the tech would call me that day to explain what went wrong, but I never got a call. I called frustrated that night and was forward to the dealer manager's voice mail...again, no call. I did get a call from the receptionist 2 days later saying that I could call to speak to the repair tech and he would explain it to me.
I called the tech. He said "I don't know. It could have been anything, maybe it was damaged when we worked on the transmission." Then I had to call the dealership back to explain that the repair guy who I was told would know why my car was leaking one of it's vital fluids actually didn't know. The manager then said that it could have been a number of things. (sound familiar?)
Now today my airbag light went on, on the dashboard. I called and spoke to the manager again and expressed my frustration with how many things have been going wrong on my Smart. He told me that he didn't know how to respond.
I brought my car in AGAIN and the manager didn't even come out to say hi, or anything. In fact, other than the receptionist speaking to me when I gave her my keys NO ONE SPOKE TO ME.
I guess my question is where is the customer service that existed when I bought my car. I guess it's a bad sign when you've read all of the magazines on the dealerships coffee table.
03-06-2010, 03:36 PM #2
Ashish Poddar, The dealers have to answer in these matters to a regional service manager. He is your contact now as it is clear that the dealer is just blowing you off. It is as important to you to get satisfaction from every dealer visit as it is for the regional service manager that you do. You have invested money time and effort into a product that He has to respond for. Both Penske and smart USA even MB have to be made aware of these lowering of standards when customer service is mishandled. I spoke up about some issues I had with my local dealer and the Regional took VERY good care of my issue.
03-06-2010, 03:36 PM #3
Hi SATO, thanks for replying! If you happen to have the info for the SoCal Regional Manager, that would be great.
06-19-2011, 04:36 PM #4
I've had the same experience with the Smart Center in West Covina, CA. I've been waiting over a MONTH for my hood and they could care less about the inconvenience it's causing for me. No phone calls have been returned, and if I do get someone on the phone, they brush me off and make me feel insignificant, like I'm wasting their time. It's rude! I went to Smart USA and they are not any better. In fact, they may be worse.
04-16-2012, 04:36 PM #5
Richard.... Back when this was posted Smart was not solely controlled by Mercedes, Penske Auto owned the controlling aspect of Smart, even though Mercedes sold and serviced them. As of July 2011, Mercedes bought back full control of Smart from Penske Auto, which means parts are much easier and faster to obtain.
04-16-2012, 04:36 PM #6
In the US Smart was only sold at specific Mercedes dealerships too but the distribution and marketing was controlled by Penske Auto. Now Mercedes has full control over that as well, thats why at least in the US I have seen more TV ads and push for the Smart especially now with the competition of the Fiat 500 and the Scion IQ.
02-03-2014, 03:37 PM #7
When I bought mine in 2009 the sales person couldn't be bothered with giving me a demonstration, just handed me the keys and told me to be back in 30 min
02-27-2015, 03:37 PM #8
Biggest problem with owning a Smart, and you find out soon enough, is that Smart is tied into the Mercedes dealerships.
When you go in, you are the poor cousin, as all they are interested is the fat wallet Mercedes owner, and treat your Smart as a toy, even though you paid good money for it.
I am out of warranty now, good!, so I use local garages for most repairs, like a broken front coil, due to pothole, and I use Ebay or local car parts shops for parts, like oil filter, air filter, wipers.
I have had very bad experiences with the merc dealership while under warranty, as most owners of Smarts have had, so try not to go anywhere near the Merc dealership nowadays.
Pity the next Fortwo (3rd gen version) will not be sold and maintained in the Renault dealership, as it has Renault engines and gearboxes.
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