Wednesday May 22, 2013

We love our Scion xB. Customer support? Not so much

We love our Scion xB. Customer support? Not so much.

We're trying to get a $225 reimbursement for a warranty repair. How difficult should this be?

On Sunday evening, September 5, 2010, we exited a local store, walked to the parking lot, and unlocked our Scion. All normal. But when my spouse, Rich, opened the rear (lift gate) door, the handle -- the plastic bar that holds the latch for the door and the lights over the license plate -- came off in his hand. It remained attached to the car only by the electrical cable that makes the latch and lights work.

We fastened the handle to the rear windshield wiper with a bungee cord so it wouldn't flop until we could get it repaired, then drove home.

Monday being Labor Day, I couldn't call our Toyota dealership until Tuesday morning. When I called, I was told the part (a Backdoor Garnish) would cost approximately $90. I ordered the part and was told it should be in stock the next day, then made a service appointment to install it.

On Wednesday, I drove the Scion to the dealership. Estimated cost to install the new handle: $138. By Wednesday evening, I had the car back with a working rear door handle. The repair actually cost $135.

Aside from exercising some extra caution for a while whenever we open the rear door, we gradually forgot about the problem. Until, over time, we began to notice that ours hadn't been an isolated issue. A Scion xB on our street had its rear door handle taped up with duct tape. Another Scion xB we saw on the road had its rear door handle dangling by the cable. The "loose rear door handle" seemed to be a trend.

And then, this past April, we received a notice in the mail:

Dear Scion xB Owner:

At Scion, we are dedicated to providing vehicles of outstanding quality and value. As part of our continual efforts to meet your product expectations, Scion would like to advise you of an enhancement to portions of your Scion xB New Vehicle Limited Warranty. Scion has received some reports where the Back Door Garnish may loosen. ...

If you have previously paid for repairs related to this condition, please mail a copy of the repair order, proof-of-payment, and proof-of-ownership to the following address for reimbursement consideration...

We had a regular maintenance appointment soon after and I asked our service technician about this. He looked up our service invoice from 2010 and made a copy for us to submit to Scion.

I didn't have an original bill for the part, but I did have proof of payment: my credit card statement from 2010. So, we bundled up a copy of the CC statement, the service invoice, and our auto registration (proof of ownership) and mailed them off to Scion.

That's when things started to become more complicated. We received a reply from Toyota Motor Sales' Scion Customer Experience, letting us know that our "claim is in the pending stage" and requesting a

Detailed and itemized parts invoice from the Toyota dealership showing the parts purchased.

Apparently the credit card statement wasn't enough.

I called the Parts department at the dealership, to discover that they "don't keep records from that far back". (Two and a half years is "that far back?". The service department keeps records but the parts department doesn't?)

Apparently, "records" includes pricing information on parts. The Parts manager does not know and cannot look up the cost of this part as of Sept 2010.

OK. Who is his manager?

I got the name of the dealership's General Manager and phoned. I left a message. I left another message later in the day with a better call-back number. No response.

Spouse (Rich) left direct voicemail for the GM a few days later. No response.

We got the GM's email address and sent email on May 10 and again on May 15. No response.

We sent email to the GM with a CC: to our service technician on May 18. No response.

Today we phoned Scion's Customer Support number. After speaking to a representative who said that nothing could be done, we escalated the matter to a supervisor. She said that what they really need is proof that the repair was due to a flaw; that is, would it have been a warranty repair if the warranty enhancement had been in force then.

Recall that, when we had the repair made, we had no idea that a warranty enhancement would occur. So, we had no reason to request any sort of analysis of the reason for the broken "garnish". Are we now supposed to go back in time to request this analysis? Or try to get a deposition from the mechanic on what he recalled? Really...

This supervisor also said that there was no one above her that we could escalate to. (I'm sure that a Scion executive somewhere would be interested to learn that...) When Rich said we would next turn to blogging and Twitter, she basically advised him to go ahead.

So, here we are.

  • In Sept 2010, the rear door "garnish" on our Scion xB came loose (off). We had it repaired.
  • In 2013, Scion realized this was a common problem and issued a warranty extension.
  • We have sent Scion everything they initially asked for: proof of ownership, proof of repair, and proof of payment.
  • Scion is resisting reimbursement for a $90 part and $135 labor on a covered warranty repair.


We love our Scion xB. Customer support? Not so much ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Wed, 22 May, 17:40 Pacific | «e»

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