This is a letter I sent to the owner of Community Kia, Roger Elswick, after our purchase at their dealership. (We never received a response, just goes to show how they truly don't care about the customer or the customers experience.) It is lengthy, but it spells out exactly what we had to deal with when buying from Community Kia, dishonest people at a dishonest dealership, that lack the ability to offer quality customer service.
Hi Mr. Elswick. I wanted to contact you in reference to a recent used car purchase we made with your Kia dealership, Saturday, January 26. My husband and I have been searching for the perfect minivan for our family in our price range, we found it at your dealership. At least we thought it was the perfect minivan when we drove it off the lot. We were very excited to have found our minivan with all the options we were looking for, decent mileage for a used vehicle, nice color, interior in decent shape, drove nice, etc. However, the very next day, Sunday January 27, on our way to church the check engine light came on. After church, my dad hooked it up to his computer to see what code it was pulling. Sure enough, it pulled 0420, Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1). There is no coincidence that the check engine light came on the day after we drove off your lot. I guess I should mention that when test driving, my husband noticed that the Navigation was locked. Al sent us over to your Honda dealership, said to say Willie sent us, and Paul came out and unlocked it in 2 minutes. After unlocking it, he proceeded to tell us that the only time it locks itself is if the battery is unplugged. So, I'm not saying that your service department was trying to be shady, but it sure screams slimy business when the check engine light mysteriously comes on the day after we drive our car off your lot. Especially since we know the battery had been unplugged, causing the Navigation to lock. I understand that when you sign an "as is clause" that there is an understanding the car could have some issues. In my opinion, you can't be aware of an issue if someone is trying to hide that issue from you. Seems like when your name is Community Kia, Community Honda, etc, that you want to be an upstanding business in the community. How can you be that business when your service department is hiding problems with used vehicles from buyers. That's a horrible way to do business, and I don't know how you, your salesmen, or your service department personnel can sleep at night knowing you are doing shady business. So, my husband, Garrett, called your dealership Monday morning to ask what your guys could do about it, since it was blatantly obvious you were trying to hide the problem from us in the first place. My husband spoke with Willie. He told Garrett that he would speak to the service department and call him back. When that afternoon rolled around and Garrett hadn't heard a word from Willie, he called back and spoke with a William. William then told Garrett he wanted us to bring the van in to Honda to have their technician look at the problem. Garrett called Paul at Honda, since he had helped us with the navigation on Saturday. Paul told Garrett for me to talk directly to him and he would take care of things. Let me add, we live in Waller, an hour and a half from your dealership. So, I, being the stay at home mom, get childcare for my 4 year old, and tote my 2 year old along with me to the dealership on Tuesday morning. I get there and Paul asks if I wanted his guy to bring me home. I laughed and said, I live an hour and a half from here, I don't think your guy wants to drive that far. He asked if Willie was going to put me in a rental. I told him there had been no mention of that. So, thankfully, Paul moved fairly quickly and got things squared away and had Enterprise rent me a car. I specified with him that we would not be paying for the rental or mileage on the rental, he reassured me that no, Kia would be footing the bill. So, I come home in my rental, still hoping that your dealership would do the honest thing and take care of an issue that should have either A. been presented to us when test driving your vehicle, or B. been taken care of by your dealership without hiding it from future buyers. That afternoon, my husband hadn't heard any news, so around 4:00 he called Paul to see if there was any updates. Paul told him the cost would be $917, parts and labor. He said that Willie would be willing to "do us a favor" and cover the parts, and we would have to cover the labor. Willie was supposed to have called Garrett to figure everything out, but since Willie didn't call Garrett, Paul wasn't able to order parts that day and was going to have to wait to order parts on Wednesday. Paul then told Garrett that Willie only wanted to pay for 1 rental day, seeing as how Willie drug his feet and never called my husband like he was supposed to (mind you he has never returned a call to my husband when he said he would, my husband was always the one that had to call him), we were going to have to make an extra trip on Wednesday to take back a rental and be without a car because Willie can't return or make a phone call like he says he is going to. My husband then called Willie to see what the issues were with everything. Garrett had to wait on hold for 20 minutes for Willie to pick up the phone, the receptionist asked him if he wanted to leave a message and Garrett told her that no he would not leave a message because Willie doesn't know how to call people back. So, he waited. When finally getting Willie on the phone, Garrett asked him why hadn't he received a phone call back. Willie then started in with his millions of excuses, telling my husband that he didn't have to help us since we bought an 'as is' vehicle, even though your dealership was shady in the first place by resetting the code, but y'all can't own up to that because that would mean you would have to be honest and that's obviously not a word associated with your dealership. My husband, never once was rude to any of your employees, was always nothing but nice in trying to fix this issue, but your employee Willie was intent on being condescending in the manner of telling him that he was "doing us a favor" by offering to pay for parts. Let me add, this van has sat on your lot since November, we were told that the van was "almost sold" a few times before us, but those interested were unable to get financing, supposedly. So, the way we see it is we did y'all a favor by getting financing and buying the car in the first place, but Garrett was told that "y'all could put it on Ebay and have it sold in no time". So, your dealership is willing to take a car back from a couple who finds the underlying issue of a check engine light revealing that the catalytic converter needs to be replaced, $1000 in work and parts, but you will unplug the battery again and clear the code and then put it on Ebay and sell "the problem" to someone else. Anyway, Willie told Garrett that we would have to pay for everything up front and y'all would mail us a check to cover the parts, almost $1000 that we weren't planning to put into that car so fast. $1000 that we shouldn't have to have put into that car period. But, you guys are doing us a favor. Willie then agreed to let us keep the rental an extra day, yes, let us.
I find it sad that it's hard to find a dealership these days with honest owners, hiring nothing but honest people. Is this how you want your dealership to be known as??? Dishonest?? Can you honestly say that you guys weren't at fault in this matter? How would you feel if you were in our shoes, you and your wife had just bought a used car, the next day the check engine light comes on? You would feel taken advantage of and ultimately sorry that you made the purchase. Don't get me wrong, we love the minivan, we are sorry we weren't told the truth or even given the chance to see the check engine light and make our own decision. Will we be using your dealership or any dealership in your group of "Community" dealerships? No. We will never be back to any of your establishments, and we will be leaving feedback on every website we find associated with your dealerships. We think others should know what they are potentially walking into when they consider buying a car from you. They can expect dishonest business by dishonest employees. Frankly, that's sad, with a name like Community, you'd think you could trust you'd be walking into a dealership who takes pride in how they do business, and by doing so is honest in how they do business, but that's not Community Kia.
Sadly, we were extremely happy Saturday when we drove off your lot. Our girls were so excited to be in their "new" car, we were excited to have a "new" car that we could be proud of. It's very hard to be proud of your "new" car when you have to fork out $1000 the next week for an issue that should have never been an issue. I hope that there isn't another young couple that walks into your business and is taken advantage of like we were. I hope that no one else has to have this feeling when doing business with you. I hope that no one else has to scramble to figure out how they are going to come up with $1000 to fix an unnecessary issue. It's actually laughable to read your "about me" page and see your statements and views on customer service. We saw none of that when dealing with your dealership. The only time we received decent customer service was when dealing with Paul at Honda, and he isn't even an employee of Kia. You say, "Serving the Baytown community with integrity and abiding commitment, the Community principle of serving the community is something we apply in our business transactions every day. We provide more than just pre-owned or new Kias and service, we offer Baytown and surrounding communities quality service and commitment comparable to that of a family’s." If this is how a family treats each other, hiding problems, then making you find them and pay for them. That's not a family I want to be a part of. You also say, "Community Kia’s concentration in customer satisfaction has served as a premise for our business, and our community involvement has helped us become fully aware of Baytown’s needs. For this reason our entire services are shaped to meet these needs diligently, without hesitations." Well, we still don't feel as if our needs have been met, let alone met diligently or without hesitation. This entire ordeal has been nothing but a headache. I really wish I could be writing this email to you saying that your dealership is amazing and did an outstanding job in helping us, but I'm not.
I hope you have taken the time to read the entirety of this email and taken time to think about it and take it to heart. It seems to me that you need to make some changes in your business, because you are not living up to your motto. In my opinion, when one customer walks away unhappy, you have failed at your job. "All in all, the Community Group focuses on the community; our low prices; first-rate quality; and outstanding customer service to ensure customer satisfaction 100% of the time!" Guess you should change that to 50% of them time. Because we were discarded as if our satisfaction meant nothing.
Since sending this letter, we have yet to receive our license plates. When my husband called the first time about them, he was told they "couldn't" mail plates (we live an hour and a half from this dealership, not driving all the way there for plates), this was after calling and talking to a hand full of people and being told to call someone else, then someone else, etc. I finally called to follow up after my husband was told by the Sales Manager that he would "look into it" (never heard anything back of course), and was of course told to call someone at their Toyota dealership, who told me to call my salesman (who hung up on me for no reason), then I had to call their Toyota dealership again and speak to their title department, again, to make sure they had my address correct, and was hung up on yet again (supposedly a mistake). So, if you want to speak to someone on the phone, good luck finding the correct person in the first place, and keeping them on the phone. I won't even mention their Internet Salesperson who told us we would get free XM radio for coming in and making a purchase, she was wrong about that, and we were given an "IOU" for $100, and told we would be mailed a check for that mistake. It's 2 months later and we haven't seen the check. They are "looking into that' as well.
My advice, just steer clear of Community dealerships. If you want work done on your Honda, go talk to Paul. He is a wonderful guy, who will do his best to give you the quality customer service you deserve in an honest manner. He is the ONLY person I would do business with in that group of dealerships, I will, however, never be going back to any of those dealerships simply because of how we were handled by the people at Community Kia. Go search for another dealership, they aren't worth your time or money.
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