I write to express my frustration and dissatisfaction with my recent experience with the service department at Audi of Smithtown. I wrote this letter to Mr. Brown, the general manager and emailed him on several occasions. Other than an extremely brief phone call 6 weeks ago, during which he told me he would "look into it and call me back", I have not heard from him.
After speaking with a service representative, I dropped off my 2012 Audi A4 quattro for an evaluation. My car was stumbling and hesitating at low RPM, especially when the engine was cold. I was going to be away for several days, so it was a convenient time to have my car evaluated. Frustratingly, the mechanic was unable to find a definitive cause for the problem. The service representative advised me that it might be “carbon buildup” and to have the valve cover removed for further inspection (“about $800 and it might not be the problem”) or to try a bottle of injector cleaner in a tank of gas.
Because I was away, my wife picked up my car, drove straight home (about 6 miles) and parked it in our garage where it remained until I returned. The first time I started my car was early the next morning preparing to go to work. The stumbling and hesitation was present and unchanged. However, now, the instrument cluster was completely black and would not turn on despite my trying each of the control buttons individually and together.
I called the service representative that afternoon to inform her of the problem and she advised me to bring my car in for evaluation. I brought my car to the service department. My car was evaluated by several people, including a mechanic, the service representative (someone different than the one I had previously spoken to), and the service manager, Mr. Geosits. I was told the instrument cluster had failed and would cost $1800 to replace.
I informed the service representative and Mr. Geosits that since the instrument cluster was in perfect working order when I had dropped off my car, that Audi of Smithtown had been working on my car, and that the instrument cluster was no longer working, it was Audi of Smithtown’s responsibility to repair the instrument cluster. After some discussion, I was informed by Mr. Geosits that it was my responsibility and not Audi of Smithtown’s. The “best” he could offer was to waive the labor cost and to see if he could find a rebuilt instrument cluster for me. I have not yet heard from him.
Although Mr. Geosits informed me repetitively that my car was not damaged, accidentally or otherwise, by Audi of Smithtown, he cannot eliminate the possibility. My car came to Audi of Smithtown without a problem with the instrument cluster and came home with the instrument cluster no longer working.
Customer service defines the success of a business. There are many car manufacturers and many car dealerships.
It is clear to me that Audi of Smithtown believes a single customer is meaningless, that this letter will most likely go into a file somewhere, and that I will have to go elsewhere to have my car repaired. Still, the right answer, from a customer service perspective, would have been for Mr. Geosits or Mr. Brown to simply say he’s sorry for the problem and he’ll have it fixed immediately and at no cost to me. Had he said that, I would have been writing an entirely different letter, posting entirely different reviews, and telling an entirely different story to everyone.