For the past two years, we had no problems with Lexus of Santa Monica until last week and boy, this is a disappointing and fateful one. I had a lot of respect for Lexus of Santa Monica until last week. At this point, I would recommend that you never buy from nor service a vehicle at Lexus of Santa Monica. I can never trust them again, and this is why:
Most people don't have four in-car HD cameras installed in their vehicle recording 24-7 - but we do. I disclosed this to the service advisor so they wouldn't roll the windows down, as I always do.
7:40 AM - I was the only customer at the service drop-off and was promptly helped. I told the service advisor we needed the 6-month service as well as "fuel injection" service, which I was told we needed at the last service. I was quoted just under $400 by the advisor. I signed and walked off to wait - and shortly realized thereafter that I signed for a separate "throttle service" (~$200). Promptly returned to the service advisor and was told that it was part of the "fuel service" discount package, which apparently has two parts - "fuel induction" and "throttle service." I decided we didn't need "throttle service" this time and asked them to remove it and just check to see if we needed it and to let me know. We were never told we previously needed it and I was not advised as the service advisor wrote the ticket that he was adding "throttle service." I had only recalled previously being told we needed fuel injection service. Conveniently, they no longer have access to previous service notes - all gone - poof! That was the first curiosity, but I chalked it up to miscommunication because I asked for "fuel injection" service. Now, I truly question if it was miscommunication or whether an additional service was added to simply charge me more. In the end, we were told the throttle is fine and doesn't need any service. At least they were honest about that - I think...
9:15 AM - The service advisor cashed me out and I was on my way at 9:20. I contacted them three times later throughout the day because the brake measurements were not on the invoice (never heard back until the following morning). That was the second curiosity. That night, I retrieved the data from our in-car cameras and started to review it. I found the following:
7:52 AM - vehicle entered the shop
8:00 AM - vehicle pulled into bay and hood opened
8:03 AM - vehicle raised
8:17 AM - vehicle lowered
8:20 AM - hood closed
8:24 AM - vehicle left shop and left to sit on the east drive (the only car for a long time)
9:20 AM - I left after cashing out
After speaking with the service advisor and service manager, the fuel induction service takes one technician 30-40 minutes (usually on the ground) plus the time for the 6-month service. Our vehicle was in the service bay for a total of 20-minutes with one technician. This was the third curiosity.
The vehicle sat in the east drive for almost an hour before they notified me that it was outside just sitting and waiting, conveniently just out of sight if one was looking out from the lobby. This was the fourth curiosity.
The service manager has only offered to inspect the vehicle so that they can confirm for themselves that the service was not completed. He explained to me that he reviewed their video and that my timeline matches up with what he also saw. He has offered no other option nor explanation. To any reasonable person, it is not a reasonable request to return the car to them knowing what I now believe about Lexus of Santa Monica, based upon my video. Why am I now expected to blindly trust them and spend more of my time so that they can verify what I already believe? How is this helpful to anyone but them?
I'll let you decide what you think happened during the 20-minutes in the service bay, but based upon the words of the service department, it doesn't seem within the realm of possibility that a 30-40 minute ($200) fuel induction and the 6-month service could have occurred in 20-minutes total, with the car in the air for 14 of those minutes, since the fuel induction service is usually completed on the ground. Oh yea, they billed $247.50 for labor for those 20-minutes in the service bay!!!
With this experience, should you take the chance with Lexus of Santa Monica? Do you have the means and expertise to independently verify the work that you paid for? It's always a leap of faith with vehicle service, but Lexus of Santa Monica has shown to me that they should not be trusted or that they are worthy of my business. In fact, ths behavior appears to lean toward something entirely different, and not just ethically... You be the judge with your money.
I have noticed a steady decline in service over the past two years, but chalked it up to a corporate need to continuously address the bottom line and cost cut. However, after this experience, I won't let the shiny, beautiful and impressive Lexus vehicles deceive me ever again about the behavior of the staff at Lexus of Santa Monica and how LA Car Guy has decided to manage this dealership. You have now been warned.