This is going to be a long one...
I am a consulting forester from East Texas and was in the area last July performing inventory and analysis data collections in the National Forests surrounding Salida, Co. I usually refrain from having my vehicle serviced by any dealership due to the price, but was left with very few options as I was so far from home and just wanted the truck repaired correctly and quickly (looking back now, 0 out of 2 of those criteria were met). My breakdown happened on July 4th of all days, so I was very understanding that they didn't really get a chance to look at it until about a week after dropoff, and really didn't mind that it took 3 weeks to get the truck back (the truck "needed" a new transmission). Because I had work to do in the Uncompahgre NF while my truck sat, I rented a vehicle, hired a taxi company to take me to Gunnison to retrieve that rental vehicle, and was only out 5K for the transmission and about 1K for rental/taxi fees. All good, the truck had about 180K miles on it and I was driving at much higher elevations and steeper slopes than what the truck was used to. I had accepted the new trans. that came with a good warranty as a cost of business. Upon picking up my vehicle, I was assured by Danny (last name redacted) that if anything should go wrong with the transmission, I could go into ANY dealership, and they would fix me up.
Fast forward to April 23, 2018, about 9 months and less than 20,000 miles on the new transmission: I'm back in Texas and broken down on the side of the highway...in the middle of nowhere. I had my vehicle towed to my local dealership as it appeared that there was a problem with the transmission. Upon inspection by the good people at Mike Perry Chrysler Jeep Ram in Nacogdoches, TX, the technician who installed my transmission in Salida failed to properly tighten the bolts connecting the transfer case to the transmission. In fact, a couple of the bolts were missing altogether. The result of the botched "repair" by Salida Town & Country damaged the new transmission and transfer case beyond repair. No problem, I thought, the warranty will surely cover this foul-up...boy was I wrong. Apparently Chrysler warranties only cover parts, not installation errors; they leave the dealership that did the work to decide whether or not to make things right. I know... Now we are about to start getting into some numbers; namely how much, in USD, this dealership has cost me. I wont be including any time lost trying to get ahold of the people that work at this dealership (including the owner himself), just what I actually had to pay for walking into this dealership. I'll do some rounding to make the math easy:
$5,000.....initial repair (I think it was actually $5,300, but we're rounding)
$1,000.....initial 3 weeks rental car fees/cab fare (at least)
$8,000.....transmission #2 and transfer case
$2,000.....6 weeks of rental car fees in TX
That totals 16K, and you may be wondering: "why did it take 6 weeks to repair the transmission and transfer case the 2nd time?" Well, hold your horses; this is where it gets really humiliating for Salida Town & Country.
I called Salida Town & Country to let them know what was going on as soon as the second breakdown occurred. I spoke with a young man (name redacted), who informed me that Danny (the man who I dealt with in 2017) no longer worked at the dealership, but that he would let his manager know and that he would get back with me. Good thing I didn't hold my breath. I tried several more times and was put through to voicemail; many more times. I really wish I would have kept track of the number of times I called and the number of voice messages I left for these people. I left multiple messages for 4 different employees over the next month and a half with only a couple call-backs. Our conversations were always brief, apologetic, and full of it ("we are still trying to get ahold of your dealership"). I sent emails with zero responses; I even sent them pictures that the Texas dealership took of all the damage (some are included at the end of this post). The service manager at the Texas dealership even tried to get ahold of the Salida dealership on my behalf with very little success. After weeks of pure frustration, I finally decided to get Chrysler Corporation involved; of course the "complaint department" is just some call center that's located who knows where. My first conversation with them led to the young lady putting me on hold and calling Salida Town & Country herself. I waited for 10-15 minutes and was then told that she did make contact and that the two dealerships were in communication with each other and "the ball was rolling." (This is what Salida T & C told Chrysler Corp.) Immediately after having this conversation, I called the Texas dealership and was told that they hadn't heard from Salida T & C at all. Probably not a good sign that a Chrysler dealership isn't being truthful to Chrysler Corporation. It was 6 weeks after the breakdown when I finally just started bugging the receptionist non-stop and wouldn't accept "he's in a meeting" any longer. I literally called and called and called and called and finally got a call back, and was told that they would not be helping with the repair because the bolts should have been checked during regular maintenance. I almost laughed...almost. You mean to tell me that checking the transfer case/transmission bolts for tightness is considered regular maintenance? And why should I have to check your technician's work after I pay double what any non-dealership mechanic would have charged? And why did you wait 6 WEEKS to bear this news to me?
So, I feel like I was strung along by the folks at Salida Town & Country. Had they at least had enough spine to tell me up front that they had no intention of standing behind their work, at least I wouldn't have had the rental car fees and headache of calling them every other day for a month and a half. Down here in Texas, we call that chicken-youknowwhat (rhymes with chicken-split). And if you made it this far in my commentary, know that I waited a couple weeks so this review would be less scathing. And I do plan on sending a copy of this review to the BBB, Chrysler Corp., and anyone else I deem needs to be warned about Salida Town & Country's complete lack of professionalism and human decency. Pictures of the botched replaced transmission are included below:
Don't Mess With Texas
CF, Certified Arborist #TX4320-A