I have owned a total of four cars in my life thus far. Three Chevys and a Toyota. My first car was a 1990 Chevy Lumina sedan – yes the Days of Thunder car, that use to belong to my parents. My next vehicle was a 2000 Toyota Rav4. I then went back to Chevy in 2008 and got an HHR. My current car is a 2014 Chevy Equinox.
I have been growing more and more disenfranchised with Chevy though as I have owned the Equinox. Sigh. I received a poorly worded email from the service manager that came off sounding like I was no longer considered a valued customer because I hadn’t had my car serviced in a while. My father received the same email I did as at the time he had two Chevys- a Silverado that was brand new and a Malibu. I then had some other customer service issues with the service department (they took all day to change my oil- and no one ever called to tell me it was done so I just showed up at closing time and then still had to wait because the service advisor never closed my ticket in one instance. In another I took my car in because my check engine light was one…and they returned it to me with the check engine light on).
My most recent issue, however, may be the straw that broke the camel’s back so to say:
Somehow a button cover on the infortainment center got knocked off and is missing. I have looked everywhere- I assume it got vacuumed up when I took it to the car wash recently. The problem is that button is backlit, and without the cover, a blue light shines through and is very distracting while I drive, especially at night. I can honestly tell you; I have never even touched this button in the four years I have driven the car and had to look it up in the owners manual to see what button did (it’s an unlock/lock for all four doors). I also strive to keep my car looking good and in good working order. So it bugged the crap out of me that it was missing.
I emailed my parts department to try to get a new button cover. I was told that they only thing they could do is get me a new “radio screen” that cost $275.00- just for the part. Yeah for what is likely a ten cent piece of plastic. I next checked the local pick n pull because like heck was I paying nearly 300 dollars for a little bit of silver plastic. But the only equinox they had was 11 years older than mine, and as you can imagine, the dash buttons are entirely different. So I tweeted at Chevy and asked them if there was any way to get the little piece of plastic without having to buy a full radio screen. I am sorry, but $275 bucks for a little piece of plastic is ridiculous. Seriously. To my happy surprise they direct messaged me back, asked me for some information about my car and issue, and I messaged them with the information requested. They messaged me back within a few hours to let me know they submitted a trouble ticket in place and gave me a ticket number and told me someone would be contacting me. And like promised I was contacted via phone by someone from GM. When I got the call, I thought YES! This is awesome! But the conversation was most definitely NOT awesome.
First off, I would have to take my car to the dealership to be “diagnosed” – so that would likely be at least $65 bucks to have someone at my dealership look at the button for two seconds and say “yep- it’s missing the little plastic cover.” I may be a woman, but I am not ignorant when it comes to cars. I can look at the button, which still works by the way, and tell that the little silver piece of plastic is missing from the button that covers over the light and has the little lock symbol on it. I don’t need to pay someone else to tell me that. And then they would see if I could qualify for an assistance program for paying for the radio screen. It’s not that I can’t pay the money for this “radio screen” which I don’t understand why it’s called a radio screen when it has nothing to do with the radio or a screen. It’s that I am unwilling to fork over nearly 300 bucks for a tiny plastic button cover so I won’t be distracted by the blue light shining through the dashboard button at me. It’s highway freaking robbery. The person I spoke with was sympathetic and super polite, but I am sorry that is not an acceptable answer to a missing button cover. So I told him the same thing I told the dealership’s parts guy who told me how much the radio screen would be. Thanks but no- I will duct tape over it, so the light doesn’t distract me and carry on. My dad kindly fashioned me something slightly more acceptable than my solution of duct tape:
But it likely won’t last, and it’s definitely not OEM. But at least it wasn’t $275.00 (plus tax). My car has lost a little luster, and I have lost respect in a manufacturer that I originally was reasonably loyal to. I am not in the market for a new car yet, but I will likely be looking beyond Chevy next time. We were a Chevy family. My parents recently traded in their Malibu for a Buick mostly because of the email from the service manager letting them know they were no longer a loyal customer, but I am seriously considering moving beyond the GM brand all together.
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