All’s Well That Ends Well…Not Always

First, I am surprised that yesterday’s post, Imaginary Conversations, did not elicit more comments. Does that mean some of you also engage in such conversations?


Anyway…yesterday I took the Mustang GT in for its first oil change. I had assumed, my bad, that the car used full synthetic oil so the recommended interval for changing the oil would be one year or 10,000 miles, whichever came first. I was wrong, but that’s another story.

When I made the appointment online a few days earlier the screen read, “Estimated Charge, $0.00.” I did/do not expect all oil changes to be free, but it is not uncommon in the industry for the first one or two oil changes to be gratis, especially if they are done by the dealer that sold you the car.

When I arrived, I assumed (you know what happens when you assume) that an employee would greet me in the service lane and ask for my name and appointment time. That has been the case at EVERY OTHER dealership with whom I have done business. No one stopped at my car even though I saw two or three employees walking in the service lanes.

Finally, I turned off the engine and got out of the car. I walked through the closest service door. I was not greeted in a friendly manner, was asked who my service advisor was (I had no idea) and then a young woman stuck her head out from behind her computer screen and said, “That’s me” when I gave my name and appointment time to someone inside. The service advisor did not say hello nor did she even introduce herself.

When I mentioned that I was informed the oil change would be free, the service advisor said, “No oil changes are free here.” She asked if I had a coupon. I did, but not on me since I didn’t think I would need it. Contrary to the dealership’s stated policy, she did not then tell me what the charge would be.

I had also written in the online request for an appointment that the Mustang’s GPS had gone haywire twice. I mentioned this to the service advisor and she said someone would check it out.

Oh, when making the appointment I had asked for a shuttle to take me home. When I arrived I learned that the shuttle only operates within a 12-mile radius of the dealership. According to MapQuest, we live 18 miles from the dealership. That meant I had to call my wonderful wife to pick me up.

Anyway, I had arrived a few minutes early for my 8:30 appointment. We left a little after 9 AM.

We had lunch with our friend and former neighbor, Emily, and when we finished at about 1 PM, I realized I had not heard from the dealer. I called and had to navigate through “Push two for service, push three to check on the status of your vehicle” to leave a message.

When we returned home after lunch, I checked the mail and I had received a “greeting” from the dealer about my car along with some coupons. The flyer contained a different phone number so I decided to call again–at 1:30 PM–to get an update and, this time, chose the option for making an appointment.

When I finally reached “my” service advisor she said the work on my car had not begun because the GPS diagnostics would take some time. I then asked her if this meant that doing the diagnostics would mean the car would not be ready until the next day. She said yes. I told her to forget the “diagnostics.” By the way, the dealer’s stated policy is that all cars receive a comprehensive “multi-point inspection” with every service, free of charge. I had to ask what the charge would be for the oil change, so much for the “Upfront Pricing” policy, and was told it would be just over $100, including tax.

I told the service advisor that this had been the worst service experience I had ever had. Before we went to pick up the car, I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. By the way, all I asked for as “compensation” was an acknowledgement from the dealer that they had screwed up.

I was so livid that, at one point, I used Carvana’s website to get an offer on my car. I was going to trade it in for a late-model Dodge Challenger. The offer, however, was most disappointing.

We drove to the dealership and I had a coupon from the mailing on hand. The total charge was supposed to entitle me to a $10 discount, but I imagined the dealership saying that meant pre-tax charge and that they would only give me a $5 discount. At that point, I was going to tear the coupon into many pieces and throw them at the dealership employee.

Anyway, after wandering through the dealership (it has little signage and what signage it has is very vague), we found the service advisor. I was not looking forward to the interaction. She said to me, “Oh yes, [my last name],” and pulled the invoice and my keys. She then said, “It’s on the house.” Yes, I did say thank you.

While that was a good gesture on the part of the dealership, at my stage of life, time and avoiding stress are more important than money. I can never get those hours back.

I am still thinking about possibly getting rid of the Mustang. Would that be cutting off my nose to spite my face? Maybe…


The stress will continue today as we take the Maserati for its emissions inspection. My “car guy” and his crew will see that car next Tuesday. Oh, my wonderful wife and I priced some parts that the Maserati needs. How about almost $400 for the dashboard clock or almost $200 for the console handle, which is just a couple of plastic parts and some springs? I must really love cars.






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4 thoughts on “All’s Well That Ends Well…Not Always

  1. Buy a Lexus. Took my car in to get my 75,000 mile service, which is free, and to get tires since the dealer has a “buy three get one free plus deal”. When I got there, the tech was on my car before I had turned off the engine. When I got to my service manager, she put me in a 2022 loaner because the tires were not in stock; it would take three hours for the tires to be delivered. I also asked about the last time my oil was changed. It was 5000 miles ago but the free oil change will be due at 80,000. I said ok, but when I got home I said no to change the oil now, I’ll take the free oil change in 5000 more miles. “No problem, we will call you and enjoy the loaner.” Fortunately, I get a car allowance to help offset the cost of having a car. In and out, a pleasurable experience at the dealer for me.


    1. Thanks, Doc. The only Lexus in which I have genuine interest and can “afford” is the LC. Still, that would have cost more than what the Ford dealer gave me in trade for the Z06 PLUS what I paid for the Maserati.


  2. Being as most dealerships service department is one of their “bread and butter” departments, finance being the other (most profitable departments), you would think they would strive to make it a pleasant experience. You would think.

    When I was in Phoenix working, I had to take one of our trucks to a “local” dealer, Camelback, for some service work. Ended up having to go back twice so they could fix what they said they fixed the first and second time. Once all was said and done, I told them I wouldn’t have them work on a wheelbarrow in the future.

    My first experience with dealerships was in 1986/87 on the first/only new car I have purchased. It was a relatively decent experience, but that was a dealership recognized as a performance dealership and I had a performance car. I do have a good relationship with my local Ford dealer, but we have been leasing trucks from them for around 15 years now so they better treat me/us well.

    Is there another Ford dealer you can use?


    1. Thanks, DDM. The only other Ford dealer in the area and not in a bad neighborhood is almost 30 miles from here, one way.

      Comping the oil change was a nice touch even though, as I wrote, I didn’t ask for that in the BBB complaint. I’ll have to see how I feel in six months when the Mustang needs another oil change.


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