Last February, we traded in our SUV for a brand new Toyota mini-van (because suddenly we’ve become OLD!). A few months ago, several lights on the dashboard came on and while I tried to google the reason for it (because doesn’t google have the answers to everything?), I ended up scheduling an appointment with the nearest Toyota dealership for a diagnostic. We’ll refer to that trip as Appt #1.

On a Friday afternoon, after scheduling time off from work, I drove 45 miles to Appt #1. After sitting in their lame-o waiting room for about 40 minutes, the service manager came in to tell me that the oxygen sensor was out and needed to be replaced. Unfortunately (you will see that word too many times in this post), they had to order the part and schedule an appointment to put it in: Appt #2.

On my way home from Appt #1, while driving 70 mph, I notice the hood of my van shaking and shimmy-ing. I pulled over to find that while the safety latch was engaged (thank God!), it wasn’t closed. I called the service manager and told him about it, and he seemed duly apologetic.

Appt #2 also was scheduled Friday afternoon. Again, another 45 mile trip to the dealership. Another 45 minutes in their waiting area watching ceaseless updates on M.J.’s death. The service manager came in to tell me that they replaced the sensor but UNFORTUNATELY, when they hooked up the van to make sure everything was A-OK, they discovered the second sensor was out. Of course they did NOT order more than one, since apparently having a sensor go out on a vehicle with only 13,000 miles on it is unusual.

I was peevish and short with him. I told him that it’s difficult for me to get time off from work. Oh, we can do it on Saturday if you want. Well, shit. If I had known that…my bad. So I scheduled Appt #3.

He handed me my keys and I walked out to get my van. I made sure the hood was shut and opened the sliding door to put my purse in the back (the world’s LARGEST purse, which is why it goes in the back). When I did, there was ZGirl’s car seat, unhooked and slid to the side. Goddammit! I muttered, and stomped back inside to find the service manager.

When I told him about it, he found the service tech and I overheard the tech say he couldn’t figure out how to get it back in once he had removed it (they had to take out the front seat of the van to reset the sensor or some such bullshit, and the carseat was in the way). The service manager came out with me and helped me get it all tightened up again. While I could have done it myself, I thought he should instead.

Appt #3’s scheduled date arrives and I again make the trip south. I still have some semblance of humor in spite of everything and as I hand the keys over to the service manager, I say, “Make sure the hood is down; the carseat is installed; and the part is fixed.” *insert ‘ha-ha’ here to take edge off of the sarcasm* I brought a magazine with me for the waiting room and settled in. Of course, about 30 minutes later, the service manager walks in. He looks grave, and my face flushes with annoyance: “I’m so sorry to tell you this but UNFORTUNATELY we ordered the wrong part. We’ll have to re-order and reschedule you in (Appt #4??? No fucking way!).”

Don’t bother, I tell him. It’s been one error after another here and now I’ll just take it to The Metro (100 mile trip) to get this stupid part fixed (since even though my husband could do it, it would void the warranty). If you had just ordered two, we’d be done by now.

We had no idea that both sensors would go out and then we’d have the cost of returning the extra part.

Well, don’t you now still have the expense of returning an extra part since it’s the wrong (motherfucking – what I wanted to say) part?! Not to mention my extra expenses for lost time at work and gas and my own personal time?? He apologized meekly some more; asked if there was anything they could do and I kicked him in the crotch and on his way down, I judo chopped him in the throat. Not really but in my mind’s eye…

Since then, I’ve had Appt #4 with a dealership in The Metro. It required not only 200 extra miles on my van as well as a full day off from work. I combined ZGirl’s doctor appointment with the trip so I had her along, which meant I brought XBoy along to be my buffer when ZGirl started getting fussy, but I also convinced my mom to join me and turned the day into a shopping spree where I ended up buying a new light-weight stroller that just about sent Mr. DD down to the courthouse to file for legal separation! Wheeeeee!! Good times, y’all.

Not only that, but in the past few days, I’ve received not one, but two phone calls from the first dealership (Ernst in Columbus, just FYI to you googlers looking for a reputable dealership: this is SO not the place). The first was to see if I was satisfied (??) with the service; the second to follow-up on the fact that I was most definitely NOT satisfied with my service. And to add insult to injury, the second caller had the nerve to excuse every mistake the dealership made:

  • The hood was left open because one guy checked the engine but a second guy who didn’t know about the first guy is the one who parked your van and doesn’t check the hoods of every car he drives. (It’s still the first guy’s fault!)
  • We can’t hook up carseats because of the liability involved in case there’s an accident. (So I’m supposed to believe that while your service tech is inept to the point he cannot simply latch back up again the latch he UNlatched, he’s qualified to remove AND put back in the driver’s seat??)
  • We couldn’t have known that your van would have needed two sensors and cannot keep in stock every possible part. If we had ordered two sensors, we would have had the expense of returning it. (Granted, it was the vehicle’s “failure” in the first place, it was the dealership’s when it came down to them ordering in the wrong part, which they still had the expense of returning – and like I give a shit what their “expenses” are??)

Finally I just railed into her by saying, “Don’t you dare call me after you find out that I’m displeased with the service I received and then make up excuses for their errors. You can call me and apologize; offer me free products (I could really use some mud flaps and Mr. DD likes to use genuine parts – a.k.a. oil filters); and even send me a check to reimburse me for the gas used for Appt #3 and #4, but don’t you DARE tell me how I don’t have the right to be upset and make up excuses for the ineptitude that dominates your dealership!!

The only defense I will offer is that Earnst doesn’t just service Toyota’s. In other words, I should have gone to a dealership that is strictly Toyota in the first place. In the 15 years Mr. DD and I have owned and driven Toyotas, we have never had to make a visit to a service department for any work before this. Not once. So to make four trips in two months pisses me right off.

You know what sucks even just a little bit more? I’ve now noticed a rattle in the back passenger door. Aaaaaiiiiiieeeeee!!!