They're chintzy, and it's all about the bait-and-switch. I hate it. They won't fess up to work done that may have gone wrong, or not been done correctly. And you're compelled to go through them to get these things fixed. There have been symptoms associated with recalls that I've taken my car in before to resolve, and they have told me straight to my face that it was something completely different and I'm responsible to pay it.
I just wrote this to the owner:
I am writing with regards to our recent visit to Herzog-Meier.
We took our '04 New Beetle to Herzog in June for an open recall, # 69535699, to check and replace two front airbag crash sensors. To our understanding, that recall was to address the problem of air bag lights coming on, when they was not a problem.
At some point last month, our air bag alert light came on. Naturally, our first thought was that the recall service was not done properly, or that it may have failed. So, we brought it back to Herzog to take a look. Or, I should say, my wife did.
We have decided that when dealing with service centers for our cars from now on, that I will accompany my wife. It seems that every time she has gone solo, she has been taken advantage of in one way or another. The clerk said that they would be happy to look at it, but that if the problem was non-related, then we would be charged a minimum of $110 and told my wife they would not look at the car unless she signed a form saying she would. This to me was a bait-and-switch - 1) how could we prove one way or another that the problem was indeed due to the recall, and 2) why would we take it someplace else and pay to have it looked at, when it could have been due to a mis-repair by Herzog? I can understand if we had come by a year after the initial recall inspection, that your company would be suspicious. But the light had come on inside of 90 days after the repair, and we dropped it off at the soonest possible time considering our schedules, my wife's pregnancy, and that there are no considerations made for people who have to drop of their cars for intedeterminate periods of time, I may add. My wife walked a mile to the MAX stop in order to get home after dropping the car off.
We did not get a call back for several days, and when we did, surprise! We would have to foot the entire bill because the problem was software-related. Reference your invoice # 121207. One of which was a recall service done, and the other was not covered by any sort of recall. This apparently, was what caused the light to come on - not the sensor as had been replaced before.
This brings me to another beef - what company, operating anywhere today, charges for a "software update" that clearly causes an issue? Microsoft does not charge for patches or updates that address ongoing problems or bugs in their system. People would revolt in the streets if they did. If I wanted to upgrade to a premium new software or operating system, I should have to pay the money. Not to fix something that is broken by nature. An UPDATE means you're fixing something that VW got wrong, not that is related to the age, wear, tear, or mistreatment of the car!
This is what boggles my mind - and Mike was quite rude about it to me on the phone, saying "your wife signed the form, and you're obligated to pay it." We had no other choice - the symptom matched what he supposed recall was supposed to fix in June, so we would expect to get some better treatment or assessment of the problem. And then, the problem was bogus anyways. We ended up being charged for a software update that should be a no-charge item, and I do not believe used up $110 of you time and labor. Nor, that it should have taken more than 2 days to repair.
I'm really appalled at this whole thing, and it has made me seriously reconsider whether I will ever buy VW again. I have not been impressed with either Ray Reece, or Herzog in this area. If VW, and by extension, Herzog, are charging me for a software update that prevents my air bag light from being on, in my pregnant wife's car, and it's a SAFETY ISSUE, then that is ridiculous and just makes me fed up.
I will be passing along my comments to VW as well. I do not intend to take my car back to Herzog. This very instance of baiting and switching a customer makes me very upset. I do not believe it was fair given the circumstances, and that the symptom was so closely-related to a recall service performed by Herzog that they were immediately loathe to take any accountability for and baited my wife into signing over for so they could pick up an extra $110.
*sigh* I feel a little better. Again - this is only a small thing. But this is how these guys operate, and it makes me so upset because every visit is some type of drama like this. I will not be going back to this dealer again. Lord knows how it would be if my car were under warranty and I had to deal with this s*** all the time...