March 13, 2007

DaimlerChrysler
P.O. Box 4639
Oak Ridge, TN 37831

Subj: Poor Customer Service

Dear Sirs,

I am writing about poor customer service I have recently received at two different south central Indiana Chrysler-Jeep dealers in the hope others will not have to experience the same poor service.

Background

I became intrigued in late 2004 by rumors of a diesel Jeep Liberty. I have always been fond of the Jeep lineup and have owned a Jeep CJ7 since 1985. When the Liberty CRDs were introduced in early 2005 I eagerly followed their progress on the internet forums and automotive journals. I took the reports of EGR failures and poor customer service in stride, and in January 2006 I ordered a Liberty CRD from Polo Jeep in Muncie, Indiana. Bill Shoemaker made buying a Jeep product a wonderful experience.

A little about myself. I am an electrical engineer with an extensive mechanical background. The past 22 years I have designed, built, and tested aircraft avionics, electronics countermeasures, and fire control systems for military aircraft. I have been an auto and motorcycle enthusiast my adult life and am very knowledgeable in those areas. I own four automobiles, two motorcycles, and a boat. I do the maintenance, modifications, and repairs on all these vehicles. I am also a volunteer firefighter/EMT/special deputy and work on police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. I am a very informed consumer with real world knowledge and experience.

For the first 11 months the Liberty CRD was the best vehicle I've ever owned. Plenty of power and driveability, great fuel mileage, handling, four wheel drive...no complaints. Since I've had the Jeep I've made two modifications. I replaced the restrictive factory muffler with a less restrictive one to allow the turbo diesel to breath. This has increased driveability and gained a documented 1.5 miles per gallon. I also modified the air intake path slightly so it won't ingest rain water. It still uses the factory housing and filter. Neither change negatively affects engine operation or is covered under the warranty umbrella.

In January 2007 the Check Engine light came on. My OBD scanner revealed a manifold pressure (MAP) sensor problem. I removed the sensor to find it completely caked up with crud generated by the combination of oily crankcase fumes and EGR-returned soot. I cleaned the sensor which corrected the problem....for a few weeks. The Check Engine light came on again with the same callout. In conjunction it also starting going into ‘limp home mode' with low power and lack of throttle response. Per my service manual and internet sources, these were symptoms of a failed MAP sensor. The Jeep was due for the ball joint recall and two computer updates so I decided to take it to a dealer for those issues and the suspected MAP sensor problem.

Service attempt #1 - Town & Chrysler Jeep, Bloomington, Indiana

I delivered the Jeep to Town & Country Chrysler Jeep in Bloomington, Indiana, on February 3rd. I brought in a written description of the problem along with a printout from the Jeep.com website showing the recall/updates needed for my Jeep. The service writer, John, although generally pleasant, had an ‘I know more than you do' attitude and talked down to me. He paid no attention to the documentation I brought in or my trouble reports. I reminded him about the updates the Jeep needed and he seemed miffed to add them to the service request.

Town & Country had my Jeep for 3 weeks. They replaced the battery, EGR valve, EGR flow control valve, and some smaller items. They did the computer updates but not the ball joint recall. Due to my work schedule I picked up the Jeep after hours. The Jeep was clean and appeared to have been respectfully treated.

I had only driven literally a hundred yards or so when the Check Engine light came on. In the first quarter mile the Jeep went into limp mode. The initial problems had not been fixed. They either hadn't found the pressure sensor problem or had not fixed it as it was not mentioned in the service write up. They also had not test driven the Jeep. I had found the trouble code, why didn't they?

While the Jeep was at the Bloomington dealer a couple people had recommended Community Chrysler in Martinsville, Indiana. I decided to take it there as the Bloomington dealer seemed unable to remedy my Jeep's problem.

Service attempt #2 - Community Chrysler, Martinsville, Indiana

I took the Jeep to Community Chrysler on Friday, March 2nd. I liked their people and facilities even though it is 55 miles from my house. Monday morning, March 5th, the service writer (Becky) called and said the Jeep was done. They had replaced the ball joints and found the MAP sensor code. However, "due to the Jeep being heavily modified they would not be able to repair it under warranty". Heavily modified???? It only has the two minor modifications described earlier. No computer chips. No lift kit, big tires. No changes to the engine.

The service writer lowered my opinion even further when she tried to tell me: (1) The MAP sensor is in the air filter housing. This is wrong. The MAP sensor is in the intake manifold. And (2) that due to me changing the inlet to the airbox it was causing the MAP sensor to malfunction. What do you say to someone who doesn't even know where the sensor is? And then blames the problem on something completely bogus?? I told her to put the keys in the Jeep and I would pick it up that evening. She said she would.

The story continues. That night my girlfriend and I drove 55 miles to Martinsville to get the Jeep only to find they didn't leave the keys in it. Luckily I had my spare set with me. All the way home I thought I smelled diesel fuel. I thought someone might have gotten some diesel fuel on the interior. When I pulled the Jeep into the garage I noticed steam or smoke coming from under the hood. I opened the hood to find the motor and underhood insulation drenched in diesel fuel and diesel fuel spraying on me. The return line nipple on the front fuel injector was broken. Did it get broken at the Martinsville Jeep dealer? It wasn't broken when I took the Jeep up there. You be the judge. Now I had a Jeep that was more broken than it was to start with.

The next morning I drove 55 miles (again) to Martinsville to pick up the keys they had forgotten to put in the Jeep. On the way back home I stopped at the Bloomington Jeep dealer. I talked to a different service writer, Chris. He was very nice. He even let me fill out my own service request. We made arrangements to have the Jeep towed to their dealership.

Service attempt #3 - Town & Chrysler Jeep, Bloomington, Indiana

The towing company picked up the Jeep on March 7th. The next day I received a call from the Bloomington Jeep dealer. They had found the problem. The fuel return line was broken. I already knew that and had written it on the service request, but it was nice of them to give me a courtesy call. They said the parts were ordered and it would be fixed in a day or two. I told them to keep it as long as they needed.

When I got home on the evening of March 12th there was a message from Bloomington Jeep to call them. Here is where things really start to go downhill. When I initially had problems with the Jeep I had removed the plastic engine cover to check the engine. Since it was going to the dealer I left the cover off. One less thing for them to mess with.

I called on the morning of March 13th. John, the not-so-friendly service writer, said the Jeep was fixed. Good news! But, he said he would not release the Jeep to me until the plastic engine cover was placed back on the engine as it was a "vital part of the engine". What? My Jeep is being held hostage because it doesn't have a decorative engine cover on it?? Needless to say, I wasn't happy about this ridiculous situation. I planned on having my girlfriend pick up the Jeep on her way home from work (she carpools). Now she and I would have to a make special trip to Bloomington (30 miles) to get the Jeep.

We drove to Bloomington. I put the cover on the Jeep. I went inside to get the keys. John has more news. There's been a mix up. My Jeep isn't fixed yet. They've been waiting on a part and it just arrived. John doesn't offer any apologies for my wasted trip. He doesn't say ‘sorry'. He just said my Jeep wasn't ready and they'd call me when it was done. At this point I can feel my blood boiling. After all the unnecessary trouble I've been through with this Jeep I was feeling a basic need to strangle someone.

I highly suspected the sensor in question was the boost sensor. John goes to the parts department to see what sensor it is. I follow. The parts guy says it's the boost sensor. Note: After Bloomington Jeep had failed to replace this sensor on my first visit I had ordered a boost sensor and planned to fix it myself if need be.

As we left the parts department I told John I had a boost sensor at home and I would install it myself. He then started lecturing me about how I shouldn't have changed my exhaust, and since I knew the boost sensor was bad and had a replacement that I've obviously been messing with the motor, and how I need to leave the plastic engine cover on at all times since it's a vital part of the motor, yada, yada. Not only were the things he was saying completely inappropriate, they were completely wrong. Apparently, in his mind, it's a sin to be knowledgeable about your vehicle or use an OBD scanner to troubleshoot your own problems.

I'm one of those people who never get mad at anything, but I was thoroughly upset at this point. I held up my hand and said, "John, I understand your position. Give me the keys. I'm taking my Jeep home." He started to tell me the sensor change needed to be done there under warranty and I repeated myself. He gave me the keys and I drove it home.

As I type this I still can't believe how rude and unprofessional he was and it re-aggravates me. He didn't ask me what I wanted to do. He told me what I was going to do. When I'd start to say something he'd turn away and ignore me or start talking over me.

When I got home I spent 20 minutes replacing the boost sensor and now the Jeep is finally fixed. I will give credit to the tech who worked on my Jeep. Not only did he fix the fuel leak, he also cleaned the engine compartment and I appreciate that. However, I also noticed they removed my underhood insulation and didn't replace it.

I hope I have been able to convey the ridiculousness and poor quality of the customer service I received...not once, but three times. I've consumed several hours of valuable vacation time and driven hundreds of unnecessary miles in an attempt to have my Jeep repaired. In the end I had to fix it myself. It was a simple repair for an easily diagnosed problem.

The problems I had were generally with the service writers. Service writers treating me like I was stupid. Service writers telling me things that were blatantly not true. Service writers trying to blame my problems on things I had done which had no bearing on the problems. I have also changed my stereo and added seat covers. Will this make a boost sensor go bad? No...but I know a couple service writers who might tell me it would.

It appears the Chrysler/Jeep dealer network is either unable or unwilling to provide reasonable service for their vehicles. They only performed the simple and/or obvious repairs and procedures and have left the real repairs to the owner (me). Both dealerships denied me rental cars even though my owner's manual states I should have one. I have added my voice to the growing number of unsatisfied customers on the internet forums. I will also be posting a copy of this letter on my own website which gets several thousand hits a day.

My dad was a General Motors employee for 42 years. I have always been a ‘Buy American' person. Now I am a ‘Buy GM or Ford' person. My girlfriend was prepared to pay cash for a new 4-door Dakota at the Bloomington Jeep dealer, but in her words "It will be a cold day in hell before I spend a penny for a Chrysler product." In this age of global competition and internet information poor customer service such as this cannot be tolerated and should not be allowed to exist.

Until today I was a proud Jeep owner. Now I feel abandoned and betrayed by an American company who treat their customers like crap. I hope this letter will be received as constructive criticism and not as a rant.

Sincerely,

Stan Wright





My girlfriend's new truck (3/24/2007) - A 2007 Chevy Colorado 4WD Crewcab

True to her word, she didn't buy a Daimler-Chrysler product.

A closeup of the sign.


I didn't expect much of a response from Jeep, and I wasn't disappointed.

In other words..."We don't care."


Here's another email I received from a disappointed Jeep customer. It's nice to see Jeep screwing over our servicemen:

"Stan, I am writing in regards to the problems you had with the numerous Jeep dealerships you went to for service. I had similar problems with a dealership I am stationed near in Delaware. After getting out of Air Force basic training in October I had decided I wanted a new car. I was always raised around Jeeps and I currently had a 1990 Cherokee, and a 1988 Grand Wagoneer. Both were very reliable but big, so I opted for a 2006 Wrangler. I purchased the wrangler back home in New York and brought it with me to Delaware.

After about 6000 miles on the odometer and two or three camping trips where the Jeep was taken down some logging roads (a far cry in difficulty from the rubicon trail that its "trail rated" badge suggests that it is more than cabable of tackling) the stock transmission mount disintegrated. I brought the Jeep to Hertrich Nissan Jeep in Dover Delaware to get the problem taken care of. I told the service writer that I was a mechanic as a civilian, worked on the light duty vehicles at my firehouse, and was now a mechanic for the Air Force and that there is no way the mount should have fallen apart. He then decided it was his job to inform me that at 18 I was too young to understand the mechanics of the vehicle, and that I didnt know the limitations of it or its parts. I had to do a double take to make sure I had heard what I thought I heard. I proceeded to tell him that he needed to pay closer attention to the words coming out of his mouth as I was a customer, not his kid. I don't think he heard me though because his response was "we will call you when its done being assessed".

Well after the better half of a week without my Jeep and numerous calls to the dealer as to its condition I got a call that I could approve a replacement of the mount but it would not be covered under warrenty due to the fact that they found dirt under the car and it was obviously subjected to careless offroading. I went down to give him a piece of my mind and told him exactly where the jeep had been taken, but he insisted that dirt doesn't get under a four wheel drive vehicle unless it is subjected to serious abuse. I like you wanted to strangle the man. I asked him to get his manager and after ten minutes of standing there arguing and then a 2 minute chase in which he was following me around the dealership as I searched for the man he refused to reveal, I found his manager's office and explained to him the situation. I was in uniform at the time and he decided it wise to try and change the subject and thank me for my service to my country in which my response was simply "if you want to thank me fix my jeep". Well it is needless to say he agreed with his service writer and I was forced to leave with a broken jeep.

I ordered a heavy duty mount and didn't have a problem with it the rest of the time I owned the vehicle. I just recently traded it in and got a 1999 F250 Superduty. I am still a fan of Jeeps but my loyalties now lie strictly with CJs, and other classic models. Models that I can fix myself and that I know can handle a little dirt. I hope you dont take this as a rant, but like you said constructive critisism. By the way nice truck I hope you don't mind me using it a goal for my newly aquired truck. Have a good one Stan.

Airman First Class

Christopher Shorkey





Stan,

Just thought I would share with you my experiences of Chrysler service.

Last December I take my wife's Liberty to the dealer to have the filter head replaced because of a burnt connector. This dealer is about 30 miles from my house. I chose them because they were the closest dealer that has a CRD certified tech. While it was there I had them replace the EGR which was throwing a code. They also scanned a faulty glow plug. After the glow plug was replaced it was still showing bad, so they replaced the ECM. They also replaced a turbo boost sensor. I have an extended warranty, so this was only $50.

On the way home from the dealer the MIL came back on. About 30 minutes later it goes into what I guess is limp mode, it would not shift higher than 2nd or 3rd gear. I pulled over, and restarted the engine, and it did not happen again. The next morning it dies as soon as she starts it, and then about 100 yards down the road at a stop sign. We take it back to the dealer and they replace a few sensors, and TSB 08-016-05. Another $50.

We pick up the Jeep and drive back home. On the way my wife drops me off at work so I can pick up my truck. On the way back home, less than 3 miles, she says it goes back into limp mode. I take it out for a drive, about 2 minutes later it goes back into limp mode, and a few minutes later the trans temp light comes on, I had not driven it over 35 mph. We let it sit for about 10 minutes, and the light goes off, and drove it back home in limp mode and the trans temp light coming on after driving a few minutes in limp mode, but no MIL.

After a few days of thinking that I had air in the system, and several limp modes, which scared my wife to death, I decide to take it in again. This time, I decide to take it to a dealer close to where she works. I chose this dealer because of logistics, she drove my truck to work, and once I dropped the jeep off and got a rental, I would go get my truck, leave her the rental, and go to work. I made an appointment, let them know everything that had happened, and it was a CRD libby. This dealer is also 30 miles away, but in the opposite direction as the first. So I take it in, it goes into limp mode 2/3 of the way there, but I poked along and did not get a trans temp light. I finally get there, take the keys in, show them my paperwork, and go wait in the lobby for my rental. Five minutes later, the service writer comes back in with my keys, and says "We can't work on it because another dealer had worked on it, and the parts were under warranty from them and our tech do esn't have the tools to work a diesel Liberty." Then I told him that I drove my Jeep in here in limp mode, and he responded "Here's your key". My jaw hit the floor as my blood started to boil. I took the keys, and walked out.

I pull out of their lot and presto, limp mode again. I make it a few miles until the trans temp light comes on, and then I pull over and call a wrecker. Back to the first dealer, and another $50 because my warranty only covers $100 on towing, it had to be towed 55 miles. They decide it needs a new transmission, nothing else to throw at it I guess. By now it is week of Christmas, and shipping the transmission becomes a problem, it takes 20 day to get my Jeep back, and another $50 deductable, and close to $400 for the rental for after the first 5 days. The torque convertor actually got so hot that it blued the steel, and I still have no idea what caused it

I still have a few problems, it is slow to engage after sitting for a while, and I have a temp issue, both have a TSB out on them and will be fixed soon.

I will never go back to the second dealer, but I will the first, I understand that it was an issue that no one really had before, and they were shooting in the dark.

Robert


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