Please know that this article is not sponsored by Chevrolet and certainly not by Firestone. The article is written based on my experience with FIRESTONE at a local Pittsburgh location. While the NEW Manager has awesome customer service skills, it does not excuse what has happened. I am THAT girl, the one that if something crazy could happen, it will… and the fact that I have a media outlet to announce it, well that’s often the icing on the cake. I don’t want to promote negativity, but I do want to continue my perpetuation of the notion that woman(sometimes men too) do get taken advantage of when dealing with automotive shop dealers. If you remember, back in August 2013 I was featured in Redbook for my expert knowledge of really shopping a vehicle around when I got baited and switched by one dealer. Now I am going to share with you another story and trust me I slammed the brakes on Firestone and want to share the story with you! My guess is that others out there have suffered from the plight of shoddy sales and items not needed on their vehicle. Today, I am going to lavishly live out loud and tell you a story that has to be told about my personal story of How I slammed the brakes on Firestone!
I will start this story like this: Take the worse, most snarky salesperson you have EVER dealt with, the kind that is so shrewd he would sell his own mother to a sweat shop if it meant closing a deal and then you will start to get the type of deal I have been exposed to. This is all about being sold on things that were NEVER wrong, then having it all fall apart and paying a Large amount of money to have it all fixed… but there’s more! I want to personally thank former employee Bryan for creating this juicy, flame-broiled story!
Back in June I went to Firestone in the Pittsburgh Area, because my car needed to be inspected. I got there, and was stuck for 4 hours as the guy working there decided I needed back brakes and a new Shock(on a newer vehicle). In fact, I was told, “if you don’t change the back brakes or replace the shock you won’t pass inspection!”
Of course, not knowing how I could need brakes on the back of the car, nor knowing that there were different brakes I could purchase, I just made a call to my husband and asked him what he thought and what we should do?
My husband’s instant husband response, “that is not possible, seriously Dane, how could we need a shock or back brakes, and NO do not get the flushing on the car,!”
Now 2 hours into this nightmare of an inspection on a NEWER Chevrolet Suburban with less than 44,000 Miles on it…..let me add that the car is kept well and serviced as needed, it is my baby:)
I questioned the Firestone Manager a bit and about one hour later, he came out to the showroom where I was sitting with my son, holding a shock in his hand stating, “see M’am(eyeroll), this is the shock from your car and it is seeping oil, if you don’t change it we can’t pass you!”
Just wanting this to all be over, and the fact that he had already started on, I questioned him again, “it has to be done really? ” I just sat there stupefied not knowing what I was supposed to be looking at other than there was a think that looking like a rolling pin in large form in this guy’s hand. My guess is he took an old one out of the trash and brought it in.. Sense where I am going with this yet?
4 hours later…still at FIRESTONE….
I paid $347 and some change, and finally left, with one new shock, a warning that the other had to be changed, and another note from him that I had to get the car flushed or it would break down in the near future. Yeah buddy, you have already taken advantage of me and I don’t know what to do, my car has to pass inspection, frustrated, late for appointments and now out $347 I left!
Fast Forward to September 21, 2015. Chevy Dealer
I was driving I heard a large squealing noise that just would not stop. Not knowing what was going on I called our local Chevy Dealer. I got in touch with the one Service Manager, scheduled and appointment and spent 3+ hours at Chevy, in the waiting room as they diagnosed the car. What they found were bad ‘BACK BRAKES’ that were after-market, in addition to a replaced shock? The service manager explained to me that the back brakes probably were the culprit of the squealing, however they had serviced the rotors and I should see if that made a difference, which their guess was it should. He also questioned me about the NEW SHOCK On the car because as his tech had told him “Suburban’s don’t generally have those go bad, especially not with this low of mileage.” The guess at this point was Firestone Replaced brakes that DID not need changed and I did not need a new shock, but on with this story.
I paid the bill for the rotors, but did not stop the squealing. In addition, I stopped past Firestone, to not find anyone in the main room, so I left, telling myself I would go back another day that week.
Fast Forward to September 25, 2015
I called my service manager back at Chevy, as I was driving all over town my car was crazy loud with squealing and I have had enough. Chevy tells me they stand behind all their service work, come back in Monday Morning and the tech will ride with me and get the problem under control.
Arrive At Chevy Dealers Monday, September 28, 2015
As promised I met up with the tech, and we took the car for a ride, and a few things happened. One, I learned that I had choices for brakes, even with after-market products and I was advised by the tech that rather than spend money again, to go and ask them to CORRECT the brakes at Firestone with good aftermarket brakes, not the crap they had installed on my vehicle. Additionally, and while it can’t definitively be proven, it would seem that I did not NEED these brakes, just because of the following, and I would have to agree…
Two: I learned that PA Emissions and State Inspections would NEVER, yes I repeat NEVER fail a vehicle on a ‘seeping shock’ only if it were blatantly oozing oil everywhere! Now let’s recant shall we, ‘the Service Manager at Firestone, brought my ‘seeping’ shock to me in the showroom. Let’s note two things:
If it were oozing he could not have done that
If it was ‘seeping’ PA INSPECTION would Never HAVE failed my vehicle on that. Fact is, he probably grabbed someone’s out of the trash and just brought it to me and why was he taking a shock off of my car while it was up in the carriage for inspection?
BOTTOM LINE: 99.99999% sure there was NOTHING wrong with my old shock, nor was that my shock he brought into the showroom and the one he brought in was no oozing anything! The brakes were not bad either, but… I was SCAMMED BY FIRESTONE.
DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM AT HAND AND MOVE ON
I had only one option, to get new back brakes and rest assured I was NOT going to FIRESTONE for anything except a resolution! I don’t want their aftermarket junk, but who knew. As far as the Shock goes, I just got fired up and you all know what I am like when I get fired up.. I retrace my steps, follow the evidence, study up, listen, and then……become the expert and the spokesperson on advocating how things should be!
SPEAKING UP FOR WHAT SHOULD BE
I am a woman, I have been taken advantage of and I do not appreciate this. My first decision was to let the Chevy Service Department take care of my brakes. The next item on my list…
A Phone Call to Firestone
This is How I Slammed the Brakes On Firestone as I had been pushed beyond my tipping point. I called Firestone and asked to speak to the Manager and of course I did. I explained to him the shock was not a real issue, that we had been scammed. I conveyed the PA State Inspections and Emissions procedure with a ‘seeping’ shock, and explained that aftermarket or not, I was not even given a choice of what AFTERMARKET brakes they were putting on my car, so I got what I got!
The manager was new, and I found that out after about 2 minutes on the phone. The manager at Firestone gave me a moment to speak, and he listened. I explained what I knew, that I had the proper knowledge to back up what I was saying as I was speaking to the authority on Chevy.. Chevy! Additionally I discussed the shoddy after market brakes that were now being replaced again (and that they probably did not need changed, based on the typical life expectancy of brakes on a Chevy Suburban) and the fact that because I did not know any better I accepted what the other manager at Firestone had told me as correct information but now I know that I had not only been scammed, but also paid hundreds for it and lost my day.
I explained to that manager at Firestone that I deserved my money back, I did tell him, I would leave $80 of it there based on labor that occurred(I get that someone worked on the car, trust me) but I told him I wanted my money back because I did not need a shock, I was lied to about passing inspection and I did not need brakes, and the ones they installed are crappy brakes which are being changed now. In addition I explained I did not want a store credit, nor did I want brakes they had there as ONE incident is enough and there is no TRUST with me to the Firestone Brand. I wanted refunded, period, end of story, I had been scammed, taken advantage of, simply because I did not know any better and because of the horrible, snarky Manager-Sales-Person that was more interested in the bottom line that if I truly would be a long-term customer. His callous acts not only led me down a path that I hope no other must embrace but has also created the need to Vent and tell others– I am sure there are more Firestone Victims!
The above is the bill and you can see that I refused BOTH Shocks, as he claimed the other was ‘going’ and I refused the other junk of Fuel System Cleaning cause that is a bunch of hockey puck as I was told by my Chevy People and I still had to pay for work that did not NEED Done, it should have just been an open and shut inspection! Nope, I paid $339+ for this! Lucky me.
This How I Slammed the Brakes On Firestone!
Now, here is the refund. A full refund for my brakes, the shock and my inspection. The manager at Firestone had honestly listened. He could see what I said from the previous work order, he knew I was not lying and he worked with me to set the situation straight! This is How Firestone handled it…however, it does not change my feelings and the new manager said that as well.
The new manager, was confused as to why my car was in for inspection, on the carriage and having shocks taken off the car and brought out to me in the showroom. His working knowledge of PA Inspection and Emissions was in line with what Chevy had said and even if thye were seeping they were not oozing for reasons already stated, thus a shock should not have been changed.
The fact is the manager that did this to my car no longer even works with FIRESTONE, he’s gone and the staff that had worked there, are all gone as well. In the last 3 weeks since he has started it has been a rough go! Gee I wonder how many others have been coming back and complaining?
The Firestone Manager offered to make things right, by an oil change and fully crediting my account which is awesome customer service considering this all happened 4 months ago. He credited my account and asked to earn my back as a customer with an oil change when needed.
You might be saying what a nice end to the story, but why did the story have to happen? I have lost over 8 work hours, hundreds of dollars(albeit refunded now), and gained a shock that I did not need. Who knows what that shock is going to do to my car, it could end up breaking but it is now on there! It has caused stress, and craziness and 2 stops at Chevy Service to get things done right.
I am perplexed because what if I had not spoken up? What If I had not already dealt with a car issue before? My husband has too many hours at work to handle it on my behalf and the car is MINE, and I Drive it so I am responsible for it. How dismaying is it that I went somewhere AS A WOMAN, and got taken advantage of, scammed and if I had not known to PUSH THE ISSUE and Push for a refund, I would have been paying twice for the same service within months of each other.
In the end, I would NEVER go back to FIRESTONE, and I don’t care how nice the new manager is. I will head right to the Chevy Dealer and get my car serviced. I don’t want aftermarket products and I don’t want scammed again. What are they going to do, give me an oil change and then come out and tell me everything needs flushed? This is simply not going to happen. I hope that every woman(and man) that reads this article and does not know much about brakes, aftermarket products, or Firestone is left with the notion to ALWAYS question why they are asking to change things and then will GOOGLE the right Inspection and Emissions laws for a quick briefing as to what is right and wrong.
Firestone, I have to tell you I am appalled and it is demoralizing to know that your FIRESTONE Center is run this way. Yes your new manager made things right, but should this EVER have happened in the first place? Who hired the man that scammed me? Did anyone review his portfolio? The fact that he no longer works at FIRESTONE at all, is even more scary, where did he go and what new customer is he gogin to scam where he is working now? How many people does this happen to everyday that don’t know to speak up or come back and demand resolution?
Ask questions people. Don’t accept anything at face value and unfortunately I would NEVER RECOMMEND using FIRESTONE For anything, not tires, not oil changes, not inspections, because you probably have or will run into the same instances that I have. I was lucky, I pressed for a refund and had the knowledge to back me up, not everyone has the same luxury. This is my story of lavishly living life out loud and How I Slammed the Brakes On Firestone!