Are You An Unwanted Customer?

No customer wants to buy a product that does not work. In fact, product manufacturers work very hard to minimize defects because product returns are costly to their profits. However, no one is perfect and mistakes happen sometimes. Just hope that when you have a problem the failure is catastrophic. In other words, it’s better for you if the product, or service, is completely broken. Why, you ask? Because if it’s completely broken, it’s easier for you to prove the problem exists and confirm the problem has been fixed.

Let me tell you a story about the troubles I’ve been having with my Pontiac SunFire in the last few months. I know some of you will immediately jump to the conclusion that the troubles are my fault for choosing a product from General Motors. If you fall in that camp, please forgive my sense of loyalty to General Motors products. I grew up in Oshawa, a city that was dominated by General Motors manufacturing plants (at least in the 60s, 70s, and lesser extent 80s). I do my best to be a rational consumer, but I still like to consider purchasing products made in my community when they produce a reasonably valued product.

Before I bought my car, I did some due diligence and visited my local library to look at what Consumer Reports had to say about the Pontiac SunFire. Sure enough there was a warning about electrical problems, but I found a good deal so I bought it and hoped for the best.

For the most part, the car has been reliable and when I’ve needed repairs the parts have been readily available and reasonably priced. However, it’s the “occasionally not working” fuel gauge that’s causing me grief. So, what’s the problem you might ask? Just take it to the local garage and have them fix it. Aha! That’s what I thought too. lol. Unfortunately, when I took into my local Gary’s Automotive, they did not have the skill or the tools to isolate the cause of the problem. In fact, I spent over $300 for the privilege of them telling me they couldn’t fix it and that I needed to take it to the local GM dealer if I wanted it fixed. Okay, sure electrical problems are difficult to fix and cost money/time. I understand that, but I was willing to work with them and give them money to diagnose trusting they would actually fix the trouble in the end. It turns out I became an UNWANTED CUSTOMER because they did not want to invest any more time on the admittedly¬†difficult electrical problem. Since their patience ran out on me for my fuel gauge issue, I don’t think I will trust them again with the easier more profitable repairs on my SunFire in the future. Hello Mr. GoodWrench Man!

The moral of the story is not so much “don’t buy GM products”, but rather be aware that some problems are harder to fix than others. When you do have products or services that are marginal (i.e. work sometimes but now always), be prepared to pay more for diagnostic tests and make sure the person you rely on to fix it can actually fix it. It’s bad enough troubleshooting difficult problems, let alone having to switch repair companies in midstream.