Light snow, art museums, and coffee-whoring
A wonderful discussion among children

Saturn of Lynnwood feels slighted by my web site

UPDATE 04/27/04: I'm no longer living in the Seattle area, so I haven't had any direct experience with Saturn of Lynnwood in several months now. I note this because I see my site is still appearing relatively high in many Google searches for terms such as saturn of lynnwood. My unsatisfactory experiences with their service department occurred between 2002 and late 2003, nothing more recently than that.

UPDATE 01/14/05: I'm back in the Seattle area but haven't been to any of the Saturn dealerships this time around. When I've had an appointment, I may make another update.

UPDATE 03/10/05: See details of my most recent Saturn of Lynnwood experience—a good one this time.

:: • :: • :: • :: • ::

In a 12/24/03 post, I ranted—admittedly, ranted lamely—about Saturn of Lynnwood's difficulty in making call-backs to customers whose cars are in for service or awaiting parts or whatever. A few days later I noticed via my hit stats that this post was appearing regularly among visitors' results for searches on the phrase saturn of lynnwood. In fact, at the time of this entry, my previous post appears among the top five results returned by searches at Google and Yahoo!.

Last night I received a call from the Saturn of Lynnwood service department. My 2002 L200 is there this week while I'm out of town. The car needed a part for the drainage system that prevents water damage around the windshield and sunroof, and the part finally arrived last week after the initial service appointment on Christmas Eve when they determined they'd need this part.

So I dropped off the car Monday night and flew to Chicago Tuesday morning. I'd spoken with another service person, let her know I'd be back in town Sun 01/25 and would need to pick up the car that afternoon, figuring they'd do the work at some point during the week but not caring exactly when it happened since I wouldn't be using it. Thus when my regular "service consultant"—I think his name may be John; I've not paid attention closely enough for the name to stick in my mind—called me last night, I was surprised.

He told me they'd put in the part and done two days of drainage testing with fantastic results, and the car was ready for me to pick up at my earliest convenience. And then he shifted gears.

"One of our other customers pointed out a letter you wrote on Google," he said. "Apparently you haven't been happy with the service you've received here, and since we felt like we'd bent over backward on Christmas Eve to get you taken care of, and your letter mentions Saturn of Lynnwood by name, our service manager is concerned because you haven't mentioned anything to us."

He didn't realize he sounded just this side of belligerent, which immediately put me off. "I have spoken to your service manager before," I said. "And I've spoken to the Saturn national folks too, and in each case I've been told there would be follow-up of some kind and nothing's happened. I'm traveling right now and not prepared to discuss this further, but I'd be happy to speak with your service manager when I'm back in town. He's welcome to contact me after Monday at the cell number in your records."

I was surprised two ways. First, that another customer would have mentioned my blog entry to the dealership employees; more likely it seems to me that one of the employees was doing a vanity search on the dealership's name and came across my entry on his/her own, and the service guy gave the source as "a customer" in an attempt at covering that up. But then again, Saturn owners are a somewhat strange breed, and they hold a high degree of loyalty to their cars and the dealerships, so it's certainly possible someone did mention it just off the street.

Second, that the service consultant would bring this up in anything other than a cursory "Oh by the way, we know about this dissatisfaction and we'd like to talk to you about it more when it's convenient for you" way when he knew I was traveling and could most likely tell from all the background noise on my cell that I wasn't in a place where I could conveniently discuss it. He only let it drop when I told him I would not discuss it with him at that moment, but would happily speak to his manager when I was back in Seattle, provided his manager calls me.

We'll see what happens with it. I don't know if the service manager works on Sundays; I figure their plan is to try to ambush me, as it were, when I go to pick up the car.