Tag Archives: customer service

BE HAPPY says Capitol Chevrolet. Moral, Professional & Ethical standards are important, says GM Financial. Just… wow.

You can have an 800+ credit rating, pay the monthly lease, but if there’s a misunderstanding about the lease extension, Capitol Ford and GM Financial might come to your house without warning, hook up the car and tow it away. Without so much as a phone call or email. While continuing to cash your lease checks.

My experience with our (formerly) leased 2016 Chevrolet Volt is the stuff of legends. Bad legends. You can read about the details here, but in a nutshell, we kept sending them money, with my wife writing on each payment that she was extending the lease, and GM financial kept cashing the checks, even though we had not properly notified them, by phone, that we wanted the lease extended. The first and only legit lease extension ended on February 27, 2019.

The first and ONLY phone call ever made to us by GM Financial (or anybody else) was apparently a phone message left on an answering machine. AND THAT WAS IT. The total sum communication between anyone at GM Financial and myself, until June 6th, 2019, when they sent a notice in a normal letter (not registered, nothing scary written on the outside) that we needed to return the car or it would be subject to repossession. That letter was unfortunately not paid attention to; it stated that our lease contract had expired and if the vehicle wasn’t returned to a GM dealer, “We may exercise our rights under the law to repossess the vehicle.”

Which they did. Without anyone at GM Financial wondering why we kept sending them checks, which they dutifully cashed. Checks along with notes asking to please extend the lease. Nobody ever thought to give us a call to say that’s not how it works. Nobody at GM Financial thought anything screwy when they arranged to have the car repossessed. If anyone had bothered to look at our history, they’d wonder what was going on. My guess is that someone did look at the history. They just didn’t care.

But this morning was perhaps the saddest treatment of a customer, or even a person, I’ve come across in a long time. After getting nowhere with Capitol Chevrolet, who insists that what GM Financial does is out of their hands, their social media manager told me to call GM Financial, and gave me a number. I didn’t realize it was the same number I’d called the day after the repossession. The number where someone told me “We don’t have to do that” when I asked if they could send me a copy of the letter they said they’d sent me (which at that point I hadn’t seen).

At 10:36am I got ahold of someone who seemed to grasp the strange nature of what had gone on. She and I discussed the facts of the case, none of which were in dispute (this would change in a later phone call with a different person). It was all about questioning if procedure was followed; if it was really policy that a car would be repossessed when the customer was still paying for it, without bothering to call or email first. After 15 minutes she put me on hold to talk to someone in a different department about it. 6 minutes on hold and my call re-entered the normal queue for a new call. And 10 minutes after that, the phone disconnected.

I called back. Got someone I could barely hear and wasn’t terribly interested in anything. I don’t know if that person intentionally disconnected or if their phone system is just really bad.

I called back again. And this time, I was literally on hold for an hour. They will have phone records to prove it. An hour before I speak to someone who never had any intention of doing anything but tell me that they were within their legal rights to repossess the vehicle. I asked her if that’s how she would like to have been treated, had she made a similar mistake elsewhere. I quoted her GM Financial’s corporate mantra-

We operate with integrity toward
each other, our customers and the
markets in which we operate.
Adhering to moral, ethical and
professional standards is
“the heart of it all.”

She wouldn’t crack. You could tell she was having issues, but she wouldn’t change the corporate response. I asked if she could send this to a supervisor, so she wouldn’t have to deal with being later asked why she couldn’t handle this situation. Get it out of her hands. She wouldn’t budge. It was truly an amazing experience. She told me absolutely, 100%, there was no possiblity of getting the repossession removed from my credit history. It felt like this is what she was paid to do. Her reason to exist. Crush people in a way they don’t bother you any more.

GM Financial and Capitol Chevrolet are going to find themselves greatly bothered in the near future.

United Airline’s total fail on my biz trip to Sioux Falls

11:36pm, flight originally scheduled for 7:50pm departure, board shows 12:50am but the reality is that our “rescue” aircraft’s crew had timed-out upon arrival and we were now scheduled for 7:52am. Except that in the middle of the night they changed that to 7:15am. Note that none of the delays were due to weather. This all started with an aircraft that “went mechanical” and things cascaded downward from there. This was the biggest fail on UA’s part I’ve seen in many years of flying.

I could rehash the gory details of United’s total fail Sunday night/Monday morning, but why not just reprint the email I sent to United? I did make it back home, but I was beginning to feel like I was part of a TV show, either LOST or Manifest.

UA 4409 3/10/19 meltdown- Equipment & UA staff failures

I haven’t had a truly bad experience on United in quite a few years. My SFO-FSD flight that began 3/10 was straight out of twilight-zone hell.

What a United gate agent who’s hearing news he doesn’t want to pass onto the passengers looks like.

After our first plane went mechanical, we were told two different “rescue” planes were coming for us. One of the planes never left its origin, and the other actually did arrive but apparently the crew must have timed out because it was within minutes of arrival that the flight was rescheduled to the next morning. I was tracking the different inbounds using both the UA app and Flightaware.

Scheduled departure of UA 4409 7:50pm
First delay at 6:48pm 3/10, said departure 9:45pm.
Subsequent delays-
7:44pm told 11pm departure
10:11pm told 11:49pm departure
10:24pm told 12:05am departure
11:03pm told 12:34am departure
11:09pm told 1:25am departure
11:26pm told 12:50am departure
11:26pm receive notification plane has arrived
11:33pm receive notification rescheduled to 7:52am
11:35pm gate agent tells us to head to customer service area in concourse B (flight was at E1).

This is the van I couldn’t get to in time. Being on crutches, I would have to wait for the next one since everyone else waiting was faster.

So I’m heading off, on crutches, to concourse B. Obviously I’m among the last to get there. It’s just before midnight that I get my turn. I let her know it’s not easy for me to get around but she tells me there’s nothing closer than the Comfort Inn, where it seems most of us have been sent. I ask how to catch the shuttle; she tells me you just go down the escalator and out the doors to the hotel shuttle area. She doesn’t tell me the hotel shuttle area is quite some distance to walk (remember, I’m on crutches), on sometimes-icy sidewalk and pavement. Had to ask a parking lot shuttle driver for directions; he kindly took me part of the way. Far more consideration than I got from United that evening. I get to the shuttle waiting area, and the Comfort Inn shuttle arrives. Fastest-person wins. Guy on crutches (me) is left behind. This is at 12:25am.

Checking in at the Comfort Inn 1:01am

25 minutes later the shuttle returns, and the driver makes sure I get on this time. There are others from UA 4409 that are still waiting for him to make his next round. Was United unaware of the capacity issues when booking so many people from one flight into the same (smallish) hotel? It was another 20 minutes waiting to get checked in. On the way we passed many name-brand hotels with vacancy signs. This was not the only game in town. Perhaps, if I were higher level than Gold, it might have made a difference?

One more final and tough-to-rationalize United act. We were told 7:52am departure when we left ORD. At 4:49am United moved up the departure to 7:15am! Bear in mind this was not a re-booking; this was our original flight. Filled only by the original UA4409 passengers. The hotel shuttles were booked solid when we arrived and besides, nobody had any way of knowing they should be getting up even earlier. Thankfully a wonderful United gate agent accepted me onto 4409, even though boarding was closed.

I lived through the Summer of Hell as well as the “We realize you have a choice of which bankrupt airline to fly” years and never let things get to me. But UA4409- it was like the plane/passengers that United tried to forget. Made much worse by the way a guy on crutches was treated w/regards the accommodations. It was a humbling experience for me. If this experience was within United’s policies, I need to think about moving on. I do not want to move on though. United is convenient and most of my experiences are positive.

I realize my business won’t make a dent in United’s bottom line, but if (my experience) was within the norm for United policies, I surely wouldn’t be the only one. Please convince me staying makes sense.


Mike Jacoubowsky