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Car check-up, China style…

My car was overdue for a check-up, so I decided to schedule that for this week (it’s National Holiday in China). We called our Buick dealer on Tuesday to check how long it would take, and he told us we could drop the car on Wednesday and pick it up two hours later. That sounded good to me, so yesterday we arrived there around 2:30 PM. My plan was to do a bit of shopping and have a coffee at Starbucks, so I would be back home in time to do some work before a planned dinner party with friends.

But of course things did not work out as planned. First of all it turned out that nobody could check on the parking assistant that behaved erraticaly (the thing that warns you with beeps when you are parking and almost hit something), nor on the lights that sometimes do not go on automatically. Why could he not tell us this the day before over the phone?

Then we were told it would take a bit more time, and we could pick up the car only at 6 PM. I was not too enthousiastic about this. But because the car needed the check-up and I had already spend 30 minutes driving here I decided to change my plans, by just having a coffee and then taking a taxi home. But just when we got home we got a phonecall (it was around 4 PM), saying that the car was ready to be picked up. Great… So now I changed my plans because they would need more time, and then it turns out they need even less time. I already decided to pick up the car right before the dinner party, because I did not want to spend another hour in traffic, and decided to stick to my plans.

So we return to the dealer at 7:30 PM (they are open until 10 PM every day – that’s better than in Europe) to pick up the car. They give us a form to sign, and on the form it is written that the car has a nail in its rear left tyre. I assume they meant that the car had a nail in it, and that they fixed it. But no, they tell us that the nail is still in there. They could not repair it, so they just left it like this. Now I got seriously pissed off. In a not-too-soft tone I ask them why had they not told us this over the phone. Answer: but we are telling you now. Yeah right, so what am I supposed to do now? I drove to the dealership twice already, and now I have a car with a tyre that can blow up every minute. Well, they say, they can change to a new tire, but that would take two hours. I reply that that is exactly why they should have informed us about it earlier, and in my angry mood add that I have doubts about their mental capabilities.

Because we were having a dinner party I decide to take the car anyway, and go to meet my friends. I will find a solution for this later. The tyre has survived so far, but my trust in the service and capabilities of General Motors in China has gotten to an all-time low. This is an official Buick dealership and workshop (and I think it’s even the biggest in Shanghai). So not a hole-in-the-wall workshop, but one that has been accredited by Shanghai General Motors. And cars are among the few things that are not cheap in China, so that’s also not an argument to just accept a low-quality service. A big thumbs down for GM.

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  1. hi marc,

    i definitely would recommend to go for a Mercedes car next time and enjoy the high quality service of this amazing company! 🙂

    master wu

  2. I’ve had good experience with Beijing Jeep here – the first few services are free (I bought a new car).

    So far nothing wrong with it (except a few small dents and scratches from overly friendly vehicles nudging my car)

    My last service cost me 30RMB for an oil change 😉

    I send my friend to do it though, he speaks fluent shanghainese, so it makes things easier.

    I agree about the lack of forethought here. The number of times I’ve had to walk someone through the thinking process for something…. grrr…

    Lawrence /