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Thursday July 12, 2012 5:42 pm

Update: Dealing with Chevy for resolution on faulty Volt that put me in harm’s way


Chevy Volt malfunction danger

In case you missed it, earlier this week we detailed how the Chevy Volt malfunctioned and nearly caused a high-speed collission while we were driving it. We've had plenty of readers writing in to ask for an update on the Chevy Volt fisaco that we've found ourselves embroiled in. We definitely planned on hitting you guys with an update on how Chevrolet and General Motors address the situation that we're facing once all was said and done, but since it's taking a bit longer than we'd hoped, and since there have been a couple of new developments, we figured we'd do an interim report.

Before we get into some of the good, we've gotta say right up front that dealing with Chevy/GM as a corporate entity has been frustrating. It seems that it's goal is to tell us that there is nothing they can do, with the hope that this will just go away, rather than doing whatever it can to ease the concerns of a customer who's done nothing but praise it's flagship product all the way up until it put us in harms way. More on that later.


First, we've gotta give props to the fanatics over on the GM Volt forums. It's not an official support site for GM or Chevy, but it's the largest third-party Volt forum out there, and it's so popular that Chevy Volt Advisors comb through the threads there to monitor for issues that may crop up. We've gained invaluable advice on how to approach the issue, who to approach, and general knowledge. Of course, this is just a community, and they have no decision making power. That's all up to GM.

We also have to say that we were impressed with the dealership. We went in there and they spent over an hour with us talking about the options, and showing concern and understanding for the issue. The way they see it (and we agree,) is that the easiest fix is to do a collateral swap. Keep the loan documents the same, and just switch VIN numbers. So we get a different vehicle that we can actually feel safe driving rather than the one we have now that is in service (and not in our posession) once every two weeks on average, for a period of a few days at a time. The last service took 8 days. The dealer thinks this would be the easiest way to fix this and restore our confidence, we agree with that line of thinking, but this is all in the hands of GM. The dealership can't do it without GM approval, no matter how bad we want it to happen, or how bad the dealership wants to salvage the relationship and make us happy.

Now, on to Chevy/General Motors. Our Volt Advisor, Kelsey, called us after speaking with the regional district manager for our area, and let us know that they were unwilling to help us in any way. Our only option if we did not feel safe in this specific car, is to trade it in and get another one, but that the Volt Advisor would not be able to help. Basically, we just trade in the 10-week old car, lose a bunch of money in the process, and then negotiate the purchase or lease of a different Volt. Not really helpful at all, and I made sure to ask to clarify "So, what you are saying is that Chevy and GM are unwilling to do anything at all to help?" She responded "Yes, that's the case. I know that's not what you wanted to hear."

I was contacted by Chevy PR as well, and had a great phone conversation with them. They understand the position we're in as well, but the PR team is powerless here too. It's all in the hands of marketing, we were told. It does seem odd that this would be a marketing decision rather than the responsibility of the Customer Relations and Services Department, but every company does things its own way. I was told I should hear back within a couple of days.

We got a call from the head of the dealership again yesterday, and he let us know that he was also in contact with the same Chevy PR person, as well as our Volt Advisor. No new developments, but he was on it also. Super nice guy who seems to be genuinely interested in helping see this to a positive resolution for us--but again, it's ultimately the decision of Chevy and GM.

So that's where things stand right now. In the meantime, we were urged to request that Chevy cover our nextcar payment due to the amount of time the car has been in service (and therefore, out of our hands.) I took the advice and asked our Volt Advisor about it, since the VA team has done this for plenty of others. We were quickly turned down and told to ask the dealer to cover it. Problem is, the dealer didn't manufacture this faulty car, and as we just noted, the VA team has done this for plenty of others. So again, everyone is helpful so far but the manufacturer themselves.

We'll be updating again when we hear more from Chevy. We've got our fingers crossed for that collateral trade, rather than having to stay with a vehicle we no longer feel safe driving in based on it's short, malfunctioning past.

Interestingly enough, after our incident, Chevy began offering a 60-day money-back guarantee on all 2012 and 2013 vehicles, including the Volt, with the "Love It or Return It" program. You'd think that a company that's so willing to stand behind it's product between the dates of July 10 and September 4 would also care enough about a customer who has a super rare issue that has caused legitimate concern, but got their vehicle two months before the new promotion started. There are plenty of happy customers, but we certainly aren't feeling that way with the dud that we got.

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