OnStar Service Quality

Sorry about this, but I guess this is my “absolution” blog…  :-/

One of my daughters drove her car through high water (references to 100 year flooding were made).  Other cars were making it through just fine, so why did her car then proceed to stall in the worst of it.  Good samaritans helped her push the car to a little-used turn lane.  Soon after, she pushed the little blue button in her car, and we thought all would be well.

Back to reality – she was told that due to the flooding, it could be 4-6 hours until it would be towed and could she leave the car unlocked with they keys in an agreed place if she needed to leave it unattended.  Her boyfriend helps her push the car to a Starbucks parking lot, and they hunker down (boyfriend shivering cold from having to push/walk through high water.  About midnight, the tow truck is nearby but the road is barricaded – what to do.  They agree that locking the car and calling again the next day is the thing to do, so she locks the car, and then the Starbucks fairy gives them a ride to their apartment – thank goodness for good people!

The next day – Friday before hurricane Ike – she calls OnStar again and gets put back in the 4-6 hour queue.  She waits several hours.  She gets a call saying they can’t get to her car and have to cancel.  She calls OnStar again, and they will be there to pick up the car in 4-6 hours.  She asks them to call her 30 minutes before they get there and she’ll be there to unlock the car/provide the keys.  She hears NOTHING.

Next day (Saturday – Ike day) she calls me and I call OnStar and get belligerent.  OnStar gets belligerent back – “we don’t control the roadside assistance people.”  I say “if you don’t, then who exactly does?”  That, sir, is between you and roadside assistance.”  I’m outraged, and continue to be, but this is a recurring theme.  I understand their frustration, but that’s part of the biz.  She 3-ways me in to the Roadside people, and they say the truck was there at 11 PM the night before but the car was locked so they couldn’t do anything.  “Why didn’t you call?”  “We tried, and no one answered.”  “What number?”  “217-xxx-yyyy”  “But my daughter’s number is 214-xxx-yyyy!”  No notes to say call before they arrive, no indication of how they can talk repeatedly on previous calls, but this one results in a wrong number and they couldn’t look back at the previous calls to see that they have a wrong number.  OMG!

Got all that out of the way – now, my daughter’s car is STILL in the Starbuck’s parking lot and I, along with 2 other family members, are on our way from MN to IL.  I’m sorry, sir, but there is flooding in the area and it will be 4-6 hours…  NO, THERE IS NOT – not since yesterday morning.  Yes, there is, sir – I just checked it this morning – oh, wait, someone removed it.  We’ll have someone out in under 2 hours.  This time they called and were met there and the car made is to the dealership about 5 minutes before closing time on Saturday – no time to even look at it so assured to be without a car for the weekend – Monday will be day 4 without a car.

Before we hung up from the Roadside folks above, I asked the OnStar person to stay on the line because we still had things to talk about.  She did, and when I asked what she was going to do for my daughter, she forwarded me to “Customer Care” – an interesting name.  Customer care listened to my story, said they don’t do rent cars, said they were very sorry about the delay, said the results of any given call were between roadside assistance and the customer and that there was nothing they could do.  She did say she would forward it to an executive review committee and they would get back with me.  To add insult to injury, as an apology for poor service (my understatement), she would like to tack 3 months of free service on to the end of our service time.  Wow – that’s just wonderful – NOT.

About 1 week later, I get a call from another OnStar customer care person – likely a screener for the executive review board.  She proceeds to ask me to go through my story, which strikes me as very strange since the first customer care person I talked to implied to me that she was taking meticulous notes.  She thinks I’m through after the first leg when the truck can’t get to the car the first night and says “sir, there is nothing we can do about that.”  I told her “you need to sit back and listen” because I’m just getting started.  At one point, she proceeds to tell me that if I will check our contract terms, I will see that the business arrangement is between us and roadside assistance once OnStar assigns the call.  I understand why they would wish a new business relationship upon their customers that doesn’t involve them, but the only money that I’ve paid to anyone is to OnStar and my logic and education says that the business relationship is between me and OnStar.  Anyway, no help from this person either, and to top of her apology, she says she is authorized to add 6 months to the end of our service.  I tell her I guess that is up to her, but I’m not sure I want any more service from them.

The ONLY reason we still have OnStar now is the possibility that we will be able to use the little blue button on the 2 lane roads on the way to and from the Texas Panhandle.  If we had an alternative, we’d be GONE in a heartbeat.  Monopolies are a curse and that’s what OnStar finds themselves with in the form of a little blue button.  Part of me hopes that when we experiment with it on the way there the next time we find that it doesn’t work – but then again, we want it to work so that we can have an out if the car breaks down!

I wish I was through complaining, but I’m probably not.  It is State Farm’s turn next.  My daughter STILL doesn’t have her car back at 2 weeks and counting.  Saturn may get a turn too since the service representation told me that to avoid a cracked engine block in the future, you really want to keep the Ion’s away from water and the engine intake arrangement SUCKs – I guess she meant water.

When I consider the situation, the part I feel worst about is that I started out trying to let my daughter learn something from the situation – dealing with OnStar, Roadside Assist, the Car Dealership, etc.  What I feel bad about is that she was basically “punished” beyond human endurance by these incompetents.  Yes, the first night was excusable.  The rest weren’t and OnStar isn’t being accountable.  I’m sorry, daughter, that you had to go through this – you ROCK!  🙂