Okay. I admit it. I’ve been known to expound on businessmen rubbing their hands together when they see a little old lady (that’s me) walk in their place of business while they think, “Aha! Here comes a real sucker.” And I’ve been proven wrong on more than one occasion. And before I get going here, I must say I have three sons who would never take advantage of a woman, let alone a “little old lady”. They (and many other men) respect all potential customers, women included.

But lately I’ve had two unfortunate experiences that prove my original distrust is warranted.

In December, my furnace died. I went without heat for over a week while I researched heating and air conditioning companies. I settled on Empire Heating. A couple nice young men came and spent the better part of a day installing the furnace and the PVC pipes required now for new furnaces.  They even corrected some sloppy work done previously by a different air conditioning installer. (Another “take the little old lady” dealer.) But the furnace didn’t work properly! I was freezing all the time.

I called the company and someone came out and installed a new thermostat. That didn’t fix the problem. I called again and two men came to check on the thermostat. They also cut one of the PVC pipes to eliminate the “gurgling” that happened when hot air going out became cold as it neared the outside wall and condensed. The resulting water laid in a dip in the pipe and… well, gurgled. My house temperature was still falling to 64 before the thermostat would turn on the furnace and I was layering my clothes and using my space heater everywhere to keep warm.

Finally, I wrote a letter to the CEO of the furnace manufacturer. He had one of his division managers call me and eventually, I think, they contacted Empire. Chris, another Empire repairman, came and he corrected all the previous mistakes that had been made. He explained to me how things worked and he made sure everything was functional before he left. He was excellent! And I have a nice warm house.

This past weekend, another problem occurred. I’d been complaining to Greece Hyundai at my last two or three car check-ups that something was wrong with my Sonata’s lights. I couldn’t always get them to turn off. They could find nothing wrong, they said. Last Saturday, I got in my car to get to a meeting and nothing worked on the car. I mean, NOTHING! So I called AAA and ended up having to get a new battery when Ricci’s Towing showed up. $130 plus! (I found out later that’s just about twice what you can get them for at Walmart.)

Then we couldn’t get the parking lights to turn off, so Hyundai said to bring the car in and they’d give me a loaner. I did and they did. But Monday, they told me I needed a new “Junction Box”, which holds fuses and relays and stuff.  $366.00 plus! I called the manager there and asked for an allowance of some sort since I’d asked them to check on my lights several times and that resulted in needing a new battery. They agreed to give me $75 off.

I felt that still wasn’t fair, but I let it go, thinking I’d only get all stressed for nothing. When I heard the final cost ($320.40), I thought it was a little off. So, after working with my calculator, I discovered what they did was to take the $75 off the cost of the box PLUS tax, instead of $75 off the cost ($366) and then adding the tax to that reduced figure. It only was a difference of $6.00, but as I said to the Service Writer, “I know this isn’t your fault. You’re only the messenger. But I’m returning the loaner car with much more gas than you had in it when I got it. That’s how I do things. And Hyundai is taking six crummy dollars back from what was promised me. That’s how they do things!”

I guess that’s why I drive a six-year-old Sonata and Billy Fucillo rides in his own jet airplane.

P.S. No, I won’t be taking my car back to Greece Hyundai.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dot Champlin
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 16:17:39

    Maybe you should write a litter to Billy Fucillo and tell him how you feel HUGELY ripped off by his service department. You might also mention that you do write a blog that is widely read by Rochester women, in which he might not want to see an account of your HUGE experience. If Billy knows nothing else, he knows the importance of PR.


  2. Joan Foley Baier
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 16:32:37

    I have that letter on my to-do list. You’d be amazed at how many letters I send to CEOs to complain/ask for help about their products. Maybe if they split some of their million-dollar paychecks with the worker-bees, their products wouldn’t be so lacking.

    But what do I know? I’m just the 800-lb. hippo in the room!


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