Outlook transmission: bad wave plate or bad customer service
Sorry for the long story but this is just too unbelievable.
My wife was on errands with the kids in our 2007 Saturn Outlook, which she loves. Well, it just stopped moving. Couldn't put it in forward or reverse. She called a friend to get it towed to his service shop. At the shop, he got it to move a little then it stopped again. He said he recently had an Acadia in which a part in the transmission broke and shredded the gears and got into all the innards. As it cost about $3500 to repair, he suggested that we call GM to see if they can help out with it.
I found a number and spoke with Heather, who was great, calling me back every step of the way. She put me on the line with Denny, the head mechanic for Matthews Auto Group where we bought the vehicle and where we have the Outlook serviced. We spoke of the incident when it stopped working and he said he would get to it in a few days, which I said was OK.
He didn't remember but we spoke before this when the vehicle was brought in for the timing chain recall. It took four times to get it right, but Matthews treated my wife so nice, we felt comfortable with them. So this time we called OnStar and had it towed to Matthews so Denny could look at it. When he called back he said that it was a broken wave plate in the transmission, and in a roundabout way agreed that it may cost about what the other mechanic said, about $3500.
By calling my friend the mechanic for an explanation, he said that the wave plate is cheap $20 part that is known to crack and destroy the transmission. He had called a friend at Country Club Auto who said that he works on an average of 2 GM transmissions per week between Outlook, Acadia, and Traverse.
The Matthews customer service rep called the next day and said that they drained some fluid and found metal shavings. I asked how did the mechanic diagnose the problem as a bad wave plate if he didn't open it up?
The customer service rep said he had an offer from the district supervisor of GM, to give us $3000 off of a new vehicle or split the cost of repair 50/50, approximately $1750 plus tax our cost.
When asked for a breakdown of the cost of services and materials he got uptight and refused, stating only that the transmission would come out of the box and into the vehicle and the fluid would be added. The old transmission would go into the box and sent back to GM. It was then presented as a one time offer, take it or leave it.
I said that I was disappointed in GM for not doing the right thing. This is a known problem with Outlook, Acadia, and Traverse. It's all over the internet.
I went on to say that the tow truck operator for OnStar that picked up the vehicle said, “Oh, an Outlook. Transmission, right? I've been picking up a lot of those lately. And Acadias and Traverses”.
I also said to the rep that we were totally surprised by the breakdown since the last OnStar Diagnostic report that we got stated “Based on our diagnostics check on 08/19/2012, all systems are normal.
Diagnostic: Complete. No action needed.
” Four days later, my wife and kids are stranded on the roadside.
The rep repeated that the offer was a one time offer, one that he did not have to give since the vehicle was five months out of warrantee. If it did not make me happy then he would save the money to make someone else happy. I honestly said that of course I am not happy with having to spend $1800 for a new transmission that only has 73,000 miles on it (27,000 miles under warrantee limit). He seemed to be a little taken aback by my knowledge of the wave plate issue with these transmissions, how a $20 part could self destruct and wreak havoc with the transmissions. Take it or leave it was the answer, that is all the GM district manager was authorized to offer. I would get back to him.
The next day a GM rep named Keith called to offer the same, but more politely. As a lifetime customer of GM vehicles, I repeated my disappointment in GM, but said that I would get back to him. He asked if I would like to file a complaint with GM. I said no, but I would like to file a complaint against the Matthews rep. The next day Keith the GM rep called and asked of my intentions, and I said that I guess that I would take the 50/50. He left off saying that he would get going on making it happen.
The following day I missed a call on the cell phone that I thought was the Matthews customer service guy so I called him. He said, no it wasn't him. I said well, you've got me by the balls (pardon me) so I guess I am taking the 50/50 offer. He replied that it was rescinded. I got off the phone with him and called Keith the GM service guy to ask about it but he was not in. The next day Keith reversed himself and said that indeed the offer was revoked. I asked if there were anyone else that I can speak to. He said he would have his manager call me. The next day a curtly speaking person called to say that they are not willing to budge on their decision.
This is not the customer service that I have come to enjoy and depend on for my family from GM and the Matthews Auto Group. What can be done?