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When good service goes bad…

Don’t you just hate it when you get unexpected surprises after having a vehicle serviced? Consider for a moment my MCV (that’d be short for Midlife Crisis Vehicle), a 13-year old Toyota MR2 Turbo. I owned a couple of these cars earlier in my single-guy existence, and I recently found an amazingly pristine 1994 example at a reasonable cost. After some discussion with my wife, she OK’d the purchase, and I’ve had it in the garage for a couple of months now. For a car with 100K miles on it, it’s in great shape–no dents, door dings, rust, or interior damage. Looking at it, you’d never guess the vintage or the mileage; the previous owners were meticulous in their care, it seems. About the only thing wrong with it was the airbag warning light on the dash was constantly lit.

So I finally made an appointment with our local dealer to get that problem fixed, and to do some other routine maintenance activities (I had them give the car a good once over, as it was its first trip to service under my ownership). They had the car for two days, waiting on a part to fix the airbag problem; they called me tonight and let me know everything was done and running fine.

Just before closing, I got to the dealership, paid the bill (ouch), and started driving the car home. As promised, it was running fine, and all seemed good. It was then I noticed that the previously-pristine interior was no longer. The passenger seat, whose leather was in showroom condition, now sported an oily stain and a puncture wound! Below, the image on the left is the “before” shot; on the right, the “after” shot I took tonight. Click either image for the large version, which will make the damage plainly apparent.

before-small  after-small

The “before” image is a bit blurry, as I wasn’t intentionally shooting the passenger seat when I took those pictures. Still, it’s plain to see that there wasn’t a puncture in the leather, and it’s somewhat obvious that there’s no stain in the “before” shots.

Needless to say, I’m quite irked with the dealer at the moment. I called and left a polite but firm message with my service advisor, who had seen and commented on the quality of the interior when I dropped the car off. Hopefully they’ll do the right thing tomorrow and agree to have the seat repaired or replaced as necessary. I realize the car is nothing but a physical object, but when I pay someone to provide a service, I clearly don’t expect that they will damage other things in the process of handling whatever the original scope of work covered. To me, that screams of a lack of attention to detail, and it makes me quite scared about what other “little things” they may have overlooked in working on the car.

No real moral to this story, other than to always carefully inspect your vehicles after a service stop–preferably with the service advisor at your side, making sure things are as you expect them. I’ll post an update (not that any of you necessarily care, but I feel better venting about this kind of thing! :) ) once I hear back from the dealer tomorrow. Grrrrrr.


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  1. That sucks! I feel your pain about people just not caring. I hope the dealer made good on fixing or replacing the seat. Hopefully, they did a better job on the mechanicals and jsut didn’t pull the bulb on the airbag light or install an airbag filled with old Chinese newspapers.

  2. How very odd. I have a ’93 MR2, and was searching for how to fix a leather seat puncture and found your post. I put a screwdriver in my backpocket and later sat down. Ouch! What kind of place fixes this?

  3. The dealership I used has it outsourced — a company comes in once a week and does all of their interior repair work. Check your local Yellow Pages (or online variant) for leather furniture repair services as a starting point.


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