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TLX A12 service experience

 
Old 07-14-2018, 11:25 AM
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TLX A12 service experience

I am a 40 year, 11 vehicle Honda/Acura owner, with over 1 million miles driven. I am also a 20 year Elk Grove Acura customer, with 3 new vehicle purchases. I have long maintained my dealership relationship based on professionalism, trust and fair treatment. Yesterday, however, this came to a sad end. Let me explain. I took my 2nd TLX into Elk Grove Acura, a Sacramento California regional dealer group, for a basic A12 service and was presented with an invoice for $186, which is considerably more than customary. This inflated cost was due to a number of special services that were not authorized by me nor discussed on the original estimate. The reason I am posting is to provide this group with what I consider the latest tactic employed by dealerships like Elk Grove Acura as a Caveat Emptor. Added to my invoice was a product called Ethanol Defense, a fuel additive from a company called Bell Performance, that supposedly corrects the fuel system from the deleterious affects of Ethanol based fuel blends. Apparently 2 oz of product added to my vehicle costs $37.83, where a 32 oz bottle on Amazon costs $27.99. Additionally, a product called Frigi-Fresh was sprayed into my dash vents at a cost of $19.54, where a 5.5 oz can of this product on Amazon costs $21.99. Now, I realize the reports of questionable dealer practices noted on these forums are legend, and that many readers might respond with "Stealership" type comments, but such a blatant attempt to pad invoices with frivolous add-ons is noteworthy and totally unacceptable. A first for me at this dealer to experience such treatment, I thought it a good idea to share my misfortune and alert the user base of yet another dubious technique dealerships are now employing to relieve us of our money.
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for the heads up! This further helps to reinforce why I perform all of my own maintenance, except safety recalls. Rotating tires/adjusting pressure and changing oil/filter, air filter, and cabin air filter is about all these cars need until 100,000 miles (i.e. timing belt and spark plugs.) I also change my ATF about every 30,000 miles. All of my Honda/Acuras have run great with this simple self-maintenance regimen. I know DIY is not an option for everyone, but hopefully CaptainJackRDW's warning will help others from getting taken by unscrupulous dealers/repair shops.
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:32 PM
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I would go back to the dealership and speak with the manager about these services that were done to you, but not authorized or even disclosed to you until vehicle pickup.

I personally do the easier things myself, again not an option for everyone, but if you go in knowing what services your vehicle needs, you will leave the dealership with a few dollars saved. Alot of dealerships package these A/B services with "dealer recommended service" and that's where they get you. For instance an A12 service should consist of the following:
A = oil change
1 = tire rotation
2 = engine and cabin air filters

Out of those 3 things that need to be done during this service, 2 you can do anywhere and that will save you $50+ right there, I don't get why dealerships price it so high to do a 2-5min job for each filter.

Sorry you had to pay so much and for stuff your car most likely didn't need.
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Old 07-14-2018, 01:30 PM
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Yeah... I used to do the same thing, but now that I'm at an age where I have no problem paying a reasonable price for service, and this dealer does a free inside out car wash, so normally the A12 is about $100, which is reasonable, IMHO. I still normally do my "paper" maintenance, i.e. cabin and air cleaners to save a buck or two.

I did speak to the service manager, and he did offer to discount the service, which I actually refused. I felt if I did take the cash, I would be a hypocrite in filing a complaint, posting online and registering with the California Board of Auto Repairs, all of which I have done. I also have a million viewer YouTube channel I am producing a short video documenting this practice. I would rather pass the word and get this practice changed. If I had taken the money, I felt like it would have been "hush money" and they would just continue. I plan on parking in front of the dealer with a sign over the weekend. My hope is to get at least one person to turn around. Only if they feel economic business pressure will they reconsider their ill gotten ways.

Also, they just received the prestigious Precision Award for Service for 2017, which is based on a 95% favorable survey response, which when I receive my email survey, I hope to also let the Acura Marketing division know how blatantly this dealership takes advantage of it's customers.

Last edited by CaptainJackRDW; 07-14-2018 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 07-14-2018, 04:33 PM
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It is my understanding that in California, if a service is not on the estimate, and you did not authorize the service, then you cannot be charged for the service. I would have refused to pay for any service not authorized, especially the dubious services you listed.
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Old 07-14-2018, 04:44 PM
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You are correct, and although I had already paid the invoice before I checked it, I am taking a slightly different approach with this dealer. It's not the money, its their policy. I am hoping to bring to light with the general manager that we will not stand for deceptive practices, we will protest this behavior and in doing so affect change. Refunding me the charges will not have any effect on this dealer in continuing to rip others off, it is only with substantive action can we hope to get them to change their ways. My campaign is just starting, I plan on several other tactics to apply pressure to Elk Grove Acura... wish me luck.

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Old 07-14-2018, 04:55 PM
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They should be called out on every social media forum possible. Dealers like this give them all a bad reputation. I do get my oil changed at the local dealer which they charge $50. I was the first one there this morning and was out in 20 minutes. I also change all my air filters...that's another highway robbery markup. Good luck with your fight.
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Old 07-14-2018, 04:58 PM
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Thanks FLYGUY31, I'm just getting started with Elk Grove Acura. I will periodically post my progress and hopefully success with this issue over the next few days and weeks. If we succumb to this illegal abuse, they will continue to find more and more creative ways to bolster their bottom line and the cycle will continue.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:00 AM
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What is your YouTube channel? Would love to take a look and spread the word.
Like others I have moved to doing all of my own general maintenance to avoid even being in contact with dealerships as much as possible (as ogiewon stated, some have little or no choice and I understand).
I would be especially upset over a dealer putting some unauthorized product into my car engine or transmission without my consent.
Good luck.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by FLYGUY31 View Post
They should be called out on every social media forum possible. Dealers like this give them all a bad reputation. I do get my oil changed at the local dealer which they charge $50. I was the first one there this morning and was out in 20 minutes. I also change all my air filters...that's another highway robbery markup. Good luck with your fight.
I agree. I had a Honda dealer I really loved. When I had A service, they did a very inexpensive oil and filter change. Done. Nothing else. Their B Service was more intense and cost more. They retorqued a lot of suspension and steering components, checked and lubed seals, checked a few other things. A lot were according to Honda, but they also changed wiper inserts and did a couple of things that weren't. The would explain it all to the customer, I'd have to say yeah, I know what I'm getting, just do it and let me pay. That dealer, I trusted. I don't trust many others.
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:28 PM
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I'm also in the same area (Sacramento) and I'm not surprised Elk Grove Acura is trying to nickel and dime you. My experience with them, brought in my 08 TLS to have 3 pressure switches replaced. I usually do my own maintenance but recently moved and tools are still boxed up. I also requested for the parts to be saved. Once I got in my car, I notice that there are only 2 pressure switches and there should be 3. I let the manager know and all they provided was a discount. If I didn't ask for the parts back I wouldn't of known that they didn't complete the job.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:32 PM
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Yikes! I’ve always had really great experiences with Elk Grove Acura and would continue to get my car serviced from them if they weren’t so far away from my house. They’ve never tried to upsell anything to me and have certainly never performed any unauthorized services. Maybe things have changed in the year since I stopped going there. I Used to avoid Niello Acura at all costs after bad experiences with both their service and sales departments, however they’ve improved over the years

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Old 07-16-2018, 04:18 PM
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You can get their attention by smashing and burning your TLX in front of the dealership in protest of their dishonest business practices. Don't forget the boycott Acura sign. I heard that's really effective.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:55 AM
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Good on you for taking things to the next level. This kind of stuff happens all the time, usually to customers that seem less mechanically inclined or "easy targets" for supposed services that aren't needed.

Also, what's the deal with the "ethanol defense"? The TLX, and pretty much every Acura and Honda product for the last 20 years is designed to run on a 10% EtOH blend. And ethanol treatment is completely unnecessary and potentially even detrimental.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:17 AM
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I am really amazed by the dealership being very creative about their service packages and add-ons: Fabric protection package, Appearance package, Code marking system, Nitrogen package, Rust proofing package, Allergy protection package, Your wife's toe nails protection package lol and now Ethanol defense package LOL

Geeze, these guys must be real geniuses who graduate from Harvard Business School or something.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:33 AM
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They’re terrible. I was looking at used cars at a Used Nissan lot a few months ago. None interested me, but I asked what this $2k charge was on the ticket. They said I get 2 years of nitrogen tires, 2 year warranty on keys, and 2 years of car washes. Because those laser cut keys can cost $500 minimum. I asked if my Honda key was laser cut and they said yes... I can probably get I for $100 at a dealership. Told them never mind and left.
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:32 AM
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Makes you wonder how many suckers they've already conned into paying for the "Ethanol Defense"...
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