Biggest problem was with the alternator belt squealing on my Mazda 2000 Protege.
I went to a Mazda car dealership, known as "Western Mazda," here in my hometown of Corner Brook, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) in Eastern Canada. I was told by the dealership that I needed a new alternator.
However, I checked with another local garage to get a second opinion. A qualified mechanic who inspected the alternator said it was working just fine. They re-installed the alternator and tightened the alernator belt but it kept squealing.
I went online and with one click found out on an automotive forum that a squealing alternator belt is a common problem on the Mazda 2000 Protege. It is remedied by installing an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) alternator belt.
In November 2007, I ordered an OEM alternator belt from Western Mazda. I asked for good will from the Service Advisor at Western Mazda due to their misdiagnosis. I asked them to install the belt for free, including the cost of the belt. Total cost to the dealer would be about $ 50.00 or less, including taxes. After all, had I listened to Western Mazda, I would have paid $500 to buy and install a new alternator. The dealership refused any good will.
I asked -- what if I paid for the belt, would Western Mazda install it for free (one quarter hour's labour at $65.00 per hour = about $15.00 including 14% tax)? The dealer refused that, too.
I wrote the head office of Mazda Canada and directed my letters to the President and CEO, Mr. Donald Romano, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I wrote him in December 2007 and January 2008. No direct replies from him. I guess he doesn't like talking to customers. His clerks in Customer Relations called and just parroted the same story over and over: "there is nothing we can do."
Finally decided to book an automotive service appointment at Western Mazda for 8:00 am on January 4, 2008 to install the belt anyway, but when I arrived, the Service Department did not have the alternator belt that I ordered in November 2007 !
What infuriated me most was the fact that I went to Western Mazda's Service Department several days before the January 4 appointment, and confirmed that it had arrived. In fact, the Service Advisor told me to stop worrying. I asked to see the alternator belt to make sure it was the right one, but the Service Advisor claimed he could not find it in the Service Department. However, he checked his computer and confirmed face-to-face that it had indeed arrived.
On the morning of the service appointment, another Service Advisor at Western Mazda said he must have given the belt to someone else or maybe it was "hanging around too long" and was sent back. As a result, I was yet again screwed over by Mazda. I had to cancel the appointment. The manager of the Service Department was standing there witnessing it all but she would only give a minor discount on the belt and installation. I told her they had screwed me over again, and that it wasn't good enough.
She then claimed that because I had asked to be dropped from Western Mazda's automated phone call list that this was the reason I never got a call indicating that the belt was no longer available. I had indeed asked to be dropped from the call list 6 months previous because I got an automated phone message from Western Mazda trying to upsell unnecessary automotiive service work. I told her she was making excuses because she had screwed up. She knew she had, but wouldn't budge on good will.
On January 10, I called our provincial radio phone-in talk show and vented my frustration. I will now contact other local media. No **** way will I be pushed around by Western Mazda or Mazda Canada.
I am now embroiled in major meltdown conflict with the Western Mazda and Mazda Canada over the stupid alternator belt. Also I contacted the Senior VP for Public and Govt Affairs at Mazda's headquarters for North American Operations. His name is Mr. Jay Amestoy and his office is in Irvine, California, USA. He would not help. In fact he told me he knew the CEO Mr. Romano, and thought he was a nice guy. Ah.... the old boys' network is alive and well. I will never buy another Mazda.
I wrote Mazda Canada CEO Mr. Donald Romano again on January 2, January 4 and January 11 - I requested that he contact me directly but he won't. I also emailed him and left a personal phone message at his office on Saturday, January 12.
Arrrrgggh! Some CEOs of corporations in Canada are excellent to deal with, and others just hate talking to customers. It seems Mazda Canada wants you to buy a car and to then just shut up. Why is this?
Oh...and you will never believe this (sit down for a moment, please): on January 9, 2008, I got a call from Mazda Canada's manager of Customer Relations, Mr. Domenic Santucci. His actual job title is "Manager of Customer Insights and Research" -- I swear, I am not kidding, that is his actual title. In the real world, it means he is manager of customer service.
After a heated exchange on the phone with him on January 9, I gave up trying to communicate with him and asked him for the contact info for the regional district manager for Parts and Service for Mazda Canada in Atlantic Canada, Mr. Gordon Bowser. His reply? Get this:
He said the district manager's office is located in the district manager's private residence in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, but Mazda Canada doesn't give out the phone or fax number for the district office! I am not kidding. Can you believe that??? Mazda Canada won't give out the contact information for its own district office for this sales region!
In my opinion, if the district manager has to hide away, Mazda must be getting a whole lot of complaints that the district manager is trying to evade. When the poor guy goes out, he probably has to wear a raglan, sun glasses, and a wide-brimmed hat, and keep looking over his shoulder on his way to buy a quart of milk for fear of being spotted by a Mazda customer...
Quality parts and good customer service are of paramount importance to me. Once I am screwed over by a car manufacturer like Mazda, I never go back. I got so fed up with Mazda Canada that I emailed my complaint to a national TV consumer show called "Marketplace" at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto, Ontario. I hope they do a TV show on Mazda Canada!
Through this forum, I respectfully ask President and CEO, Mr. Donald Romano, "Why are you so afraid to leave the board room to pick up the phone and call customers like me?" So much for Mr. Romano's big degree from Pepperdine University in the USA. I'd say it's time for him to zoom, zoom back to university to learn some basic respect for his customers.
ONE QUESTION FOR ALL FORUM READERS: Why does a North American car manufacturer like Mazda spend thousands of dollars on ads in slick mazagines and in daily newspapers, begging us to buy their product, but yet when it comes to offering $50 of good will to keep their existing customers, they choke? I just don't understand the world of some corporate executives and their adolescent behaviour.
Anyway, the fight continues with Mazda Canada and Western Mazda about my squealing alternator belt. I will keep you posted. Thanks for reading my rant. I feel better for having vented my frustration.