JC Billion Inc.
Added on -, by Cassandra P.
When I bought my used vehicle (2003 Nissan Pathfinder) from JC Billion Nissan in April of 2013, finance manager *** ******* forgot to have me sign some paperwork to get the title done. Then, after I did go back and sign it on a Friday, I was promised by *** that I would get a phone call Monday letting me know it was taken care of, so I could register the vehicle. No one called me Monday, so I called them and found that *** was off. Not a problem. However, no one called me Tuesday, so again I called, and *** said he would look into it and get back to me. He never returned my call. So, on that Friday (a week after signing the paperwork), I went downtown to the courthouse in Bozeman to register it. After waiting a half hour to get in, I find out that JC Billion still had not submitted the paperwork. I waited TWO more hours, and was late to work, while playing phone tag with people at JC Billion to get the paperwork faxed over. The lady in the title office at Billion assured me she would tell her boss of my situation, that he was standing right there. I thought to myself, "If they value having my business, they will call me tomorrow and apologize for the inconvenience"--specifically, that manager (*** *******) I had been dealing with since the date of purchase. Never did I get a follow-up call, letter, nothing.
Now, a year later, I started having problems with the vehicle not shifting properly. The check engine light came on and, against my better judgment, I brought the vehicle in to JC Billion Nissan service on Tuesday April 22, 2014. They told me it was "probably" the cam sensors and/or timing sensor, it would cost approximately $500, and it would be done by the end of the week. They called me after the work was complete and said they took it for a drive and it didn't fix the problem. (Which sounds like they were guessing and replacing parts at my expense.) After doing more diagnostics, they still could not figure out what the problem was, and told me at the end of the week that they would have to call Nissan on Monday to have them help diagnose the “codes” they were getting. I believe they called me that next Tuesday, April 29th, and told me it was the cam actuators (aka sprockets), a job that would cost approximately $3000.
Since the job was so costly, the extended warranty I purchased with the vehicle would have to send an inspector to evaluate the job, and also to see if the warranty would cover this repair. I asked ****, the service representative, about getting a rental, to which he replied that if the warranty covered the repairs, they would also cover a rental vehicle for me, but that they (JC Billion) “didn’t have anything available” for me at that time. How can a dealership as big as JC Billion not have ANY rental vehicles?? I felt like I was being duped. The inspection was done Thursday May 1st, and I was told the inspector denied the claim for the repair. I was told by JC Billion that even if I didn’t have the work done there, I would be responsible for the $1700 of labor it took to take the engine apart and put it back together for the diagnosis of the problem, which meant that basically I had to have the work done there, or I was out an extra $1700 for doing nothing at all. I was also told that I was still responsible for the three sensors that were replaced originally (~$500). I felt like I was being cornered and/or singled out because I am a woman, and I don’t know anything about mechanics.
On Monday, May 5th, I called and spoke to the Nissan service manager, *** *********, who explained the situation, and we talked about why the warranty claim had been denied (due to sludge build-up). He verbally stated that he agreed with me that the problem was not my fault, had not occurred in the past year that I had owned the vehicle, and was likely the previous owner(s) before it had been traded in to them at JC Billion. I asked “Don’t you inspect vehicles before they are re-sold?” to which he replied that they “only do a basic safety inspection” and if no problems are found at that time, the vehicle goes right back out on the lot for sale. I was appalled that a dealership would only do a “basic safety inspection.” I thought that having bought a vehicle from them meant something, and that they might just go out of their way to do a little something for me to instill some faith in their business and customer service. At that point, my vehicle had already been there for two weeks. I was not impressed.
I told my story to a neighbor, an ASE-certified mechanic, and he agreed to go with me to JC Billion to assess the situation and make sure I was not being taken advantage of. On Tuesday, May 6th, my neighbor, my husband, and I went to JC Billion Nissan service and were shown the inside of the engine of my vehicle. They explained the problems and my neighbor asked the appropriate questions for me. However, while talking with **** and the mechanic, my neighbor noticed the old sensors that they had taken out of my vehicle. He said they looked OK, and so I asked the mechanic if the sensors he had taken out were functional, to which he responded that they were. My neighbor then replied that they ought to put the old sensors back in my vehicle since they were not the problem to begin with, and **** jumped in and said something to the effect of “Oh I forgot to tell you we got that $500 dropped down to $260 for just the VTC sensor.” Immediately, the mechanic looked at ****, and said “I never replaced that.” Then they said they wouldn’t charge me for any of the sensors. So, it appears to me that they were going to charge me $500 for parts they did not replace or did not need to replace in the first place! This only made me feel more like they were taking advantage of me. On my way out, I had **** make me copies of their quotes as well as the original paperwork I had signed when I brought the vehicle in to them. He mentioned in passing that they also did “that recall work.” I was totally surprised and asked what recall work had been done, because I was not aware of any recall. The recall work had been something to do with the passenger airbag. I was told that because I was not the original owner/purchaser, that Nissan may not have my information and would not have been able to contact me about a recall. I was confused because I bought this vehicle at a Nissan dealership, so I felt like Nissan should have my information. I also felt like they should have called me as soon as they found the vehicle needed recall work, at least to let me know. I would have appreciated the call so I would know what was going on with my vehicle.
I called later that day and let them know that I wanted to have the work done. I spoke with **** again, and told him I wanted to negotiate the labor rate because I felt JC Billion should do something for me since I bought the problem vehicle from them. He immediately replied that of course they would do something for me, but his manager wasn’t there that day, but maybe they could do a reduced labor rate or something like ten percent off the total bill. He called me back later that day to tell me the parts had been ordered and they “should start seeing all the parts here Thursday” (May 8th) and “hoping late Friday, maybe early Saturday to have it finished up.” Friday came and went, and I called Saturday afternoon only to find out that they were still waiting on some parts. Then I was told “maybe Monday, maybe Tuesday.” Monday came and went, and I called Tuesday May 13th in the late morning only to be told, again, that they were still waiting on a part and they thought it “might” be coming in that afternoon. I was frustrated beyond belief that I kept getting “maybe” answers or that every few days I was being told it would be another day or two, or more. How could anyone believe what JC Billion quotes you, when they change their story every few days? What if my family only had the one vehicle, this one that was STILL at JC Billion after over three weeks? I let them know on more than one occasion that my husband was losing work from not having a vehicle, and then when he had to go to work because we couldn’t wait any longer, I told them that I didn’t have a way to get to work. Never did they offer to get a rental vehicle, not even one that I would have to pay for. This is terrible customer service! Not once did I ever receive an apology that the job was taking so long, or that the finish date they would quote me kept getting pushed back, or that they sold me a bad vehicle!
On Wednesday, May 14th, I still had not received any word as to what JC Billion was going to do for me. I called and left a voicemail message in the evening with **** letting him know that I was flying out of town on Friday, so if the vehicle was not repaired in full by Thursday, it would have to sit there until I returned in 10 days or so. I also asked to be notified of what was going on with my vehicle, and what they had come up with to offer me as a discount.
On Thursday, May 15th, at 5:20pm, I had not received any phone calls in response to my voicemail message. Again I called ****, and he said he never got any message. He told me that the part had come in on Wednesday 5/14. I had been previously told that once the part came in, it would only be a couple more hours of labor and it would be done. So, I asked why, a full day later, the work was still not done. I was told that the mechanic was doing multiple jobs at the same time, which made me feel like my repair job was not at all important, especially since it had now been there for three weeks and two days. I said that I thought maybe, by now, I would have been a priority, because quite obviously I was extremely upset.
After I started telling these stories to my coworkers, friends, and neighbors, I found that many people I know have had similar terrible situations with Billion, or know someone else who has. I would NOT recommend purchasing anything from JC Billion, nor servicing your vehicle there either. It appears to me that they don't care at all about quality customer service, or standing behind the products they sell.
I did not receive another phone call/message until Monday May 19th. (Now at four weeks in the shop.) I was told that they were “not getting any spark, or power coming out of the ECM,” and they would have to order this part, for about $340. Tuesday morning I received a voice message from the customer service person, ******** *******. Forty five minutes later I received another phone call from **** in the service department. He left me a message that said the ECM was “not sending power to the coils to get a spark” so they could not get it started and they would have to replace the ECM at my expense for ~$338. He also stated that they were still looking for my authorization to do this work. When I called back, I said that I didn't think I should be responsible for paying for this since it was working when I brought it in. I was told that this happens sometimes and they see this in older vehicles or high mileage vehicles when the power source to the ECM has been unhooked for a long period of time. I replied that if this work had been taken care of in a timely manner, maybe the ECM would have been hooked up to its power source sooner and would be working just fine. I refused to give authorization to have the work done at my expense. I called ******** back and left her a message stating what I had been told by the service department about having to replace an ECM. I also stated that I felt it seemed like the mechanic did not know how to take apart and put an engine back together properly.
Twenty five minutes after leaving a message for ********, I received a phone call from the service manager ***, who mentioned he had spoken with ********, and he told me the part was regularly $1100 but that they had found one from a junkyard. Then I wondered how would an ECM from a junkyard car work if it had not been hooked up to a power source? *** also said he did not know whether this junkyard part would last 10 minutes or 10 years. Why would I want a potentially bad part to be put in my vehicle for $340? *** asked if I would be around that afternoon, and said he would be calling me later that day. They wanted to try the "new" ECM to just see if it would work. I never heard back from him, or anyone else.
I did not receive another phone call until Friday, May 23 at noontime. **** left me a message saying the work was done and that *** would be driving my vehicle Friday and Saturday. He also said they did not need to replace the ECM because they found that a couple of connections were "not properly connected" and that it was taken care of. Again this is an example of poor customer service, and serious incompetence on the part of their mechanic/service department. I was going to have to pay $340 or possibly over $1100, to replace a part that did not need to be replaced. Not once had they admitted to being in the wrong, just statements like "the connections were not properly connected," which to me, means the mechanic did not do his job properly, and they should have admitted as much. Trying to cover it up and make it look like it is not their fault makes their department look even worse. I have a feeling that I am not the only person that this is happened to when dealing with JC Billion. If I hadn't asked questions, hadn't put my foot down and refused, I would be putting so much work into that vehicle that it did not need to have done. The last estimate for the total of work done to my car was given to me on Tuesday, May 20th and the total was $3220.88, but I think that may have included the $338 for an ECM.
On Tuesday, May 27th, at about 9:30am, after FIVE weeks in the shop, I called to check in and make sure everything was done before I came in to pick my vehicle up. Monday had been Memorial Day and I had flown back in to Bozeman from my vacation. When I spoke with ****, he said everything was done, and I asked for the total of the bill. He said $3574.97. I asked why it was ~$500 more than I was quoted, and he responded that there was a $100 deductible for the gasket work that was covered by my warranty (I was never told of any deductible/cost for that work), and there was the VTC sensor also (the sensor that the mechanic said, in front of myself, my husband, my neighbor, and ****, was never replaced!). I told **** this and he said it was still on the bill.
I called ******** ******* again to vent my frustrations and see if she could help me. She said she thought everything had been taken care of already, but apologized profusely and told me she would take care of it. I had several more phone conversations that morning with ******** and she assured me she had gone directly to ************, one of the owners, and had been in talks with *** the service manager as well. She told me that *** dropped the VTC sensor from the bill. I asked what ************ was going to do, and ******** told me that ************ himself had said he would call me, but I had not received any phone calls. ******** told me that *** was in a meeting until noon and she had some trouble reaching him, but that he would be expecting me when I came in.
I met with *** and ***** and I was given a bill of $3418.77. I sat in the office with *** and ***** for about 40 minutes, and went through everything that had happened with their service department in the past five weeks. They finally told me the truth, which was that the mechanic had screwed up putting the two cam actuators in my engine. There is a left and a right, and he had put them in backwards (right in the left, and left in the right), then put the entire engine back together, only to find out that the car would not start. They had to call Nissan to help figure out why it wasn’t working. So there never was a problem with the ECM, and I was lied to when they told me that "there were some loose connections." They never admitted, until that point, that they had done anything wrong. The mechanic ended up having to take the whole engine apart to put the cam actuators in properly, then put the whole engine back together. He had over 30 something hours into this engine job which only should have been a 14 hour job. ***** Billion said that the mechanic had to “take it apart three times.”
***** also told me I should have been getting updates at least every other day, and I definitely had not been getting updated that much. They were not charging me for the diagnostics, because the problem was misdiagnosed in the first place. They also took the VTC sensor off my bill, only after I had called and complained to ******** that morning. I asked why that had not been done three weeks ago, when **** told me it would be taken off my bill. Again they would have charged me for some work they had never done, had I not questioned everything and checked the bill. I also asked, when they thought it was the ECM, and told me they had a junkyard part to replace mine, how that would work if their excuse was that my ECM was not working because it had been unhooked from the power source for an extended period of time. *** the service manager said he could not answer that question. Again, they were making excuses and not telling me the truth.
At first, *** said they would pay the $100 deductible because of “all the hassle.” I mentioned that **** had promised me weeks ago that they would give me a reduced labor rate or a percent off the total bill. ***** said he was willing to give me 10% off. I got extremely upset, and held my ground, saying that 10% off was not acceptable. I had to argue with ***** in regards to the bill, (I was not impressed by his stubbornness and tone, while he argued that 10% off was fair) and went on to point out every little detail of being lied to and misled, waiting FIVE weeks, lack of communication by their service representative, not being updated enough, and having such a terrible customer service experience. After being very tearful and even more upset now that I was having to fight for a fair price, I asked ***** if he understood why 10% off was unacceptable, to which he replied "Yes." He then offered me 20% off, as well as paying for the $100 deductible. I did not think I was going to get a better offer than that, so I accepted. ************ also gave me his cell phone number, and told me that I would never deal with anyone but him again. When we were finally done (after forty minutes in the office with *** and *****), I paid my bill, and got in my car to find the gas tank on empty. I went back in and asked if they would fill it for me considering they had to drive it a bunch to test it out while they were working on it. They did fill my gas tank, and finally I left. I went for a short drive and I was hearing a high-pitched noise, so I went back to have them listen to it for me and make sure there was not a problem. Sure enough, they heard the noise too. They stated it was from the new chain in the engine because it was new and very tight it was going to sound different than it had before, and that it needed some time to loosen up over a few hundred miles or so. They told me to return in about a week and they would recheck all my fluids and such to make sure everything was looking good.
I finally went home, relieved to have my car back, and be done with JC Billion. Later that afternoon my husband went to start the car, and it would not start. I tried with my key, and my key would start it, but my husband's would not. So, I had to call ************, and ask why that would happen. Since they had been fooling with the ECM, things had been reprogrammed, and my husband’s key would need to be reprogrammed also in order to work. ***** coordinated his service department to come to my work and reprogram my keys there in the parking lot. It appeared to me that they were working very hard to appease me, after realizing how badly they had messed up this job and how terribly I was treated.
About a week later, I returned to the service department to get my vehicle rechecked. While I was waiting in the waiting area, ***** Billion came and thanked me for coming back. After about a half an hour of waiting, *** the service manager came and got me and said everything looked good, and also thanked me for coming back.
This is the second Nissan vehicle I have owned, and I think they are good vehicles, but after everything I have been through, I will not be purchasing a Nissan vehicle unless I move somewhere else and would never have to deal with JC Billion Nissan in Bozeman, MT. Nissan needs to take a very close look at this dealership. Who knows? An investigation could find that this is happening way too often, and hurting way too many Nissan customers. I am sorely disappointed with everything that has happened, and no matter what they do, they will not be able to make up for the incredibly awful service I received.