The Relentless Pursuit of Mediocre Service, Lexus Customer Service

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Interested to hear if your experiences in your own country are the same as here.

The Relentless Pursuit of Mediocre Service

Dear Reader, having become the 2nd owner of a well maintained Lexus RX350 2006 with Lexus Q service history with less than 100,000KM I believed I was buying one of the most recognized and highly awarded car manufacturing brands in the world, Lexus. As all owners do when buying a used car you search around for any issues or notifications there may have been with that year car and then visit the dealer to discuss if work had been done especially with a car that has a long service history with the dealer.

After searching on the web I came across the Oil Cooler Hose issue and the VVTi hose issue with models from 2006-2011 with the 3.5 Litre Engine, this was related to the rubber component which could split and render the engine without oil after a short period of time. Being a safety concious driver and seeing as my wife would be driving this car I decided the best bet was to phone Lexus Q firstly and ask if those lines had been changed and if they could check the service history. This enquiry was made on the 8th November 2019 in the evening and concluded with the service agent not being able to give me an answer on this issue.

My next step was to visit the Lexus garage at the LM branch on the 9th November in the morning to discuss with one of their service supervisors H about the history of the car related to the two hoses, the feedback I got from H was that the previous owner of the car was told about the issue but did not carry out the replacement parts, as a result of this I asked for both hoses with the rubber component to be replaced by the new all metal component, I was very happy with my discussion with H and left happy in the knowledge I had left the car in very professional hands.

2 Days Later

I get a ring to pick up the car on the 11th November that the car is ready. I set off to Lexus in a taxi all happy in the knowledge I would be picking up a reliable Lexus with everything working fine, I take a ticket and wait for the service agent again greeted by a smile from H which is a good way to start. I was then greeted with a note on my file saying that there is a leak in the cooling system and the radiator needs changing along with all the hoses etc. I am thinking ok not a massive issue it is an old car and the professional inspection I had on the Lexus 5 days earlier before I bought it obviously missed something? I asked is there water in radiator and could it be driven, I had been driving it non-stop since I bought it and no over-heating in 35 degrees heat so thought this problem can be solved another time, I had the response from the supervisor yes it had water in it.
With the bad news on the potential radiator leak discussed H moved onto the payment for the job I had asked for, it had been completed and I got handed the bill which I was
  • I had asked for a history of the car and whether these components had been changed in the past, I have bought a used car am I somebody who is happy to spend money on new parts if I don’t have too?
  • Why have the mechanics changed a perfectly good part out for another perfectly good part? Surely there are procedures for the mechanics to follow to avoid wastage and unnecessary work being carried out, these mechanics are professionals?

As it turns out the answer to Question 1 is that the parts both the VVTi metal hose and the Metal Oil Cooler Hose had been changed in 2015 but this information had not been conveyed to myself during the first discussion with H, if this information had been conveyed why would a customer request perfectly good metal replacement parts to replace other metal replacement parts on such a low mileage car, it is not as if I want to have shiny new metal parts attached to the car nobody can see.

The answer to question 2 is basically the mechanics don’t have a procedure to follow when changing parts that don’t need changing, this could mean many parts are changed un necessarily adding up to large amounts of automotive wastage at a time we are trying to avoid wasting resources and also unnecessarily charging a client for components.

After getting nowhere with the conversation with H and going round and round in circles I asked to see the manager on duty P. My discussion with P covered the same topics as with H and started to get bogged down with the same key points at this point I just asked for a refund as this is clearly a mistake so an easy resolve for Lexus to solve. I was explained that this could not be the case and I could get a discounted service package or something similar, to be perfectly honest throughout this whole situation my impression of Lexus has gone from one of the top car manufacturers in the world to a company I would not even let wash my car.

I believe there are a lot of positive learnings to be taken from this situation and as an educator I would like to think these will be acted upon to give the customer a more focused experience and be a little less wasteful on parts.

Interested to hear other peoples opinions on this matter.