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Carmax has good PR?

Just moments ago I received this email from Carmax after my blog posting this morning.. I'm actually kind of impressed!

Hey David!

I am the social media PR guy here at the CarMax home office in Richmond, VA (although I grew up outside Nashville!). Google Alerts notified me of your recent post about CarMax and I thought I'd reach out.

It seems you had an interaction with a store associate named Ta Ta? Please feel free to tell me more about it, or you can contact the CarMax Customer Relations department at *Redacted* They are based here in Richmond as well, and you'll get a real person if you call.

CarMax strives for excellent customer service and if we failed to deliver that to you, we'll take it seriously.


Chris Wilmore
Assistant Public Relations Manager, New Media
CarMax, Inc.


My Response:

Dear Chris,

I am on my second Carmax car. Currently I have a Hyundai Tiburon that I purchased the Maxcare warranty on. This morning on the way to work the Check Engine light came on. So instead of going to work I headed over to the Carmax on Powell Avenue where I purchased the car.

When I got there I was assisted by Ta Ta who asked me if I had an appointment. In the past I’ve been able to schedule appointments but since the problem had just happened I had gone directly to Carmax. When I told her that I didn’t she handed me the “after hours drop off” form to fill out. This had the effect of making me feel somewhat dismissed. I work in service so I can certainly appreciate the demand that is placed on any service center and it wasn’t as though I was demanding service right away. I just knew that Carmax was where I would go for service.

Which leads to the actual service:
Ta Ta contacted me to inform me that the problem with the car was the Spark Plugs and Wires needed to be replaced to the tune of 300 dollars. This includes an 81 dollar diagnostic fee. Now again, I understand that these items are NOT covered under the MaxCare warranty, but since going in I had no idea if the repair would be covered or not I told her that I felt being charged an 81 dollar fee was a penalty that did not build my customer loyalty. Since having the MaxCare locks me into Carmax until it expires (on 4/09) I had no choice but to go there and HOPE that my service would be covered and I would pay the 50 dollar fee plus labor. But since it wasn’t covered no matter what I’m stuck with 81 dollars JUST TO WALK AWAY. It would seem my efforts to explain this to her did not have any effect, because it was only after explaining this to her that she revealed to me that in addition to the service that was not covered there was also some service to the headgasket that needed to be done that WAS covered.. to the tune of an additional 50 dollars. Since I need my car, and since its already over there, I agreed to have the work done but at this point I don’t know why I would solicit CarMax for car service after my Maxcare warranty is up.

I would be happy only to see the 81 dollar fee waived, since THAT is the fee that feels the most like punishment for having the MaxCare warranty. If I didn’t have Maxcare I could make other choices about where to service my car, but since I’m effectively “Locked in” until that service plan is up, it seems like as an organization you wouldn’t want to penalize me for getting my car repaired there!

Thank you for your attention.

David Overstreet


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
Wow, Big Brother is watching you ... freaky. But if it gets you better customer service ... I'm really torn on whether this is a good thing or not.
Dec. 15th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
He's already emailed me back asking for my cellphone number, so I'm impressed. What would have been more impressive is if it hadn't happened at all. But at least we know they try hard!
Dec. 15th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
You have the most interesting experiences with customer service reps than anyone I know.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )