: Cadillac BLS Steering Lock and bad customer service

11-14-11, 06:23 AM

So I bought a reg57 Cadillac BLS about 16 months ago. I liked the car during my test drive and it has been working great until 3 months ago when I got my first 'Steering lock malfunc. make a safe stop' message. Since then things have gone crazy and here is my experience about customer service for Cadillac. If you have any suggestions, comments or any help let me know..I certainly will never buy any general motors cars ever again.

in September I got my first error message, the AA recommended I change my battery if it keeps appearing and, as it appeared 2 days in a row I changed the battery and the message disappeared for 2 weeks.

in Mid-October it happened again. I decided to contact Stratstone PDI, upon advice from cadillac in order to get a fix. I took the car there and they said they had run some diagnostic tests and they would get back to me soon as they needed to contact the agent in Sweden.

A week passed by and no reply from Stratsone so I decided to contact the agent i.e. Klintberg and Way in Sweden. I got a reply from them that Stratstone PDI in Milton Keynes had never contacted them. So I called Stratstone PDI and was informed they had tried a different channel and they would be calling me back in a few minutes. They never called back so I called them instead and was told to take the car back to them.

Now remember. I have a non-working car and I was still under warranty (having purchased the extended warranty option from the AA).

The AA call me back (after having paid them 300+ pounds for a year of extended warranty) and they say that they have decided not to cover my repair under warranty because its not covered in ther 5* (full service) policy since if its an internal module!

anyways, I take the car back to Stratstone PDI, rent a VW Golf in the meantime..all at my own cost and the car is still at Stratsone PDI in Milton Keynes. By today..a week after I took it, Stratstone PDI and Klintberg and Way still do not know: a) what will definitely fix my car and b) they have ordered some part but don't know when it will be available. They said it might take months! all this for a car that is still under warranty and not even 4 years old!

I have contacted GM in Detroit and have been told twice that they basically don't care what happens in Europe because they only deal with issues with American cars.

In total, I am estimating that my repairs could cost me more than the value of the car, considering that I have already paid 400 pounds for a car rental that the warranty does not want to cover, and an additional 70 pounds in towing fees.

Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome. I don't know if there is any law that should force them to get it fixed. They basically don't seem to care if I have a car or not as long as I have paid the money to buy it in the first place. Ironically my vehicle reg tax is due and I can't pay it as my car won't pass the MOT so I have to declare it as SORN. A 'luxury' car that does not work anymore after less than 4 years since its been built. Shame on Cadillac and on their customer service!

11-14-11, 12:02 PM
Here is an email I just got from the official supplier of Cadillac parts:
"We are writing with reference to your phone call at our customer assistance center. We inform you as follows:
Due to the insecure situation of SAAB (which delivered the parts for the Cadillac BLS), it is very difficult to get hold of spare parts for Cadillac BLS at the moment. The situation is beyond GM's control. We are very sorry, but we do not know when the parts will be available. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience."

So basically my car..that has less than 40k miles on it and is less than 4 years old and is still under warranty has to stay in a garage because the part is not available. I would have thought there is a law against this inconvenience. They haven't even given me an alternate car so I'm having to rent a car at 200 pounds a week meaning that in 2 months time I'd have spent nearly half of the value of my car!

11-14-11, 04:58 PM
that sucks ! big time.

Have you tried speaking to Baur Millets they might have a better idea as to what the problems are and getting hold of parts.

It took me weeks (7) to get hold a pair of front springs

It doesnt make me want to buy another Cadillac when you get treated like that.

11-14-11, 05:09 PM

I sent Baur Millets an email right away.

This is very annoying, my family in the US has been driving Cadillacs for nearly 20 years and the name was synonimous to quality. I guess quality does not translate well in the European market, and its so bad that GM in the US does not care about its European customers.

Anyways, I've put the car for sale at a cheap price, I really don't want to see it again. If anyone is interested let me know

11-15-11, 07:19 AM

I sent Baur Millets an email right away.

This is very annoying, my family in the US has been driving Cadillacs for nearly 20 years and the name was synonimous to quality. I guess quality does not translate well in the European market, and its so bad that GM in the US does not care about its European customers.

Anyways, I've put the car for sale at a cheap price, I really don't want to see it again. If anyone is interested let me know

Yours truly is a very sad and sorry tale and it makes owning a BLS a truly frightening experience for some.

Concerning Stratstone at Milton Keynes, I had my second service done there back in August and they were brilliant with me, however, a week before I took it down there (it is 90 miles from where I live), my BLS packed up with an electrical fault on the A38 near Derby. It was an absolutely horrendous experience from a safety point of view. Despite putting out a warning triangle some 200 yards away from the car, hazards on and me wearing a high viz jacket, my car was almost wiped out nearly three times in the 20 minutes I was stuck there, because of mindless, thoughtless, moronic motorists who are either half blind or just plain stupid! The AA to be fair were fantastic and made me an absolute priority and were there within 20 minutes of my call. Even the police turned up and I was extremely thankful. Unfortunately, it was a Saturday morning and because BM and Stratstone are closed on a weekend, they recovered the car to my home. The AA did however collect my car on the following Monday morning and I went with the recovery guy to Manchester to get the car fixed. It still took BM two hours to fix the fault (under warranty). I have 13 months remaining on my Cadillac warranty, it does make me wonder though, if anything major happens, am I going to end up in the same position as you, effectively left with a luxury pile of scrap sitting on my drive. I sincerely hope not! I think it is high time though, that the agent in Sweden write to all their registered BLS owners with a proper situation report on where we all stand. I have only ever contacted them once, to try and get updated satnav discs. I wish I hadn't bothered. Eventually, a dealer quoted me over 600 quid! I laughed hysterically and politely told him to forget it.

Facts dictate, that the car is American in name only. The car is effectively a Saab 9-3. The VIN plate and the air filter (amongst other parts and labels), which is Saab branded, tells us that. Even the centre caps in the alloys, if you look on the inside, they have Saab stamped on them. Saab make and supply the parts for the majority of the car, but of course all of the part numbers appear to be cataloged differently, so trying to match up the identical Saab part to the Cadillac part is a nightmare. My local Saab dealer didn't want to touch my BLS with a barge pole, despite the fact the engine, running gear etc etc, is essentially the same. They claimed they didn't have the Tech 2 software for the Cadillac either, so they couldn't do any software updates. I guess as soon as they learned the car was still under warranty, they considered they would rather do without the hassle. I have seen adverts from motor traders telling people they can take their BLS into any GM garage for spares and repairs. This is just ill informed twaddle and is being economical with the facts.

If my BLS breaks down, I have no choice but to take it to BM for warranty repairs, at least they have the equipment to do the software updates (Which they did on its first service). They are the closest at 60 miles and on the two occasions it has had to go there for electrical repair under warranty, they have been very supportive and have rectified the issues as quickly as possible. I absolutely dread the day though that I have to take it there should it break down out of warranty. If they can't fix it, will my car be sat in their car park for weeks or months waiting for parts? As it is, I will be forced to take out annual AA recovery once the warranty period has finished, so it can be taken to BM if it breaks down. I will continue to use Milton Keynes for servicing and MOT when it is due, because although further away, they are easier to get to. Time will tell however just how many authorised dealers/service centres will continue to operate in the UK for what appears to be a very poorly supported marque. I personally feel sorely let down.

11-15-11, 09:56 AM
I just got the car from the garage unrepaired..was charged 78 pounds for looking at it. I have been advised that a Saab ignition switch might work so I took it to a Saab dealership but they found out that it does not fit in..it needs to be a Cadillac one.

From Milton Keynes I have been told that the issue is an issue with all Cadillac BLS even those under warranty and there is nothing more to do then keep it stored in a garage until a part becomes available..if it becomes available. So basically if you bought a Cadillac BLS from 2010 you might just have a pile of junk in a few months time (the issue I have with my car is a common fault on all Saab manufactured cars..as I was told at the Saab dealership).

I have been offered 3000 bucks for a car that was worth way over 20000 bucks a few years ago and that I have barely used (only 40,000 miles on the clock)..I'm wondering whether I should take the offer.

11-21-11, 09:14 AM
Further update
The ignition switch from a Saab doesn't work because the Saab's switch is traingular while that of the Cadillac is circular. I am therefore still stuck with a car that isn't reliable.

I have contacted the AA who are offering the warranty on the car and they said they are not going to cover my ignition switch because it is not covered in my warranty (it would only be covered if my car was a petrol)..so I'm wondering why I actually paid my AA warranty for a diesel car when only the petrol part is covered..to add more to it they had the cheek to send me a renewal notice for my car..so I informed them that there is no point in renewing the warranty on a car that doesn't work and that they don't want to fix.

I called the dealer where I had bought it from i.e. KCS of Surrey and have been informed that they only offer a 6 month warranty on the car and that basically now that the dealer warranty is over, I'm basically on my own.

As there is no official cadillac representation in the UK there is no one to sue over the problem so basically the suggestion seems to be to offload it to some dealership and run....

I had not idea cadillac could have gotten so bad but this is the last cadillac or saab I'm ever going to own.

11-23-11, 03:44 AM
If I were you, I would seriously consider contacting your local Trading Standards Officer concerning your AA Warranty. Something is defo not right there. To be sold a warranty at the price you paid and be told you can't claim, is poor to say the least. It is one of those cases though sadly whereby, once you have taken warranty cover from anyone and paid for it, you should really delve deep into the small print. Never forget, you have a fourteen day cooling off period. If something isn't right and the cover doesn't in fact meet your requirements, you can cancel it and get a full refund within the 14 day period. Not much help now in your case now, but something to consider for the future.

I suspect sadly too, you might have great difficulty now shifting your car. Traders, especially small independents, generally have a good nosey around the car to make sure they don't buy a lemon. I really hope you can get the issue sorted. Not sure if you have tried them yet, but have you given BM in Manchester a call? I have actually been directed to them by other Cadillac service centres in the UK for parts and technical advice which makes me believe they are probably the most experienced and possibly, the longest running authorised Cadillac service centre in the UK. They have serviced my car once and repaired it twice under warranty.

You could also give Silverlake car recyclers in Southampton a call. They have a grey 2007 diesel currently breaking. You might be able to get your ignition switch out of that one. No harm in trying!

11-23-11, 04:54 AM

I contacted an online lawyer and was told that I could initiate a small claims for 150 pounds. Giving that I already spent 800 pounds and don't have any solution, I really don't feel like spending more pounds. I just told the AA that I won't be renewing and that I will make their disservice as public as possible. As I will leave the country soon I don't have time to fight more battles with the disservice offered by a lot of companies in the UK.

Thanks for the lead re: southampton. I just sent them an email. I found another car breakage in Finland but they won't deliver to the uk and I have also been looking in Russia but I don't have any positive replies as yet.


11-23-11, 05:42 AM
I appreciate your frustration, I really do think you should have a word with Trading Standards about the warranty though, although I guess if you are going to leave the country soon, you may not wish for a long drawn out affair.

Good luck with the Southampton lead, I hope it proves fruitful. The only problem is, they might not be interested in breaking up the car into pieces. They have had it for some considerable time though and I suspect no one will actually want to buy it to repair and put back on the road. I'm actually tempted to buy the doors off of it and put them into storage! I'm going down that way in a couple of weeks. I might pop buy to have a look at it myself.

I'm sorry, I asked you about contact with BM. I see on reading through your posts again that you had emailed them. I assume they couldn't help?

Best of luck anyway.

11-23-11, 05:52 AM

trading standards had told me that they can only help me if its a known manufacturer fault. Now the switch is a known manufacturer fault BUT for the Saab 9-3 which has a different part. Additionally they can only help me by asking the dealer I bought it from to buy it back with the defect at the price the dealer decides its worth (so less than I actually bought it for). Its just a help to get me to offload the problem to someone else. It is a bit of an issue because if my deadline expires to move and I still have the car I really don't know what to do with it!

Anyways, the Cadillac in Southampton, from what I see on the website still have the ignition switch as its not listed on the parts they've sold from it. However its not listed in the parts for sale either. If you go to Southamtpon take the doors but let me have the switch!!!

Once I fix this car I'm selling it and its the last gm car I will ever own. They have good comfy cars but no customer support whatsover. I hate it that the american company just tells me that they don't deal with the european brands. In my work I deal with both EU and US requests and if a US issue came to my office I'd be angry if one of the employees didn't offer to help.

I would also have liked to have a recording of the conversation with David from the AA who basically stated something on the lines of: 'The switch isn't listed in our policy, so you're not going to get any help from us. You are on your own'. and continued with something on the lines of: 'If you want to sue us, try and do that, but our T&Cs are clear and you will not win the case'. That proves how bad the customer service of many companies is in the UK.

11-23-11, 06:11 AM
Concerning your ignition switch, I know you have taken it to Stratstone, but I would honestly go for a second opinion to BM in Manchester. I have no idea where you live and I appreciate it could be a hell of a journey for you, but I would speak to them and do it anyway. Only minus point is, I don't think they're open at weekends. It's a lot nearer than Finland, Russia or Sweden though!

The thing is, when my own BLS broke down with its electrical fault, I spoke to two authorised Cadillac service centres here in the UK, both of them advised me to have the car taken to Manchester because they couldn't guarantee to me that they would be able to fix the car immediately. Also, can you be sure that your own car has had any software updates downloaded to the EMCU? BM did mine and they activated the central locking to lock down on drive off. At the end of the day, it's up to you and I guess it depends on how desperate you are to offload your problem, but they might have a different perspective on what the issue is.

12-01-11, 05:26 AM

just to let you know..the fault hasn't reappeared in about a month...Stratstone told me that it might have been a loose contact that rectified itself after they took out the switch and put it back in.

Thanks to ExRP01 I ordered the switch from Southampton which I'll keep just in case. But I won't change it unless the fault reappears.

I feel a bit more relaxed now but still looking forward to sell off my BLS for a decent price. I have been offered a 1:1 exchange with a 2003 Focus having 160miles on the clock and I ended up telling the guy to stop wasting my time!

12-01-11, 06:12 AM
I just got a phone call from the garage in Southampton. Strangely enough after taking out the ignition switch they found that the part number is different!. I can't understand how two Cadillac BLS 57 reg 1.9TDI could have a different ignition switch. Seems like that lead is not going to work out either :(

12-01-11, 03:25 PM
Thanks for keeping us updated nspiteri. I am glad that your problem appears to have resolved itself, and I hope that is permanent. It is v strange about the different part numbers. Perhaps they are almost identical, but the second one is an updated and improved version which maybe fixes the fault that you have with yours? Wishful thinking.

12-07-11, 01:31 AM
Well one of my friends has a Saab and he tried to install some extras. He bought those parts used from a company which is doing business only with Saab parts.
He quickly found out that Saab made significant changes through out the model year.
In his case the complete wiring is from the next year model which was released a few months after his car was build.

I know this won't help you but it could be that some of us might be will disover a big surprise when it comes to parts just as you did.