: Dealer rant: Miller Brothers - Ellicott City, MD



XterraGuy
03-07-06, 01:37 PM
I'm not a Caddy owner, nor do I ever expect to be, but I've had a rotten experience with a Caddy dealer that I'd like to share...

First off, let me say I realize that they were in no way whatsoever obligated to indulge me, but it's pretty damn lousy of them to stand their ground and refuse such a simple favor. Long post, I'll summarize at the end...

I'm looking into adapting the XLR's water-cooled alternator for use on my Nissan Xterra. The fact that it's sealed to the elements is very desireable for those of us that use our vehicles off-road and expose them to nasty conditions, some of us have been through 3 or more alternators.

I figure I wouldn't have much luck finding one in stock at a dealer, but it turned out Miller Brothers in Ellicott City actually had one in stock back in January, what luck! I ducked out of work a few minutes early to get there before 5:30 and the guy at the counter was happy to oblige me. He pulled it out of the stock room and let me look it over, take measurements etc. Initial impression was that it looks pretty feasable to adapt it into my Xterra, eureka!

Two days later I leave early for work and stop by on the way with a spare Nissan alternator and my digital camera so I can get a side-by-side comparison and some pictures. Same guy at the counter, but he can't find the alternator this time. Turns out it had been pulled for installation by the service department just that morning. I talk to a guy in the service department to see if perhaps it is still not yet installed and maybe I could get a quick look, or do the same with the old one they had already yanked, but I get brushed off.
Returned that afternoon to see if I can see the old one, but it's in the "warranty bin" and nobody left there has access. Next morning I swing by once more, but this time I'm told it's already been sent back to GM. Parts guy says they should have another in in a couple of weeks though.

So a couple of weeks go by, I call and they indeed have another in stock. So I swing by after work, and this time the guy at the parts counter is the parts manager (Tom Linder). I explain to him what I've been through and that I just want to get some pictures of the one they have in back. Instantly he says he can't help me and is anything but friendly about it, essentially saying if I'm not there to do business (i.e. buy the alternator) he wants nothing to do with me. He's not busy, he was sitting on the stool when I walked up and nobody else is there, but he won't take 2 minutes of his time to help someone research a project. I'm miffed...

So I walk over and ask to speak to the general manager, Bob Palmer. Gave him the quick summary and said I felt I had been treated poorly. He said he would look into it and get back to me. I left my number. Gave him until mid-afternoon the next day, no call, so I stopped by after work and spoke to him. Bob said he stood by his parts manager. I said "so you're saying your dealership won't spare 2 minutes of someone's time for someone as a favor?" and he said yes. Unreal...

So I e-mail the Miller brothers themselves. I tried to reach John Miller but only found an e-mail for Robert Miller who is on the Ford side of the business. E-mailed him saying I had a negative experience w/ the Caddy dealership I wanted to discuss it with John, could he get me in touch?
Here's his reply:

From: ROBERT MILLER <robert.miller@millerbrothersford.net>
> Hello Mr. Scott. My brother has recently had surgery
> to his jaw and will be unable to speak until
> sometime in March. In his absence I am handling his
> duties. I have had the opportunity to speak with Bob
> Palmer and also Tom Linder, our GM store parts
> manager. They have taken time to hear your needs and
> also your concerns. While they are entrusted to care
> for our customers they also have a responsibility to
> take care of our business concerns. They do an
> admirable job of delicately doing both at the same
> time. After reviewing your experience with my staff
> I believe they acted according to our company's
> policies. You must take into consideration that in
> order to pay our employees we must generate a
> profit- and that comes from the sales of products
> and services at competitive prices. I appreciate
> what you are trying to accomplish and trying to
> minimize your expense. We try to do the same every
> day. We understand that even if we need a service
> performed and their is no product purchased we still
> will be charged a service fee. I do not expect any
> individual or company to provide services to our
> business at no charge, just as you expect when you
> are at work in your occupation to be paid at the end
> of the day.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Robert Miller


Summary: Miller Brothers dealerships have an attitude from the owners down that they won't lift a finger for someone no matter how simple the request unless they're there to do business with them. I wanted 2 minutes of someone's time to pull a part and let me take some pictures, and they flat-out refused.

They can get bent...
Brent Scott

Sandy
03-07-06, 08:33 PM
Having spent many years in the car business, I can't help you this time, but I can guide you for next time. Listen to me with an open mind.

1). In some business establishments it's accepted practice to enter & look around. Macy's comes to mind, other department stores come to mind, stores at the mall come to mind, the library comes to mind as good examples. Persons who work in these enviornments understnad this.
Much the way the front of a dealership is. People come in and look at the new cars. This is what happens when one has an "Open Door". The people who work "in the back" of a dealership, are service personal. Their forte' is fixing stuff, and getting items stocked and unstocked, keeping records thereof. They are not (for the most part) highly polished diplomats of the society of "Pleasantville" ~ Their job is to sell "stuff" ~ when they realized that you were not buying anything, they lost interest. Like I say, they are "in the back" they are not by & large diplomats of good will. They should be, (of course) but I am talking real world here.
Me? If I wasn't busy, I woulda done it for you, but again, that's because I was IN sales.
To late now, but I'll tell you how you coulda gotten what you wanted without all the drama! When you returned the 2nd day to take a look at the part, and they said it was in the bin to be returned and all that stuff.... you shoulda arrived there with a:-
1) 5-pack of coffee(s) from Dunkin Donuts
2) A half Dozen Dunkin Donuts
3) A Pizza
There is absolutely no way then that they would not have bent over backwards to assist you. Try it next time. You'll be happy you did.

Remember, Service Managers & Parts Guys are generally not grads of Princeton University, nor a finishing school. They are tough; rumble & tumble guys who can toss a transmission up onto their shoulder and carry it the length of the shop. They are Rambo-Types, so that is THEM. Food melts them down to Bambi(s) ! They all LOVE food.

This is how they saw it: You don't drive a Caddy. You are not buying a Caddy. You are not a "known" customer, and you are NOT buying the alternator ~ so like WTF do I need this siht for ? See?
Now, I am NOT condoning it, and it is NOT what I would done, (understand?) BUT it is the way it is in parts departments more oft than not.
Just being honest with you !!

CTS4Chiefy
03-10-06, 02:11 AM
Sorry to hear that their manager wouldn't even let you look at it.

Being into business, taking business classes, run the marketing division in a couple small business, and run a service-oriented business when I was a kid/early teens (car wash), I gotta say that the way they treated you should have been much better.

After all, as the guy above me said, their bottom line is to make a sale. And to make a sale, they need to treat their "potential" customer well, make him/her feel welcome, even if that "potential" customer doesn't plan on purchasing anything.

For every 1 good review a place gets, they'll get over 10 bad reviews. They need to still treat you well. Just don't go there, and, well, tell people to steer clear of it. If anyone you know if looking into a new or used Caddy, tell them to look around at their dealership, but upon being approached, to tell them that they're only looking as their friend (you) was mistreated by the dealership and that they wanted to just see what Cadillac had to offer, then leave. It will make it clear to the dealership that they need to clean up their act. After all, looking a $30K+ sell(s) isn't going to please the sales person OR the management.

CTS4Chiefy
03-10-06, 03:12 AM
And just to clarify... by making a sale, I'm not just talking about goods and services.. I'm also talking about the brand, the image, and the dealership.

Zig28
03-26-07, 09:47 PM
I bought a new 2006 STS4 from Miller Bros. and the sales experience was great. However, the service dept. is a disaster. I had to bring the car in twice, about 60 days apart, once for an oil change and once for the rear differential leak. It's incredibly hard to get hold of anyone in the service dept. The phone rings off the wall and no one answers - then if you can get the receptionist, she puts you on hold and that's the end of that.

I've left voice mail messages and never got a reponse back. I've never heard of a dealer where you can't get hold of anyone at any time! I'm not talking once or twice, this has been over 8-10 calls over a two month period. Then when I finally stopped by and left the car off, they never called me to say it was done. I called and called and could not get hold of anyone and finally just went back over and found that the car was finished.

Then they have the gall to send me a survey, begging me to give them top rating. I told them what I really think.... NOT recommended! They're turning me off to Caddilac - if this is how GM treats a brand new customer for a $50k car, forget it.

Boombottz
10-25-07, 11:24 PM
Hmmmm. I have bought 2 previously owned Cadillacs, neither one from Hertige/Mile One in Bel Air, MD and they treat me like gold.