Blog, Customer Service

The perils of buying a Saturn

On August 31 2007 my wife and I bought new cars. She bought a Saturn Vue and I got a Saturn Aura XR. The day was great and we were both excited….

Until about a month later when my Aura died on me. I am now on my 3rd trip into the dealer (Saturn of Plano) and am having difficulties with them actually fixing the car. As of Dec 6, they’ve had the car for 1 week and have done very little with it and have told me that they won’t have a special tool available until Monday Dec 10.

For a car company is known for customer service, they are about as far from it as they can be. The dealership (Saturn of Plano) has done an absolutely poor job all the way around…I’d suggest anyone stay as far away from this dealership as possible.

The entire back-story up until today is provided below for your reading pleasure. I’ll keep updating this daily so check back for more.

Looks like others have had similar problems:

2007 Saturn Aura
Purchased August 31 2007

Oct 3 2007
Service Traction Control warning will display and then car immediately died. Called On-Star and was told 2 hour wait for wrecker to take me to dealership. Was able to get car started, engine light was on while I drove to Saturn of Plano. Service Techs looked at car and said ‘nothing wrong’ and cleared the codes. Drove the car off the lot and it started acting like it was about to die, so turned around and drove back. Service Tech looked at car again and computer was non-responsive. Left car overnight got rental car for evening. Returned to pick up car on Oct 4. Was told that nothing is wrong. Drove car home.

Oct 14 2007
“Service Traction Control” came on and car stalled. Was able to start car.

Nov 4 2007
“Service Traction Control” came on and car almost stalled. Drove car to parking lot and parked it. When I got back in it was fine.

Nov 19 2007
“Service Traction Control” came on and car almost stalled. Drove car to parking lot and parked it. When I got back in and restarted it was fine.

Nov 28 2007
Service Traction Control light came and car almost stalled. Drove car to dealership in the afternoon and left it there.

  • Nov 29 – Returned to dealership and was told that my radar detector was the problem (even though radar detector wasn’t installed when it did this on Oct 14 2007). Was told that they would have to ‘return the car to factory condition before they could go further’. Told them to do whatever they thought the needed to do. Got rental car for the night. NOTE: Radar detector power wire is spliced into the cigarette lighter wire and ground wire is grounded.
  • Nov 30 – I called them. No update/change. Was told that they determined that the Radar detector wasn’t the problem and that they were troubleshooting the problems.
  • Dec 3 – I called them. No update/change.
  • Dec 5 – I called them 4 times throughout the day. Left messages. No response. Called back to speak with General Manager but when I asked to leave voicemail I was put into a voicemail that wouldn’t accept messages. Called Saturn Customer Assistance National. Was told an Area Manager would be looking into it and I would hear from them by 5PM CST on Thursday Dec 6. After talking with Saturn CA, Service Manager from the dealership (Saturn of Plano) called me and told me that he had to order a part to check the computer connectors. The part was supposed to be there that day (Wed Dec 5) but didn’t arrive. Said he would call me by 3PM Dec 6.
  • Dec 6 – Received call from the Service Manager at ~2:15PM. He told me that the part he had ordered hadn’t arrived and that he would receive it on Monday Dec 10. He asked me to come get my car. I told him I would think about it. At 3:30PM I attempted to call to speak with someone but nobody was available. Was on hold for ~5 minutes with no luck. Asked to speak with someone and was forwarded to a phone that rang and rang. I drove to the car lot and talked to a service consultant who repeated what the service manager had said earlier. Service consultant gave me their cell phone number and told me to call whenever I needed assistance. At 5PM CST, have not heard from Saturn Area Manager even though I was told that I would hear from them. Called Saturn CA at ~5:03PM. The Area manager for my case had left for the day and I left a message to have him call me the following day.
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About Eric D. Brown, D.Sc.

Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a data scientist, technology consultant and entrepreneur with an interest in using data and technology to solve problems. When not building cool things, Eric can be found outside with his camera(s) taking photographs of landscapes, nature and wildlife.
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Steve Wiley
16 years ago

Well, Saturn’s slogan is “A different kind of car, A different kind of company”. I guess that sums it up right there. It seems there are some pretty incompetent and/or lazy people in their Customer Assistance department (and at the Plano dealership in general). Will the Lemon Law be of any use in this situation? Or do you have to actually get three replacements in order for that to work? Good luck.

Eric Brown
16 years ago

The Texas Lemon law says that the dealer must try to repair the problem within a ‘reasonable number of attempts’…that number is different for different things (I’ve seen 2, 3 and 4 as the #).

Given that this problem is life-threatening (when it stalls the car dies and I lose all power, steering, etc) I would think it would be at the lower levels.

It appears that there have been other people with this same type of problem and they’ve had similar results from Saturn.

Richard Kennedy
Richard Kennedy
16 years ago

You are right. I have a Saturn Vue and the dealer has just discovered that the Check Engine Symbol was displayed due to something, apparently a rodent, chewing unprotected wiring directly on top of my fuel tank and next to the fuel pump. The dealer has their rules about warrrant repairs but when I call Saturn Customer Assistance I’m flat out denied assistance or the ability to speak with a regional representative. WOW, its amazing why GM is lossing customers to foreign automakers. The wiring in question should have been protected by shielding in the first place to protect the… Read more »

used cars
12 years ago

wow this is so nice blog of The perils of buying a Saturn and i ma so happy that you share this to all…….