...and Hatfield Kia really doesn't care
Mar 2008 -- see update to the right
Jan 2008 -- see update to the right
Dec 2007 -- We've decided to publish this letter after much aggravation and little response from Kia regarding problems with our 2006 Kia Sedona minivan, and poor dealer experience.
Since sending this letter to Kia representatives in August 2007, we have been back to the dealer several times for issues like a loose driver's seat and poor door seals which result in constant squeaking.
No one has ever apologized for our numerous service visits to the dealer (nor does anyone seem to realize we are there so frequently).
The one reply we did receive was in response to an email I sent to Kia via Kia.com support, with this letter attached. In effect, the response was "Next time you have to go to the dealer, contact us first." Needless to say, we were very unsatisfied.
It is not an option right now to replace our van with another car. Also, we like having a minivan, and the Sedona, despite its constant upkeep at the dealer, is useful for our growing family.
We know the Sedona has its share of positive reviews -- we bought the car based on positive reviews by family members -- but wanted to have our voice heard, even if Kia refuses to listen.
Sincerely, Kathy and Matt
This page is just one of many ways I came up with to get Kia's attention. I think social media can hurt a brand, and I've decided to take some steps to see if this is true.
UPDATE -- March 25, 2008
The Kia representative left me a message this afternoon that my check would be arriving by Fedex today, and it did. It was sent out late last week, and was delayed because a death in his family two weeks ago held up some of his work. His message was kind and apologetic. I felt like an ass.
Also, I'd like to reiterate that Kia has never once asked me to remove or adjust any of the comments I have posted about them on the web, which I think is pretty honorable and smart.
UPDATE -- March 24, 2008
It has now been over two months since the customer affairs representative at Kia offered to pay us a small monetary amount (one month's car payment) to compensate us for the troubles we have had with our Sedona minivan. To be fair, he warned me it would take 6-8 weeks to arrive. Apparently, there is a lot of red tape and beaurocracy at Kia and a couple of hundred dollars can't leave the building without multiple eyes approving it.
When I hadn't seen this check by the beginning of March, I called Travis (the Kia rep) and was informed it would be here in two weeks. Specifically, March 14th. It is now March 24th. Still no check.
I called Travis this past Friday, but have not heard back.
I hate it when I give someone the benefit of the doubt, and get screwed all over again.
Oh, and the sliding doors still stick in cold and semi cold weather, though the guys at Kia told me its just the weather and all car doors stick in cold weather. And the never-ending squeaking on the interior of the car still drives my husband up a wall.
UPDATE -- January 15, 2008
Within two weeks of publishing this site, which simply makes public the letter my husband and I sent to Kia in August 2007, we were finally contacted by the Kia customer affairs office (not the dealership, mind you).
Why were we not contacted sooner, say, 5 months ago? Because, as I was told by the customer service representative, our letter sent via snail mail was worded in such a way that Kia assumed we just wanted our aggravations officially noted. Not acted on. I don't get it, but there you go.
But the social media blitz I enacted along with this web page is apparently what did the trick. Kia monitors some sites (not sure which ones) and happened across one of my many postings. (As a side note, in the first 4 weeks of being published, this site received 400 visits).
The result? At first, I was put off by the admission that my letter had been received but no one at Kia felt they should act on it. However, since we were scheduled to take our car in again (the second time since the original letter) for sliding doors that froze shut in cold weather (which made my life miserable, since I had to load my toddlers into their car seats by entering from the front doors), Kia had the opportunity to really make a difference.
We went to a new dealership, Chesrown. The customer service representative contacted Chesrown and arranged for a rental car (free of charge to us) in exchange for keeping our car overnight in order to determine the root cause of our continual door issues. The rental, thoughtfully enough, was another minivan.
(As a side note, I thought it was kind of funny that we got a fine but unremarkable Chrysler minivan -- I felt like I was driving my grandma's car, though it was relatively new -- and not a Kia or a competitor that I wish we had bought, like the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. I also happened to have mentioned that in my original letter. Coincidence? Probably.)
Chesrown called, explained the problem. I am satisfied with the resolution. They were nice, and HELPFUL, too. I really like that combination much more than one or another.
The Kia customer representative followed up again. By this time, I had warmed up to him. He's a nice guy. And helpful. Once again, a winning combination. A little bit of effort from him to help me feel less alone in my van problems goes a long way in my perception of the company. He even offered a small monetary gift for our troubles. Which we will GLADLY accept.
And, no, he did not ask me to remove or update any of my online grievances regarding this situation. I am doing so voluntarily. Like any relationship, I want to be in a positive one, and as long as they are willing to make an effort, so will I.
But I'm still leaving this letter posted. We're still not fans of Hatfield Kia, or our experience there. And, after all, it's only been a week since corporate Kia has tried to make things right, and I've got several more years to go until this car is paid off ;)