Report: #1066267

Complaint Review: Cecil Atkission Dodge

  • Submitted: Thu, July 11, 2013
  • Updated: Fri, July 12, 2013
  • Reported By: Robert — HIllsdale Wisconsin
  • Cecil Atkission Dodge
    2601 South Water
    Burnet , Texas

Cecil Atkission Dodge Cecil Atkission Motors  Improper diagnosis of a drive train failure Burnet Texas

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Following journal documents the worst 'road trip horror story' I've ever encountered.  The journall was written over the course of several weeks as events unfolded.

 03/15/2013 (around 12:45 P.M.) While heading home from the Rio Grande valley, still 1260 miles from home my 2003 D3500 towing my fifth wheel camper locked up when attempting to start up from an intersection on Llano, Texas.  A loud snap was followed by total lockup of the rear wheels seemed to indicate that either the transfer case or the transmission had incurred a major failure.  River City Wrecker of Llano was called to assist.

03/15/2012 (mid-afternoon) My camper was moved to the Llano (Badu) municipal campground and River City Wrecker delivered my truck to Cecil Motors in Burnett. The drive shaft on my truck had to be dropped to get it to roll off the wrecker indicating the possibility of something locked in the drive train. I checked in with Justin at the service desk to have the problem diagnosed. I left my phone number with Justin and was promised a call when they knew what work was needed.

The service department did not offer me a car even though I'm going to be thirty miles away without transportation while they work on my vehicle. 

I returned to Llano with the wrecker driver who dropped me off at the Badu campground.  

03/16/2013 (midday) No status on the truck.  Called Justin and he said they had not been able to work on my truck but should be on it soon.  Said he'd call back.

03/16/2013 (2:30 P.M.)  I called Justin this afternoon and he said they would not be able to look at my truck today.

03/17/2013 Sunday - Service Department of Cecil Dodge in Burnet is closed

03/18/2013 (1:21 P.M.) No word on the status of my truck so I emailed Shane Johns who is listed as the service manager on the Cecil Dodge of Burnet website:

 This is an exact copy of the email with the exception of the alteration of my email address:
    From: gxxxxxxxx@lxxxxxxx.xx
    Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 1:21 P.M.
    Subject: D3500 Dodge repairs
    Mr. Johns,
    I’m 1000 miles from home, sitting in my fifth wheel on an asphalt pad in Llano. My tow vehicle has been in your shop since around this time on Friday with a locked up transfer case. I’ve called several times for status to find that no one has yet diagnosed the problem. Please call me with status.
    Robert Tucker     

03/18/2013 (Around 1:45 P.M.) Justin called.  He said my problem is in the braking system. He said the brakes were locked up on all four wheels which I'm almost certain was not true since I'd watched the service department roll the truck off the wrecker bed after dropping the drive shaft on the afternoon of 03/15/2013.   He gave me an estimate of $1900 plus for the brake job. Told him I had just had brake pads on all four wheels in November of 2012 and I thought his estimate was out of line for a complete brake job.  Justin told me that he'd never seen brake components with so much rust.  He was convinced that this was my problem and I was hoping that it was not the transfer case or the transmission.  These guys are supposed to be the diagnosticians and  but I'm thirty miles away and w/o transportation so I said go ahead and do the brake job.  

03/18/2013 (around 2:00 P.M.)  I Called Justin again to question the diagnosis of brakes and asked about the drive train.  He said they had checked it out and found nothing hung up in the drive train.
Not being satisfied with Justin's answer I composed the following email to Service Department Manager Shane Johns.

03/18/2013 (5:30 P.M.)  Again, this is an exact copy of the email sent to Shane Johns with exception of the alteration of my email address.
    From: gxxxxxxx@lxxxxxxx.xx
    Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 5:30 PM
    Cc: gxxxxxxx@lxxxxxxxx.xx
    Subject: Re: D3500 Dodge repairs
    Mr. Johns,
    Got a call from Justin about my vehicle shortly after sending my initial email to you. After recovering from the initial shock of finding that it will cost me nearly $2000 for a brake job,(I just had a brake job in October) I called Justin back to ask again about the sudden lock up and be sure the drive train was checked. He said there were no indications of drive train problems. 

    When the initial problem occurred I had just started up from a red light in Llano. The rig moved forward about five feet and there was a audible pop and we stopped. We managed to get the trailer switched to another truck and get my vehicle on to River City Wrecker’s truck. When my truck was unloaded in your shop I was told that the drive shaft had to be dropped to get the vehicle to roll off the wrecker platform. This does not jibe with the diagnosis of a brake lockup. And if the brakes did lock up what is going to prevent this from happening again a toasting a $2000 brake job?
    I gave the ok to do the brake job but I will be expecting to see the old parts when the work is complete.

    Robert T


03/18/2013 (6:30 P.M.)   No response to the either e-mail sent to Shane Johns.  

03/19/2013 No communication with Cecil Dodge of Burnet

03/19/2013 I contacted my home Dodge dealer (Swant Graber, Barron WI)

Here is their estimate for a complete brake job including REPLACEMENT of all four rotors. (03/19/2013)

    2003 Dodge Ram D3500 4x4
    Estimate provided by service department manager:
    Troy  ph. (715) 537-5657
    Front brakes:   Replace pads, calipers and rotors.       $385
    Rear brakes:    Replace pads, calipers and rotors.        $499
    total                  $844
My opinion: Does $1900 and change sound a bit much for the work being done on my truck when a quote for the exact same work from my home Dodge dealer was less than half this amount?  

03/20/2013 (11:45 A.M.)    No response from the emails to Shane Johns and no word about my truck. Called (512) 756-2128 and selected operator.  Asked the operator if Shane Johns was still employed as the Service Manager.  After checking employee lists she said he was and transferred me to his extension (152).  Someone else answered (did not catch the name), said Shane was out of the office.  I asked about the lack of response to my emails and this person told me he would notify Shane when he returned.  Next Justin came on the line and told me that the brake job was just being finished up but there seemed to be "SOMETHING HUNG UP IN THE TRANSFER CASE".  Said he would call me back as soon as he had more information.  

03/20/2013 (around 1:25 P.M.)  Justin just called back and guess what?  My transfer case is toast and it will be at least two more days  and another $1700 plus to get my truck fixed.  I asked him if he remembered my 2:00 PM call on 03/18 where I express my concerns that they might have miss-diagnosed the problem.  He denied any miss-diagnosis and said I needed the brake job.  
My opinion: IF there was no miss-diagnosis there was certainly "missed diagnosis" either from incompetence or negligence.  

Told Justin to go ahead with the transfer case repair with a rebuilt transfer case.  He said they would call me when the truck was ready to go and that it should be ready by Friday (03/22)

03/21/2013 No communication with Cecil Dodge of Burnet

03/22/2013 (Friday 4:30 P.M.)   I called the service department at Cecil Dodge of Burnet.  The person answering the phone did not identify himself but said all the service desk personnel were busy and asked if he could help me.  I asked about status on my truck and he said they were working on it. Asked for a status update.  No one called with a status update.

03/23/2013 No call from Cecil Dodge of Burnet

03/24/2013 Sunday - Service department of Cecil Dodge in Burnet is closed

03/25/2013 (9:25 A.M.) Called Cecil Dodge of Burnet   Spoke to Jess Bechtol (sp) (New Service Manager since this fiasco began on March 15th)  Told him I had not received status on my truck since Wednesday the 20th.  Asked for status and told him that the holding tanks on my RV in Llano were full and my hoses were in my truck in his shop.  Jess said he'd call back and have my hoses delivered and that someone would get back to me with status on my truck.  

03/25/2013 Justin called from Cecil Dodge of Burnet (10:00 A.M.)  Justin is sending a vehicle over with my sewer hoses.  He said there are some things he needs to go over with me and will call back in a few minutes.

My comment: This really sounds alarming! I've been here ten days, I'm nearly $4000 indebted to Cecil Dodge and I still don't know what is wrong with my truck.

03/25/2013 (10:07 AM)  Justin called again asking for directions to the Badu RV park.

03/25/2013 (10:35 am)  Service truck came with my sewer hose. At least now I can empty my holding tanks and take a shower.
03/25/2013 (10:50 A.M.)  Justin called again with an update on the truck. He said my transmission is trashed and gave me three options on repair, a rebuilt Dodge transmission, one from another rebuild shop or a used transmission.  The rebuild Dodge transmission was around $4500.

My comment:
Now after:
    a $2000 brake job,
    a $1700 transfer case,
they tell me the transmission is toast.  It's going to cost another
to get the transmission working for a total bill in the vicinity of     

I told Justin I’d call back with my decision on transmission options.

03/25/2013 (11:00 A.M.) Called Jess Bechdol and told him to put in a Chrysler rebuilt  transmission.  Also asked about having the drive shaft u-joints replaced since they already have the drive train disassembled.  Justin will call back with an estimate for the u-joints and carrier bearing.

03/25/2013 (10:07 A.M.)  Justin called with the estimate on the u-joint replacement.  U-joint replacement plus carrier bearing plus labour was in the vicinity of $1000.
My comment:  Obscene.   The drive shaft is already out and he's still charging me the full  labour rate for this work. He also gave me an estimate for replacing the entire drive shaft assembly which was in the same ballpark as the replacement work.  
I told Justin to put the original drive shaft back in when the new transmission is installed.  He said his goal was to have the truck done by Wednesday the 27th.
03/26/2013     This is the 11th full day stuck in Llano without transportation. No status report from Cecil Dodge of Burnet.
03/27/2013     This is the 12th full day stuck in Llano without transportation. No status report from Cecil Dodge of Burnet.

03/27/2013   3:45 P.M.  Justin called saying my truck will soon be ready.  He is sending someone to Llano to pick me up.

03/27/2013   6:15 P.M.  Back in Llano with my truck.

03/27/2013  Mailed this Journal through 03/27/13 to Cecil Atkission's home in Kerrville including a cover letter asking him to call me.  The package was sent certified mail from the Llano post office with a return receipt requested.

03/28/2013   9:15 P.M.  On the road to the Waco area.  The trans-temp alarm and light came on for a few seconds.

03/28/2013   11:55 P.M.  Temp alarm and light seems to come on after the truck is started and moving forward, then goes out after a second or so.  Comes on intermittently while driving.  Will find some place to check it out in Waco.  Also noted upon looking under the truck that we are leaking fluid from the seal on the back of the transfer case where it hooks to the drive shaft.

03/28/2013   P.M.  Called Justin at Cecil Dodge in Burnet to describe the problems we are having.  He referred me to Allen Simmonds Dodge in Waco.  Took the truck there but they are busy until some time next week.  Service manager and automatic transmission mechanic consulted and said “ The transmission is not overheating or the light would stay on.  That the problem is likely electrical”.  The leak will need to be addressed but we have no place to stay here with the camper.  Are heading up the road towards Hillsboro.

03/29/2013   A.M.  Camped at the Corps of Engineers Mccown Valley Park.  Called the Hillsboro Dodge service department and talked to them about the problem.  Will take in this afternoon.

03/29/2013   1 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.  Checked the truck in to the service department of Stanley Dodge in Hillsboro, Texas.  Symptoms given were intermittently flashing trans-temp and alarm along with flashing on and off of the tow light plus the seal between the transfer case and the drive shaft is splattering fluid over the underside of the truck and dripping in a puddle when the truck is stopped.  Their diagnosis was the transmission is not shifting properly and needs to be torn down plus the seal where the transfer case hooks to the drive shaft needs to be replaced.  They also said the seal was not covered under warranty.  Asked the Stanley service rep to call the Cecil Dodge of Burnet service department manager.  Portions of the conversation which I was able to hear included the Burnet manager accusing the Stanley rep of attempting a rip-off since they wanted to tear down the transmission.  Cecil Dodge manager did agree to pay for the leaking seal.  Now, I don't trust anybody.  I told the Stanley rep to fix my leaking seal and return the truck.  They provided me with a car while my truck is in their shop which Cecil of Burnet never offered in the thirteen days they had my truck.  When I get my truck back I'm going to try to make it home to a Dodge dealer I can trust.

03/29/2013   6:23 P.M. It's time to get a Zone Rep involved.  Called the Chrysler Customer Service number 1-800-CHRYSLER.  After more than twenty minutes on hold a rep came on line.  After a brief description of my issues she asked me for background info on my truck but was unable to find any service record.  I asked her for the phone number of a Central Texas Chrysler Zone rep but she said she did not have the number and I would need to call the dealer where the initial work was done the get the number.

03/30/2013 10:00 A.M.  Called Jeff Bechdol at Cecil Dodge in Burnet to ask for a phone number for the central Texas Zone Rep.  Got his voice mail and requested that he return my call.
03/30/2013 Around mid-day  Jeff Bechdol returned my call.  Did not give me a number for a Texas Zone Rep but said he would not be in the office until Monday (April 1) and that he would call me back with the process/procedure for contacting the Zone Rep.  He also assured me the Cecil Dodge would stand behind any faulty work they might have done and that my Chrysler 3/100,000 warranty would cover other issues with the work.

03/30/13 1:25 P.M. Service manager from Stanley Dodge called.  My truck will not be ready today.  They cannot find a new part to replace the leaking seal at the back of the transfer case.  Hopefully they can find one my Monday.

04/01/13  Around 9 A.M. Jeff Bechdol from Cecil Dodge called and told me the Chrysler Zone rep would be on vacation until next Monday.  He declined to give me the Zone Rep's number on procedural grounds but said he would leave a message on the Zone Rep's answering machine telling him I had requested him to contact me.  He offered to connect me with Chrysler's national customer service center and I told him I'd already been in touch with them and that they had offered no help.  I asked him to give the name and phone number of the owner of Cecil Dodge and he again declined on procedural grounds.  He did offer me the number of the business manager for Cecil Dodge which I do not want.  I asked him if Cecil Atkission was the owner of Cecil Dodge and he said, "Yes".

04/01/13 2:00 P.M.  Since we have not heard from the Stanley Dodge about my truck, I paid for another night at the Mcown Valley COE park.

04/02/13 1:05 P.M. Have not heard from Stanley Dodge since Saturday when they called to say my truck would not be done as expected.  Sad to say but it appears that the common courtesy of status report from Dodge dealers customer service representatives is a thing of the past.  

04/02/13 1:45 P.M. No call yet from Stanley Dodge so I paid for another night at the campground.

04/02/13 1:55 P.M. Stanley Dodge called.  The truck is ready.

04/02/13  3:45 P.M. Picked up the truck at Stanley Dodge at approximately 3:00 P.M.  Asked the shop manager about the trans-temp light and alarm.  He said they would need to tear down the transmission to diagnose that problem.  Drove the truck approximately twenty miles back to the campground and had NO trans-temp warnings.

04/02/13  4:00 P.M.  Took the truck out for an extended check-out ride intending to go out for pizza in Hillsboro.  After about 20 miles we entered I-35 and accelerated rapidly to enter traffic.  The trans-temp light came on and the transmission appeared to shift in the neutral or at least hesitated, then dropped in to second gear. Then it rapidly shifted gears until I let off on the accelerator.  It leveled out in overdrive at about 55 mph but every time I made even a slight increase on the accelerator the trans-temp light would come on.

04/02/13 Around 4:50 P.M.  Took the truck back to Stanley Dodge in Hillsboro and asked to have the "new" defective transmission replaced.  Told the service manager Neil, that I'd need to take the truck back to the campround to haul my rv to the dump station to empty holding tanks and would have the truck back in for service at 7:30 in the morning.

04/03/13 Checked the truck in with Neil at Stanley Dodge and asked to have the transmission replaced.  He provided me with a car.  I asked him to find out how I get in touch with a Chrysler Zone rep and he said he would ask his manager and let me know.

04/04/13 No contact with Stanley Dodge.

04/05/13 1:30 P.M.  Called Stanley Dodge but was unable to talk to anyone in service.  Left a message requesting status.
04/05/13 3:05 P.M.  N

eil called and said that Chrysler would not give me another rebuilt transmission and they were fixing this one.  The parts did not come on today as expected and it might be Tuesday before the work was done.  He said he had talked to his manager about contacting a Zone Rep and I would have to call the corporate service number to the that information.  

04/05/13  4:00 P.M.  Called Chrysler Customer Service again and after a long conversation with the rep found that there is nothing Chrysler Corporate will do about problems with individual dealers.  The Zone Rep, according the this person, does not deal with customer complaints so it's between me and the dealer.  
Bottom Line: Does Chrysler Corporation care about customer service, customer satisfaction or the relationship between customers and their dealers?  I believe the customer service person was lying to me.  This is on a recorded call and can be verified by anyone at Chrysler who really cares about customer service.

04/06/13 P.M. Submitted a subset of my journal to Chrysler Customer Service via their web-based submission form.  REFERENCE NUMBER: 23287235

04/06/ P.M. Received an automated email response from Chrysler that my case required further review and that I would be contacted within one business day.

04/07/  Received another email response from Chrysler that my case had been escalated, the dealer would be notified and the case would be closed.  This does not give me a good feeling about Chrysler's commitment to customer service!

04/08/13 Around noon:  Jeff Bechdol, the service manager at Cecil Dodge called.  Cecil Atkission had brought my journal to him and told him to call me.  Wondering if Cecil did this of his own volition or if we was prodded by Corporate?  Jeff asked what could be done to resolve the situation and I suggested since I could no longer afford to trade the vehicle after the $9,000 investment,  I would be happy with a three year Chrysler drive train warranty which included the engine.  He asked if there would be any other options and I mentioned the over charge on the brake job.  He asked "anything else", and I said I would consider a really, really good trade in offer on a new truck.  He said he'd talk to his general manager and call me back.

04/06/13 2:30 P.M. Jeff Bechdol called back and said my truck was too old for a Chrysler Drive train warranty.  Said he could not offer an after market warranty.  Said he'd have Mr. Burnet the general manager call me about a trade in.

04/06/13 2:55 P.M.  Mr. Burnet called me and asked about my interest in trading.  Found he had not read my journal before calling an suggested he spend the time to read in.  Told him that my truck's trade in value was around $13,000 and I'd just put $9,000 in it in his shop and that he better read the journal to find out what is happening in his service department.

04/09/13 3:30 P.M.  Stanley Dodge called. An actuator had failed taking out the clutches in the transmission.  They have rebuilt the transmission and my truck is ready to go.

04/10/13 Waiting out a storm before heading North.

04/10/13 P.M.  Called Cecil Dodge in Burnet and talked to Tom Barnett.  Asked if he had read my journal as I requested and he had not.  Found out that he is not the General Manager of Cecil Dodge but just the sales manager.  The General manager has had my journal for at least four days and has not had the guts to call me.

04/10/13 P.M. Called Cecil Dodge in Burnet and talked to Jeff Bechdol.   Asked him again about contacting the Chrysler Zone rep and he said he had talked to the zone rep but "forgot to mention me".  Asked him again to please have the zone rep contact me.

04/11/13 One month to the day since leaving the Rio Grande Valley and we've finally managed to get out of Texas.  Stopped in Stafford, Oklahoma to use the rest room.  Checked the wheel temps and found the front brakes temp in the 130 F range (ten to fifteen degrees higher than before $1900 brake job).  Hope my $1900 brakes last until I can get home to a competent Dodge dealership.

04/13/13  09:00 After leaving Stroud Ok, heading East on US 66 noticed a shifting problem with the transmission.  Between 30 and 40 mph the transmission began rapidly shifting between first and second gear.  When requesting rapid acceleration the transmission began to perform properly.  At highway speeds there was no problem.

04/13/13 Irregular shifting problem noted above occurred twice more during the day.

04/14/13 Travelled from Eagle Ridge Campground in North Missouri to Fenton, Illinois with no further problems.

04/16/13  Still no contact with the Dallas area Chrysler Zone Rep after repeatedly asking to be contacted by him.  Neither Chrysler Corporate nor Cecil Dodge will assist me with initiating this contact.   Have not heard from Cecil Dodge of Burnet since my call to them on 04/10 when I again requested to be contacted by the zone rep.  Apparently Chrysler Corporate considers my problem closed since Cecil Atkission instructed his shop manager to call me on 04/08/13.

04/17/13  Made it home to Hillsdale, Wi without further incident.  Now will need to deal with Swant Grabber Dodge in Barron, Wisconsin to see if I can get my transmission shifting problem resolved and have the brake settings checked.

04/18/13 I mailed this updated version of my journal to Cecil Atkission’s's home address.

05/01/13  Jeff Bechdol called from Cecil Dodge of Burnet.  Cecil had delivered my updated journal to him and asked that he call me again to see what I wanted.  I had previously tried getting a favorable trade from Cecil Dodge of Burnet or having Cecil Dodge of Burnet provide an extended drive train warranty to make it feasible for me to keep this old truck after investing nearly $10,000 in repairs.  Since this had been to no avail, I proposed that Cecil Dodge of Burnet refund the $1900 plus for the brake job that was unnecessary.  He said he get back to me.

05/07/13  Jeff Bechdol called from Cecil Dodge of Burnet.  He said his 'upper management' had agreed to refund the labor cost for the brake job, some $600 plus.  I told Jeff this offer was an insult and he said he'd get back to me.

05/09/13  Jeff Bechdol called from Cecil Dodge of Burnet.  He said his management was firm about their offer of refunding the labor only on the $1860 unnecessary brake job.  I said, thank you, goodby.  

I have ceased negotiating with Cecil Dodge of Burnet.  I have filed a complaint with the Central Texas Better Business Bureau and with the Attorney General of the State of Texas.  I don't expect I'll ever get the $1900 refunded for the unnecessary brake job but I'm posting this to advise travelers to use caution when dealing with this company.

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