• Report: #1127194
Complaint Review:

PBS Systems Incorporated

  • Submitted: Fri, February 28, 2014
  • Updated: Tue, April 15, 2014

  • Reported By: Alex — Onalaska Wisconsin
PBS Systems Incorporated
3131 114 Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta Canada

PBS Systems Incorporated Aristo Gold DMS Pushing a poorly designed system using lies and breaking contracts Calgary Alberta Canada

*Consumer Comment: PBS go Live Feedback

*UPDATE Employee: I agree, Alex, PBS has added layers of issues to our fixed operations

*Author of original report: Already losing customers

*UPDATE Employee ..inside information: Appreciated comments about a new install

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I work for one of the smallest yet most respected automotive dealer groups in the western Wisconsin region. We have some pretty big competition to deal with in our area, so every business decision we make has some pretty serious consequences. 

Recently our CEO and his seven General Managers decided to look for a new Fixed Ops system for our computers. A fixed ops system is the computer program an automotive group uses to track its vehicles, its customers, and meet their service needs. The system we used previously was modest but easily met our needs and allowed our service department to maintain a high level of efficiency.

The management and ownership became convinced that PBS Systems was theit key to success because the company's newest program known as Aristo Gold DMS would help them track operations. The system allows the management to see what sort of repair jobs come through the door, what sort of repair jobs are performed, how much money is made, and keep track of returns. [continued below]....

..... It's essentially a manager's wet dream if he wants to micro-manage his shop.

PBS Systems lied to our CEO and our service managers about what Aristo Gold could do, and got them to sign a contract. We would pay for the system and all necessary startup costs, and agree to a three year contract. They were expected to effectively transfer all of our archived history (a necessary element to run our business) to the new system's servers, install the new program a month prior to the launch date, and provide for two weeks of training per dealership prior to launch.

Instead, they installed the program a month early but it was not accessible and would not run. They did not appear for training until the launch date. We literally showed up to work one morning and had to utilize a program we never before touched with customers waiting impatiently in front of us and the trainers breathing down our necks. Efficiency is the key to our business and they made it come to a complete stop. The trainers they sent were not former service consultants like us. They were all IT professionals who had a very condescending attitude towards us. They kept saying "it's so easy" and "why don't you get it" when we have been doing this job for decades. 

Their program doesn't work as advertised. It wasn't glitchy or broken, it worked just as designed. It just wasn't designed by anyone with knowledge of this industry and the necessary requirements of a normal ops system. It was obviously designed by a bunch of IT guys and never once was a automotive service professional consulted.

Our technicians can't make money. Our consultants can't keep track of the work. The paperwork can't be closed out in a timely manner. Our quick service lane is either under scheduled or over booked becsuse no one can understand the complicated schedule program. Even the salesman who use the ops system least of all are frustrated. We have people wanting to quit and go to lesser dealerships just because they can't make money here anymore.

PBS Systems only provided 4 1/2 days of training, all of which was post-launch. Nothing they were supposed to transfer worked correctly. The customer list is shambles. The history is illegible. A dealership's history archives are not just necessary for its business, but its actually worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If a dealership is forced to close down they can still sell their history files to competitors since the history is worth something because it means a customer base you can pull away from the old dealer, but ours is now useless. A data store worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is now worthless.

We are losing customers faster than anything I've ever experienced before. I work the night shift and usually that means we wrap up at midnight, or maybe later if there is something serious going on. I've been at work till at least 2am every night this week just trying to get paperwork closed because it's impossible to do it during regular hours and even when no one is waiting for you it's near impossible.

We are stuck in a contract that we cannot get out of without losing tons of money. We are losing too much money to stay in business. We are all looking for new jobs. PBS Systems doesn't seem to care. They got their money.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/28/2014 02:16 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/pbs-systems-incorporated/calgary-alberta-t2z3x2/pbs-systems-incorporated-aristo-gold-dms-pushing-a-poorly-designed-system-using-lies-and-1127194. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

PBS go Live Feedback

AUTHOR: Marc - ()

We recently switch to the PBS DMS system.  Our go live week was the week of June 23, 2014.  I was very impressed with the ease of switching systems.  Being the main contact for the DMS change, I was very involved with the whole process.  During the demo of the system, I looked at the system from the service writer position.  Most of my dealership experience over the years was spent as a service advisor. 


Once we committed to the system, we started the install processes.  I was the main contact and we had a install manager who was our main contact at PBS.  This streamlined the install and it made it very easy.   The main contacts came out to visit the store for a few days to get a feel of how we run our business.  They met with each manager from each department and went through a pre-install questionnaire to help with this process. 


After meeting for the pre-install visit, we were in contact constantly until the go live.  As for the hardware install, I could not have asked for a better IT person or a better process.  The server was shipped to our door, they sent a person here, and he set everything up.  He then tested each computer/printer individually so once we hit our go live it was just turning on the switch.  All of our data was transferred from Autosoft. It’s all there and all there correctly!


Training:  Before the go live week, we had a month of training.  We set a schedule with each department manager for live one on one training sessions for all our employees and each department.  We had access to the system before go live so we could create fake deals, RO's, Parts orders, parts invoices, etc. to get used to the system.  During go live, we had a trainer here for a whole week of business to tweak set ups and be here from open to close to ensure our business continued seamlessly.  They sat and made time to meet with each employee one on one too.  It was great that all of the trainer’s history was working in the dealership before working for PBS.  This made it very easy and they understood everything we do on a day to day basis. 


As for the system,  I feel it's easier to use and to manage our customers.  They system is customer based and not VIN based.  The whole system is integrated.  From sales, to F& I, to service, to parts.  With any big change, it's going to take a bit for everyone to use the system efficiently.  PBS gave us all the training, time, and tools to have a successful change.  For anyone who had a bad experience changing DMS systems to PBS, you get out what you put in.  I could not have asked for a better experience from start to finish.  


If you are ever thinking about using PBS, give me a call.


Marc Udelhofen

Marketing/IT Director

Don Larson Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC



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#2 UPDATE Employee

I agree, Alex, PBS has added layers of issues to our fixed operations

AUTHOR: grace - ()

I find the comments by Kevin Preston, Vice President of PBS highly offensive.  Dealership customers do not enter into multi-year contracts with their selling or servicing dealerships, they are free to go where the service is best, what suits their needs and work with people who are both competent and capable of doing their jobs every day in a timely, consistent and professional manner, without fail.

The trite, prepackaged comments by Kevin Preston are fitting considering the product he is selling.  Sounds nice on the surface, but that is all.  There is no substance to it.  I have called for 'support' 4 of the last 7 work days for a variety of problems.  I am currently on hour 2 of a call back on what I would have expected to be a very simple problem.  Here I sit, waiting, stuck until my problem is solved.  The reason for the need to put me off and call me back at a later time is because "we are slammed here".  Clearly, I am not the only person with issues regarding PBS operations.

The program has created problems and chaos in our dealer group as well.

I'm a 20+ year veteran of the fixed operations department.  I've been through 3 DMSs in my years including moving from a manual system and building the databases from scratch in the initial offering.  I've consulted at other dealerships with other DMSs, none of which are as convoluted, confusing or user-unfriendly as PBS.

Current and ongoing problems related to the PBS system are serious flaws in the transferred database, vehicle history is virtually impossible to read or interpret, software issues resulting in the constant inability to print work orders or invoices, and the technician's ability to access AT ALL the system on their laptops.

When the system is working 'right', the simplest processes take an inordinate amount of time to complete.  I can now complete less than 80% of the volume of work than I used to under the old system.  Our technician's efficiency has dropped by at least -AT LEAST - 25%.  Obviously this means smaller paycheques for the technicians.  This clearly results in reduced cash flow and profit for the dealership; and the fact of the matter is, we now need MORE staff to support LESS work due to the increase in demand for each and every step of the service process.

We are a domestic dealership.  Our existing technicians are seriously beginning to look elsewhere to re-establish their prior earning potential.  Replacing skilled technicians is a difficult and expensive proposition.  And this will be all due to a DMS that has added layers of time and bureaucracy for simple tasks.


I'll break down my 'top of my head' issues:

  • appointment scheduler: hard to read, pretty with colours but not useful at all when trying to construct a day with flow and maximize the shop potential, no way to easily see what technician is booked for what jobs, no easy way to see how many hours each customer has been allocated; the 'hover' feature to see names at least, often simply does not work
  • greeting: system requires a valid odometer in order to open a work order.  This is fine if you are working a drive-thru but seriously slows the process down for shops without such a feature; adding lines to existing appointments sometimes results in the inability to print the work order forcing the advisor to dump the appointment and start from scratch
  • dispatch: by far my biggest complaint with the system is the auto-dispatch.  It simply does not work the way it should.  Advisors must spent hours a day manipulating fields in work orders to rotate their jobs to the top of the priority list, technicians almost always must be manually assigned to jobs adding time/costing efficiency on both fronts, held open work orders percolate up as they age forcing advisors to continually monitor their screens rather than aiding technicians or making sales/building relationships with customers; at the end of the day the 'auto-dispatch' is in fact 'pre-dispatch' and that is only if the advisors are working as a team and on top of each and every work order as it is opened
  • repair: the technicians are constantly frustrated by the inability to access repair orders, work orders that are locked up by parts or service advisors or by other technicians who have either plugged up the licences or have inadvertantly accepted a job that they are not assigned to
  • invoicing: tedious, tedious, tedious.  Every field must be filled in, checked, double checked, triple checked and reviewed; each line must be meticulously scoured for correct times, pay rate codes, sale type codes; for internal repairs that are identified by stock number the advisor must nevertheless identify to which account (and what store) the DOT, accessory install or whatever work was completed needs to go to.  I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that the advisor has so much control over billing, that the system cannot recognize a used truck as a used truck and not a new car and that errors cannot be caught and fixed within the same business day.  Customers who wait often see their vehicle come out of the shop, walk up to the counter to pay their bill only to be told to go sit back down, that it will be another 10 or 15 minutes at least to generate a correct invoice.
  • vehicle history: a key component for any advisor or technician -- this feature is an absolute joke; nearly impossible to read
  • warranty interface: currently not even available to us due to mis-matches in work order number length/type
  • payroll: the technicians have no faith that their pay is correct; the reports are difficult to track and read
  • parts: the parts manager has daily issues with several features that are dedicated to parts management
  • paper management: without a doubt, we produce, use and waste more paper now than we ever did in the past, and that includes working with a manual system

These are the tangible flaws, the measureable drawbacks that cost time and money for employees and owners alike.  The intangibles include the stress and frustration of the staff who are forced to cope with a program that undermines their professionalism and ability to do their job to the best of their ability.  In my over 20 years of working in a dealership setting, I have never witnessed the spectrum of dispair to rage emotional response to what should be a product that works for them, not the other way around.

I am certain the president/dealer principal has considerable regrets in involving his dealer group with this product. 



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#3 Author of original report

Already losing customers

AUTHOR: Alex - ()

For the past week I have had to hand out at least three free services a night to satisfy regular customers who were kept waiting far too long for otherwise regular services. (Oil changes, tire rotations, etc.) Previously, I might have to hand out one every week or two during an unusually busy day. Three a night for a week straight is unheard of. Especially for simple maintenance operations.

It wouldn't be such a big deal if this launch week had been unusually busy. An usually busy week coupled with the launch of a new system would set us back. But this week hasn't been busy. We are falling behind because we can't close out the paperwork fast enough for even the casual customers. We are falling behind because our lube technicians can't read the schedule.

I have three technicians looking for other employment. I have two quick lube techs looking for other work. I know of one salesman at least who is thinking of quitting. I have two customers this week who will not be returning because of how long it takes us to finish paperwork or find them in the system. I have applied to four other positions is week just knowing I'd have to find a new job because this system won't be fixed.

Here are the features of your system that are inherently broken...

The scheduler: Logic would dictate that any shop would likely be open for more hours than it would have technicians. So it should go without saying that any schedule display should read left to right and top to bottom so that the time axis goes across the bottom and the techs are listed across the left side, since a computer monitor is obviously rectangular. Your schedule goes the other way. The appointments have no borders, they're merely color coded. So the schedule quickly becomes unintelligible as colors begin to overlap and neither the consultants nor techs can tell what's coming in.

Assignment: The system requires a technician be assigned by a consultant to a specific job before the technician can even see it on their list. This wouldnt be such an issue except to assign a tech the consultant needs to perform an extra three steps that were never needed previously. This also seriously restricts the availability of walk in work, especially walk in oil changes.

Skill Level: Each job must have a specific skill level (A,B,C,D,E) applied to it. According to the trainers this is so that a technician will not accidentally be assigned work which he is not qualified for. Except that this skill level must be set by the consultant, so if the consultant is dumb enough to not understand the skill level concept in the first place then he is obviously dumb enough to assign a job the wrong skill level. For the competent consultants this merely adds yet another four or five steps in the process which are totally unnecessary. The dealership pays us to know how to schedule work and who to schedule work with, we don't need a program that tries to do this for us, especially if it doesnt work and just adds to our frustrations.

Flagging Techs: Even after I have assigned a skill level to a job, assigned a technician, and that technician has accepted the job and completed the job, the program still requires the consultant to deselect a technician to flag the labor time on. Why? I've already assigned him, he already accepted, and he already clicked complete on it, who else would I want to flag?

Skill Restrictions: Technically, the job has a skill level applied to it so that an A tech can perform any A level work or below, and a B tech can perform any B level work or below, and so on. Except if I have some complex transmission work scheduled with my expert A level technician and the customer would also like an oil change while the vehicle is here, I can't schedule that oil change with him unless I set the skill for that oil change to A as well. An oil change is not an A level operation, but it cannot be assigned to him and he cannot accept it unless I set it at skill level A. Thus adding another step in what should be a simple procedure.

License Restrictions: When your trainers were here we had roughly 36 licenses to run your program. Once they left (literally within the hour) it dropped to 24 total licenses. Maybe that's what we paid for, I'm unsure. But we have more than 24 people on duty in the middle of the day. I spent the first hour of my day running around checked computers around the dealership to find someone who was still signed in but not present today so I could sign them out and I could get to work.

Clock in & Clock out: The system has a desktop-esque feature, but in order to clock in and out you need to fully open Aristo Gold. This means a 16 year old detail worker needs to find a computer, open PBS, open Aristo Gold which theyd otherwise never need to touch, just to sign in and out of work. Why isn't the time clock accessible from the regular desktop? Can't have everyone signing in and out when they need to with only 27 licenses.

Connectivity: When the internet goes down (which happens at least once a month here thanks to the weather) the PBS system will not work at all. Our old system would stay semi-functional so that we could still write up repair orders and continue working. When our internet went down on Thursday we were writing repair orders on post-it notes. I had customers writing me checks so that I could staple them to post-it notes and I had to promise to send them an invoice in the mail later. That's embarrassing. Also, I said I had to send them an invoice in the mail because the system was never set up for us to email invoices. I've tried it, it doesn't work. Neither does the texting feature to send text messages to customer's cell phones. Thats something that should have been set up immediately.

Printing Invoices: The system was advertised as being able to help us go paperless. Yet because of the redundant invoice printing feature we are wasting more paper than ever before. I have to press print three times to get a customer copy to print, then exit the program to get on Internet Explorer to print off an MPVI form. Only then can I get the customer, and I still don't have a closing copy. I could print know if I wanted to, but if I do that then the system automatically prints off two other invoices which I don't need. The trainers said they could turn that off, but they didn't.

Signatures: We have those fancy signature pads, but they were never set up. Did we pay for those? We are still having to have customers sign paper copies and paper receipts because we never got those set up. This is also why we are required to pre-print closing copies. We need something for the customer to sign. It's about liability. But even with a pre-printed closing copy the system prints two more invoices as soon as we close the paperwork. I don't need three invoices for one repair order.

Customer Database: It is currently impossible to search for customers using your program. A long time customer comes in and I search his last name yet come up with either no account or multiple accounts, some with no vehicle. I search using their phone number and find nothing half the time. I search using their VIN and I can find the vehicle but the wrong customer name is on it. Currently our old system is still running, so I have it open so I can still search for customers using it, then copy and paste the VIN into your program, then fix all the incorrect information. What do we do when the old system is shut down for good?

Re-Assigning a Vehicle: If a vehicle that has been to our shop before comes in with a new owner we cannot switch the vehicle to that new owner's name. The system tells us that the VIN already exists but won't let us assign it to another customer account. Our old system warned us that the VIN already exists in the system but asked us if we would like to change its ownership.

Untrained Staff: I currently have two lube techs and one main tech who was never properly trained how to use the system at all. They had to train themselves.

Pay Types: Even when the main job line is listed as W for warranty work the sub lines and the parts will not automatically list as warranty also. I have to go in and do that on my own. Having the option is nice, but not if it means it adds another few steps to an already over complicated process.

Parts Billing: We still have parts billing incorrectly. We have a glitch that makes it impossible to bill more than one part at a time without clicking in and out of the part screen for each subsequent part number.

Automatic OpCode billing: This shouldn't be an issue I have with your company. It should be an issue I take up with my service manager. But your trainer undid the solution to this issue that I put in place, then blocked me from fixing it further. The OpCodes can be set up to schedule for specific amounts of time and for specific amounts of labor and parts. They can even automatically bill certain parts. That's nice, but all systems can do that. The OpCodes were scheduling for the wrong amount of time, so I went into the opcodes to fix them. I came in the next day and found one of your trainers went in and changed them all back. Now a free multi-point vehicle inspection automatically schedules for one hour. It shouldn't schedule for any amount of time at all. This only adds to the confusing on the already confusing scheduler. We have to go back and fix that every time. I also made it so that necessary parts automatically bill to every oil change OpCode. I came in the next morning and one of your trainers took credit for it. Luckily I sent out an email at 3am that morning before I left to announce that I did that, but she apparently told my service manager I had messed it all up. 

Thus far the performance of your people and your system has been unacceptable. It's not worth the money we have paid. 


I will say this for sure. One of your trainers certainly took his job seriously and wanted to help as much as possible. When we ran into an issue he was first on the scene. He was always waiting behind us to assist us whenever necessary. He understood our concerns and tried everything he could to make the system fit our needs. He wasn't spending his time hanging out in the lounge, flirting with our service manager in his office, or on his cell phone, like most of the others. I could also pick up on the subtle hints in his voice that when the system wasn't behaving as expected he could tell it was not set up properly. He could tell there was a serious problem inherent within the system or in the way it was set up for our dealership. He didn't come out and say this because he would not speak badly of his company, but it was obvious that he was troubled by it. When the other trainers wanted to leave for their hotel they were always left waiting on him because he was still helping us fix issues. If I expressed a concern about the system he would always understand and search for a solution to fit our needs and increase our productivity, whereas the others usually just acted condescending and told us "it's so easy" and just showed us the same complex process again and again until we understood that they were unwilling to help us and we just had to accept that everything we do takes three times as long as it used to.

His name was Matt and I strongly recommend he be promoted. He was the only positive thing about the last week. Also, hire a service consultant to consult, not IT guys. My technicians don't need an IT person trying to talk down to them about what "straight time" is and getting it wrong. You need automotive industry professionals to make a system for the automotive industry.

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#4 UPDATE Employee ..inside information

Appreciated comments about a new install

AUTHOR: Kevin - ()

Hi Alex,

There are certainly a lot of points mentioned in your report and I'll do my best to cover off through a high level response.  As a start, please rest assured PBS has been around for over 25 years and has exclusively developed, marketed and installed dealer management software in the retail automotive world for that time.   To grow and evolve our software we rely heavily on customer feedback, technology trends, and the input of our very experienced staff. (In fact many of the people who were at your store this week have dealership backgrounds). 

All that being said I can certainly appreciate the fact the upgrade feels like your world turned upside down and your experience hasn't been the positive one we strive for.  An important fact to recognize is it was only this week the installation took place... As you can imagine there are an overwhelming number of variables that go into replacing an enterprise software program. Surprises, while we make every effort to avoid, are inevitable.  This is especially amplified when upgrading databases from character based worlds to a Windows based environment. 

While I'm challenged to think that after one week the dealership will go out of business because of a system change, I do recognize the need to spend some additional time with you.  Many of your points are news to me so I'll make sure to have one of our staff follow up directly with you to hear your thoughts and work with you on any outstanding issues. Parallel to this, please feel free to work with any of the staff we have onsite this coming week on any day to day questions.

Rest assured we will do what we need to do to ensure your dealer group gets the most out of their PBS experience.

Kevin Preston

Vice President




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