• Report: #1066145
Complaint Review:

Toyota of Butte

  • Submitted: Thu, July 11, 2013
  • Updated: Thu, July 11, 2013

  • Reported By: Denise C — Helena Montana
Toyota of Butte
5103 Harrison Ave Butte, Montana USA

Toyota of Butte, Rob Dollar GM, Guy Perkins Service Mgr What are they covering up and how they tried to "carnap" my RAV Butte Montana

*Author of original report: Toyota of Butte still trying to cover up

*UPDATE Employee: Glad that mechanic confirmed what we had reported was wrong with the vehicle...

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Only partial story given.

*Author of original report: More info on the Toyota RAV

*Consumer Comment: Denise C,

REBUTTAL BOX™ | Respond to this Report! | Consumer Comment

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 First off, Toyota of Butte knowingly sold my a 2002 Toyota RAV in 2007 that had an active TSB bulletin to repair a mass ECM failure that destroys the automatic transmission.  I was without my RAV from 2009-2010 when the ECM totally demolished my transmission and only after almost being hit and put in harms way.  Finally in 2010 when Toyota extended the mileage cap off on this TSB repair my car was serviced by Toyota of Butte and the transmission and ECM were supposed to be replaced with brand new parts.

Also note, when my car was at their service department in 2010 they service manager at that time was soon afterwards arrested for embezzlement. Hmmmmm?????

The car did drive satisfactorly after it's return in 2010 but not even 2 years later it started to experience similiar symptoms again and was now randomly stalling while driving (another scary safety hazard while pulling out into traffic or traveling on the highway).  After saving enough money to have Toyota of Butte diagnosis my car again, I took it over to Butte from Helena MT for a scheduled appointment on June 12, 2013.

Alas, I never heard from anyone for days.  I finally emailed the service manager, Guy Perkins, for an update on June 14.  He finally answered me on June 15 with a long, convoluted guess at what might be wrong.  After only 3 hours of diagnosis he wanted to replace some parts to the tune of $500 with no guarantee of fixing the problem. I just advised him to continue his diagnosis for another 3 hours to try and pinpoint the exact problem as my funds were limited and I didn't find it wise to just start replacing parts and hope that it would fix things.

When I started to question whether or not a new ECM was really put in my car in 2010 is when Rob Dollar and Guy Perkins started to act suspiciously.  They had my car another week with no word from anyone again.  I emailed the GM, Rob Dollar, with no resolve.  Finally I get an answer from Guy Perkins telling me that he had a technician out all week.  As that is my problem?? As I am without my transportation, am a single working parent and having to pay to borrow a car!!

Finally Guy responds on June 24 wanting to replace the ECM, or the 6 relays and the fuse block....again with no guarantee and to the tune of over $1500.  I told him that I was not going to be throwing money at replacing things that he was guessing might be the problem and told him I would be there on Friday to pick up my car.  He instructed me that I need to bring a check since I don't have a credit card and that someone would be here after hours.

I arrived at Toyota of Butte on June 28, 2013 5:50 pm with two friends to pick up my car. When I announced who I was and that I was here to pick up my car, Guy Perkins asked are you paying with cash, check or credit card.  I said check and put my check on the counter.  Without even looking at it and with apparent attitude, he states “we don’t accept out of town checks”.  I reminded him that he told me to bring a check and that I wanted to see this in writing.  He kept saying “that’s our policy”.  He said that I was not getting my car with a check, that I needed to go get a credit card from someone or drive back to Helena and get cash. 

He of course could not show me this policy in writing and in fact I showed him the payments accepted off the cashier’s window that states:  we accept Visa, Discover, Cash, Mastercard, Checks and Debit Cards.  He still refused to release my car (carnapper)! Knowing that he was lying and being difficult because I complained to his GM and questioned what Toyota was covering up with my car, I decided to take my spare key and drive my car out of the bay after making sure that he had my check, which has been cashed by the way.  Guy tried to stop me and in fact attempted to barricade my car in the bay.  I have never in my life been treated with such disrespect nor have I encountered the unprofessionalism, untruthfulness, unacceptable lack of customer service and satisfaction as I have from Toyota of Butte, Rob Dollar and Guy Perkins.

So the end of the story, I've been abused, scammed, lied to, taken advantage of, had by car kidnapped and totally ripped off by Toyota of Butte and the pathetic employees that call themselves the best at Customer Satisfaction in the Country, only to still have a car that doesn't run properly and is an extreme safety hazard with no money left to fix it!

Thanks Toyota - never again will I buy a Toyota or take my vehicle to a Toyota Service Shop!!!



This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/11/2013 07:53 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/toyota-of-butte/butte-montana-59701/toyota-of-butte-rob-dollar-gm-guy-perkins-service-mgr-what-are-they-covering-up-and-how-1066145. 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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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Toyota of Butte still trying to cover up

AUTHOR: Denise C - ()

 It's hilarious that Toyota of Butte is still trying to cover their butts on this one.  They never accurately diagnosed the car, in fact, the service manager, Guy, wanted to replace the ECM on my vehicle first.  So without wasting my time repeating all the facts I will state in reference to the water damage, it's not under the carpet but 6 inches above the floor board and this car was in a eastern flood (wire damage indicative with salt water corrosion) which was not on the carfax report or disclosed to the buyer.

The warranty work done on the transmission was a result again of a mass service bulletin to the incompetence of Toyota when they installed faulty ECMs in the 2000-2003 Toyota RAV vehicles that eventually destroyed the transmissions and created extremely dangerous driving conditions when your transmission would go out while driving - one can read all about that under the TSBs on the internet and just google it.

I am so thankful that I found a competent and reliable mechanic that not only diagnosed the problem in 1 hour but replaced the ignition coil, spark plugs and cleaned the corroded water damaged wires all at a price less than what Toyota of Butte charged to have my car for over 3 weeks to do 4 hours of diagnosis with a result of no accurate diagnosis and an attempt of the service manager, Guy Perkins, to unlawfully carnap my vehicle!

It's very unfortunate that a major vehicle manufacturer and dealership treats their customers like I was treated.  One thing is definately for sure...I will NEVER do business with Toyota of Butte again and will make sure that all are warned of their deceptive practices and unprofessional, unacceptable behavior toward customers!

Shame on you Guy Perkins and Rob Dollar! I sure hope that your New Years Resolutions will include training on how to better your customer service skills.


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#2 UPDATE Employee

Glad that mechanic confirmed what we had reported was wrong with the vehicle...


We had told this customer 2 things about the diagnosis on this car:

1.  We suspected a short coming from the wires that communicate to the ECM, and that we would need to check each wire to find it...That can take up to 3 hours, or could be much quicker than that if we get lucky and test the right wire. 

2.  We suspected it had at least one bad coil, as we had a cylinder one misfire code.  We also reported that it had the incorrect spark plugs in the vehicle, which can CAUSE a coil, or multiple coils, to fail.


Both these scenarios proved to be true as we described them.  She had a bad coil, which they replaced.  They did not replace the spark plugs, which means she will continue to have problems with the coils until that is remedied. 


She spent $474 not only diagnosing this problem, but rectifying several problems that other mechanics created while she bounced from place to place trying to fix it:  a oxygen sensor left unplugged, wrong spark plugs being installed, etc.  In her words, she spend over a $1000 trying to fix this problem BEFORE she brought the car to us.  I don't see where she has filed a ripoff report against those mechanics.


Finally, she blames us buying a vehicle with water damage. 

-We offer a free Carfax report with every used car we sell.  -

-We do a very comprehensive inspection on every used car we take in trade.  The damaged wires, according to the customer, were under the carpet.  No inspection I have ever heard of includes inspecting wiring under carpets.  We diagnose symptoms;  none were present when we inspected it, NOR when the customer bought it!

-This customer bought this car is 2007.  3 YEARS AND 50,000 miles later, she had the transmission replaced and ECM replaced, and we did that UNDER WARRANTY!!  So this customer went 3 years, with no major issues with the vehicle, and somehow we knowingly sold her a bad used car???

The only mistake we made in this transaction is agreeing to work on the car after so many other shops did.

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#3 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Only partial story given.


Ms. C****s representation of this issue is partial, at best.  Here is a snippet of her original inquiry to me concerning her vehicle.

“I am having severe problems with the car and after nearly $1,000.00 into it, the mechanic is telling me that it is the ECM” “Please let me know what can be done if this really is the ECM again?  This car has been a nightmare and has been “breaking” me.”

We didn’t create the nightmare…we were asked to try and diagnose it after, as she reports, SEVERAL other shops, and friends, tried before.

This car was a major problem for her prior to it coming to our dealership, and she had spend over $1000, according to her, to have it fixed, or even correctly diagnosed, at other locations, which she described to me as “several”, including a friend of hers that “used to work at a Toyota dealership”.

Here is my response to her inquiry, initially: “It appears we did replace that ECM.  It had a 1 year unlimited mileage warranty, which unfortunately has expired, but since you bought the vehicle here, if you can get the vehicle to us we would give you a discount on parts and labor to repair it.  If the car is being inspected by a non-Toyota technician, I would caution:  It takes a very high level of expertise and many times factory equipment to diagnose an ECM failure.   Let us know If we can be of any help. “

I made it very clear:  We would discount any work she had done here since she was a repeat customer, and that it is very likely NOT an ECM problem, and if she was being told that (which she previously said she was by her other supposedly trained mechanic) it was an ECM, he was guessing, best case scenario, because the only way that can be properly diagnosed 100% is at a Toyota dealer.

Here is her description of the work SHE had done to the vehicle at OTHER locations trying to resolve her problem with her vehicle:

“Toyota of Helena diagnosed both right and left Air/Fuel Sensors as bad and replaced the sensors, car ran good for a week” “had battery serviced, checked, terminal and cable replaced, grounds checked”

“air filter replaced, intake and sensors, etc cleaned”

Again, a whole lot of work and parts replaced with no fix.

I told her that we would charge her $85/hour to diagnose the problem, discounted from $95/hour, and that their was now way to estimate time needed for the diagnosis.

Here is my update after our initial testing of the vehicle, and 2 things stand out as I reread this:  1, whomever this has been taking it to doesn’t have a clue what he/she is doing, and is not familiar with repairing Toyota’s, and 2, we were extremely thorough on this diagnostic.

I do have an update, I am going to be as thorough as I can, feel free to ask clarifying questions…

We test drove the vehicle and were able to duplicate the issue repeatedly, even in the service bay.  We had to DTC’s stored when we scanned it (diagnostic trouble codes):  One was a P0302, which is a cylinder 2 misfire, one was a P1155, which was a Air Fuel Sensor Heated Circuit malfunction Bank 2, Sensor 1.  When we do a diagnostic like this we go with what is the obvious first—We pulled the spark plug on cylinder 2 and cylinder 1 to compare, cylinder 2 did look like it was not firing, so we swapped the plugs from 1 to 2 and did a compression test on both cylinders to make sure internally the engine was ok, compression was 160-170 which is good.  Also checked that Air/Fuel sensor (looks like replaced recently), found connector not plugged all the way into the harness, reconnected to harness.  Retest drove vehicle, check engine light is gone, codes not returning, but same symptoms, stalling, scanner losing communication during stall, cannot data log issue.  Called Toyota Technical Assistance and initiated case, TAS agent advises checking charging system, testing ground, and getting a snap shot (a saved file of all monitored data from vehicle from start up to failure, kind of like an EKG for a heart).  Charging system and ground ok, snap shot sent to agent, the data log from the snap shot should refresh in tenths of seconds, instead is only refreshing in 3-5 seconds, like a bad electrical connection, data log and snap shot will not be helpful in diagnosis.  Also pulled throttle position sensor and idle air control to check for voltage issue or clogging/sticking no problem found.

The ECM (computer) sends a 5 volt signal to multiple sensors throughout the vehicle by individual wire.  For instance, a 5volt signal is sent to the Crank Sensor, Fuel Pump, Coolant temp sensor, transmission sensors, etc.  MANY wires that feed 5 volts from the computer to the sensor.  If any ONE of those sensors are shorted out, it will sent a short back through THAT wire, to the ECM, causing a massive system failure.  That being said, it COULD be an ECM problem, or could be anyone of the sensors that the ECM feeds, or a wire between the ECM and one of those sensors, or a combination (if the ecm has had a short sent to it from one of the sensors, it would need the sensor and an ECM, because a short running to the ECM would damage it). 

I am being very specific because that way you can really kind of see what kind of diagnostic this is…it is VERY complicated, to say the least, but if short cuts are taken, it will lead to guessing and putting wrong parts in the car without fixing the problem.

Right now we have about 3 hours diagnosis in the vehicle.  If I give you internal labor rate of $79.00/hr, total right now is $251.00 with supplies.

One caveat of this is we did have a code come back after driving a while, a P0301 cylinder ONE misfire.  We swapped the spark plug from 2 to 1, and now that cylinder is misfiring.  It has the wrong spark plugs in the car, they are autolites, and are NOT designed for this vehicle.  I have also noticed by checking some other diagnostic sources that the coils, which cause the plugs to fire, have been reported to cause a vehicle stall if they fail in multiples.  The odd thing about these reports is, when these coils fail they almost ALWAYS cause a check engine light and misfire codes, but a few shops have reported coil failures causing stalls that are not causing check engine lights, or only occasional check engine lights when they fail.  These are independent shops reporting this (on a website we use to monitor diagnostics at shops around the country) so their information isn’t going to be as good as Toyota’s but the fact that we have the wrong plugs and have a stall, I would recommend starting with changing all of the spark plugs and coils.  This may or may not fix the problem, but is part of the diagnostic.  If we do that, for the spark plugs and coils it would be $509.00 plus the $251.00 we are in it now.

IF that doesn’t fix the problem, then the next step is to individually test each individual 5 volt reference wire to each sensor to see what is failing.  That COULD be up to 3 hours additional testing time…obviously if we got lucky and hit the bad wire/sensor early in the process, it could be less than that, but once we find the bad sensor and/or wire, the fix will be the sensor replacement or wire repair, plus likely an ECM.  As I was saying before, replacing the ECM without testing can cause whatever shorted the ECM in the first place, to short the new ECM, so the only way to correctly fix it is to continue with the diagnositics this way.

I am sure this isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear, but I wanted to be as forthcoming as I could.


We have to locate the source of the short, and to do that, it involves testing the wires from the ecm to the sensors.  The ecm is a series of circuits, like a printed circuit board in a computer, with dozens, or even hundreds of individual circuits inside the ECM, which work to make the vehicle work.  The failure is only happening intermittently.  Therefore, the only way to test it is to be testing when it happens.  It is essentially this:  every letter in the alphabet is a circuit.  One of the words those letters form causes a malfunction.  There is a hundreds of possible combinations, but ONE of them causes this issue.  We are trying to find which one. 

We can pull the ecm and test it all day, and it is not going to fail the test, because it doesn’t fail consistently.  It is only going to fail when the function that causes it to fail occurs, and we are only going to find the failure when we are testing the circuit that fails, while it is failing. 

The other option, of course, is to guess and put an ECM in it.  A used ECM, which if your going to guess would probably be the best option.  A used ECM runs around $400 plus about $100 to install it.  We can certainly do that in lieu of the testing.

As far as the plugs and coils, that was what we recommended next for continuing the diagnosis, but at your request, we will not do that.

Continuing testing could be up to 3 more hours @ $79.00/hr, which is discounted from our $95/hr standard electrical diagnosis rate. 

Let me know what you would like to do.

Again, very clear, and I offered her a further discount on the repair.  She gave us the go ahead to continue, we traced the short to the fuse block under the hood, we could not pinpoint exactly where because the customer did not want to continue the diagnosis, and did not want to replace the fuse block, which is what we recommended.  We charged her 6 hours at $79/hr, which we got prior authorization for, and did not charge here for the additional 2 hours we spent beyond that in diagnosis.  We attempted to contact the customer to tell her that we did not take out of town checks but could not get ahold of her (it was easy to get ahold of her while we were diagnosing her vehicle, was suddenly difficult when it came time to discuss payment).  The customer arrived, brought a check, when she was informed we didn’t take out of town checked, she slammed the check on the counter and ran to the vehicle to drive off.  I followed and stepped in front of her vehicle and told her this was a bad idea, and had to literally jump out of the way to not get hit as she drove her vehicle out of the shop.

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#4 Author of original report

More info on the Toyota RAV

AUTHOR: Denise C - ()

 So I took my RAV to a trusted non-dealer mechanic in town and amazingly he found out what was wrong with the car in less than 2 hours...how about that!!

He found that this car has obviously had previous water damage as the inside wires that are at least 6 inches off the floor board had green corrosion on them - only caused by exposure to water!!!!!!  Hmmmm, wonder if this was the cover up that Toyota got all nervous and beligerant about?? I had bought this car in 2007 from Toyota of Butte after it was driven here sometime before from owners that originated from back east - interesting, known area of flooding.

Plus, the other issue he found was that it needed a new ignition coil.  Can you believe it - a $150 part - after paying Toyota of Butte $474 worth of diagnosis work and they never did figure out what was wrong.  What a RIPOFF.

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#5 Consumer Comment

Denise C,

AUTHOR: Karl - ()

Feel free to stay at this website and type in 281113 and read Ripoff Report #281113. (It's about Toyota's "defective automobiles".) Good luck to you, and make sure to spread your Ripoff Report all over the web at sites like Twitter and Facebook!


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