Quote of the Day: "The Case of Bill Heard Enterprises Inc. Shows That General Motors' Customer-satisfaction Ratings Are a Sham"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
quote of the day the case of bill heard enterprises inc shows that general motors

TTAC called this one a while back, when we asked why GM was willing to supply “Mr. Volume” with cars when it was clear to anyone who ever had any dealings with his auto group that Bill Heard was the head of a vast criminal enterprise. Now that Big Bill has been knocked down to size, a bit, formerly silent observers are coming out from behind cover to give GM a right royal pasting. Writing in Automotive News [AN, sub], industry editor James B. Treece is [now] happy to point the fickle finger of blame. “What we do know is that GM was happy to cozy up to Bill Heard when the metal was moving. In 2004, GM gave Heard a Dealer of the Year award and the Jack Smith Leadership Award. The Smith award recognizes dealers who have attained the highest levels of sales and customer satisfaction in their region. Today, though, GM is singing a different tune.” Talk about sour notes… “It’s just individual people owning individual businesses, and it’s separate from the General Motors name,” GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos told AN. “What happens at what dealership never reflects on the entire network.” You’re shitting me right? Treece goes in for the kill. “If that’s true, then why does GM bother tracking CSI scores, and supposedly rewarding dealers with the better scores? If a bad dealer doesn’t reflect on the network, then neither does a good one. It doesn’t matter.” Indeed it doesn’t.

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  • Mel23 Mel23 on Oct 01, 2008
    We have all heard that GMAC stopped floor planning vehicles, we have not heard why or specific reasons. Given that this guy operated the way he did for so many years, I doubt his undoing was anything regarding screwing people over. My guess is that he became unable to pay the floorplan fee.
  • AGR AGR on Oct 01, 2008

    His undoing must have been a bunch of issues that had been accumulating and magnifying for some time. For GMAC to pull the floor planning on approximately half of the dealerships of the biggest Chevy dealer on the planet. This decision was approuved high up the hierarchy. To subsequently pull floor planning on the other half, which was going to put the fellow immediately out of business. The decision was again approuved high up the hierarchy.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Oct 01, 2008

    I'll tell Susan Garontakos the same thing I told Dodge when they didn't do a damn thing to help me resolve an issue with my new Dodge truck and their worthless dealer.... "You tell me to take my problem back to the dealer again and again. But it is "Dodge", in big white letters on the back of my truck, I will see every morning for the next five years. And every time I see it, it reminds me of how worthless your dealer is, and how you refused to lift a finger to correct it, and how now I am stuck paying for this mistake every month. You have lost a customer for life. Congratulations."

  • Econobiker Econobiker on Dec 30, 2008

    And Bill Heard in Nashville was infamous for stealing back a customers truck when they sold it at a loss. Their management then pulled some TN law out of their backside about customers resinding a deal which the customer should have known was a bad deal. Foretunately that Bill Heard location died long before the entire organization got womped. Here is the original article: This is Google's cache of http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=5642879. NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Consumer Alert Dealership Doesn't Like Deal, Takes Car Back Earl Kieselhorst (Story created: 7/17/06) Car dealers are often the butt of jokes. But one local truck buyer is not laughing about the deal that he got -- and lost. Consumer advocates say this case raises lots of questions about how a well-known auto dealer does business. Earl Kieselhorst thought he owned a 2003 Chevy Silverado -- a truck that he bought from Bill Heard Chevrolet in Antioch. Kieselhorst says he "paid cash for it. Made the deal. Sales manager signed off on it. Signed all the paperwork. And drove off." He traded in his car and gave the dealer a check for $8,100. "I have the keys," Kieselhorst tells NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Jennifer Kraus. But he doesn't have his truck. Bill Heard does. "I can't see any reason why this wouldn't be my car," he adds. Just one day after he bought the truck, a salesman from Bill Heard called to say the dealership was having second thoughts about the deal. He told Kieselhorst that if he wanted to keep his truck, he needed to fork over another $10,000 -- something he refused to do. After all, he says, they had a signed deal. But the next morning, when Kieselhorst woke up, his truck was gone. "And I was like I can't believe it," he recalls. The dealership had come and taken it in the middle of the night. "I've got a contract. This is a legal contract. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to say." Metro police investigated and wanted to file charges against Bill Heard for stealing the truck. Detective Ray Paris got a statement from Bill Heard, blaming a rookie salesman for what happened and calling it a mistake. (Read the statement given to police by Bill Heard.) "They inadvertently sold the vehicle at a lower cost than what they should have," Paris says. Kathleen Calligan says the Better Business Bureau has received literally hundreds and hundreds of similar complaints about the Bill Heard dealership -- more complaints by far than any other auto dealer in all of Middle Tennessee. "Not only is this an unbelievable volume of complaints, most of them are unresolved," she adds. Calligan says that, in this day and age, dealers know exactly how much a vehicle is worth. And if a dealership truly does make a mistake, she says they'll take the loss -- rather than call the customer and demand he make up the difference. "There is absolutely no reason for a sale not to be final when the customer walks out of the dealership," Calligan adds. Yet even after Bill Heard had taken back the truck, the salesman called Kieselhorst again. "He calls me back and offers to sell it to me for $11,000 more than I paid for it," Kieselhorst recalls. Kieselhorst said no way. And even though he still believes he is the rightful owner of the truck, when we went looking for it at Bill Heard, we found a customer checking it out. It was for sale, the customer and a saleswoman told us. "The whole thing has just gotten more and more ridiculous," Kieselhorst says. And now the self-proclaimed largest Chevrolet dealership in the world is accusing Kieselhorst of "trying to pull a fast one" on them. "This is the way this company does business," Calligan says. "They really thought they would be able to pull a fast one on their customer." After we tried to get their side for days, Bill Heard faxed us a statement just before air time, saying that Kieselhorst "should have known" that the deal he got was too good to be true. The company says: "It is not reasonable or fair to expect for Bill Heard Chevrolet ... to be bound by a sale where a clear and material mistake was made, and the customer was aware that it was a mistake." (Read Bill Heard's statement provided to NewsChannel 5.) Kieselhort says he just thought Bill Heard was giving him the type of good deal they advertise. As for the police investigation, the DA says this is a civil case, not a criminal case. He says Kieselhorst is free to take the dealer to court -- something he's now seriously considering.