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How to complain about car dealership service

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Dealing with unsatisfactory car dealership service can be frustrating, especially when you have invested your time and money into purchasing or servicing a vehicle.

However, it’s important to remember that you have the right to voice your concerns and seek a resolution. You can also skip the entire fiasco by reaching out to a car dealership with outstanding service and top-notch reviews. Companies like Sarasotaford.com offer a prime example of what quality dealership service should entail, which, unfortunately, not everyone has access to on a global scale.

In this article, we will explore effective strategies for lodging complaints about car dealership service and provide guidance on how to navigate the process. By following these steps, you can increase the likelihood of a satisfactory resolution and ensure that your voice is heard.

Assess the validity of your complaint

Before proceeding with a complaint, it is essential to assess the validity of your concerns.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is the complaint based on a legitimate issue or misunderstanding?

2. Do you have supporting evidence, such as documentation or photographs, to substantiate your complaint?

3. Have you attempted to resolve the issue directly with the dealership or service department?

By validating your complaint, you will strengthen your position and provide clarity when articulating your concerns to the dealership.

Gather relevant documentation

To effectively communicate your complaint, gather all relevant documentation related to your vehicle purchase or service experience.

This may include:

1. Purchase or service agreements: Review the terms and conditions of your agreement to ensure that the dealership fulfilled its obligations.

2. Service records: Compile any service records, invoices, or receipts that highlight the specific services performed or issues encountered.

3. Correspondence: Keep a record of any email exchanges, written communication, or phone call logs with dealership personnel regarding your concerns.

Having comprehensive documentation will support your complaint and provide a basis for negotiation.

Follow the dealership’s complaint procedures

Most car dealerships have a designated procedure for handling customer complaints.

To ensure your complaint is properly addressed, follow these steps:

1. Contact the dealership: Reach out to the dealership’s customer service department or the service manager, stating that you have a complaint and would like to discuss it.

2. Document your interactions: Keep a record of all communication, including dates, names of the individuals you spoke with, and a summary of the discussion. This will help maintain a clear timeline of events.

3. Be clear and concise: When presenting your complaint, provide a concise and objective description of the issue, along with any supporting evidence. Focus on the facts and avoid personal attacks or emotional language.

By following the dealership’s complaint procedures, you demonstrate your willingness to resolve the issue respectfully and professionally.

Escalate the complaint

If your complaint is not resolved satisfactorily through the initial contact, you may need to escalate the matter.

Consider the following options:

1. Contact senior management: If the dealership’s customer service department or service manager was unable to resolve your complaint, escalate it to senior management. Seek out the general manager or owner of the dealership and communicate your concerns clearly and concisely.

2. State regulatory agencies: Research whether your state or country has regulatory agencies that oversee automotive services. If necessary, file a complaint with the appropriate agency, providing all relevant details and documentation.

Escalating the complaint shows your commitment to finding a resolution and may prompt the dealership to take your concerns more seriously.

Seek third-party mediation

In some cases, seeking third-party mediation can help facilitate a resolution.

Consider the following options:

1. Better Business Bureau (BBB): If the dealership is a member of the BBB, you can file a complaint through their website. The BBB acts as a neutral third party and assists in mediating disputes between consumers and businesses.

2. Consumer protection agencies: Research whether your locality has consumer protection agencies or organizations that can assist you in resolving disputes with car dealerships.

Third-party mediation provides an objective perspective and can help facilitate a fair resolution.


Lodging a complaint against a car dealership for poor service requires a systematic approach and a clear understanding of your rights as a consumer. By assessing the validity of your complaint, gathering relevant documentation, following the dealership’s complaint procedures, escalating the matter when necessary, and seeking third-party mediation, you can increase your chances of a satisfactory resolution.

Just remember to remain calm, professional, and objective throughout the process. This will help you effectively convey your concerns and negotiate a fair outcome.

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