Car dealer calls and begs me for a perfect survey score

I know it's frowned upon, but I tend to fill out surveys honestly, god forbid.

Whenever I get service at the dealer, they send out a survey afterwards. At check-out time, they mention this, and give a little "sample" survey that demonstrates how to fill out "excellent" for every question, should you forget how when doing the real survey.

Well, when I did the real survey, I answered every item honestly. The quality and service is excellent, the personell friendly. They give me special treatment being a loyal customer. There's a nice waiting area with a big TV and work desks. Questions related to those, I answered positively for.

Then there were questions related to price and location. The dealer is located about 10-15 minutes out of the way, while my local GoodYear is within walking distance. Also, the dealer is about 30% more expensive than the goodyear. I answered honestly.

So here's the big section. They ask several questions to compare the dealership with other service shops. Well, my local Goodyear also has excellent service, friendly people, and they give me special treatment as a loyal customer too. So I honestly said the dealer was equal to other service shops I go to.

Also note, that I was under the assumption that this survey was confidential, but I could have been wrong. I don't remember reading the fine print.

Well, so a week ago, the dealer service manager's secretary called to verify that I had a satisfactory service experience. They asked all quesitons about quality, service, satisfaction to verify, and of course I said they were all excellent. I figured they must have gotten wind of a non-perfect survey, and were calling up all the recent servicients.

Well, then I started getting messages from the service manager, and eventually he caught up with me yesterday, to give me a follow up to the follow up on the survey. Well, he had my survey with all my comments infront of him, and knew it was me (somehow). Basically, he admitted all my service questions gave excellent scores, but the problem was the one question about comparing this dealership to other service shops. I gave it an "equal" since I rank the goodyear and the dealer equal. But apparently, in subaru of america's corporate office, an "equal" is considered a negative mark, and counts negatively on their performance.

So, he explains that to me, that my thinking the dealer was equal to my other shop counts negatively towards them, and told me they'd be sending me out another survey (they give you a second-chance survey after the service manager talks with you), and he flat out asked me directly to check "Excellent" on every single questions on the new survey. Please.

So I'm like, well fine, if corporate is a bunch of snobs, I'll help you guys out and give you good ratings. He also asked me to be part of a future focus group, and I'd get a free dinner. (well, the storal of this mory is that if you give an honest review, you get a free meal!).

But then I was thinking, that if the only surveys that subaru of america ever receives from all its dealerships are excellent surveys, they're just getting a pile of lies, or a weighted sample. I mean, getting a real negative survey is one thing. But they can't honestly expect 100% of the customers to think they're far superior to every other service shop they've been to. I think it blinds corporate to what changes they really need to make (for instance, lowering prices!).

Buuut, then I was thinking, what if the request was actually a threat? What if my next service might have an issue if I don't give them a good review? I can't possibly believe it - they're good guys. But I always think about that when I'm eating out. I have to say that 80% of the reason I give tips at restaurants is because I'm scared they'd spit in my burger next time if I didn't.

What do y'all think?


Mid Boss
I was in the auto industry for 7 years. They get your survey, they get your name. The survey's are very competitive, it gives manufacturers bragging rights. Every year Toyota beats Subaru they can brag Toyota customers are happier than Subaru's. Thus selling more Toyota's.

Wow that dealership sells tires. I don't think I ever worked for one that did. It makes sense though, they should.


Established Member
Fuck them... be honest. Who the fuck are they to force you to lie?

And if they say there is a "problem" next service... bring that car to another shop and verify it. If it doesn't then you got a case of fraud on your hands plain and simple.

What does your Warranty require you to go to the dealership for all work? If so I may rethink my idea about purchasing a Subaru Legacy... great car, but dealerships just piss me the fuck off.
Xavier, don't think I understand the tire comment.

Warrantee doesn't care where or how you get service, but I purchased a maintenance package with my new car. I had a coupon for a competing dealership they honored for 300$ off, plus I got dealer-cost on it, so I ended up paying about 500$ for all the service up through 45k.

Having had a new car before that I always kept up on service, I know that even going to the goodyear, it costs about 25$ per oil change (12 of them) plus 300 for 15k/45k and 600 for 30k service. So I basically got 1500$ worth of service for only 500$ (and on a 5 year loan too). So I have to get the service at the dealer for the first 45k. So, as it turns out price actually doesn't matter... for now.

I got a Forrester again. Pretty much the only reason I upgraded was because my previous Forrester didn't have side-impact airbags, and I got a thing in the mail with a guaranteed buy-back price which pretty much meant it was about the highest value I'd ever get back on the car (unless I did a private sale, but my wife doesn't want stranges coming over to test drive the car). In the end I ended up getting about 2500 over original offer on the trade in, and paid 500 under invoice on the new car. It was the last day in november, and they were desperate to cut a loss just to get another tick. Plus the 900 off the maintenance package, and got them to throw in a free audio/subwoofer upgrade.

It's not many people who get to walk out of a dealership feeling like you ripped them off! I'd walked out of about 5 dealerships in the previous year as I was testing the waters for trading up my old car.

Especially, used car dealerships are a complete rip. New car dealerships make all their money off the service department. Used car dealerships make their money off the cars. They won't budge 500$ on the trade in value, and they price their used cars at the same price as a new one. I ended up buying my new car for less than some 1year old used cars, just from all the haggle room. It's not worth getting a used unless it's at least 3 years old. Then the prices finally start to drop out of absurd.

It's funny how they unquesitonably copy errors from KBB too. Like due to some bad algorithm, KBB lists a 1year old forrester LLbean value at 29000$, even though you can buy a brand new one at list price of 25000$. Obviously KBB is wrong, but sure enough, the sticker at the used car dealer boasts compare to estimated KBB value of 29000$...


Mid Boss
Jedi Master Thrash said:
It's funny how they unquesitonably copy errors from KBB too. Like due to some bad algorithm, KBB lists a 1year old forrester LLbean value at 29000$, even though you can buy a brand new one at list price of 25000$. Obviously KBB is wrong, but sure enough, the sticker at the used car dealer boasts compare to estimated KBB value of 29000$...

...except when you're trying to trade in your car using the KBB as a guide for trade in value, then you get the 'no offense but the KBB isn't in the business of selling cars, we are' crap.


Mid Boss
The "Kelly" blue book is a joke. Its main use is to value loans for banks. Some unscrouplous dealers use it to show a inflated retail price for used cars so you know what a "deal" you're getting. Yes in many cases a price for a couple year old vehicle is higher than its true cost new. Oh also Kelly is used for old ass cars say if you have a 87' Cresida.

This is the real blue book ....what every dealer I ever worked at uses.

Out west at least.

Only problem is thats theres a dealer version and also retail ones.

Also notice they are region specific.


Mid Boss
Jedi Master Thrash said:
Xavier, don't think I understand the tire comment.

(Tires,) The places I worked at never sold them. Selling and replacing them must be a new thing.