Join Date: Nov 2012
Car: 2013, Outback, Limited 2.5
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Carter Subaru, Seattle, WA
I have been going to Carter Subaru for over a decade. Unfortunately, their focus on quality and customer has taken a wrong turn.
I recently decided to purchase a new Subaru from Carter, but was concerned about the amount of cement dust from the nearby construction and wanted to make sure cars were not brushed or put through an auto car wash. The salesperson told me it was not a problem because they only did light power washing. It was cloudy on initial inspection of the car, so I did not see it right away, but once I pulled the car in the garage, I quickly realized the car was badly scratched over every inch, including headlight, taillights, paint, etc. After seeing pictures of the car, Carter had us go to a detailer and we also took it to a painter - both indicated the car had possibly been brushed with a contaminated brush and not enough water. I asked the salesperson about this and she e-mailed that car had not been washed with a brush or gone through a car wash.
Carter was good about offering to take the car back, and I planned to order another car from them. After getting the check back, and before starting the process to order a new car, my wife and I wanted to better understand how the scratches happened, so we went to the lot to compare a few cars that had just come in (and still had some of the protective covering) to cars that had been in the lot for a while. Without exception – cars that still had the protective covering were in great shape, and cars without it were badly scratched. We then realized that we were walking past the wash bay. We watched as they drove a brand new car drove into the wash bay, applied a very small amount of water, and then scrubbed the entire car with a brush that was never rinsed or even returned to the bucket.
In an instant, I went from feeling good about the fact that Carter Subaru would give me my money back for a damaged car, to absolute disbelief. I could not believe this was how the cars were washed. I could not believe that, even after I told them the professional detailer they recommended told me the car probably had been brushed, they denied it and would only say the damage must have occurred at the factory or in port. I certainly could not believe that I was explicitly told my car had not been washed with a brush, when it had been.
We went back and asked for the Sales Manager and explained what we had seen in the wash bay. He asked us to go into a room so that we would not “sour other customers.” I then told him what we had seen by comparing cars before and after detailing. He responded “we’re not going to change our process.” I would hope that, even if some or most people did not notice the damage, he would still have wanted to avoid unnecessarily damaging the cars, especially as it could be remedied with simple improvements to the process. We asked one more question, but only received another harsh response. My wife and I got up and left.
If at any point in the process someone had simply apologized and been honest about how the car had been washed, I would have been fine. I don’t understand why we were treated as we were, especially after we had been told one thing about the car washing process, and then saw for ourselves it wasn’t true. It also doesn’t make sense to us how, knowing the cars are being damaged, Carter Subaru won’t even consider making improvements to its detailing process. I tried bringing my experience to the attention of the owners of Carter Subaru, but my letter remains unanswered.
After all these years, I am not so much angry or upset by this experience as I am sad to end a long relationship with Carter Subaru. I am actually writing this because I hope it makes a difference to future car buyers and saves others from going to Carter Subaru and experiencing the same thing. I would strongly recommend checking cars when sunny or with a light if buying from this dealership. We went to a number of other dealerships and were amazed at how much better cars looked elsewhere.
Picture is worth a thousand words. Please be aware that although these pictures only show scratches in line with the light, they run over every inch of the car.