Credit where credit is due. After much cajoling, Canadian Tire made good on its repair to my jeep (before it was my jeep).
The issue was a repair that a Canadian Tire in downtown Toronto had done for the previous owner of my jeep was done improperly. They had done a standard transmission service that involved flushing the fluid and replacing the filter. While replacing the filter, we can only surmise that they put the gasket on the filter and inserted the assembly into the transmission. This is apparently “known” to cause problems and they should have put the gasket into the transmission and then pressed in the filter.
When I say “known” I mean that the importance of the order of operation here is well documented in every place I’ve come across this repair. One web page on the subject has this stated 7 times, several of which are in red boxes. The Chrysler service manual for the jeep has this outlined, bolded and underlined. Even the technician who eventually did the repair said that he was very familiar that this was a particular quirk of Chrysler transmissions.
The “official” position is that warranties are not transferable. The service had been performed by the previous owner, then I bought the jeep, then it failed. Failed in the middle of the road, I might add — it just refused to start moving at a stoplight. I spoke with managers at both stores and it seemed that they were unwilling to make good themselves on the repair. I was especially annoyed at this point as I felt I had explained my problem properly and the non-transferable nature of the warranty was only explained to me after I had paid to have the jeep towed to the local Canadian Tire.
I escalated the issue to the Canadian Tire corporate headquarters… or at least their customer service line. This lead to another round of phone calls where very little was accomplished. It seemed that this part of the procedure was almost guaranteed to fail as I had already talked to the managers and they had already stated that they didn’t want to make good or make me happy. I can understand the Oshawa store’s manager somewhat — I wasn’t his customer and he was not at fault. If the Toronto store didn’t pay, he’d be out of pocket (Canadian Tire are independent franchisees). I’m a little more annoyed at the Toronto store. While I’m still not his customer, it would appear that Earl (the previous owner) was a good repeat customer and the transmission failure represented negligence on his mechanic’s part (not just a simple part failure).
After that round of calls, it seemed that there was another step and I was passed from customer service to someone who solves problems. I don’t have a title for him, but that seemed to be his role. He collected information from me and from the two Canadian Tire stores and concluded by deciding to have the repair done at Canadian Tire expense. I don’t know his mandate, but I like to think that I appealed to his sense of fairness. It may just be that there’s a budget for making people like me happy with Canadian Tire and his corporate job was to exercise that discretion. It may also be that Canadian Tire corporate realizes that there is a fundamental problem with appearing to be a national chain on the one hand and being built as an association of franchisees on the other.
Either way, they made good; the truck is repaired and I’m happy.
As a complete aside, I worked with a company that was responsible for distributing the Canadian Tire eFlyer back-in-the-day. Back then, we were puzzled by the fact that Canadian Tire wasn’t setting up a website to sell goods online (they have since done this). At the time, as I understand, it was difficult to negotiate the right of the corporation to operate a website to sell things when the franchisees had rights to certain areas. I suppose that there are both advantages and disadvantages to the franchise method of growing a business.