Customer Service and the Power of the Internet

Thank you all so much for your input on mommy-vans.  You have all collectively proven a point that bloggers and readers of blogs have been getting across to advertisers everywhere.  We have the power to influence purchase decisions.  Including really big purchase decisions.

Prior to writing the post on the untimely demise of my Honda Odyssey, R.I.P., I was intent on finding a Honda Odyssey to replace it.  For the last year, we’ve been talking about someday replacing our van, and my family has been pointing out various other options to me, but I held firm.

I even convinced all of them that we should stick with the Honda Odyssey.  And then our transmission decided life was not worth living and ended it all.  But had the decency to at least wait until I was safely parked in my own driveway.  Even though our van is only 11 years old, we only had 102,000 miles on it.  The transmission should have lasted longer than that, as we’ve discovered through research.  And by we, I mean my intrepid husband who has been scouring the internet for information.

The man should have been a detective.  He can uncover most anything.

That’s when he found out about the defect in the transmission of 1999 models, the extended warranty because of a class action lawsuit, and the free replacement of said transmissions.  All of which Honda told us that we did not qualify for, because our transmission had the nerve to wait until far past the 2006 window of opportunity to break down.

And after discussion the matter with Honda Corporate, they would not give an inch.  Even after he asked them if they really were okay with the fact that they knew their product was defective, and yet they would allow his poor helpless wifey, with 3 cantankerous offspring strapped into the back, continue driving on long stretches of desolate highway with the probability that the transmission could fail at any moment.

After that phone call, Honda was dead to my husband.  And let me go off on a bunny trail to tell you that we had a problem with our 2002 Prius battery earlier this year.  Since it’s a hybrid, when a Prius batter kacks, you’re looking at several thousand dollars to fix it.  My husband spoke with Toyota Corporate, and they met him half way, and sent us a check for $1500.00 to help cover the expense of fixing the battery.

So after the phone call to Honda ended, my husband’s attention turned to Toyota.

But not mine.

I’m stubborn like that.  I wanted another Honda Odyssey.  Change is hard, you see.  I have a difficult time changing my favorite brand of toothpaste, so I’m an advertisers worse nightmare.

Then came the comments from the post wherein I asked you all for your suggestions for a replacement van.  In my mind, I was thinking that the majority of the suggestions would fall into the Honda Odyssey category, and I would be vindicated.

And yes, many of you, like me, love the Honda Odyssey.  But an overwhelming majority sang the praises of the Toyota Sienna mini-van.  A van which Fiddledaddy had already been investigating, BEHIND MY BACK.  Although he claims to have mentioned it to me, I have no such recollection.

I’m medicated, let’s not forget.

Now we’re exclusively searching for a Toyota Sienna.  And I’m actually excited about it. It has a lot of the same features that the Honda Odyssey has that I love.   The combination of poor customer service at Honda Corporate, and the overwhelming endorsement by many of you for Toyota Sienna, has likely netted a rather large purchase opportunity for Toyota.

Proving once again that it is no wonder why large advertisers are courting the blogging community so aggressively.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!  I will be simultaneously decking my halls, and shopping for a van from my keyboard.  And will likely stay in my pajamas all weekend to do both.  Because I can.

18 Responses to Customer Service and the Power of the Internet

  • Good Luck Van hunting. We were always happy with our Sienna, and Toyota Customer Service.

  • If you are still not convinced, check out the u-tube video of the Sienna Family in their swagger wagon. I may be far past my “cool” days, but I really like my sienna. I miss you, girlfriend! But my heart has been warmed catching up on your blog!

  • lol the swagger wagon videos are really funny, they might help you keep your sanity while virtual car shopping.

  • I didn’t put in my 2 cents yesterday. As a former Odyssey owner (who thought she would get another one), I LOVE my 2011 Sienna. The main reason I ended up with one is that Honda was too slow in coming out with its 2011 model. I wanted to be able to plug up my iPhone in the front of the car to charge it (a 2-prong electrical outlet-type of plug) and it wasn’t available in the 2010 Odysseys (even though they’d had it in the previous year’s Pilot [my husband’s vehicle]). So I looked at the Sienna and drove it and was WOWed. Yes, there are still a few things I like a little better on my Odyssey; learning a new GPS system hasn’t been fun. But that’s really the worst of it. Everything else is the BOMB. Took a 6-hour car trip with the kids and it was so cool that the boys were able to play PS2 while my daughter watched a movie, thanks to the split-screen entertainment system.

    Love how it drives, looks, feels. And I’ve been very pleased with the service at our local dealer (and we didn’t even buy from them!).

  • I’ve got to put in my two cents. We used to own a Honda Odyssey. I loved the convenience of a minivan. I hated that Honda wouldn’t stand behind their product. Mine may have been a lemon, but it spent more time in the shop than on the road.

    And….every. single. time. it was a Herculean effort to get Honda to stand behind their product.

    We gave up. Traded it in (at a total loss money-wise) for a Toyota Sequoia. While I wish we had stuck with a minivan, I love Toyota. We have had very few issues with our Sequoia. We had one where the alarm locked the ignition and we couldn’t disable it. Toyota sent someone to me within 40 minutes to unhook the wires. That wasn’t some awesome warranty that I had, that was customer service. They never even asked about our warranty or even had us sign anything.

    I’d totally go Toyota. We’ve got to support companies that stand behind their products!

    Happy van hunting!

  • Good choice! And the fact that you can shop in your PJ’s is a double bonus. We’ll want the tour of the new van BEFORE the kids get to take is over OK?

    • Deal! I’ve already warned them that if we find a van, it is GOING TO STAY CLEAN. I hope I don’t eat my own words. 🙂

      • As someone who uttered the famous words “it’s going to stay clean!” when we moved three years ago, let me just advise you…

        grab a bottle of your favorite sauce or syrup next time you go shopping. Makes the words go down easier. 😉

  • I feel like you should know that while I love my Toyota Mini-Van (2005 Sienna), I am angered at the fact that despite many of the vans power doors failing the company refuses to fix them. I realize that it is just that a power door, but with 80,000 miles on it I should not have had to replace not one but two hinges and now the cable system to the door no longer works and it is a $1100 fix. With any vehicle you have to do your homework. Make sure that the year that you are purchasing does not have door problems. Good luck searching!

  • We have had problems with our Honda CR-V. It was just a faulty air conditioning, but that’s real important to me:). We have replaced it 3 times in 8 years. It was a faulty design that they would replace free of charge if you went through the corporate office. It was not a recall though. The first time we replaced it we got a quote from our local dealer ($2500) and our local mechanic ($1400). Of course we went with the local mechanic. When it broke again 12 months and 3 days later, (part had a year warranty) my husband did some investigating and found out about the faulty part. They wouldn’t honor the non-recall because it had been serviced by a non authorized dealer. It has been fun. when the air goes out again we are getting a Toyota.

  • Being your dear friend and all, I think it only my place to point out the *ahem* current condition of said Swagger Van Mommy after she and Swagger Van Daddy spent some quality time in the *ahem* Swagger Van.

    Think long and hard, my friend.

    FD may want to make one more call to Honda.

    (Thank me later.)

  • I am not a mini van gal AT ALL, I have a Honda Pilot that seats eight (EIGHT!!!) and I adore it. However, my friend who had an Odyssey had a very nasty experience with Honda customer service and ended up selling it and getting a Sienna. She LOVED IT!! She has 3 kids, too.

  • I guess we are van geeks. We own a secondhand 2005 Odyssey, and a new 2011 Toyota Sienna (company van). We previously had a Dodge 2005 company car and Chrysler 2000 minivan –pleased with those too –and hubby rented a 2010 Caravan for 2 months before he got his Sienna, and loved the stow and go, but I can’t get past the fact that they don’t have the extra seat. The Odyssey and Sienna seem pretty equal in most things, but let me tell you that the Sienna is annoying as heck to slide that seat forward to get kids into the back. And that is something we use every time we get into the car. The Honda is much easier, one hand or finger to slide the seat forward without sliding floor mats and pushing and pulling and grunting. Honda customer service just repainted my car hood and sides due to a recall….very pleased with them. Sorry for the epistle.

  • Howdy Dee Dee
    God bless you !
    Don’t compomise .
    It is when we as good poeple do nothing that the world as we know it spins out of control.
    I have folowed you for quite some time but seldom leave you comments as to my very full life .
    However I feel I must tell you follow your inner voice .
    Hubby and I drive a really old suburban 1999 it is paid for and has well over 300,000.00 miles it take a licking and keeps on ticking .
    It is appropriate for our work and lives at this time.
    Trust your self and go for it !!!!!!!!!!
    Happy December to you and yours.
    Until next time
    Happy Trails

  • I personally don’t have any van experience. We’re a Ford Expedition family. I just thinks it’s funny that the BlogHer ad that popped up on your sidebar while I was reading this post is for a Honda Odyssey. LOL! 🙂

  • My sister and bro-in-law (and 3 girls) have a Toyota Sienna and LOVE IT. I’ve always had Toyota vehicles and am still loyal to them. (even after the recent hoo-hah about Toyota’s) Always have had great customer service.
    Go Toyota, Go, Go Toyota!!!!!

  • Happy shopping! Since my husband works for USSteel, Toyota and Honda are bad words in our house. He’s union you know. American only cars for us. Which makes me sad at times, because at the car show I sat in some really awesome Toyota vehicles!

  • We like to rent a car that we are considering and take a day trip. You can learn a lot about a vehicle on a road trip. We have eliminated many a vehicle that looked great and have fabulous reviews but was so UNCOMFORTABLE!! 🙂

    Happy Hunting!