Friday, July 18, 2008

Problems With Sur Motors In Arequipa

So I took my car into the shop on June 23rd to have it looked at. I went to Sur Motors which is a well known shop in Arequipa and was supposedly professional. It also is affiliated with Mapfre Insurance. They tell me that they will call when the diagnostic is done and before doing any major repairs to get my approval.

After a few days, they still hasn't called me. So I had to call them. They asked that I come into the shop. They didn't want to tell me any information or what the problem was over the phone. Very confusing and strange. So I take a cab and go all the way across town to meet them. They explain that the pressure test on the cooling system went well (no problems) and that the brakes have been cleaned (no major work, just stop the squeaking). Then they explain that the reverse doesn't work and it is a transmission problem. But since I have an automatic transmission, they have to send it to Lima (Hildemeister) to have it repaired and then sent back to Arequipa where they can reinstall it. They quoted me $1000 for this work (shipping, fixing, returning, etc). They also said that it would take 10 days to have the car ready to go once we gave them the OK to do it. I asked about just buying a new transmission and they quoted me a price of $3000. So the choice was fairly simple.

10 days wouldn't be so bad. I had guests coming to visit, but we could do without the car for a bit. After those 10 days there still was one weekend when they would be in town, so we could take a road trip or something. We agreed to the 10 days and $1000 fix it in Lima solution on June 27th.

10 days later, July 7th, we called to see how things were going. But they told us that the transmission was still in Lima and they didn't know anything about it. They said they would call Lima and see what was going on, then call us back. July 8th passed and they never called us.

July 9th comes and we call them again. They tell us that the transmission will be shipped to Arequipa on Thursday July 10th and then installed in the car on July 11th. They say that we should be able to pick up the car on Monday July 14th. So there goes our weekend road trip plans.

We call on Thursday July 10th for an update, but they won't let us talk to any one in charge of service. They tell us that they will have someone give us a call in a few minutes. No one ever called.

Friday July 11th rolls around and we call them again to see if the transmission arrived and if it is in the process of being installed like they said. The reception lady answers and then transfers us to service. This happens 10 times, each time I sit on the phone for 3-5 minutes with no answer. I spent over 30 minutes calling them and not being able to speak to anyone in service. I finally call back and tell the lady that I keep getting hung up on and that I need to talk to someone in service but no one is answering the phone. It's Friday at 3-4pm so it's right in the middle of operating business hours. I ask to talk to the manager/boss of Sur Motors and she tells me that he's on vacation until Monday. Finally the reception lady leaves her desk and goes into the garage to talk to someone herself. She comes back and tells me that the transmission hasn't arrived yet and it should arrive on Monday July 14th and then be ready for me to pick up the car on Tuesday July 15th.

Tuesday July 15th rolls around and we call back again. We ask to talk to the manager of the service, but they tell us that he's out on medical leave. They tell us that the transmission hasn't arrived yet and it should get there on Thursday. I can pick up the car on Friday July 18th.

We call today Friday July 18th (3 weeks after agreeing to $1000 and 10 days to fix the transmission). We ask for the manager of service again (Jose Luis Romero) but we're told that he's in a meeting. So we ask for the manager of Sur Motors (Brian Chavez), but we are told that he has a different schedule and doesn't come in until 3pm. Finally we ask the guy at the service desk about an update on the car. He says that the transmission won't be shipped back to Arequipa until Thursday July 24th and that we might be able to pick the car up on Friday July 25th!!!

So our 10 day estimate is now at minimum a month wait. At no point in the process did they ever inform us of what was really happening. They just made up things hoping that Hildermeister in Lima would get done and ship back the transmission soon. They never called us at all, after promising to over 3 times. We always had to call them and then were often not allowed to talk to people and given bad information. They always had an excuse for not letting us talk to someone in charge.


In 12 years of car ownership in various parts of the US and Peru, I have never seen a less professional mechanic shop than Sur Motors in Arequipa, Peru. I've never felt so jerked around, deceived, and lied to by a car dealership and service department. They make a bad name for Hyundai.

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