Alfa experience as a first time owner
I would like to share my experience as a first time owner. Hopefully it'd help a few people who maybe thinking about getting a new Giulia. When I first laid eyes on the Giulia in LA auto show, I knew it was time for an upgrade. I decided to wait a year before getting mine to avoid first production errors. I finally got my beautiful Trofeo White Giulia Ti in March 2018. I was really excited and absolutely loved every aspect of the car but it didn't take long that all that love and excitement turned into a never-ending nightmare. After receiving two recall letters, I called Santa Monica Fiat and Alfa Romeo and booked my first service appointment. After waiting in the lounge for over 30 minutes, I asked one of the advisors to check me in. Unwillingly, he took me to his office and started on the paper work. He said he usually deals with Maserati clients only and made it seem like he was doing me a favor. He then ignored my calls and texts for the next two days without providing me with a single update.
Shortly after I got the car back, on my way to work, the service shifter emergency light came on with a message: Do not put in park or turn off the car. Not knowing what to do, I reached out to the dealer for an advice. After being on hold for 10 minutes, the receptionist told me they were understaffed and were not able to take any calls at the moment. I called THREE other service departments and heard the same exact story, COOL. Finally, after driving in a circle for 40 minutes and being late for work, I called Alfa Romeo Care. They advised parking the car somewhere that's easily accessible by a tow truck since the car may not shift back to drive. After work, there was no sign of the emergency light and everything seemed to be normal which was a huge relief, specially after stressing about it all day. However, on my way home, there was a nasty burning smell inside the cabin. I was trying to open the sunroof to get rid of the smell that I realized it was not working. I made another appointment the next morning but I asked for a different advisor. After explaining the issues I was having with car, he kept insisting that I had spilled something on the shifter which had activated the emergency light. He asked me this very same question over 5 times and when he realized I was getting frustrated, he said he was only joking. Very unprofessional in my opinion. He then sent me over to enterprise to get a rental (apparently they have a contract with enterprise since they do not have any loaners) and my only option was a dodge MINI VAN. After two days, I got a phone call from the advisor that the radiator was leaking on the passenger side and had to be replaced. They also had to recalibrate the sunroof. This time, the car was in the shop for 8 days and I was stuck with a mini van.
A few days after I finally got my car back, it was 85įF and I was trying to turn on the AC that I realized it was only blowing hot air and I ended up back in the service department. This time the advisor seemed to be nicer than the other two. He apologized for the inconvenience and gave me his personal cell phone number in case I had any questions or simply wanted an update. They then took me to enterprise again and gave me a Dodge Journey. After a few days, I called the dealership to get a status update on my car but no one returned any of my calls. My texts and emails were also ignored. At this point, I already had enough and called Alfa Romeo Care and opened a case. Being disgusted by their customer service, the case manager offered to handle my case and provide me with updates. She said my air condenser had to be replaced but since one of the machines in the service department was broken, they were going to transfer my car to their bodyshop to finish up the repairs. After 10 days, I get a call from the dealer that the car is finally ready. After I picked up the car, I realized that my car was driven around 30 miles. This was not really a big deal but I was extremely upset that no one cared to ask for my permission; no one even told me. They did not even bother washing my car or refueling for the miles driven. Whatever...
Not long after, the fuel gauge started to fluctuate. It would stop showing the fuel range at 3 bars and the fuel low sign would turn on at 2 bars. This time, I tried to make an appointment with another service department which is an hour away from me. However, they were fully booked for the next 6 days. The case manager advised taking the car back to the Santa Monica location and that's what I did. At first, the advisor did not even want to check me in because they were short staffed and wanted me to come back another time although I had an appointment. After talking to a technician, he said that a hard reset would solve this issue. They made me wait one and a half hour to simply detach and reconnect the batteries which of course did not solve anything. After taking the car back in for the second time, the advisor told me that there was nothing wrong with the car and I was just trying to build up a case. He said he would check me in but they won't touch my car. With the case manager calling them back and forth, they ended up doing an update and another hard reset. When I picked up the car the day after, the range was still not showing and the problem still persisted but they denied any additional repairs. Being tired and sick of their terrible customer service, I was eager to take my car to another location and get it fixed but the case manager wanted me to take it back to Santa Monica so that they could partner up with Alfa Care, open a star case (whatever that is) and fix the issue. Unwillingly I took the car back to Santa Monica. After waiting in the lounge for 45 minutes and being ignored by everyone, the advisor checked me in but refused to provide me with a loaner. After arguing with them for about half an hour, the case manager told me to pay for a rental and she would reimburse me as soon as my car was ready. My car was in the shop for another 8 days since the fuel tank and the fuel pumps had to be replaced. I was really hoping that the replacement would finally solve these issues but it didn't. I then took my car to another service location for additional help. This was the fourth time I was taking the car in for the SAME problem. At first, the advisor did not want to check the car in because most of the repairs were done at another location and kept telling me to go back to Santa Monica. After arguing with him and having the case manager calling the location, they finally took the car in and found a broken fuel module. I was then stuck with a Fiat 500 for four days. I just got my car back but I wouldn't be surprised if I had to take it back again next week.
Overall, my experience is a combination of bad luck, a faulty vehicle, a bad service department and terrible customer service. There are also people who are happy with their cars and would tell you that Alfa is the best car that money could buy. I just wanted to share my experience so you hear from both sides. I personally donít t think that anyone deserves to be treated like this or to go through all this trouble just to get his car fixed (Keep in mind, my car barely has 8000 miles on it). I still haven't gotten reimbursed for my rental which was around $400. I've been late and missed work multiple times. I've never received any follow up calls (I guess you can only expect that from every other car maker). You have a lot of options to choose from. Do your research carefully. We've had a lot of different cars in our household (BMW, Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Chevy, Cadillac, etc) and by far, Alfa Romeo has had the WORST customer service of all. No one in this company seems to care about their customers and how they feel. I do not know about any other states but if you are in California, LA in particular, you will be driving around in a base Dodge or a Fiat but will be paying for an Alfa Romeo. Make your decisions wisely.