Warranty Administration….The good and the bad (management)

I used to work for a domestic car dealership as a Warranty Administrator. My duties consisted of billing, claims processing and tracking, commercial collections, service write up, and customer service. In broader terms, every time someone brought a car in for repairs, a repair order was written up that briefly detailed the customer’s concerns, which was then given to the technician assigned to do the repairs. Upon completion of the work, the tech wrote a brief description of the cause of the concern and what steps were taken to correct it. The repair order was then given to me and I transferred the info from the hard copy to the computer, thus closing the open repair order. If no cashier was available, I collated the printouts and called the customer to the service counter and went over the repairs with them. After taking payment for repairs that weren’t billed to warranty or charged off internally, I gave the customer their keys. I also on rare occasions assisted in service write up. The majority of my duties revolved around closing repair orders and tracking the warranty repairs. I tracked them in the general ledger to ensure they had paid and for the proper amount. I prepared monthly reports for my supervisor, the service manager. I also prepared reports for him whenever there were any significant changes in the status of outstanding claims. When a claim didn’t pay, or paid partially, I called the corporation and made inquiry. Usually there was an issue regarding excessive labor and/or parts, in which case I made adjustments or conferred with the service manager and the technician and negotiated with the corporation and/or our regional representative. I loved my job so much. It was sheer fun. I felt thrilled every time I thought about how I was the only warranty administrator and it was all up to me. There was some teamwork involved, but not enough to make me feel unimportant and unnecessary. I owned my job, and it made me proud. I had outstanding warranty claims fully paid within 15 days at the end of the month, and the total balance was under $10k, sometimes as low as $5k (industry standards are 30 days and $60k).

I loved my coworkers immensely. Many of us had radically differing opinions on a variety of subjects, and yet we all enjoyed eachothers’ company. We went to movies together on weekends. We ate at restaurants together. We played miniature golf together. Some of the best friends I will ever have in my life worked there. I have moved to another state since then, but we still stay in touch and I have committed to going back to see the next Star Wars movie with my friend Michael.

Unfortunately, I can not express the same sentiments about those who held management positions at this establishment. I had often referred to the Controller as an insufferable ego-maniac. She enjoyed bossing people around way too much. My boss, the service manager, was okay at first. After I had been there for a year, he began a process of destroying the morale of my coworkers and nudging them out the door, forcing me to assume their duties while making broken promises of resultant payraises, offering me payraises pursuant to previously demonstrated and confirmed approved performance, offering me promotions, etc. He told me after we lost all but one of our cashiers that I was to become a warranty administrator/cashier and after 30 days my performance as such would be evaluated and I would be considered for a payraise. In spite of my dislike for cashiering, I quietly accepted the duties and even gave my boss an extra month after he failed to make good on his promise for the payraise evaluation. He said he had to get with his boss and would get back to me. After getting fed this line for the next several months he admitted that I had topped out in pay and would get no further payraises without a promotion, which he added I was still being considered for and that it would be in the best interest of the company to promote anyway. Lie, lie, lie, lie. That’s all he did for a year. I tried to be patient. I tried to be the loyal, stand by your employer kind of employee, but after the service manager’s wife left him and he started replacing valuable and competent personnel with brain dead, physically well endowed, attractive young women. when I realized that one member of his new harem in particular was to be my replacement, I started looking for another job. When he found out, I had already been through a month long process of discovering how incompetent the human resources department at the place where I had applied was (in other words, they lost my application and refused to return my myriad of calls). My boss pulled me into his office and asked me if the rumor he had heard was true. I told him it was, although I had failed to get the job I had applied for and was now back to square one. My boss told me I had 30 days to get another job. I told him I couldn’t guarantee when I would find another job and that he would in effect be firing me. He said he had to make sure he had the position filled and my ambiguous situation was not suitable to the company. I asked him how he expected to have an adequately trained replacement in 30 days, and he just kept going round and round about doing the best thing for the company. I walked out of his office knowing that what was happening was I was being ushered out the door to vacate a position for another member of the service manager’s harem. I took my case to the general manager and asked him if he approved of this sort of behavior on the part of management in his company. The best response he could come up with was, “Well, we’ll watch and observe your performance over the next month and we’ll go from there.”

I managed to find another job. Needless to say, I didn’t bother to give my boss two weeks notice.

It just goes to show; you can have a really good job, maybe even the best you’ll ever have in your life, you can enjoy the work, as I did immensely, and you can have sterling examples of humanity for co-workers, and self serving and incompetent management can either take it all away from you or off-set it with politics and exploitation until you just have to get out.

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