Ups and downs of patronizing Sullivan Tire in Watertown MA

By | November 20, 2023

I’m a long-time customer of Sullivan Tire in Watertown, MA. I’ve used them for both tires and general auto maintenance. Their road hazard protection on the tires they sell is a phenomenal deal pretty much guaranteed to pay off in savings on the tire repairs and replacements anyone who drives on the terrible streets in this area ends up dealing with.

They do good work in the end, but in the end is key: there is often turbulence along the way. If there’s a problem they always fix it, but sometimes patience is necessary. My current (as-yet-unresolved) experience with them is a case in point.

I arranged with them via email to do some repairs on Friday. The repairs should have been finished that day, and indeed when I dropped off the car in the morning I was told they would be.

They didn’t call Friday afternoon to let me know when the repairs were done, so I didn’t go to pick up the car. No one called Saturday either. Sunday they were closed. Monday morning I still hadn’t been called so I called them. No one answered the phone so I left a message. They called back a while later while I was on another call and didn’t leave a message. I called back again a while after that, and again no one answered the phone. At this point I gave up on reaching them by phone and made the half-hour journey there in person, hoping that I would find the car ready for pick-up when I arrived, since, after all, it had now been more than two days for work that was supposed to take less than one.

Nope! They apparently didn’t work on the car at all on Friday, I think because the supervisor I was dealing with failed to put it on the schedule after I confirmed the date via email (this was not mentioned to me when I dropped off the car). Saturday they ran into two different parts issues which they were unable to resolve that day. Now on Monday they’re still trying to source the parts they need and it’s still not clear when the work will be finished.

I told the supervisor before leaving the shop today that while I was confident when the work was finished it would be high-quality, and while I wasn’t going to ding them for delays that were outside their control, the communication issues were completely unacceptable and he needed to get his shop in order. He agreed.

I don’t want to be too hard on these guys because I believe they’re doing their best at a time when I’m sure that, thanks to COVID, they’re chronically understaffed like every other service business. I suspect I would run into issues like this at just about any auto-repair place I chose to use. Still, this is frustrating, and I think people deserve to know that they may encounter these types of issues if they patronize this business, hence this blog posting.

P.S. In my experience different Sullivan Tire locations have different personalities and quality even though they’re all owned by the same company, i.e., they’re not franchises. For example, I stopped using the location on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston years ago because they were a nightmare to deal with; I can’t say if things have gotten better there since then.

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