About 30 seconds into the conversation, I knew something was wrong.

I was trying to schedule the 5,000-mile service that was part of the package when I bought a Toyota Prius V late last year. So I called the number of the service department for the Toyota dealership where the service was supposed to take place.

But the person doing the scheduling didn’t seem to know anything.

What were the hours of the Toyota facility where it would be serviced? She wasn’t sure. Was there a shuttle that could take me to work while I dropped the car off? She said she thought there was but was unsure of how far it would go, or at what hours. Did the Big Blue bus to Santa Monica, where my office is, stop nearby? She didn’t know what the Big Blue bus was.

Finally, I asked her to put someone on the line who could answer her questions.

She said she couldn’t. Because she lives and works in Houston, Texas.

That’s where you must call to schedule an appointment at some of Toyota’s LA-area dealerships. When I asked why, I was told they were trying to make service more efficient and customer friendly by consolidating these functions in one place.

When I said I couldn’t make an appointment without answers to these questions, the lady in Houston said I didn’t have a choice. When I pressed repeatedly, she gave me the line that went to an actual receptionist in the actual dealership. But the lady in Houston warned me I’d have to call back to Texas to make the appointment official.

I called LA, and of course the local person knew the answers to all my questions. She gave me all the appointments times, and explained how they could do it to minimize the impact on my work schedule. I thanked her and explained which time would work best, and she said she would book me.

I then said that I was going to call back Houston to tell them too. She said not to bother. She would tell Texas.

And, with the permission of the Lone Star State secured, I was OK to get my car serviced in California.