OT - Problems with auto dealer!!!

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eugenefl

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Greetings all. I won't go into a great amount of detail here, but I am seeking information on how to best handle problems with a car dealership. ( ie - most effective way to file a complaint or get the attention of someone who's bottom line will be affected)

We recently purchased an '02 Nissan Xterra from Ferman Nissan Tampa, FL. The truck is experiencing problems getting out of PARK (auto tranny). Yesterday was the SIXTH time we had to drop it off at the dealership for service. The vehicle is used and outside of the manufacturer's warranty, but is still covered under dealer and extended 1-year warranty.

What set me off was getting stuck in PARK at the drivethru of a fastfood chain. Let's just say that an ugly situation ensued at the dealership moments later. The scene ended with a salesman being escorted off by a manager away from the paved entryway and into the showroom away from me. Rather than get the brush-off to return the next day when the service dept. was open, we drove off in a brand new Xterra loaner. Basically, the name of the regional manager was brought up, someone we had dealt with previously, and the loaner was surrendered moments later.

I have a feeling that whatever the problem is with the truck, it's not going to be resolved by lucky trip #6. The process for filing a complaint should have been set in motion long ago.

That being said, if you could provide information leading to an effective counter to this lousy dealership and overall lack of commitment to customer service, I would forever be in your debt.

Thanks in advance,

ANGRY CONSUMER...
 

dr wogz

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I feel your pain.

My dad, an electrical engineer for MANY years finally got his baby; BMW 530. But he still works, and still 'goes out on the road'. Needless to say, when he returns after about a week, he has a dead battery. Dispite teh many trips to the dealership, and teh service dept. It always is 'something else, not teh battery'. They never tried to change teh battery, but have repalced a few other components instead. He has, now, purchaced and installed 'solar cells' on teh back shelf, to 'top up' the battery as is needed. (He refuses to change teh battery himself, as it is a hard thing to get, and quite $$$, and it shoudl be teh dealership who absorbs teh cost.)

Write a letter, make a copy of the warranty / contract, and send a registered letter, stating teh problem, and what you would like done. CC teh BBB, AAA, and manufacturer, as well as any other consumer protection groups in your area (Newspapers usually have a 'probe' of some sort, to identify, and get help with problems. Oh, and adress it to teh 'general manager' of the dealership.

And if worst comes to worst (no reply or action on their part) take them to small claims court.
 

lalligood

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eugenefl,

2 things I encourage you to investigate:
1) Florida's Lemon Law. I'm not sure if your situation applies to this but might be worth looking into...

2) Get a local TV station and/or newspaper involved. That has a tendency to get a business's attention real quick ;)

HTH & good luck,
 

Micromeister

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lalligood took the words right out of my finger tips:)

Up here it's "7 on your Side" channel 7 consumer reports, dog the heck out of problems just like yours.
I'd write and send your certifted letter to the dealership. then wait precisely 10 day, if no response..call in the reporters.
I wouldn't hesitate to call the "regional manager " either.

Have you had a Transmission specilist 'Inspect" the problem? Sometime a second pair of eyes can get people off the fence.
Hope this helps some.
 

sandman

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They gave you a new car as a loaner?

They are working on it tomorrow, right?

Obviously they have not found the problem. It may be a problem that is not "obvious".

This does not make them "lousy". It just seems to me they have not experienced this particular problem yet, so the solution is not obvious to them.

I speak from the auto dealers perspective because I was a master mechanic for 18 years...I got tired of being everybodies whipping boy.

I had one customer..even madder than you, complain about his gas guage and "ORDERED" me to repair it.

I checked his file and the last time he was in the mechanic changed the sending unit, voltage stabalizer and the dash unit. (that's everything except the wire!)

After trying numerous fixes for over two hours I could find nothing wrong with the system!

I brought the car out to the customer and he began shouting profanities at me telling me how stupid I was and with a lot of referances to my parantage.

He claimed that the guage reads full at all times, even when the car was turned off. It never went into the red zone even though he has run out of gas numerous times.

The odd thing he told me that once the car has been running a while it reads 1/2 a tank:confused: :confused:

This really made me scratch my head until he jumped into the car, started screaming and pointing that it was doing it NOW!!

I looked and said, "Sir, the guage with the little thermometer next to it is your TEMPERATURE guage! Your gas guage has the picture of a little gas pump next to it."

He never came back:D

sandman
 

flying_silverad

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I have a few years in the car biz...maybe this will help. Since FLA has a Lemon law, chances are the law, or some part of it, is written on the window sticker. Yes, there should be a window sticker even on a used car.
It would seem that, as in my state, you would have to have the car "out of service" for a certain period of time, over a given amount of time. The problem here is a situation where they probably can't duplicate the problem. Having said that, it's hard for them to say, justify a new tranny without finding out exactly what the problem is.
Don't talk to the manager...talk to the service manager. Is your warranty only good at that dealership? If you can, maybe take it somewhere else to see if another set of eyes can find the problem.

As we used to say in the military, "Above all, remain calm." As much as it might be a pain in the rear, walk softly and carry a big stick.
(BTW>>>DID YOU RUN A CARFAX?)

And next time you going buying a car...call me. I might be able to save you some cash...especially if it's used.

https://lemonauto.com/lemonlaw_florida.htm?GTSE=goog&GTKW=florida+lemon+law
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by sandman
They gave you a new car as a loaner?

They are working on it tomorrow, right?

Obviously they have not found the problem. It may be a problem that is not "obvious".

Gordon, it's not so much about the problem not being found, it's in the way we have been treated. Do you ever feel like you just get the brush off? Did I mention that we never got a loaner the first 4 times we dropped it off? I'm not poking at you because I know what you are saying. You've been on the receiving end. I truly just feel like they don't give a rats arse about us. The past couple of times that my girlfriend has gone to report the problem they've basically accused her of not operating the brake pedal properly. It finally took one manager to come out to test drive it and to have it get stuck on him for them to believe her.

You weren't there on the day that the salesman and I had the altercation. What resulted was him saying "I could care less about you, your girlfriend, and her mom. You are just one in a million customers. Besides, it's a used vehicle. It happens." Words like that generally throw a person over the edge.

We got a call yesterday and apparently they found the source of the problem. (Xterras shift down in the center console area.) The previous owner had spilled Coke down there causing a gooey mess of some sort. I have no idea how auto-shifters work, but their diagnosis is that some of the electrical components might have been failing due to the sticky mess. :rolleyes: We'll see. There will be no 7th visit. If I have to go back there it'll be with the nastiest reporter in Tampa Bay that does special consumer reports - you know the kind - the ones that shove microphones in people's faces.
 

sandman

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eugene,

I don't take it personally any more. I could see you were venting.

When you have a problem with a car at a dealership NEVER...NEVER...NEVER...talk to a salesman about it.

I have learned after many years in the business that Sales and Service are like oil and water.

They just don't mix well!

The new cars have an interlock system to prevent kids from putting a car into gear.

These are usually electronic (and compicated as all get out!).

Soda and electronics are a nasty combination...I'm suprised they found it so quickly.

sandman
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by flying_silverad
Since FLA has a Lemon law, chances are the law, or some part of it, is written on the window sticker.
The problem here is a situation where they probably can't duplicate the problem.
Don't talk to the manager...talk to the service manager. Is your warranty only good at that dealership?
As we used to say in the military, "Above all, remain calm." As much as it might be a pain in the rear, walk softly and carry a big stick.
(BTW>>>DID YOU RUN A CARFAX?)

And next time you going buying a car...call me. I might be able to save you some cash...especially if it's used.
I looked into the lemon law and it doesn't apply to used vehicles.

Each time we've gone there they have been able to duplicate the problem. (With the exception of our first visit where they basically told my girlfriend that she wasn't operating the brake pedal correctly.)

Yep, ran the VIN number and got back a clean CARFAX report.

Hmm...perhaps next time I go car shopping I'll ask online first.
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by sandman
eugene,

I don't take it personally any more. I could see you were venting.

When you have a problem with a car at a dealership NEVER...NEVER...NEVER...talk to a salesman about it.

<SNIP>

The new cars have an interlock system to prevent kids from putting a car into gear.

These are usually electronic (and compicated as all get out!).

Soda and electronics are a nasty combination...I'm suprised they found it so quickly.

sandman
Honestly, to me not taking it personally is buying a pair of shoes at a shoe store or shopping at some retail outlet. This is a car we're talking about. We spent a good 6 hours with that salesman. I know how I treat people anytime I am a position to serve - I friggin' do backflips if I have to. With this guy, once the sale was complete he pretty much dropped the ball on everything else including some post sale arrangements that we had negotiated in the deal. There are plenty of specific examples of where he went wrong, but in a nutshell, for his faults he wouldn't even apologize or offer thanks for the feedback.

On the day that we went at it, I was basically upset that he wouldn't even come out to check up on us. When we drove in he gave us that "oh lord not them again" look and took the side entrance into the dealership. I eventually went inside to voice my displeasure with him on how poorly he had treated us from the get-go. I ended by assuring him that I would never send anyone to him for business EVER. I guess he didn't like that very much. He followed me out the door and that's where it went down - right in front of the entrance to the dealership.

This is a guy that even his own peers have called him out. On a prior visit a fellow salesman admitted that this guy has no business being in car sales.
 
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