Thursday, August 26, 2010

Car Watch 2010

Today was Business Day 3. I gave the car company about half the day to call me, and then I called them myself. Of course the associate who I spoke with on Monday was not available, so I talked to yet another person in Consumer Affairs.

Shockingly, there was a new development: They asked me to fax a proof of purchase (receipt), the repair order, and proof of ownership (current DMV registration). These three items will serve as a request for reimbursement for the condenser. The crankshaft sensor [supposedly] cannot be addressed until the actual repair is completed. As this was a new development, I asked why they only asked for these items now. Besides the remark "We need to see a receipt because you could be making up any payment amount," I was told that they were only instructed to collect this information on August 24.

August 24? That was two days ago. Why am I only finding this out on August 26? Why do I have to call them to find this out? The associate had no answer for me as to why no one from the car company could call me back; that is except for, "Sorry." Haven't they heard, "sorry" isn't good enough?

Unfortunately, it was clear that we would go round-and-round if I asked why no one from corporate ever contacts me. Instead, I took the instructions down, confirmed them, and asked questions like:

Q: When can I expect to hear from you?
A: In one to five business days from the time we receive your information.

Q: Does this mean I'm getting reimbursed?
A: There is always a chance you will not be reimbursed.

Q: Will someone really call me back?
A: You should receive a phone call in one to five business days regarding the status of your case.


Of course I did not have my registration on-hand as my car is sitting at home in its currently unsafe-to-drive state. So, I called back to ask if I could submit my title instead (I keep my car stuff in a binder, and had a copy of my title). The answer was no. The title is insufficient, and I must submit the current registration. Things are delayed yet another day.

The most interesting part of this call was that this associate let it slip that the crankshaft sensor is being considered for partial reimbursement. The previous associate had told me that the crankshaft sensor would be dealt with once I had the car repaired, so I tried to question this associate about her statement. She deflected my inquiry and brushed it off as, "I misspoke. I read through your file quickly and misunderstood it." Hmmm...

"Hmmm" is right. Guess what corporate office? I was supposed to get a phone call from the dealership this morning about the part that should have arrived, and naturally the call never came through. I am tired of this lack of communication, so now I just call and find out what's going on. The dealership informed me that the part was not yet in (of course it's not), and they also shared that they spoke with the corporate office. Turns out that the corporate office is considering a partial reimbursement.

A partial reimbursement? A partial reimbursement?! Really?

From what I have read, the crankshaft sensor is an "integral" part of an engine. Gosh, it's even referred to as the "most important sensor in modern day engines." It seems fair to say that this major component should not fail right after a car reaches its 100K/5-year warranty. Especially if a car company has less than 5% of the US auto market cornered.

It seems appropriate to want to bang my head against the desk just like Mad Men's Peggy did in "The Rejected" episode.

My car still gives me a headache. I have not been able to safely drive it for nearly a week. My car and I (and Seth) have been to the dealership every month since March, except for April. I have been calling the corporate office since the beginning of July, and despite repeated declarations of "Someone will call you back in X to Y business days," neither X, nor Y ever happens. Headache after headache, after headache.

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