German automotive warranty jackwagons

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Dan_ntx, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. Dan_ntx

    Dan_ntx

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    I will admit right up front that I am a car dealer. I buy and sell cars, mostly late model high line stuff, but a little of everything and I have done it for years.

    Throughout the years I have developed relationships with dealerships that I frequent for service and parts and generally have no problems at all getting warranty work performed... however.

    I just took an upper end German car that will remain nameless (although lots of people consider buying one a Big Money Waste) in because the stupid daytime driving light that goes around the headlights went out... ironically when it went out I was checking the car into my inventory and had the hood open. I smelled the memorable odor of burning wire insulation and saw the LEDs flicker, then go out. When I removed the bulb cover on the back of the assembly smoke poured out... and for a moment I had the vision of my entire shop going up in flames. I admit that I freaked out for a minute and may have attacked the bulb holder plug with a pair of needle nose pliers in an effort to disconnect the plug on the back of the bulb. But I did not actually unplug anything or cut any wires. When the smoke cleared I put the cap back on and took it over to my service adviser.

    I just got a call from my normally levelheaded service adviser telling me that "mice" had chewed up the wiring INSIDE the sealed headlight assembly. When I explained to him what happened he told me "no problem, let me tell the tech and we will get it straightened out"...

    Call number 2, and this time the tech has determined that I stripped all the wire insulation and must have cut and reconnected the wire (again INSIDE) the sealed headlight assembly. I carefully explained that when the wires touched it created a dead short that melted the wire insulation off the wires. I tried to convince him to look in the housing and he would see bits of burned wire insulation, and reminded him that I don't build ship models in bottles and just don't have the ability to perform wiring tricks inside a sealed headlight housing... my adviser accepted my explanation and I thought all would be handled...

    Call number 3 now, and this time the super sleuth tech has decided that the headlights came from another vehicle. He pretty much accused me of buying headlights on the black market and installing them in a car for warranty work. Luckily I took delivery of the car about 2 hours before I took it in... and I bought the car from the lease return department of the same manufacturer. When I pointed that out, the tech clammed up. I thought my problem was solved, but instead they have referred it to a "regional warranty supervisor" for review. Normally I would not care... but this person is not available to review my claim until the 28th. I really don't want to own this car on the 28th and now I face the prospect of paying $600 for a used headlight assembly and transferring the guts (xenon bulb, ballast, etc) into it for re-installation. I have had to do this before and it is not a simple job involving removal and re-installation of several expensive and delicate parts. Not to mention that my buyer will have a headlight with no warranty coverage because it was not the one that came in the car.

    I know that Sherlock the mechanic saw that my ticket was under the name of a car dealer and decided to put the screws to me... but I can't prove it and don't know what to do next.

    Anyone have a similar experience with a company that generally has a great reputation for service but decided "no service for you!"?
     
  2. Ol Timer

    Ol Timer ↓ hog hunter ↓ Millennium Member

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    I don't know why the dealer would be out to get you. Don't they make money on warranty work? Not as much as non-warranty repair, but they still turn a buck, no?

    Just because it's a lease return doesn't mean some jackwagon didn't play DIY.
     

  3. Dan_ntx

    Dan_ntx

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    I understand your sentiment. But many dealers simply will not perform warranty work for independent dealers like me because I am not actually the registered owner of the vehicle. Maybe it's a passive aggressive thing, maybe it's a legitimate issue, but it is the norm.

    My local Mercedes dealer absolutely will not perform "trim" warranty work for dealers at all. "Trim" means anything not strictly mechanical. Luckily I have a great service rep there and she takes very good care of me.

    As for the DIY stuff... I noticed that the top of the headlight assembly has a large bar coded and date coded sticker. My service adviser confirmed that the date code on the lights matched the production date (coincidence?) and I bet that the bar code matched the build sheet easily confirmed by the dealership... I think I just exceeded their 3 denial limit and now I have to either spend money and time fixing their product or wait 3 weeks to beg the warranty leader for mercy and forgiveness.

    I just wanted to vent, and hopefully hear some clever solutions that other GT'rs have used to solve similar problems.

    An extra bit of info... this daytime running light failure is a common issue with this brand of car. I have had 3 or 4 in the last year that I have had warranty exchanged without issue. That is the biggest reason I am hesitant to fix it myself. If it goes out in 6 months or a year I don't want to put my customer in this position.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  4. gearjammer351

    gearjammer351 EnemyOfTheState

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    Warranty vs. CP isn't just a matter of money -it's a matter of ease. For a customer to pay it's very straightforward for the shop. There may also be an issue with the manufacturer denying these claims randomly for minor reasons -making the shop wary of doing any warranty work they can avoid.

    Owners of cars in this category tend not to do DIY. The cars don't lend themselves to it either.
     
  5. Dan_ntx

    Dan_ntx

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    I agree with the last part 110% percent. It's freakin' rocket surgery to remove and replace a headlight assembly without breaking any tabs, scratching the fender or bumper, or gouging the grille.

    Whatever... I'm done with the anger phase of my emotional roller coaster. Hopefully I will quickly move into the industrious phase and figure out a solution to fix the problem and safeguard my future customer from possible issues. I guess it's time to find a new dealership for that particular make of car... one just moved locations in Dallas, maybe they want new business also.
     
  6. gearjammer351

    gearjammer351 EnemyOfTheState

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    I spent several years fixing cars for a living, and some of that time was at a used-car chain which sells late-model, low-mileage cars, so I have worked on most brands of car at some point. Even seemingly minor issues (such as headlamp replacement) on these higher-end cars can be daunting even for experienced technicians. These days, it's not uncommon for a customer to pay $500-$1k on lamp assy. replacement on unremarkable cars such as Honda Accords or Toyota Camrys. :wow:

    You're probably going to have to wait for the manufacturer's rep to avoid paying for this yourself, although I feel the timeframe they give is ridiculous. I never had to wait more than a few days for a visit from one (or a contracted adjuster -which is becoming more common). However, the dealers I worked at were not those which sold European imports.
     
  7. coastal4974

    coastal4974

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    Just for the heck of it, check for recalls. I’ll bet that if yours fried, others have too.
     
  8. windplex

    windplex

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    Feel for you. Cash flow stinks. If you are like us you loose something like 35 a day financing the car.

    Before I got into the biz I had a "near luxury" brand -- still drive it. Had it in for service and wanted the rear valence put back in place under warranty.

    Tech told me my car was in an accident since the paint was substandard. He kept asking was it in an accident. My "no, never" answers did not suffice. The third time I said either prove it was in an accident or quit calling me a liar.

    I thought it was over. I got a call the next day. The young man called and said the regional had dropped by and confirmed it was not that brand's quality of paint job and I would have to pay the 350 part and labor. The coward called right as he was leaving and left a message.

    I wrote a quick note to the store that I was looking forward to them repainting my car to that brand's standard of quality. When should I bring it in?

    Got a call the day they received the letter from the regional. After a pregnant pause he said he had been hasty. That my car had factory paint afterall. I said before you told me that the paint was not up to infinity standards I figured the orange peel paint was like that due to being a gussied up maxima and running through the same paint plant as maximas. It was a company car and I was happy enough with it and the dealership until that tech and regional got stupid.

    Told him if I were a ***** I would have him repaint the entire car and since he dug that hole -- he agreed he would be stuck doing it and offered to paint the door. Since I am such a nice guy I will let you off easy and only have you paint the trunk, hood and fix the ding in the door and paint that, too.

    So for their arrogance or ignorance the rep paid $700+ to touch up my car and the dealer gave me a $200 portering. Hell I went in for an oil change and to have trim pushed back into place. In the time they fixed my car i put 2,000 miles on the new loaner they gave me.

    flat out dumb all around.

    I try to be smart with customers here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2010
  9. Ol Timer

    Ol Timer ↓ hog hunter ↓ Millennium Member

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    Wow! I had no idea headlamps were so difficult and so expensive. It's been a long time since I've kept a car long enough to need to replace one.

    I hope you get some satisfaction.
     
  10. vikingsoftpaw

    vikingsoftpaw DEPLORABLE ME!

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    Lots of people are reporting wiring problems on 2002 and newer cars. It seem that critters love the taste of the Soy-based wiring insulation.
     
  11. Spiffums

    Spiffums I.C.P.

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    Well I know from experience....... most techs barely pass their test. I got a BIL that is a ASE certified........ but he don't work on my cars. Like my favorite line from Armageddon ....... Mr President trust me when I say right now isn't the time to be taking advice from someone who get a C in Astrophysics.
     
  12. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

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    This is what you do. You call the claims department and talk to the claims supervisor tell him your problem and if he gives you the run around tell him you are going to register a "bad faith" complaint aganst them with the state department of insurance in your state. Then DO IT!

    They will be forced to answer a complaint or lose their ability to sell insurance in your state. And if they come out looking like jackwagons they will be out the work for your claim AND the money they spent responding to the state.
     
  13. windplex

    windplex

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    I have taken our used cars to other dealers including mercedes & porshe. they have been helpful including trim items.

    find another dealer.
     
  14. Chuck66

    Chuck66 Traveling Man

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    On a positive note, I'd like to thank you for having this mind set. Too many dealers are only interested in getting the car off the lot, and once it's gone, who cares. There are too few displays of consideration in all aspects of our society today, and I applaud you for thinking of your customers and your fellow man.
     
  15. Santa CruZin

    Santa CruZin Searching

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    Talk to the dealership GM about it?