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#16731 of 19283 Help with possible dealer fraud!
Nov 04, 2005 (4:52 pm)
I hope someone can help me with a problem I'm having with my Subaru dealer. Whenever my car is in for warranty repair the dealer is very reluctant to provide a loaner car. When they do provide a loaner it's about 7 - 10 years old, with a 100,000 miles or more, in bad repair, stains on the seats, unwashed, trash inside, and smelly. I'm not exagerating at all. I complained to Subaru of America. Now the dealer hates me. My car is currently in for a repair that will take about 5-days. When I told the dealer I would need a car to get home and until my car was repaired, he blew a gasket and started yelling at me. He said he only had cars like I was loaned previously and that if I complained again to Subaru of America that I would never again be allowed in their dealership. I would have to travel very far to find another dealer. He then went on to say that he just had to speak his mind and kept on going on and on. I could see that he was beyond reason. My only reply to him was "I get the message." So he tells me he had a crappy car to loan me and that they would get me something a little better the next day (today). So I call the dealership several times and am told "we don't have anything now, try us later." Then I'm told that none of the other loaner cars have been returned. In the meantime I call Subaru of America. I ask them if my warranty would cover a rental car and they say it would -- but only $30 per day. They tell me that my dealer is a member of the Subaru Loaner Car Program -- this means that they get new cars at HUGE discount to make available to customers with car repairs. He told me that I should be provided with a Subaru car that is a 2004 or 2005. He told me that the dealers bill SOA $30 per day on the bill that is submitted for the warranty repair. He also told me that my Subaru dealer is supposed to have favored arrangements with local rental car places -- and that the dealer is supposed to rent me a car and have the billing submitted with the warranty repair, and that I'm supposed to be given an AWD car similar to a Subaru. I then call my dealer and ask them to get me rental and they say they don't do that. So I told them I would be returning the loaner they gave me (a 1995 Subaru Impreza with over 100,000 miles that is filthy, smelly, stained seats, radio missing buttons, non-power windows, balding tires, etc.) and renting a car. The rental will cost me $39 per day plus tax for a Dodge Neon that is a 2004 or 2005. What should I do now? I'm so f-ing mad. I feel that I and many other customers have been defrauded. I don't know why Subaru of America doesn't visit dealerships and make sure things like this can't happen. I've owned 3 Subarus and don't see how I can ever buy another. I really like Subarus, but without a good trustworthy dealer, then what good are they. I also believe SOA has been defrauded by this dealership -- they are reimbursing the dealer $30 per day for renting junkers to unsuspecting customers. They are also taking advantage of the SOA loaner program. I hope someone on this forum has some advice. Sorry for being so long-winded.
Nov 04, 2005 (5:29 pm)
I sure understand your frustration and agree with you, but don't let it prevent you from buying another Subaru. As you said, your beef is with the dealer, not Subaru. I would hope that SOA pursues this, however, since the dealer sounds lousy. Personally, if anybody at a dealership yelled at me, I'd be out of there (with my business) in a jiffy.
#16733 of 19283 Re: Help with possible dealer fraud! [samsubaru]
Nov 05, 2005 (8:50 am)
"I would have to travel very far to find another dealer..."
Your profile says NY, NY. There are many good dealers in the NY metro area although not many in the City.
I would tell SoA that you would like to meet with the Regional Rep. I was having major dealer problems several years ago and that's what brought me to Edmunds.
I was having problems with the Service Manager of the now defunct Bell Subaru in Rahway. I was lied to about whether or not repairs would be covered under warranty. I watched the Service Manager yell at an another customer. A few months after my meeting with the rep., the service manager was gone. I think there were a lot of complaints about him.
I now make a 30+ minute drive to Flemington NJ for service, even though there are about six other dealers within 20 minutes.
No matter what the reason is, a dealer should never yell at a customer. Who are you dealing with? The service manager or a service advisor?
#16734 of 19283 Re: Help with possible dealer fraud! [bluesubie]
Nov 05, 2005 (12:39 pm)
The thing is once you complain to SOA, the dealer will treat you even worse. The dealer can make it a lot harder to get warranty repairs. Even when you complain to SOA, all they do is scold the dealer, they don't really get inolved enough to make sure things are done correctly. I once gave a dealer a bad review on a screwed up repair and SOA sent the dealer my review and then the dealer confronted me. I stood up for myself and told him everything I wrote was true. But, my point is that these repair evaluations should protect the consumer's privacy.
Anyway, I spoke to my dealer again today. I said don't you have any loaner cars that are a year or two old. They told me they had two -- one they sold, and the other was in an accident, but that they are expecting 3 new ones. Meanwhile I was told many of the loaners are 1993 or 1994 -- the one I have is 1995. I've been driving Subarus for 10 plus years, but I may look into Nissan. All SOA has to do is visit these dealers and ask to see the loaner cars.
#16735 of 19283 Re: Help with possible dealer fraud! [samsubaru]
Nov 05, 2005 (2:25 pm)
Sorry to hear about all the troubles with your dealer. The dealer obviously has no right to threaten you if you were to contact SOA directly.
However, regarding the loaner cars, dealers are not required to have them. The standard offering is a $30/day rental from a local rental company for basic transportation -- in other words nothing similar to a Subie, we're talking Ford Focus territory.
Dealers often provide loaners as a courtesy to customers since it's often quicker (no need to wait for the rental car company to come get you) and you usually get a much nicer vehicle.
The dealer I has a very nice loaner program. I've driven Outback Ltds, H6s and WRXs from them before. However, even my local dealer runs out of loaners and on occasion, I've had to resort to my $30/day rental.
How far away is the next closest dealer? Are they any better? If at all possible, drive the extra distance to get better service. While the closest dealer to me is down the street from work, I actually drive 30 miles out of my way to get to the aforementioned dealer I can trust.
If you can't change dealers, then don't even bother with the loaner. The dealer isn't obligated to provide one for you and you'll probably be better off with an albeit smaller, yet probably in better shape, $30/day rental.
When faced with that choice, I often will pay some additional out-of-pocket money to upgrade to a nicer model. I know Enterprise Rentals often has nicer vehicles for just $10-15 more per day. I just look at it as an inexpensive way to enjoy an extended test drive on other models!
#16736 of 19283 Repairing stone chips
Nov 05, 2005 (3:06 pm)
Sorry you've had such a bad experience with a subie dealer. At least you guys have a few dealers to choose from. My next nearest dealer is 100 miles away.
Anyway, I just wanted to know the procedure for fixing stone chips in my hood. Some are slightly rusted, should I use sandpaper to get rust off then paint w/touch-up paint? Or try rusty primer then after drying, touch-up?
Nov 05, 2005 (6:04 pm)
Definitely get the rust out first. The corner of a folded piece of fine sandpaper works well, just try to stay in the pit and not damage the finish.
#16738 of 19283 Re: Help with possible dealer fraud! [samsubaru]
Nov 06, 2005 (8:04 am)
I once gave a dealer a bad review on a screwed up repair and SOA sent the dealer my review and then the dealer confronted me. I stood up for myself and told him everything I wrote was true. But, my point is that these repair evaluations should protect the consumer's privacy.
"If" SOA gave the dealer your name, I'm sure it was intended to afford the dealer an opportunity to make things right with you (since "most" dealers want to have satisfied customers). However, SOA "could" have removed the personal info from your review, but depending on what the repair was for, date, model, etc, it could still be easy for the dealer to determine your identity.
I've been driving Subarus for 10 plus years, but I may look into Nissan.
As has already been pointed out, your beef is with the local dealer, not the product itself so why switch?
All SOA has to do is visit these dealers and ask to see the loaner cars.
And then what? All Subaru dealers are independent so there is very little that SOA can do to get them to behave.
Were I in your shoes, I'd do two things:
a. Switch dealers!
b. Report the Subaru dealer to the Better Business Bureau
A 3rd and certainly more radical step would be to picket in front of the dealership on a busy Saturday morning (check with local law enforcement beforehand for dos and don'ts). This will guarantee that you get their attention and quite possibly get them to offer you some form of compensation.
#16739 of 19283 Re: Help with possible dealer fraud! [p0926]
by steve_ HOST
Nov 06, 2005 (10:36 am)
As has already been pointed out, your beef is with the local dealer, not the product itself so why switch?
I guess I disagree with Craig and Frank.
I tried to buy a Honda in '98 and even ran home from the showroom to get my checkbook. I got tag teamed when I got back and so I walked and wound up buying a Nissan, which has worked out well.
There are lots of good reliable cars in the market these days so if the dealer is bad, it's just as easy to find a better one selling something else. Dealers are independent, but it's up to the car company to weed out the bad ones and there are monetary and contractual ways to make them fall in line.
I'd sure let Subaru know why you are buying a different brand.
#16740 of 19283 Re: Help with possible dealer fraud! [steve_]
Nov 06, 2005 (1:15 pm)
Good point Steve. Many people base their purchase decision, at least in part, on the buying experience and type of treatment/service they can expect from the dealer. Hence the reason why Lexus, Acura etc can demand a premium for their vehicles.
And I'm not for a second excusing the rotten treatment given by that dealership. Hopefully SOA does value owner satisfaction enough that they will punish the dealer.