Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Help Me Hank!


I am having a problem with a Tom O’Brien Hyundai of Danvers and Hyundai corporate honoring my 10 year 100,000 mile warranty. Actually that isn’t accurate. I don’t know if they will honor the warranty or not.

This problem is a bit complex so I will try to be as clear as I can be. In July I had the clutch replaced on my 2002 Hyundai Elantra. The repairs were done by a garage that isn’t affiliated with Hyundai. With my understanding the way the warranty works this shouldn’t be a problem.

On 12/29/05 while I was driving the car home from work the car wouldn’t stay in fourth gear. When I put the car into fourth gear, the gear shifter would just pop out while I was driving.

Thinking it may be a problem with the clutch I brought it back to the garage that replaced the clutch, which was B&B Auto Clinic of Georgetown, MA. After a test drive, Mark the owner told me it wasn’t the clutch it was the transmission that was the problem.

Mark put the car on a lift and showed me the car had been leaking transmission fluid. I left the car with him. He had the car towed to a transmission shop he works with to have it repaired.

Later that day he called to tell me he had opened the transmission. When he did transmission fluid came out. He told me the fluid was leaking due to a broken seal.

Later the same day when I got to work I remembered I had the 100,000 10-year-warranty. The car has 81,000 miles on it.

Immediately I called Tom O’Brien Hyundai. They told me they couldn’t tell me if the car was covered or not with out seeing the car.

I had the car towed from the transmission shop to the dealership the next day, which was 12/1. The dealership still has the car now.

I have been dealing with Ted at the dealership he is the director of the service department. He asked me to bring all of the records of repairs and service I have had done to the car. I brought him the paperwork the next day. During this conversation, I explained to him how Mark opened the transmission and the fluid had come out and it had been full when Mark opened it.

Ted asked me if any shards of metal came out with the fluid. I told him I didn’t know, Mark didn’t say. I asked him what it would mean if the metal had come out. He said he didn’t know that he was just “throwing it out there”. His statement heightened my anxiety.

After the dealership having my car for 14 days Ted called me to tell me they were very busy and a rep from Hyundai was coming to see the car. The Hyundai rep was the person who is making the decision if the car is covered under the warranty or not.

By this time I was really frustrated and called Hyundai customer service to complain about the length of time the dealership was taking. They told me the dealership was following proper procedure.

On 12/15 Ted called to tell me the car wasn’t going to be covered under the warranty. The reason was when he opened the transmission there wasn’t the correct amount of fluid in it. He said B&B didn’t fill the transmission properly that is what caused the transmission to break. Also the receipt I had for the transmission repair reflected the wrong about of fluid was used. I was upset and forgot about my previous conversations with both Ted and Mark about the amount of fluid.

I asked Ted to document every thing he told me so I would have something in writing when I went back to B&B because they were at fault for the car breaking down. Ted was really evasive about doing this for me. After some coaxing he agreed.

Thinking that I have going to have to pay to have the transmission fixed myself I ask Ted how much it would cost and how long it would take to fix it. He wouldn’t give me an estimate on either. As he has done in every other conversation I have had with him, he started to talk in circles. He told me how busy there were and how he would need to take the transmission apart.

Next I called Mark to tell him what I was told by the dealership. Mark reminded me of our previous conversation. He also went on to say more fluid probably leaked out while they were moving the car due to the seal being gone. The seal being gone is what caused the fluid to come out in the first place. He also he said more fluid probably came out just from my car sitting at the dealership for 2 weeks. Mark agreed to document all of this.I called Ted back to remind him of our previous conversation. He wasn’t in so I had to leave him a message.

Tired of waiting I called Hyundai customer service again. I spoke to Bruce. Bruce was completely unwilling to even listen to my problem let alone help me.

He told me it was my mistake for taking the car to non-Hyundai garage for repairs. Point blank and plainly he asks why I had brought my car to be repaired by another garage that wasn’t Hyundai. I asked him if there was anything in the warranty that said it was void if I used an outside garage. He didn’t answer me. I went on to explain what happened what’s happened and he told me he didn’t care.

He says I have a problem with Mark at B&B and not Hyundai. I asked Bruce what happens if there is a dispute. He tells me there is no dispute. I asked Bruce if there was an escalation procedure, he tells me there is nothing to escalate. We end our conversation.

A few minutes Bruce called me back to tell me he had spoken with a supervisor who told him if the dealership says it’s not covered, then it’s not covered. He went on to tell me I have no recourse and the problem with the previous garage. Bruce abruptly ends the call while I am mid sentence.

After getting nowhere with him I call Ted back again. Ted told me that my car is going to have to wait at least another week because the Hyundai rep is now on vacation. The rep won’t be back till 12/27.

I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere with Hyundai or with Tom O’Brien. Also I feel like they have totally taken advantage of my ignorance about cars. I am not sure what to do next. I called the MA attorney general’s office, they told me I could file a complaint but there are no rules regarding timeliness.

Can you help? I am not sure what to do next.


Scott E D


At 3:02 PM, Blogger EGL said...

What I would do is send them a letter. Now I know this seems obvious because I'm a lawyer and letterhead does a good job of getting things moving when I'm being ignored, but you can do something that works almost as well. Write to the head of the dealership what has been going on with your car. Include in it all the details you have in this post and tell them that you would like the job finished and covered under the warranty. Now here's the special part...at the end of the letter, include a carbon copy or cc: list of people that you are also representing that you send the letter to...whether you do or not is your choice but at least the dealer will think that you have. Include on that cc list, the president of Hyundai and all the senior north American VP's etc., include the attorney general's office and anyone else you want. Also include all the local car dealerships and their managers. Make your CC list include all sorts of "important people" who, if they receive the letter will cause this particular local dealer to look like an ass at the company picnic. It may not work, but a lot of times in order to save face with all those people the dealer will give you what you want. If not, I would hire a local attorney and have him write a letter. I'd do it but the threat from a Chicago attorney probably isn't that great. Good luck.

Oh and let us know how it goes!

At 3:07 PM, Blogger EGL said...

I forgot, also mention how the service you received to date has been so bad that you will never buy another Hyundai again and that you're telling all your friends never to buy one either! Dealers (and their bosses) always pay attention to that!


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