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JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/21/15 6:41 p.m.

You may recall it looking something like this:

That was August 18, the day I picked it up. On August 21, I dropped it back off at the dealership to have them install a backup camera, as was part of our sales contract. Well, the installer busted the windshield removing the old mirror (backup camera has a mirror-mounted screen). Haven't seen the van since.

First service rep was a piece of crap. Tried to bullE36M3 me every time he talked to me. Actually, the first time I talked to him I realized after I'd gotten of the phone with him that he probably wasn't going to call me back like he said he would because he didn't actually take my name or number. Finally left me a "windshield has been shipped. We have a tracking number" message, which was crap because it never showed.

On to sales rep 2. She's extremely nice and good on the communication, but still getting nowhere. Now, this whole time I was mostly patient because I was traveling a lot and didn't need the van. After 10 days I finally got them to give me a loaner (Fiat 500X) which my wife has been driving since she has the longer commute.

So now I'm back from all my travel and could really use a van. I know where one is (I even have a key for it), but it's got a busted windshield. Latest answer I got from service rep was "Hey! So we got approval from Chrysler to get the windshield from another dealer on the west coast ... Checking today sometime to see if it has been shipped " That was last Thursday. Today when I messaged for an update I get "Parts manager is waiting to talk to Chrysler and the other dealer... I'm sorry I don't have a better answer." Which is not really a concrete path to a solution.

So at this point my first payment is due on Friday. Can't say that I'll be too happy about making it with no van in my driveway, but I don't want to hurt my credit. I contacted the service rep after that last non-answer and told her I wanted a real solution in place by Friday. Confirmed windshield, find me a replacement vehicle or tear up this contract and let me start over somewhere else.

I figure I have a rock solid position at this point. Florida Lemon Law only specifies that a vehicle needs to be out of service for 15 consecutive days to be eligible. This is not technically a manufacturer defect, but is a defect caused by the manufacturer's agent, which is also mentioned in the law.

Anything else I'm missing here that I should be doing? Ultimately I just want the damn van that I bought.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
9/21/15 6:49 p.m.

Have you mentioned that you are normally a mild mannered reporter for a major metropolitan publication? What good is being in the media if you can't throw a little weight around now and then?

mazdeuce
mazdeuce PowerDork
9/21/15 6:50 p.m.

What's the procedure for starting the Lemon Law buyback? If you're not willing to do that, don't threaten it, if you are, be ready to start it right in front of them.

logdog
logdog SuperDork
9/21/15 6:51 p.m.

Call their hotline and make a calm complaint. The consumer affairs people can do things like help speed up the windshield and reimburse you for a month or two payments. They deal with these types of situations all the time (there is NO way I would want to don their job but they always have the best stories).

You may need to request it get escalated to the region office, which I believe is in Orlando.

logdog
logdog SuperDork
9/21/15 6:52 p.m.

Once you threaten lemon law or say things like "I have a lawyer" it changes what the hotline people can do. It can become "have your lawyer call my lawyer" quickly.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/21/15 7:03 p.m.

I'd rather avoid Lemon Lawing it unless it's a last resort. Starting the procedure is easy, but I would imagine as with anything the State's Attorney is involved in, the proceedings are probably a PITA and slow. I'd much rather just keep it between me and the dealer, and the manufacturer if necessary.

I try not to play the car journalist card, because I always worry it will make me look like a dick (cue response "Oh, THAT'S not why you look like a dick...). Anyway, I like to try and handle stuff like this as a civilian, but I wouldn't be opposed to contacting the press folks at Chrysler with the story and getting some insider advice from them. They may be able to help me skip a level or two of bureaucracy in getting proper service.

logdog
logdog SuperDork
9/21/15 7:08 p.m.

The PR people can definitely tell the CA people to take care of you. Going to corporate really is your next best step.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
9/21/15 7:16 p.m.

Consider the fact that if you enlight FCA that there is a problem, you might help someone else in your position.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy UberDork
9/21/15 7:24 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: I try not to play the car journalist card, because I always worry it will make me look like a dick (cue response "Oh, THAT'S not why you look like a dick...). Anyway, I like to try and handle stuff like this as a civilian, but I wouldn't be opposed to contacting the press folks at Chrysler with the story and getting some insider advice from them. They may be able to help me skip a level or two of bureaucracy in getting proper service.

You did the tasteful thing by not throwing your ace on the table at the beginning of the game,but now they are jerking you around. What's the point of having an ace and not playing it, especially against the house?

You got the cards honestly, play them for what they're worth.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
9/21/15 7:33 p.m.

["Greener's Law":] Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.

chuckles
chuckles HalfDork
9/21/15 7:37 p.m.

^^^This from HappyAndy. They should be able to figure it out themselves, but since they can't it sounds as if a word to the wise at Chrysler might benefit both sides. You had a legitimate audience for this story before they sent it downward. Your readership has a legitimate interest in how it plays out. If you can't get their attention, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy PowerDork
9/21/15 7:48 p.m.

Wouldn't it be funny if one of these dealer guys recognized you? "Hey, aren't you that GRM guy? We better take care of this pronto!"

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
9/21/15 7:48 p.m.
JG Pasterjak wrote: I try not to play the car journalist card, because I always worry it will make me look like a dick...

You're a better person than me. I'd be pulling it out if a pizza was late.

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
9/21/15 7:49 p.m.

Ya I think as others have said it us time to play your trump card.

whenry
whenry Reader
9/21/15 8:12 p.m.

Do no under any circumstances pick up the vehicle UNTIL you are sure that the problem has been resolved. Continuous days means exactly that and if you take delivery after the windshield has been installed but not correctly done, you have waived the previous time period and have to start over. Yes, the time would still apply towards the numbers of times that the vehicle has been in the shop but the continuous days is your best weapon at this point(plus your ability to talk with insiders at the manuf who should be able to point you towards the "right" person to talk to if the complaints continues)

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT HalfDork
9/21/15 8:15 p.m.

Get the general manager face-to-face and tell him/her they can have it back, and give you a new one. You get a van, and they can fix theirs on whatever timeframe they like.

David

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
9/21/15 8:16 p.m.

so what is going on... there are -no- windshields available for that vehicle?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/21/15 8:20 p.m.
DWNSHFT wrote: Get the general manager face-to-face and tell him/her they can have it back, and give you a new one. You get a van, and they can fix theirs on whatever timeframe they like. David

The only ones they have in stock are white, which I do not want. Finding one in the option/color combo I want has not proven easy.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/21/15 8:21 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: so what is going on... there are -no- windshields available for that vehicle?

Independent searching of glass installers and parts places has shown that they're not out there. I feel for the dealer—they're at the mercy of a crappy supply chain. But I'm the one holding the payment coupon, so I'm not completely sympathetic to their plight.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
9/21/15 8:22 p.m.

I hope they are going to throw in the A Team wing and red stripe for your troubles.

fujioko
fujioko HalfDork
9/21/15 8:29 p.m.

Cool van but as you know its not really a Dodge.. its a Fiat Doblo built in Turkey. I'm curious as to how long this takes to get settled. You would figure enough spare parts should be on hand, especially windshields. Anyway, most of us are mere mortals and don't have a media trump card. It would be interesting to watch this unfold the natural way.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/21/15 8:39 p.m.
fujioko wrote: Cool van but as you know its not really a Dodge.. its a Fiat Doblo built in Turkey. I'm curious as to how long this takes to get settled. You would figure enough spare parts should be on hand, especially windshields. Anyway, most of us are mere mortals and don't have a media trump card. It would be interesting to watch this unfold the natural way.

At one point the Service Advisor texted me and said "Good news: We got approval to put in a request to pull one directly from the production line!"

I responded "I think they're busy having a war right now"

I do wonder if the unrest in Syria and Turkey is affecting the plant. The plant is completely on the opposite side of the country, but as far as I know it's full of half-built Doblos with Syrians living in them right now. I'd throw a fat mound of Hampton Inn points at a refugee family if one of them grabbed me a windshield on their way to America.

Knurled
Knurled UltimaDork
9/21/15 8:46 p.m.
Datsun310Guy wrote: Wouldn't it be funny if one of these dealer guys recognized you? "Hey, aren't you that GRM guy? We better take care of this pronto!"

For some reason, I am reminded of the long term RX-7 FD test by Car and Driver. The "for some reason" was because this existed many years before I was a rotorhead, but it existed when Car and Driver was relevant and I read every page.

There were problems with the car. Bushing issues plagued the early FDs as did the computer mapping. The dealership they had brought it to for repair for one of those issues said that "they had the parts for the C&D RX-7", with the further editorial note that they expected that their editorial staff now had posession of the only repaired RX-7 in North America.

fujioko
fujioko HalfDork
9/21/15 8:47 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak: Wow, on second thought, it may be in your best interest to poke the bear.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
9/21/15 8:51 p.m.

I thought Florida was almost as hot as Texas, but i see you intentionally got a black car, so i guess it isn't.

I think the main problem is lack of a paper trail of their communications. But, at this point, even if you got them to commit in writing (email/whatever) to a certain date, you'd still basically have to start that clock all over and wait for it to run out before you could make any other moves. I'd just go straight to complaining to the next level up and leveraging whatever relevant contacts/status you have.

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