Monday, February 23, 2009

A Big One Bites The Dust

This past week an automobile dealership closed its doors. I won't dignify the dealership by naming names. I come to dance on its grave.
Twenty odd years ago I bought a car at this dealership. It was under a different owner and name, but the asshole who just went out of business was the general manager and the one I had dealings with.

Here's the story: 
We went in to look at cars, that's how these things get started. Auntypesty was about two years old. When we sat down to talk numbers one of the secretaries had to show her off and left with her. I know, warning bells should have gone off. When the numbers were too high for our budget and we decided to leave, no daughter. I know, if I had it to do all over again I'd call the police, but they reworked the numbers and we settled. Later we found this to be a classic ploy of disreputable dealerships, wish we'd have known it sooner. If that was my only complaint no big deal. I've never bought a car where I didn't think I got took.
Two weeks after buying the car, Grinnygranny was rearended. Slight damage to the trunk and it bent the exhaust pipe to a 90 degree angle. The other driver's insurance asked for an estimate. I got three, but since we bought the car at this dealership and they were the lowest we had if fixed there. This is where by blood starts to boil even today. 
The insurance company wrote us a check for the estimate. When we picked up the car the final bill was around a hundred dollars under the estimate, but they would not release the car unless I wrote the check for the estimate, not the final cost. When we got home I found that the estimate had priced a new exhaust assembly for $140, they had sent it out to a muffler shop who cut off the bent part of the pipe and welded another pipe on top (one that immediately began to rust). When I took it back to have them replace the entire assembly I paid for, the repair shop manager refused. I went to talk to the then owner, who wasn't in and they pointed me to the general manager. I was just a little pissed and I told him I had a complaint about the "Bozo's in the body shop."
He replied that they weren't bozos and I then said "That's not what I want to hear, asshole!"
He threw me out. Refused to even hear my complaint and had me escorted out of the show room. When I complained to Chrysler's area representative he brushed me off. That's when they came out with the slogan "Satisfy the Customer" I felt like getting a bumper sticker and putting on that Dodge Colt that said, "I'm Not Satisfied."
It seems silly to still obsess about paying for a $140 repair and getting a $20 fix. I wrote the check out of my account. I paid the bill, the fact I'd been reimbursed by the other the drivers' insurance it immaterial. My car, their estimate it should have been repaired to my satisfaction. End of discussion. If asshole had listened to my complaint and tried to resolve the matter I might never have bought another car from that dealership again, but I wouldn't have stopped buying Chrysler vehicles. 
I've been a Ford person from that day forward. Since I got rid of that car I've bought an '85 Ranger, a '90 Ranger extended cab, a '96 Ranger, a 99 Ranger, a '90 Aerostar, a '96 Windstar and still own a '99 Windstar. I currently drive a '96 F-150 and Grinnygranny loves her '07 Mustang. I did buy a Hyundai Elantra because I didn't like the Focus. So three out of 4 vehicles I currently own, plus all the others I've bought since were Ford's gain and Chryler's loss. Before being screwed I owned mostly Dodges or Chryslers. One exception being a really sweet '77 Camaro.
A few months after encountering asshole he bought the dealership and until he closed the doors last week it bore his name. After his buyout it was revealed that as general manager he had not paid the dealers portion of the health insurance for their employees and that a number of women who went in to give birth found that they didn't have insurance and had to pay the whole cost. The dealership was investigated and asshole was charged with embezzlement. He plead "No Contest" to the charges and, because he had "employees who needed him," (judges words) was given a small fine and probation. Even not knowing the raw deal he gave me, why would anyone still buy a car or truck from this guy?
A few years later a good Republican Governor came into power and pardoned asshole. Then when he ran for re-election asshole was his campaign manager. What else can you expect from a governor who's only claim to fame was wanting to legalize marijuana and subsequently got an interview with a well known magazine. It's okay if you're a Republican remember, but when Jimmy Carter was interviewed by that magazine it was the end of morality in this country.
Needless to say I'm quite happy that this dealership is history.


One Fly said...

Not sure if I could remember all the cars I've had since I've lived here. Buy good first hand cars that have records. Works well and drive very cheap compared to most. The last four or five have been Subys.

P M Prescott said...

I did have a little Justy once.