So about a year ago we got fed up with our crappy minivan and bought a nicer one. It was used but so much sexier than the old one, with the seats that fold into the floor and power doors and this thing in the stock which tells time. We named it Moby Titanic (as it is large and white) and we love it so moishe.
When we test drove it, it did this alarming thing at freeway speeds wherein the entire vehicle swayed distressingly when the brakes were applied. We told them that if they fixed that thing, we’d buy it. They allegedly did, and we bought it along with a warranty. Even our mechanics agreed that the warranty was a good one. We were assured that we could use it at our preferred shop, the one with the aforementioned mechanics. We’re quite loyal to this shop as they saw us through nursing school when we were Broke Ass Poor. At that time we had my car which was/is pretty reliable, and then The Lovely Rhonda also had this extremely shitty Volkswagen Passat.
We called the Passat “Flopsy” due to the antenna that should have stuck proudly into the air at a jaunty angle from above the rear window. It didn’t. It was distressingly flaccid, so the car became Flopsy. (We could not help ourselves. Shut up.) This phenomenally terrible car broke down, like, a lot, which was really difficult for us to manage given that we were so very BAP. The very good people at Peterson Automotive did everything they could to keep us mobile at shockingly minimal costs, and for this we are fans for life.
Anyway, a few months after we purchased the minivan the brakes started doing that thing again. We spoke some choice words to one another regarding the integrity of dealerships and then we took it to Peterson’s and they fixed it for real. Except that a few months later it started doing it again. We mentioned this to them at the most recent oil change and they were so apologetic. They felt bad that they hadn’t fixed it right the first time, and told us that they would fix it correctly and charge us only for the parts by way of apology. We were super cool with this and dropped it off last Wednesday, and that, my friends, is where the real fun began.
Once they got it all taken apart they found that the master cylinder was starting to go, and this was going to be a bigger repair than anyone anticipated. It was time to invoke the Warranty. We’d have to pay only a small deductible. Yay for warranties!
Oh no, said the warranty company. The dealership has to release the van to allow it to be worked on somewhere other than the dealership.
No problem, we thought. We talked about this when we bought it. We’ll just give them a little call and all will be well again.
We were so naive.
It was almost comical how nobody would call us back. For two solid days. TLR spoke with every manager they had, and salespeople, and office ladies, and possibly the janitor. She resorted to leaving voicemails for the owner of the dealership. Everybody had to check with everybody else. Nobody could give us an answer. Finally TLR went down to the dealership and raised a wee ruckus. I believe the F-bomb may have been dropped. You know I don’t approve of such violence but people, by this time it had to be said.
One of the useless managers commented that the police could be called. “Oh, that’s fine, I’ll dial the number,” said TLR, brandishing her cell phone with what I am sure was a flourish. “They won’t arrest me. All they will do is make it so I can’t come here. And then you can’t fix my van here, so I win.” That shut him up pretty comprehensively.
The only satisfaction won that day was that the dealership agreed to lend us a car off their used-cars lot so that we wouldn’t have to rent one, as by this time an easy repair that should have taken a couple of hours had now stretched into a three-day battle and it was now Friday. Nothing would be resolved until the next week and we both had to work on Monday, in opposite directions from home. We picked the car up on Sunday night.
Since we didn’t need to schlep any kids around I had opted for a sedan. They lent us a virtually nondescript NissHonYota Narcoleptor 6000. These are great cars that would run forever if only people could stay awake long enough to put miles on them. Sadly they have the highest accident rate of any modern sedan, domestic or imported, because they are so mind-numbingly boring that drivers routinely fall asleep at the wheel and crash them into things. It was Fugly Grey with an automatic transmission. I think the seats might have been clad in Midwestern airport upholstery fabric, but I couldn’t muster the energy to care one way or the other so I can’t really recall at this point. It’s a miracle I’m still alive.
Monday and Tuesday came and went with still no contact from the dealership, shocking I know, and as those are busy workdays for The Lovely Rhonda, Destroyer of Worlds, no progress was made. Wednesday she was home and able to
verbally harass them make polite inquiries by telephone, to no avail. This had been dragging along for a solid week. We were starting to contemplate small-claims court as well as perhaps calling up the lesbian posse for some sliding-scale, child-care-provided fully accessible picketing. Nobody does it old school like lesbians.
Yesterday she finally spoke to the one magical wizard of a manager at the dealership who reportedly had to all but throw acid in the owner’s face to get him to agree to release the warranty. I received a text: “We win.” The argument was made that we had been loyal customers and had even referred a friend there who bought a brand-new vehicle from them. We were fighting this hard to be able to take our repair business to our favorite shop. Did they really want to piss us (meaning TLR) off? Plus I think when the F-bomb is spoken in the hallowed halls of an auto dealership they have to perform elaborate cleansing rituals which probably gets expensive owing to the difficulty of finding virgins among the sales staff.
Thus we merrily skipped off to Peterson’s to collect our perfectly-repaired van, only to drive it directly to yet ANOTHER dealership for a recall repair on the ignition.
Brace yourselves, internets.
TLR called to check on the timeliness of the repair, as we had made it clear we had to get it back by a certain time. Uh, that guy is at lunch and he’ll call you back when he gets back around 2pm. No, says TLR. We need to pick it up at 2. Oh. Well uh that guy didn’t get a chance to let you know and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but now your key doesn’t work in the ignition we fixed so you have to pay $220.00 for a new key.
At this point I blanked out a little because TLR’s head started to spin around on her neck and her voice dropped enough octaves that those whale microphones picked it up. The guy could not get off the phone fast enough, and called us back a minute or two later to report that the dealership would cover the charge for the key and how soon could we come pick the van up? You could hear him sweating through the tiny phone speaker.