February 3rd, 2016

paige, confused

Possible car dealer BS

Background: just over two weeks ago, my beloved car of nine years started showing signs that it couldn't cope with the amount of driving I make her do, so I (reluctantly) part-exchanged her for a new car. This car seemed too good to be true- less than a year old, under 3000 miles on the odometer and cheaper than my car was when I first bought her. So we went to the dealer, I fell for the car and she was mine.

When I picked up the car, the psi (tyre pressure) was very low in the back tyre so I requested the dealer fill it up, which he did after much persuasion (he kept insisting it was fine, however 19 psi on a 37 psi tyre is NOT okay). However, two weeks later, it started showing a warning on the dashboard saying the pressure was low and needed topping up. The tyre looked fine, so I kept up with it until I saw a warning for 25 psi and figured I best go top it up and then get the tyre checked at the weekend.

I get to the local filling station, fill up my tyre but then the cap doesn't go back in. The staff at the station tried to help but then we realised the valve itself was broken! So now I have a flat tyre and have to cancel my first class of the day (I do dance clubs in my local area). Part of the valve is broken and bent, something that I couldn't have caused in the two weeks that I have owned the car, so I called the auto place to complain and ask for reimbursement for the repair and the work I missed because they made a glaring mistake in checking over the vehicle (something he should have spotted when he filled up my tyre the day I collected the car). I figured the worst he could do was say no and give me some advice on how to use my manufacturers warranty.

Nope. He yelled at me! Basically it turns out my old car was a lot more banged up than I thought and the engine was near dead. I didn't know this when I handed her over- I assumed she was fine but just needed a tune up to handle longer journeys. I had taken her in for repairs four days before I part-exchanged, so I assumed any major problems were dealt with. Apparently not, and the auto yard guy yelled at me, accusing me of lying to get more value out of part-exchange and how dare I call about a £20 loss when he's out hundreds!

Firstly, I am not a car expert. How am I supposed to know that my car's engine was knackered? I thought it just needed a tune up because I had been pushing her too much.

Secondly, he IS a car expert. Someone I would expect to notice a dodgy tyre valve. What if that had popped off when I was driving? I have heard stories about people who have busted a tyre when driving, crashed and either been horribly injured or died. His neglect could have cost me my car and more than one hour of my job.

Thirdly, £20 isn't a lot to him, but it's a big chunk of my earnings to me. I don't really have the luxury of being able to miss that much, not to mention the fact that I paid £25 to get a new valve put in. Perhaps my asking him to compensate my loss of earnings was a bit much, but this was HIS mistake.

Fourth, he tried to then suggest I was the one who broke the valve in the two weeks I had owned the car. I am a good and careful (and overly cautious) driver. There is no way I could have broken the tyre air valve. Even the guy who came to fix it said that he's only seen this in older cars, not ones that are less than a year old and barely have 3000 miles on the odometer. So it's likely there was something in my car's history that the dealer neglected to tell me.

Rant over. I'm just appalled with the way the guy shouted at me over the phone. I had to hang up on him because he wouldn't stop for a moment to let me talk- he just kept saying "well, I apologised and now you keep yelling at me." Except he was the one yelling (I just used my stern Teacher Voice). And I think, given that I just got the car, I have a right to be mad that something like this wasn't sorted before I picked up the car.
Also, my old car is listed on his website (granted, without a photo so I don't know if he's taking it off) and it has had 1500 miles taken off the odometer reading. That I find troubling.

And, to top it all off, my insurance screwed up my policy and apparently I am not covered for being towed, despite my specifically asking for it. Agh.