Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 28
Long post warning!!

After work last Friday, I put down the top of my S2000, to enjoy some sun on my face and wind in my hair on the ride home. The top seemed to hang up briefly on the way down, but continued all the way down. I thought it was a little strange, but wasn't too concerned. I parked the car in my garage, put the top up, everything was good.

When I went to get in the car Saturday, something on the top caught my eye. A cut/tear in the vinyl top, approximately 1.5", directly above the hard edge of the latch mechanism. I can only presume that when the top was binding up, the vinyl was mashed against this edge and it pushed right through. If not for this little tear, the top is in immaculate condition (as is the rest of the car).

So, I took the car to the dealership on Monday, believing full well that I had purchased it on 7/22/02, and had approximately 4 days of factory warranty coverage left on the car. I was VERY disappointed to hear the service advisor tell me the computer showed a purchase date of 7/6, so I was just out of factory warranty. I also have an extended warranty, but it does not cover the vinyl top.

The district service manager was shown what happened my car (they had seen this problem before), and based on low mileage and the general condition of the car, generously offered to pick up 75% of the replacement cost (both parts and labor). Under the circumstances, I was very happy to hear that, as that put my share at just under $500. I also needed a window motor replacement, but that was to be covered under the extended warranty.

On Tuesday I received a call from the service advisor, saying they were having problems with the extended warranty coverage. It ends up, the extended warranty company's information showed a purchase date of 7/20/02, so they wanted the factory warranty to cover the window. Can't say that I blame them, their policy isn't supposed to kick in until the expiration of the factory warranty. This discrepancy sends me to check my purchase records, and see that I placed a DEPOSIT to reserve the car on 7/6, while the car was on a boat coming from Japan. The purchase was completed and I took delivery of the car on 7/20 (so my memory was off by 2 days). This date is confirmed by the warranty paperwork, the finance papers, and the vehicle registration. My service advisor told me he was bound by the date shown in the computer, and I would have to speak with the finance department if I believed there was an error.

My first step was to call American Honda and confirm that the deposit DOES NOT start the clock ticking on a warranty, only once the vehicle is fully purchased an in my possession. At this point, I am quite convinced that Honda will cover all of the repairs under warranty.

I eventually reached someone in finance, who agreed with my position about the sale date and warranty period. He asked me to fax over a copy of my retail sales agreement, which was clearly dated 7/20. Several hours later when I called to confirm the fax, he told me his 'boss' was taking care of it, and negotiating a solution with the extended warranty company. I told him this was not what I wanted to hear, as I expected Honda to step up and cover BOTH repairs. He assured me his boss would take care of things, and I would hear back from my service advisor with a solution shortly.

When I heard from the service advisor, he told me everything was good and the extended warranty company had fixed their records to indicate the correct sale date of 7/6/2002, and they would be picking up the window repair. I explained that this was not only a completely false statement, but that they were shorting me on the last few weeks of my 36 month warranty, and costing me nearly $500 in the process. I was told we had already "reached an agreement" on the top replacement, so that issue hadn't even been considered. At this point, I was becoming pretty furious with these people.

I got back in touch with the gentleman in finance again, and explained my lack of satisfaction with his boss's negotiating skills. It was evident that he no longer agreed with my assertion that I purchased the car on 7/20, and acted as though I should be happy with the resolution that was put together on my behalf. I explained that this resolution was leaving me responsible for nearly $500 in warranty repairs, and he responded by saing I had not made my wishes clear in our previous conversation. (What kind of IDIOT would thing I would want to pay $500 for a repair on a car that should be covered by a warranty?) I asked to speak to his boss, who was "unavailable" and could not be reached until the following day. I, however, had no intention of letting the issue sit that long.

My next step was to seek out the highest ranking person present in the dealership. After a brief explanation, I was able to get the receptionist to track down the GM to take my call. He agreed that the whole situation was a big screw up on their part, and admitted that it is near impossible to change the incorrect purchase date in the computer system. He asked for a few minutes to look into it and said he would call me back.

Less than 2 minutes later, my phone rang again. It was the GM telling me the repairs would be covered. He was going ask the district service manager to raise his offer to cover 100% of the top replacement, and if that didn't happen, the dealership would eat my share of the cost. After all of the people I had spoken with, he was the first to apologize for their mistakes, which I really appreciated.

I received another call at almost 7pm, telling me the work on my car was complete, and I could pick it up, no charge. My service advisor had told earlier in the day it wouldn't be complete until the following morning. There is no doubt in my mind that the GM asked someone to finish it up so I could have my car back that day. When I arrived at the cashier, there was a full page note on my service writeup saying to release the car at no charge. The service ticket was not even closed out yet, they just handed me the keys and let me go. Let me tell you, this GM really earned my respect that day.

While everything didn't get perfectly ironed out, I am quite content with the outcome. The computer still thinks I bought the car on 7/6/2002, and now my extended warranty will probably expire 2 weeks earlier than it should in 2009, but I can live with that. On the same day I picked her up she turned 3, and has a shiny new top for a birthday present. Less than 17k miles on the odometer, almost ready for her third set of rear tires :), I predict many years of driving pleasure in our future.

So, there you go, never take their word for it, always keep good records, and don't hesitate to push to get your way (especially when you know you're right).

Print the post  


Beware Flood-Damaged Cars
Know what you are getting, don't get stuck with a Katrina victim. Check these links before you buy.
Disclaimer - Please Read
A message about professional advice.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.