Any recourse against a shady car dealer?
July 21, 2009 12:33 PM Subscribe
A franchised, "legitimate" car dealer lied to us in order to get us to purchase a car. I know.. not really news and not really unique. But how can we fix this now?
posted by getawaysticks to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We test-drove a new RAV4 from the local Toyota dealership in 2007. We had driven the model before and really liked it - and this was the only dealer in the Metroplex that had a leather model. During the test drive, we noticed a rotten-egg smell coming out of the vents of the car during times of high acceleration. The salesman was in the car with us at the time and said, "Oh, no worries, that will go away once the engine has been broken in."
We should have stopped at that point and went home and researched the scent but we were exhausted and frustrated after looking for a car for 6 weeks or so. We are primarily a Subaru family but knew Toyota was renowned for its service and the quality of the cars so we bought the car (with extended warranty). I know that I can be very naive and I swear, one of these times I will learn.
The rotten-egg smell has never gone away. Here in Dallas, one has to hit the gas - hard - quite often. The smell is immediate and nauseating.
In the 2 years since we purchased the car, we have taken it in for service 6 times for this problem, and it has yet to be fixed. The problem is documented elsewhere on the internet for similar models or older models and there have been Toyota Service Bulletins for it, but nothing for our year/model combination.
Last summer on one of our service visits I went to pick up the car after work. The service employee said that he would file [another] report with Toyota corporate and that in the mean time, "Buy an air freshener." I am just aghast that someone would suggest that to someone paying those exorbitant car payments. Since that visit, we have both brought the truck in and the service manager acknowledges the problem but doesn't know how to fix it (at least, that is what he says). They have escalated to the regional distributor who indicated we need to try another brand of gas (we have done this). The last contact from the dealer was, "We really don't know what to do next."
At this point I am more than a little emotional about this situation. I am angry every time I make a car payment. I thought the extended warranty and/or Toyota's legendary service would protect us from something like this happening. Granted - the car is still drivable, but it is irritating and nauseating to deal with this scent. I would love at this point to just give them the truck back and walk away entirely (but I understand that that is probably not going to happen).
Here is what we have done so far. Are we missing anything? Thank you in advance for any ideas. I just can't believe it's 2009 and we are still letting major car dealers lie to and abuse customers.
1) Contacted bbb.org and filed a complaint
2) Contacted the North Texas New Car Dealers Association, who have initiated contact with the dealer
3) Contacted Toyota's corporate office who report they are investigating the situation
4) Contacted every Dallas news organization's "Watch dog" or "Consumer investigations" team, with little or no response
5) Called a lawyer who is ready to send a demand letter to the dealer, but is not very optimistic
6) Collected the necessary paperwork to attempt a lemon law claim - but the lawyer indicated that the remedy will probably not be to my satisfaction (they will either pay a sum of money to you, or allow you to trade out, and I don't want to deal with this company any longer at all).