I didn't order the paint chips!
May 16, 2012 6:06 PM   Subscribe

How to deal with a car dealer for problems with new car before delivery?

We agreed a purchase of a new 2012 Subaru Impreza 2.0 Touring for my wife with the local Subaru dealer here in Calgary. On inspecting the car prior to handing over the cheque for the balance of the car, we found a chip in the paint work near the rear quarter light. The chip goes down to the sheet metal, it's not huge, but it's obvious from several feet away and should have been spotted when they were prepping the car for delivery.

The sales guy we talked to (the sales guy I agreed the sale with was on a day off) said that they could either fix the chip or they could get us a new car. I rejected the car and asked them to get the sales guy call me to discuss tomorrow morning. My somewhat cynical view is that they likely spotted it and hoped we wouldn't see it before we drove it off the lot.

What are our options on what we can ask for in terms of remediation? I've already told the finance manager that I don't expect any stocking fee for a new car, and expect something in return for my patience in resolving the issue since we're in a rental car until we can get the new car and have to make repeated trips to the dealer etc. My company is paying for the rental until the end of the month as part of my relocation, but it's a hassle I wasn't expecting.

Am I being reasonable in rejecting the car or should I let the dealer try and fix the chip?

Thanks in advance for the sanity check.
posted by arcticseal to Work & Money (13 answers total)
If you can get a new car, do so. Just be sure to compare VINs (if still possible) so that they're not giving you a patched-up car.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:15 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

To fix it properly will take another day or two. If they can find the exact same car sooner, that could be better. They should pay the cost of the rental during their delay. If they handle fixing it graciously (and properly) and paying the rental, that would be OK with me.

You are being reasonable whichever you decide.
posted by caclwmr4 at 6:21 PM on May 16, 2012

Yikes, rejecting the car and asking for a new vehicle because of a chip in the paint? Let them fix it and see if they do a shoddy job on the paint before you insist on an entirely new car.
posted by Hermanos at 6:32 PM on May 16, 2012

Or....ask for a £300 discount on the vehicle and drive it home today, chip and all.
posted by Hermanos at 6:33 PM on May 16, 2012

You are entirely reasonable in rejecting the car and insisting on one which has made it to you from the factory in satisfactory condition. You should not have to pay any additional money for delivery of a vehicle in factory-new condition with no flaws.

Expecting the auto dealer to pay for your rental or for your patience may be a bit overboard, IMO.

But don't accept shipped goods which are in unsatisfactory condition. That's a pretty basic rule of purchasing/receiving, even for private buyers.
posted by hippybear at 7:06 PM on May 16, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback so far. The rental isn't on the table as I'm covered until the end of the month, sorry if it wasn't clear in the question.
posted by arcticseal at 7:15 PM on May 16, 2012

Ok so (I just want to make sure I've got this right): You bought a car but it has a chip in the paint. You pointed out the chip in the paint and they offered to fix it or get you a new car?

That sounds......perfectly reasonable.

Business presented with a not really huge problem, business offers to fix problem or replace at their expense. Unless I'm missing something I'd say you're good here.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:29 PM on May 16, 2012

Went to pick up a car in the year 2000, and upon attempted delivery there was a big dent in a panel. I pointed it out, they said "oh crap", and did I have an hour to wait. I did, so they called a mobile dent repair guy, he showed up fifteen minutes later, massaged out the dent -- it was gone, baby, gone -- and I took delivery. The dent never came back in the eight years I owned the car.

So your options are, pretty much, as you're being told: they can fix the dent, or they can put you in an equivalent car. If you have other options (like canceling the deal) you'll have to refer to the laws in your state. From their perspective, if they didn't order the car specifically for you, then it's no big deal if you prefer another car in their inventory -- because, to be honest, cars get minor chips and dents in transit quite often, and usually they are caught and fixed as part of the dealer prep. You take a different car, they're going to fix that chip and sell it to someone else, and there isn't a law against it as far as I know (certainly not around here.)
posted by davejay at 7:29 PM on May 16, 2012

Let them fix it or find you another car, whichever is faster. You can inspect the fix job and change your mind later but be real here. I know you want a new car that is flawless but even if you get that, it isn't going to stay that way for long. This isn't the last paint chip, ding, or scratch that this car will get and this is probably the only one that you'll get fixed for free.

The fact that you're paying for a rental car (rather, your company is) isn't the dealership's problem. I agree that you shouldn't have to pay anything extra to get a different car but you shouldn't be expected to get anything from them either.
posted by VTX at 7:58 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Subarus sometimes have issues with paint quality, specifically chipping. (My brother had an Impreza with the issue... some colors, such as gold, seems to be particularly problematic.)

If they're offering you another car instead of offering to fix the chip, they may know something you don't. You may want to take the other car - or be back at the dealer continuously to fix chips and peeling paint until the warranty runs out.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:28 PM on May 16, 2012

Speaking as someone who sold new cars for a living (albeit in the US, not Canada) offering the option of a different car or fixing the defect is reasonably normal practice for more common models/option packages. If they had an identical car on the lot already, I doubt fixing it would have even been offered as an option, they would have simply delivered the other car.
posted by VTX at 5:55 AM on May 17, 2012

If they can get you an identical-enough car in a couple days time for no extra money, then they are doing their fair share. If there is any hassle, either walk away, or get them to throw in something to compensate you for the extra hassle. Coupons for some free oil changes or something like that.
posted by gjc at 6:35 AM on May 17, 2012

Response by poster: Update: they fixed it, did a very good job and we accepted it. Mrs A is happy with her new wheels. Thanks for everyone's advice.
posted by arcticseal at 6:37 AM on May 19, 2012

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