Time for an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb for my Mazda service contract?
October 22, 2014 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Local Dealership closed, low mileage, feeling screwed.

I stupidly purchased an extended service warranty when I purchased my car at my local dealership. I had just moved, and it turns out that the mileage I drive was significantly lowered, 10,000 miles in 2.5 years. The car is supposed to be serviced at 6 month/7,000 mile intervals.
After consulting with the dealership, I was initially told to skip the first service and come in at 7,000 miles. Later, I was told this was incorrect, that I needed to come in every 6 months, regardless, but that they would tack the missed service on to the end. I requested a refund/cancellation before the initial service, when I realized the uselesness of having my car serviced every 1500 miles, but was refused.
Ok, so it's not so bad, I'm thinking. Sure, I'm unhappy, lots of wasted money, but things could be worse. Then the dealership closed. No warning, no information, nothing except a terse email stating they were closing. One of the main reasons I decided on the service contract was that it was less than a mile from work, easy to drop off the car and get a ride or public transit home or to work. Now the closest dealership is 40 miles away, and unwilling to stick to the deal I struck with the original dealer to have the missed service tacked on at the end (missed due to thier advice/instruction.)

So, am I totally screwed here, or should I just keep escalating, talking to the next most important person and so on? I would like a rental car provided, at least, and an additional service as originially promised by the closed dealership. Better yet a pro-rated refund.

Any advice for a solution that won't leave me mad and unhappy?
posted by k8oglyph to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Check your memail, but also: why do you want a rental car? How old is your car and how many miles are on it now?
posted by dness2 at 10:18 AM on October 22, 2014

I requested a refund/cancellation before the initial service, when I realized the uselesness of having my car serviced every 1500 miles, but was refused.

It sounds like this was all dealt with 2 years ago, but you just didn't like the answer. You got the service schedule wrong, they didn't penalise you for missing that service but didn't offer an accommodation for your own mistake/the dealer's mistake. The refused to offer any additional financial element for their/your mistake. End of, done and dusted. The extra service and its ramifications are gone.

Better yet a pro-rated refund.

A pro rated refund of what? From whom? It doesn't sound like you have been denied any part of the warranty (that hasn't been dealt with) - you were advised not to service at one stage by the dealer. You can't undo that or add an extra service on later to overcome that unless you want 1 x free service after your warranty runs out, which seems... unlikely to me you'd get anywhere with. The car didn't strictly speaking *need* servicing then and a 7000 mile service costs pennies compared to a much later service, so it's not at all teh same cost to the dealer to 'tack one on at the end' so I'm surprised they said it initially and not at all surprised the new dealer is baulking at such a bizarre agreement.

Do you have that agreement of the extra service in writing? If not - you're hosed. Out of luck. It sounds (from the new dealer's perspective) like you're just trying to con an extra service based on a verbal promise over two years ago at a completely different (and hence unprovable) company. Without proof you're essentially saying 'give me one free service out of warranty for no reason".

Also: Who did you buy the warranty from (and hence who do you want the refund from)? If it was the dealership (not Mazda) then you're screwed. The company you purchased the warranty from is out of business. No recourse. I don't understand why you think you would have something to go on, there.

I would like a rental car provided, at least, and an additional service as originially promised by the closed dealership.

This is, in my opinion, completely unreasonable. Despite the relative locations being part of your decision to take the warranty it is not at all related to the warranty itself. Where you lived relative to teh dealer now or then is completely irrelevant other to you personally. It was not at all a condition (from the warranty's perspective) that they would maintain a dealership that was so convenient to your home or work. This request is entirely unreasonable - it is neither the problem of Mazda nor the new dealership that you don't live as close to a dealer any more. If you'd moved home, you'd not expect the same accommodation, would you?
posted by Brockles at 10:24 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

That first service you missed was an oil change. It's not worth all this gnashing of teeth. You're torturing yourself over approximately $30.
posted by jon1270 at 10:38 AM on October 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

You're being unreasonable. There's no reason that Dealership 2 should offer you the same deal as Dealership 1, nor that you should get any of the other things you're asking for. It seems like, as most, all you're out is an oil change. Get over it.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:41 AM on October 22, 2014

Agreed - I have a Mazda and my first service was an oil change. I think I did it around 10 months after getting my car. And my dealership said that every 6 months is preferred but absolutely not necessary if you don't drive that frequently or heavily.
posted by joan_holloway at 10:47 AM on October 22, 2014

This seems like an annoying situation, but not really one that is Mazda's fault/responsibility. The real reason you wish you didn't pay for this extended warranty is that you changed your driving behavior and significantly reduced your mileage, and while that may make the extended warranty a bad buy in retrospect, it has nothing to do with Mazda. Because you're upset about the original decision, you want to be mad at someone, and Mazda is in the vicinity, but...

I would just take a deep breath and let it go. While it sucks that the money on this service warranty was wasted, think about all the money you're SAVING by reducing your mileage by that much...lots of gas money, less wear and tear on your car, etc. Ultimately, you probably come out ahead.
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:51 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

You were going to lose money on an extended warranty regardless of your driving habits. The warranty is probably a third party thing that may be honored at any number of service places - just ask. They may not want to do the work for the the exact price the warranty provides, but they can use it to offset and just charge you the difference.

The "free oil changes" were just to get you into the dealership so they could sell you new tires, or an AC service, or whatever, and may not really be part of the extended warranty. My Toyota dealership gives everybody free oil changes for as long as you own the car as a "free" benefit for buying there. Obviously they are making money by doing that or they wouldn't keep offering it.
posted by COD at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think there's a bit of confusion. It sounds like this is just a service plan that the OP purchased, not an extended warranty.

Who's going to honor that service plan, now that the dealership has closed? (The rental car is for those times when OP takes his car to the 40 miles away dealership for service. He needs a car for the day to go to work, and to get back to the dealership when the service is done. OP doesn't want to sit all morning or all day waiting for a tire rotation.)

OP wants out of the service contract and his money back.

The missed oil change is a red herring.

There should be a district rep for the carmaker you can talk to. Or a regional association of dealers who sell that make of car. I suspect they'll say "you bought those services from the dealer, not us." You'd probably have to take the owner of the dealership to court as anyone else who is owed money/services would have to do.

The district rep *might* honor the agreement by paying another dealer (40 minutes away) to give you the oil changes and tire rotations you bought on that service plan. But I doubt it.
posted by vitabellosi at 12:34 PM on October 22, 2014

Best answer: "Service contracts" are sometimes called "extended warranties" even though they are not a warranty, per se.

And they may be bought from the dealer, the vehicle manufacturer, or a third party. The answer to your question, OP, will depend on who was behind the product. (You bought it from the dealer, but the dealer may have been selling it on behalf of an "administrator" who may be the manufacturer or a 3rd party. Check your paper work. The administrator may have to honor the agreement, by paying someone closer than forty miles to perform the work.)
posted by vitabellosi at 12:44 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

So you're mostly annoyed about the fact that now you need to go 40 miles away for service on your car. The fact of the matter is you wasted money on the extended service deal anyway since you didn't need to service your car that often, and that is totally unrelated to the dealership closing. So now you're annoyed that on top of it, you don't even get to get serviced near your house. a) You can get your oil changed and your tires rotated anywhere. You don't have to drive to a Mazda dealer 40 miles away. You can probably find a place that does it pretty cheap too. b) I would tell you that going to a dealership 40 miles away once every six months isn't that big of a deal either and chill out. My dealership isn't exactly close to my home either. I go on a Saturday morning with a coffee and a newspaper/my phone and read for an hour while they look at my car.

The crappy part of the deal came when you signed up for the extended service contract. No, the dealership closing doesn't help, but oil changes and tire rotations aren't exactly an exorbitant expenditure. Best thing you can try is to get the dealership that closed to pro-rate and refund the remaining part of the service contract. That would be worth more than getting someone to the actual service appointments, I'm guessing -- but also, the closed dealership is the only one who had a deal with you, not other area dealerships.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:52 PM on October 22, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers. Attitudes and expectations duly under alteration. I will, however check to see if what vitabellosi suggests may provide me some relief.
As an aside, The oil changes are not as cheap as you all seem to think. The car actualy *requires* a synthetic oil, which is far more expensive.
posted by k8oglyph at 3:53 PM on October 22, 2014

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