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The $5000 email - two years later (it's a long one)
The $5000 email - two years later (it's a long one)
For some reason, I had the inkling to reread an email I wrote to a dealer nearly two years ago regarding the engine failure my mustang suffered. Many of you are familiar with what happened, but I'm not sure that I ever shared the email I sent that gave me resolution with the dealership.
For a quick recap, my Saleen engine blew in April 2010 at ~6800 miles under normal driving conditions. I believed it had a warranty, took it to get fixed, was told it didn't and I'd have to pay. I battled with the dealership over it, and eventually got them to write me a check for $5000 to walk away and fix it myself (which I did, see sig for write-up on that).
I don't claim that this email was the best way to handling things, or the only way, but it was my way, and it worked to my satisfaction. I am posting the email in it's entirety (aside from some name changes), hoping that it may some day help someone else, or at least provide entertainment to you all. It has errors, both grammar, and technical, that I have left unedited (such as 2010 5.0 mustang).
In any case, here it is for your reading pleasure. I received a call from the General Manager, and his lawyer at 10:00 am the next day. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised. Happy, but surprised.
"This coming weekend, I'll be returning to your dealership to pick up my 2006 Saleen I purchased from your dealership back in January.
In case you're not familiar with the situation, I'll explain it
below; however, these are the details of the car. It's a 2006 Saleen Mustang
and at the time of engine failure it had ~6800 miles on
it. I bought the car at just over 4900 miles. I had this car for less than 2000 miles when the engine failed.
Before and during the purchase of this car, I was told by salesguyfrank (sales)
and financegirlcindy (finance) that the car had the remaining factory warranty of 2 months, AND a remaining power-train warranty of 2 years, 2 months. I have been informed that in 2007, many Fords came with a standard 5 year/60,000
mile power-train, and perhaps this is where they were confused. On top of that, later (months after purchase) I came to find out that a power-train warranty did exist with matching dates, only it was never transferred into my name. Regardless ,I bought this car under the impression that faults, such as the one experienced, would be covered. I have driven this car VERY conservatively, as the noise the engine made from the day I bought
it always concerned me. I know that your dealership had apparently attempted to diagnose it, and I was even told you outsourced it to a performance shop. I was also informed by another customer, who came to look at the car back in December, that the car's engine made the knocking noise at that point. She ended up not buying the car because whoever she was dealing with couldn't furnish the documentation showing the problem had been addressed. I was made aware of the problem by both your company and by an independent pre-purchase inspection; however, again I was assured by your staff that the power-train warranty covered anything wrong with the internals of the engine.
After purchasing the car, I took it to Landmark Ford who first told me the
sound was normal. On second examination, their tech told me it was probably
the injectors. Based on other Saleen's I've heard, and the video which the
December client took of the engine knocking, I and others can tell you it
wasn't normal. However, my concern was limited, as the car seemed to drive
normally despite the sound, and again I was assured by your staff that I had another two years of coverage, should something go wrong. Then, on Friday, April 9th, the engine suffered a severe problem while around 2200RPM. Whatever happened created a very loud metallic grinding sound and the oil pressure dropped to 0. I shut off the engine quickly and coasted to the side of the road. Upon taking it into Landmark Ford (as I was told they are the only 'authorized' Saleen servicer in the state), they informed me that the car will probably need a new engine, at a cost of upwards of $5000.00. I informed them of the warranty and was quickly told none existed. I was shocked. I really couldn't believe what I was hearing. I called salesmangary to get to the bottom of it, and he said he'd look into it and call me the next day (today), which he
Before I get into my concerns, let me post for you what I was sent by the
lady who came to view the car and had it inspected last December. I was contacted by her on one of the online forums that I participate in, after making a post regarding the engine failure and warranty issues.
"I am so sorry to hear about your car. I also looked at this particular car
back in December at Courtesy and instantly fell in love with it! To me,
this car is what I judge any ones I think about buying. It was very, very
hard to walk away....
The first time I went to look at the car, I was told it was previously owned
by someone who traded it in on a truck and the second time I was told it was a car aficionado who had too many cars. Now, I've never been a fan of the instant lying salesman in any business, but whatever.
There was a ticking sound in the car when I first drove it, and they told me
it had been fixed, that the valves had been replaced. I said, well send it
back, and I want to know where it was fixed (which they could not produce a paper stating exactly what was done with it) First they said it was fixed
in-house, and then they said it was fixed at Fast Specialties. Courtesy did
everything in their power possible to convince me that some cars -
especially with a supercharger, may tick, and that it was just this
particular car. Usually I'm not so adamant about issues, but the car only
had 4700 miles and Courtesy was so excited to let me lowball the price and
agree to it. Had there not been a tick, I would own the car.
I was able to get up and under the car, which was quite a surprise. I found
enough rubber under the bumper and wheel wells to make a new tire! Seriously though, there was a considerable amount of rubber in the described areas. I also found that the rear diff had shavings in it and that the battery wasn't attached correctly. This was on top of the ticking sound. Now, I did a basic PPI and while I wanted to know more about the ticking, I wasn't willing to pull it apart to do so. I was just as interested in other potential
problems. Now, excluding the ticking, the car did exceptionally well.
I also asked where the original wheels were, because it had the upgraded
set, and they were unwilling to call the previous owner.
I went back to the dealership and told them what I found, and that I would be happy to purchase the car when they could guarantee the ticking would be fixed, and to call me when it was done. I was passed through their line up
again, and as time went on, their story changed about what they did or
didn't know, and how they had an "in" with Landmark and would do anything in
their power to make it right. I talked with them about the issues I found
with the car (rubber, and the potential for the arching in the battery) and
showed them the PPI. They seemed pretty embarrassed about all the rubber, and said they knew it had been raced, and seemed to have some insider knowledge as I talked with them. They do know a lot about this car they aren't willing to discuss.
The dealership told me they acknowledged they had an obligation to fix any known problems, and that they would make it right.
They called me the next day to set up a purchase and delivery date, as it
was "going back to Fast Specialties". I told them once again I would be
happy to come up there upon completion and gave them another offer for the car. I never heard from them again. At first, I chalked it up to being a woman and them playing hardball, waiting to see my interest. It was later I found out you had bought it.
I actually have video of the car ticking when I took it for the PPI.
I am in no means car literate, and asked for alot of help in this decision.
I just couldn't do it if they would not guarantee that the tick would be
fixed. And, I still wait for the perfect one to come along.
Again, I am so sorry for what happened. You really do have a car I would
love to have. I really hope Courtesy will step up. Please let us know how it
She follows up by saying the following:
"Courtesy did mention to me that the Ford warranty was separate from Saleen warranty . . . the dealership admitted to me that they knew something was wrong after I did the PPI, and told me they were going to fix it, even if they had to send it to Landmark. They told me that if I bought the car, the Ford warranty would still be fine. I told them what Saleen said. First, they
shrugged it off, and then said, well... maybe you are right. That's when I
asked them why they would outsource a Ford car under warranty (which
remember they never did, I asked to see parts too when they were "done" with it) when it should be covered in their shop? They were very evasive with my questions. I really think they were trying to avoid the warranty being
voided by Ford so that the purchaser wouldn't be aware of the issue. I think
they were hoping to get someone who wouldn't really know the car they just
bought to get it and then find out what was up.
They would not absolutely guarantee in writing for me any kind of warranty
on the car when I asked for it.
You can contact me if you need any help. I am not a car expert by any means,
however I did go up there on 4 separate occasions and can talk about my
My overall problem with this situation revolves around the fact that there was previous knowledge of potential engine
problems, and they weren't fixed and weren't fully disclosed, despite my numerous inquiries, and as a result, there was complete engine
failure 24 days after the factory warranty expired.
Brian had mentioned that you are a big dealership, and you'll do what is
right for both the customer (me) and the company (you), but it is apparent after talking with him that your company has no interest in helping.
probably understand that I wasn't expecting, nor prepared to spend $25,000
on a car, only to have its engine fail less than 2000 miles later. You guys
were aware of issues the car had when you sold it, and like me, were
probably under the impression that if anything came up, it would be under
warranty. That doesn't change the fact that it should have been taken care
of before I drove off with it, but I can understand that it was a matter of
Ford paying for it, versus you guys. But that doesn't change what happened.
Bottom line: Your company sold me a car that wasn't 100%. It happens, and ideally Ford would be covering this. But due to misinformation given to me
by your company, whether unwittingly or not, I am left without the Ford
warranty, despite trying to get this taken care twice within the warranty
Mr. Coolbeans, you have said
"True success isn't measured in dollars, but in the trust of families,
friends and customers. It's built on ethical standards and a commitment to
service. It's keeping our word so people can trust what we say and have confidence in our honesty and integrity." I invite you to earn my trust back and the trust of many others who know my story and are now calling into question the legitimacy of your business.
In an attempt to right the situation, Salesdudegary (sales) offered to allow me to trade in the vehicle towards a new one (a 2010 5.0 mustang was planned). His first offer was to give me $15,000 for the car. Note, that in 1900 miles he felt the car had lost $10,000 of its value, despite him quoting me YOUR cost of $6200 to fix it. In any case, we worked towards a better number, but on second consideration, I decided the only way I'd ever consider trading up is if I was made even on my $25,000 purchase. Why should I trust my future business in the hands of a company who has already shown they have zero interest in helping a customer?
I am a member and/or moderator of many forums including, Mustangforums.com, Superiorstangs.com, Soec.org, fordforums,com, and hotrodders.com (one of the largest car forums on the internet, where I am a moderator). They have all been kept up to date thus far on the situation in both the national and regional (oregon/portland) forums and eagerly await an outcome.
What I ask is that if I am being given the brush off, that I hear it from you. After all, you're the face of the company, and you're the one that is quotes as being primarily interested in customer relations. I ask you to consider the idea that if only one car sale is lost to your company because of this incident (and it already has been as I won't be returning to you for future Mustang purchases), you've already lost more money in sales, and future parts and service than if you had simply stepped up to do the right thing.
Please be assured that once repairs are complete on my end, I will be following this up in a legal arena. Along with a brochure in which financegirlcindy circled my so called Power-train warranties end date (3/16/2012), I had someone with me at the time of sale who can attest to the warranty information given. Furthermore, as you can see above, I also have an independent witness who will give information on her experience dealing with your company and this car, to show that your company was well aware of the extend of the engine problems, and knowingly withheld that information from me, despite MY requests to see data concerning work that had been completed on the engine.
Finally, I have a suspicion that this is perhaps the first you've heard of this situation, and because of that, I am open to having a conversation with you. Though Salesdudegary has been open to talking, I feel I've exhausted my options with him, and as General Manager of the dealership, I'd like to give you the opportunity to have your word, as yours is the only one that really matters to me at this point.
You may respond via email or call me at 503-***-****. I will be following up within a few days about this matter.
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That ladies and gentlemen. Is how you bend the dealership over without lube.
I alreay read the entire build thread and impressed with how it turned out.
Good for you not backing out and having the ***** to continue pressin them again and again till they gave you the cash
I've just seen a lot of dealership horror stories over the last two years and though I'd share my experience and hope that it could at least inspire someone to at least give it that last attempt before bending over lol. It really was a shot in the dark, but it panned out.
This is actually an amazingly well put together argument. If I may ask, did you have to get an attorney involved?
Thanks all for the comments. No, didn't have to get a lawyer involved, and never really intended to. I just wanted to show the dealership that despite what their sales manager believed, it was more in their interest to help me than to leave me hanging. It appears the general manager agreed. At the end of the battle the sales manager and I shook hands. I told him I understood that he was simply doing what he felt was in the company's best interest. It was never personal.
That was an interesting read. I have to say I have lost all faith in Ford and their service. Not only do they rarely want to fix issues, but when they do fix issues they do it no better than Joe Schmoe; resulting in a sloppy, unprofessional solution that sometimes is no solution at all. I will not be purchasing another ford again, simple.
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