Last July, after finding out I was pregnant again, we decided it was time to get another family car. My husband had purchased another 98 Eclipse with fewer miles, and I was driving his low-end 98 Eclipse with 120,000 miles on it after my Jeep Cherokee reached its last legs. We had realized after we had Boo that an infant seat wouldn't fit in the back of an Eclipse.
I found a 98 Ford Taurus station wagon online at Denver Isuzu Suzuki. I went and test drove the car, and it seemed fairly satisfactory - it needed a new seatbelt in the center back, and hadn't had a transmission flush in a while. I mentioned to the salesman, William, that the engine on the new-to-us Eclipse had blown a head gasket six days after buying it, and had taken the engine with it. William assured me that this wouldn't be a problem since the car came with a 30-day warranty.
When we were about to sign the final paperwork, I told William that I hadn't looked at the tires and I didn't think my mechanic had either. He assured me that the tires had checked out, and that they would replace them if they didn't. Signed the paperwork, got out to the car, looked at the tires, they were practically bald. William balked at replacing the tires, saying I should have had my mechanic look at them. OK, whatever, my fault for not INSISTING on looking at them before we signed the paperwork.
I was trading in our old Eclipse and paying cash for the balance of the car to avoid financing. I told them that I would not have cash in hand for a few days, and was willing to wait to take possession of the station wagon until I had the cash to them. They insisted that everything would be fine - but they held on to some of the paperwork for the car, including the emissions coupon that dealerships in Colorado are required to provide to car buyers to cover the cost of getting an emissions inspection done on their car. I still have not received this emissions coupon, despite filing a complaint with the local Better Business Bureau and with the Dealer Board for the state of Colorado. (The Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board is about as incompetent and impotent as a state organization can get, by the way - they lose faxes, lose emails, don't return calls, and don't understand that their job is to INVESTIGATE things like dealers refusing to provide emissions coupons and other required paperwork. The Denver Post ran an article about this at the beginning of October, titled "No one at wheel for car buyers", but the article is already archived. I actually had to go down to their office, 40 minutes away, to get someone to even listen to me about this, and I'm still getting the "There's nothing we can do" spiel.)
Six days after I bought the station wagon, it started to overheat. (I know, what an insane coincidence. I can't explain it either.) I pulled the car over immediately and called the dealership, since the 30-day warranty was supposed to include emergency roadside assistance - although I hadn't been provided with information on how to contact roadside assistance. I had the car towed in, and two days later was told that the car had a blown head gasket, and that the warranty didn't cover gaskets. They wanted $1200 to replace the head gasket, and that was IF the heads weren't warped. I called my mechanic who said that the most the repair should cost is $1000, including machining the heads if they were warped. I had the car towed to my mechanic's (paid for by my car insurance). He called me a few hours later and said he wasn't sure why Denver Isuzu Suzuki's mechanic said that the head gasket was blown. He finally determined that the car had a stuck thermostat, unstuck it for me, and sent me on my way, no charge. (If anyone's curious, the shop I trust is American Auto and Truck on Irma Drive in Denver - Chris is very honest and does excellent work.)
Denver Isuzu Suzuki's mechanic, Keith, obviously doesn't know the difference between a head gasket and a thermostat. Denver Isuzu Suzuki still owes me a seatbelt and a transmission flush. I want them to pay my mechanic to do it, since he obviously knows more about cars than the dealership does. Chris gave me an estimate of $305 for these, Denver Isuzu Suzuki's manager, Jeff Baca, refuses to pay more than $200 - despite the fact that they never reimbursed me or my insurance company for the tow to my mechanic's, they haven't provided the emissions coupon they are required by law to provide, and they can't provide me with an answer as to whether their mechanic is incompetent or maliciously dishonest.
If I can cost Denver Isuzu Suzuki just one sale through this post, they've lost.