Car Shopping Part III: The final chapter

Things are resolved and, as promised, I’m outing the dealer with my final review.

I bought the car from Mad Motors on E Johnson, and I am not at all pleased with them.  Within 48 hours of buying the car I’d discovered that the electronics in the rear passenger door were wonky, and the clips necessary for holding the guard under the hood in place were missing.  The car couldn’t be driven.  Paul, the nice man who reminded me of my grandfather, assured me that he’d send his mechanic out to install the clips in my driveway so I could then drive the car to the dealership to have the window and door fixed.  This was Sunday.  Nobody would be able to come until Tuesday, because their mechanic doesn’t work on Mondays.  “Fine,” I tell him.  “Get the clips installed before I get back from New York on Thursday, and I can bring the car in Friday morning to get the door fixed.”

I was supposed to get home around 10pm Thursday night, and wanted to be at WisCon around 1pm Friday, but worst case scenario, walking from the dealership to the con was doable.  Except I got home closer to 3am, which meant all the things I was going to do at home on Thursday night had to get done Friday morning before the con – also, I hadn’t slept much.

Being cynical by nature, the first thing I do Friday morning is crawl under my car to make sure the clips have been installed.  They haven’t.  So I call Paul, who assured me before buying the car that any problems like this would get taken care of, no problem.  “I don’t want you to be unhappy,” he said.

Apparently that doesn’t apply to phone calls at 10am on a business day.  “I’m still asleep.  Call this other number.  I got in very late last night,” he said.  Not as late as I did, I’d wager, and I’d be damned before I’d ever tell a customer to bugger off because I’m still asleep.  But Paul doesn’t care whether or not I’m happy anymore, I’ve already bought the car and here it is, a week later, and it’s not like I can drive over to him to complain because I can’t drive the car.

I call the other number and talk to the mechanic. He claims he hasn’t heard about this yet and, frankly, I believe him.  He says he’ll show up in an hour to fix it.  An hour and fifteen minutes later there are two guys in my driveway, and I pull some weeds while they poke around under my car and install clips.  “We’ve only got three, but they should hold it for you to bring the car in on Tuesday,” he says.  “Is the car safe to drive this weekend?” I ask.  He assures me it is, so I don’t have to juggle trying to get to WisCon on the bus which, over a holiday weekend, would suck enormously if it’s even feasible.  (Getting there would have been possible – I’d have had to take a taxi home every night.  $$)

I drop the car off on Tuesday, go home for a few hours, go back to pick it up.  The window and door work.  The plastic cover is still in place.  They burned a quarter tank of gas and added ~30 miles to the car.  I’m not sure how they pulled that off since I’m pretty sure all they had to do was replace a fuse.

The most frustrating part of this is that if I’d bought the car off a random guy on Craig’s List, this wouldn’t have happened.  I’d have taken the car to a mechanic to get inspected and known what needed repair ahead of time.  Working with this dealership was actually worse than working with random Joe Shmoe.  I am not happy, and certainly wouldn’t do business with these guys again.  I’m not going to complain directly to them – I’m not sure how much more clearly I can express my displeasure than I did when I said, “Now I can’t drive the car, send a tow truck here now and get this fixed ASAP,” and I doubt they care.  I’ll just be posting reviews in all the places I looked for ones and couldn’t find anything.

Once more, that’s Mad Motors on 12010 E. Washington Ave.  I worked with Paul Levinson.  Don’t call him before ten, he’ll be asleep.

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