A Clunker for A Lemon
11.06.2009: To Bob Bell of Bob Bell Automotive Group: On July 13, 2009, I put a down payment on a 2009 Chevy Colorado Extended Cab pick up. I couldn’t take possession of the truck until all the T’s were crossed and I’s dotted on the Government’s New Cash for Clunkers Program. I was trading in a 1995 Chevy S-10 that was starting to nickel and dime me the last couple of years; although, all and all, I have no complaints about the S-10. It ran very well, but it’s seen better days. My main reasons for trading it in was to take advantage of the cash for clunkers program, and to use the $25.000 Vehicle Voucher GM gave me as an incentive to retire. On July 25, I took possession of the Colorado.
July 26th, I started the truck, put it in reverse and gave it some gas, I heard the engine race, but it didn’t move. I looked to make sure it was in reverse, it was and just then it caught and lurched backwards. I parked the truck, shut it off and started it to see if it would do it again, it didn’t. I thought it was just a fluke.
July 31st, the shifting incident occurred again. And like before, I double checked the shifter to make sure it was in reverse, it was and again, it caught and lurched backwards. I parked the truck, shut it off, waited a few minutes and started it again, put it in reverse and this time it worked. I thought, okay, that’s twice in a week, I’d better report it the following Monday. That weekend went by without further incident. The following week I got caught up in personal business and couldn’t report the reverse shifting incidents. The week went by without further incident.
August 10th, the shifting incident occurred a third time. I called a Service Rep to report the reverse shifting problem, and a Paint Sag on right rear side of the cab and Paint Boils on the back of the right rear door, and that the left front door has to be slammed to close properly. The Rep told me to bring it in the next day.
August11th, the Rep sprayed oil on the door latch, but it didn’t solve the problem. He told me the truck will be sent to the body shop for paint repairs and then they’ll check the shifting problem and call me when it’s ready.
August 13th, I called the Rep for an update. As I suspected, the Rep told me the shifting problem couldn’t be replicated and that he’ll have Body Shop Supervisor call me about the paint repairs. An hour later, the Super called and told me he’ll have to repaint the cab, finesse the right rear door, and that the truck should be ready Friday the 14th.
August 19th, eight days after dropping it off, the Rep called to tell me my truck was ready and that when I sign off on it, I’ll get the paperwork for the Warranty Work in the mail. I looked it over and noticed it had been waxed, so it looked good. I told the Rep that since they could not replicate the shifting problem, I will document any further incidents. When I got the truck home I washed it and got a better look at it and noticed it was not repainted as the Super had said. Instead all he did was finesse the cab and right rear door and he did a lousy job of it, because I could still see the paint sag, and he broke paint on the right rear door where the paint was blistered. Since the Service Department couldn’t replicate the truck’s shifting problems, I don’t understand why Bob Bell had my truck for eight days for a shoddy paint repair job that could have been done in less than an hour.
August 21st, I was pulling away from my house when I heard a BOING noise when the truck shifted from first to second. It was the sound a spring makes when it’s compressed then released unencumbered. I heard it again a couple days later and added it to Notes I began to keep after the second reverse shifting incident. August 30th, the BOING noise began happening more often, and the Key Fob began to give me problems too, I had to push the lock button on the Fob 10 or more times before it locked the doors, if and when it worked. September 8th, I began hearing the BOING noise every time I start the truck and put it in drive; it would then BOING to second.
Sir, do you see my dilemma? The Super lied to me about repainting the cab, so now I’m wondering if I was lied to about the reverse shifting problem too. While I’m no longer having the reverse shifting problem, now I hear a BOING noise whenever it shifts from first to second, which makes me wonder if something was adjusted in the transmission or the shifting linkage and I’m not being told about it. And then there is the persistent temperamental problem with the Key Fob. I bring my truck in for repairs and end up with other problems.
September 16th, I noticed for the first time, when the sun hits the windshield a certain way, it has several scratches running vertically on the driver’s side. And now there’s a new rattle coming from the front end. What the?
September 18th, a few days after GM announced a 60 day return policy on new cars; I stopped in and asked the head salesman if GM’s return policy is retroactive because I’ve only had the truck 55 days. He said it was not. Hey, at this point, with all I’ve been through with this truck, you can’t blame me for asking.
September 22nd, I reported the BOING noise to a Service Rep. He had the head mechanic go for a ride with me so he could hear the noise. I let him drive. After hearing the BOINGS he said, “The noise is coming from the ABS or the Throttle Body.” And then he says, I’m paraphrasing, “If it’s not bent, broke or falling off, don’t worry about it.” Great, having worked in assembly plants, I understand where he’s coming from. Workers’ try to do a good job on the assembly line, but when they stop it to fix a problem, the boss yells, “Write it up. Someone will fix it later. Start the line!” It’s then inadvertently passed on to the dealers and customers. So yeah, GM, and most manufactures don’t make them like they used to; but hey, I paid $25,000 for the truck, so I want it fixed right.
October 2nd, I called a Customer Service Rep who told me to call her if I had problems. I told her about the BOING, windshield, paint and Key Fob problems. She told me she’ll talk to a supervisor and call me back. I called back two hours later and left a message. An hour later I called the Service Department and they connected me to a New Service Rep. I told her about my four problems and she told me to bring the truck in the following Monday.
October 5th, I brought the truck in and told the Rep about the problems. In front of her I started counting. She looked at me confused. I told her when I get to about twenty, the Key Fob will work, and at twenty it did. She added it to the repair list. I backed into the sunlight to show her the windshield scratches. She saw them and added them to the list. I told her the Body Shop Super told me he repainted defect areas, but clearly he didn’t. She looked, agreed and added them to the list. I took her for a ride; she heard the BOING noise and added it to the list.
Four hours later she told me the mechanic can’t replicate Key Fob problem so nothing can be done about it despite me demonstrating the problem. Second; she’ll contact GM about the BOING noise, maybe it’s a factory defect. Third; she told me to bring the truck in on the 7th for paint repairs and forth; they’ll fix the windshield too.
October 6th, I called to reschedule repairs for the 19th. October 7th, the Rep called and left a message that their Tech called GM and was told the BOING noise is the ABS self adjuster.
October 19th, I brought the truck in and kept pressing the Key Fob. It worked on the seventh try. The Rep added it to the list again, and I told her I also wanted the BOING noise added so I can have it in writing that it’s the ABS self adjuster. About three hours later she came to the lobby and told me the windshield is done and it looks good, then she introduced me to the New Body Shop Super, apparently previous Super was fired, maybe for lying about repairs that weren’t done. New Super told me there’s no record of repairs to my truck. I told him you guys had it for eight days, why no record? He didn’t know. He then told me the cab needs to be repainted, so they’ll keep it for a couple days.
October 21st, the Rep called to tell me the truck was ready and that the Key Fob works too. I gave the truck a good going over and like before it was waxed and shinny. Paint defects were repainted and looked good, and the windshield looked good too, and the BOING noise was documented as being the ABS self adjuster. And like before, when I got the truck home I washed it and noticed little scratches on the truck bed area around where the cab was repainted, and overspray on the door opening and rocker, none of which was there before. What the?
October 24th, the Key Fob’s back to working whenever. Also, when it’s dark out or when it’s raining, or when it’s dark, raining and driving under street lights, the area where the windshield was repaired is clearly visible and a distraction. Between the BOING, a front end rattle that wasn’t there when I brought it in and a half dozen other rattles that seem to be coming from everywhere; the Colorado has more rattles than my S-10 did after fifteen years. Again, I bring it in for repairs and end up with other problems. As you see, frustration is my motivation for writing you.
I was not sent the August Warranty Repair Ticket as promised, so on October 31st I went to the Service window and got a copy of the Ticket. It shows no indication that the truck was in repair for eight days; however, the ticket does state that the paint defects are overspray when they obviously were not, and that repairs were made, by which I assume the defects were finessed, because they were not repainted. The information on the Ticket also contradicts New Super’s claim that there is no record of what was done. Therefore, I feel I am being lied to on many levels.
Sir, in conclusion, and considering all the above, and especially the questionable record keeping, I suspect my truck was in the Essex shop for eight days so mechanics could fix it’s reverse shifting problem, and the BOING noise is a result of those repairs, because the noise was not present prior to my bring it in. Now that the first to second shifting/BOING problem has been documented as the ABS self adjuster, I suspect it was done to cover GM’s butt, and to prevent me from filing a claim under the States Lemon Law, which means I’m being lied to on every level and therefore screwed, which also means I have no choice but to live with it until something breaks or falls off.
However, while I’m satisfied with the paint job itself; I’m not satisfied with the scratches on the truck’s bed or overspray on the door opening and rocker that were not buffed out. Also, I’m not satisfied with the shoddy repair job that was done to the windshield that should have been replaced. Nor do I accept that the Key Fob works whenever, I paid for this feature and I expect it to work. And then there are those pesky rattles coming from everywhere; and the driver’s door needs to be adjusted. Sir, I demand all these problems be fixed.
Considering all the frustration I’ve been through with trying to get this truck up to acceptable standards with all its faults, it’s becoming more apparent with each trip to the repair shop that I’ve traded my 15 year old Clunker in for a Lemon. In spite of GM’s forbiddance, I regret that I didn’t take my chances with selling my Vehicle Voucher to a Salesman for the cash when he offered. I believe I would have been better off buying a Ford, or a Toyota.
For Your Information; I bought three new vehicles from surrounding Dealers (Jerry’s, Fox’s and Millers) over the last twenty years because Bob Bell didn’t have what I was looking for at the time, and I always brought them to Bob Bell for service or repairs, and not once in all that time did I have the problems I’m having now. A friend has a 2007 Colorado he bought new at Koons. Two years later his mag wheels began to pit and lose their luster. The Dealer replaced them free of charge and without question, thereby treating my friend like a valued customer, which makes me wonder why Bob Bell is treating me like a pariah. Obviously I’ve lost all confidence in the Essex Dealership, which is why I’m addressing this letter to you.
Sir, since the bases have been covered and I can’t file a Lemon Law claim, and I doubt Bob Bell will take this problem riddled vehicle off my hands and give me a new truck or my money back, would you please address all six of my concerns and see to in the future that I’m treated like a valued customer, and thereby, a satisfied customer? I await your response. Thank you and Sincerely.
cc; Manager, Bob Bell Chevrolet of Essex, MD - 11.06.09
FYI: The following summation was not included in franchise owner’s letter;
The only explanation I have for all of the above is GM/UAW officials are still upset with me for writing newsletters about the corrupt and perverse partnership they have, and for posting them on my website at disgruntledautoworker.com. I believe GM and/or UAW officials are pulling strings to make my new vehicle purchase as unpleasant an experience as possible and thereby frustrating, but I’ve got news for the Partners. Frustrating or not, as long as GM and the Dealer eat the repair costs, which must be pretty high by now, I will continue to return the truck for repairs until it meets acceptable standards, even if newer problems mysteriously emerge.
I believe the lesson learned here is that the New GM is not all that different from the Old GM. They may have gotten rid of a few brands and obligations, and assumed a few others, but the leadership of the New Company is the same irresponsible bunch who drove the Old Corporation into the ditch in the first place. CEO Wagoner may have been replaced by Henderson, who moved up to the driver’s seat from the back seat, while “Global warming is a crock of shit” Lutz rode shotgun, they’re still the same old vengeful derelict gang of fools who will more likely than not drive the New Company into the ditch as well. It must also be said that the UAW’s mis-Leaders, or GM’s partners, are just as culpable, because they’ve been faithfully riding bitch for thirty years.
In Solidarity, Doug Hanscom
The Factory Rat
Soldiers Of Solidarity
See DA # 60 for update...........