Sunday, December 12, 2010

The End...? (aka Jones Junction = Jones Nissan = Bel Air Nissan = Evil)

The story behind how I acquired Petunia is here, and here, and there.

On 11/23/10, Roxanne told me that the Garmin was on order and it would be delivered in 2 weeks or maybe 3 due to the holiday.

On 11/24/10, Steve Zell told me that he hadn't returned my calls because the service manager was supposed to be handling it, and they couldn't get the nav system or the cradle. Also on the 24th, I talked to the registration people and the title people in Ohio and they still hadn't received anything BUT I could bring in the bill of sale and some other paperwork and get a 30 day temp tag from Ohio. I talked to Tracy and she said that she'd fedex copies of the papers that they'd sent to Ohio so I'd have them and that they'd arrive at my parents' house on Friday.

On Friday, nothing happened.

On Saturday (11/27/10), I called Tracy's cell phone to demand to know where the fedex package was. She checked the tracking number, and it was never shipped. So she went into the office, scanned the papers and emailed them to me. I printed them out and kept them with me. (The theory was that if I did get pulled over, I'd have proof that the registration was in process.) Also on Saturday, I moved into the Extended Stay hotel in one of the Chicago suburbs.

On 11/29/10, Tracy told me that the courier company would have the paperwork from the state the next day and would fedex it directly to me. Later that day, I talked to Roxanne, who needed to know what county in Ohio. Also on the 29th, I left a message for the guy at the dealer license place to let him know that the situation was not resolved. And I got a message from my parents saying that the fedex from the dealership arrived at their house today. Also, I started my new job.

On 12/1/10, I left several messages for them but didn't hear anything.

On 12/2/10, I talked to the registration and title people in Ohio again and learned that the registration had been completed the day before. Yay! I also got a message from Roxanne with the fedex tracking number of the registration coming to me at my new place of work.

On 12/3/10 (the day after my 60 day temp tags expired), I received the package with my registration and Ohio temp tags, with the note that my plates were being manufactured and I'd get them via fedex in the next 2 weeks.

On 12/7/10, I talked to my dad, who told me that Petunia's tags are at their house. Success! Yay! I'll pick them up when I'm home for Christmas, and I have the temp tags (which are good until 12/29/10) until then.

Now I wait and see if the dealership has the nerve to call and try to collect the additional taxes... I have been keeping track of the hours that I've spent on the phone for this, and there's a lot of them. If they call me for the taxes, I will bill them for these hours and it will be substantially more than the tax difference, and if it comes to it, I will take them to court. I am so sick of businesses pulling shit like this because they know that they will get away with it because there isn't any way for you or I to do anything about it without a significant output of time, money and energy which most of us just can't afford. At this point, I'm almost hoping they do call - I need a target for all of the rage and stress, and they'd be a handy one.

Interesting Side Note:
I need a local Nissan dealership here so I started researching the Nissan dealerships around here. I found one that did the same thing to a guy buying the vehicle from Virginia. And a lady I talked to in North Carolina went through something very similar when buying a car in Florida. I have a hard time believing that this is a coincidence. So, if you are buying a car out of state, BEWARE.

Lessons Learned:
1. Get everything regarding pricing and available options in writing, preferably notarized, from someone with the authority to give it. Hint: sales guy probably doesn't have the authority.

2. Make sure writing is CLEAR. (Something scribbled on the side of the brochure = not clear.)

3. Eat BEFORE you go. Take snacks.

4. Read everything. Question anything that is not perfectly clear. (If you can't explain to someone else and have it make sense, it is not perfectly clear. Ask.)

5. Research the dealership carefully. This includes an address search! (I researched by Jones Nissan and Jones Junction, which is what all of the advertising says. The actual name of the dealership is Bel Air Nissan, and THAT is where the bad reviews live. Yes, they are operating under an alias to hide from their bad press. That never occurred to me. I will not forget in the future.)

6. Try to get something in writing from them before you leave stating that you have paid everything that you are responsible for - I don't know if this will work, but if it does, it will probably save you being called weeks later for additional fees.

7. Learned from a forum online: do not mention a lawyer unless you have one. Most dealerships will immediately stop talking to you and go straight to their lawyer. Don't try to bluff this one.

8. The Attorney General, the BBB, the corporate parent company (Nissan Corporate Customer Affairs), the finance company, the clerk of courts in Maryland and Ohio, AND the registration people in Maryland and Ohio were sympathetic, but useless to resolving the situation. I think my calling several times a day for several months helped, and I think I'd still be fighting with them had Agent Hubbart from the Maryland Dealers Licensing Department not called and snarled at them for me. So, don't forget the dealer licensing people if you have a problem.


imbeingheldhostage said...

This is exactly what everyone hopes to experience over the holiday season, you know? I'd be ready to let out a little rage on them too. It's REALLY a nightmare, isn't it? I'm glad things seem settled now and hope you're able to relax and enjoy your time with family!

SUEB0B said...

I do not understand why the car business has to be so incredibly sleazy.

Paul said...

Just want to say thanks for putting this information out there for others to read. I had a situation from a dealer in Frederick MD that sold me a "certified vehicle" that had been in an accident. Don't ever believe them when they say "Inspected" or "Certified". You should ALWAYS have an independent mechanic inspect the car, even if it costs you a $100 or more, because in the end, it could end up saving you thousands. The CARFAX report did not reflect the accident because it had not been updated yet. Apparently there is a lag time for the information to make its way into the database(s) that CARFAX uses in their reports. The value of the car went from being worth $13K down to $8K overnight (I had CARMAX appraise it a few months later after having a dealer closer to home service it - they made comments about body damage underneath, they could not believe it sold with the "Certified" label). I called the original dealer and they eventually agreed to buy it back, but of course not for the original amount. I did receive more than $8K, but if I had taken the lawyer route, it would have been well above the purchase price. Then they have the nerve to put it back out on their lot and try to resell it for the same price and state in the ad, " accidents...". Fortunately the car did not sell and they eventually had to auction it off (I located the vehicle by doing a Google search on the VIN number). Hopefully they lost money on this one.