ExPat

Hopefully, this won’t become a Chronicles of ExPat as was the case with Pat the Patriot. But I made this official yesterday morning

It’s amazing how asking a business who their Registered Agent is can motivate them to make right a bad shituation.

I’d complained at Pat’s second and the third Spa Days through this outfit’s webpage – since there was no way to directly contact the GM.

Both times, I got sales people reaching out to me about coming in to drive cars. The second time, I actually fired a warning shot in response, telling the salesperson my struggle and he replied that he’d printed my email and put it in front of the GM.

Nothing.

So I complained through the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection department, thinking that might goose the guy to get involved. Sadly, that only prompted him to push an avalanche of papers – checklists and reports – into the DoJ inbox maintaining Pat’s quality as well as their exhaustive presale due diligence.

Case closed.

Until

Two back-to-back visits later, I get the GM’s email address from my service guy and drop the words lawsuit, overcharged, refund and lost income. Seriously, after a total of 5 weeks in the shop in 6 months, I was missing about $2500 in compensation from Lyft driving. I really thought that would get his attention. It was the largest chunk of what I laid out as about $7700 in what could become my lawsuit against his dealership.

At the end of the day, who knows what word it was that really prompted him to finally reach out. He claims he never noticed my mention of a lawsuit.

You can see where the quality performance really starts in this outfit if he’s not capable of reading for retention and picking out little details like that…

But, here we were, sitting at a table, finally talking. The GM, the new Service Manager and me.

He spends a lot of time running through his 25 year resume and attesting to the most important thing to him: happy customers.

I made a lengthy show of calling him either oblivious, stupid or a liar. But our conversation continued.

In his eagerness to demonstrate his commitment to customer satisfaction, he offered up three paths forward:

  • Let them have another (6th) crack at making Pat whole
  • Refund my extended warranty and repair charges and I can find another service provider to finish easing Pat into their early grave
  • Trade Pat in on a new vehicle
  • Now, you know my grumpy old ass. I countered with a two-point list after telling him Pat was his failure to fix and asking why I should reward him by buying another car from him when this one had been such a disaster.
  • Realizing I’d unwittingly sprung a trap by pointing a conversational arrow at letting them try to fix Pat again, I acquiesced while reminding Hong that there had been an unmentioned fourth option.
  • He promised to get Pat repaired and back on the streets by Friday. The two-day window he’d committed to was perfectly punctuated by the Service Manager’s snapping vertebrae as he reacted to the promise.
  • Great.
  • I take off in my loaner, again…seriously, this was my fourth loaner from them – I hadn’t expected to have a roster of vehicles on my ParkingKitty app when I bought Pat. So I deleted the first couple, but feast your eyes
  • Friday comes around and at lunchtime, I figure I’d best check in before the service guys were off. I message my Service Tech and he replies that the carpet hasn’t dried yet, so they’re going to leave it over the weekend.
  • I ask if they found any other leaks and he says no…then adds
  • The two floor plugs in the back were completely soaked, we resealed them, now the carpet just needs to dry!

  • Pushing down the strangeness of plugs becoming soaked – shouldn’t plugs be made of nonabsorbent material? – water leaking upward through the car’s belly and the desire to ask, “So that’s where the leak was all along?” I failed miserably at managing my sense of helplessness but gathered my thoughts and sent the GM another email. I asked about getting my warranty and prior repairs refunded and then asked about using that credit toward a new vehicle.
  • I was so frustrated and felt completely underwater in this transaction.

    Victimized.

    That’s a tough word – you conjure up images of violence or breaking and entering, not something civilized like transacting a car purchase. But I think it’s a good word. Think back to the financial crisis when people were throwing around terms like “predatory lending”. This was how I felt, like I was the weak prey versus an equal in the transaction.

    Again, I reiterated to him my dis-ease with furthering our professional relationship. A sense that both got worse and evolved into a “who cares, it’s never gonna happen” attitude simultaneously as I researched Pat’s trade in value.

    I was about $3800 upside down on them. I didn’t really see this joker that can’t follow up on an inspection checklist pulling a rabbit out of his hat here.

    Son of a bi…

    He actually did it, dragging me along with him.

    Of course, I sent the email on Friday afternoon and waited about 20 hours for a response, but when it came – well, it didn’t come with half measures.

    And just look at the car.

    It might have been my mention of regretting not going with the Tiguan when I’d been looking. Whatever it was – luck, listening skills (which seemed less likely given his track record with details) – the X3 he put in front of me was definitely speaking my language.

    But it was something he owned at a good enough price to absorb my negative equity into the price of the car. He also took my prior repair and warranty purchase in as a down payment credit.

    All of which means, the deal frigging worked.

    Of course, I made the deal contingent up on Lyft signing off on the car for service. The GM was confident that I’d be getting more lucrative, upgraded rides through LyftLux.

    We’ll see.

    Monday morning, I tootled down to the Lyft Hub for an inspection. They signed right off on it – telling me Portland wasn’t much of a Lux hive, but maybe expect them Friday and Saturday night.

    That tracked.

    But in looking at the Lux ride rates from the driver side, we keep 80% of the drop rate versus 20%. The per mile rate was ~3x more, too, so I am hoping that those special occasion Friday and Saturday night rides come through!

    Regardless, I drove away from my signing meeting thinking, “Welp, this is only gonna cost me one hour of driving more a week than Pat”. As long as I’m able to be driving consistently, an extra hour a week seems pretty manageable…keep your fingers crossed!

    ExPat

    Ongoing Pat-scapades

    Well, the part my dealership ordered for Door Seal Repair: Part Duex should have arrived either Friday or Saturday – depending on when the clock starts on “two days to arrive”. I thought it wise to just check in on Saturday and get an update.

    Mind you, this communication is all done through a text messaging system, so it’s not like I’m making them drop what they’re doing to answer my inquiry. Rest assured, this text message system has not impaired my ability to scream bloody murder at them for their continued successes in fucking up an attempts to fuck me over.

    Nothing.

    Sure, maybe my service tech is off on Saturdays, but you’d think someone would check messages…

    Well, I would think that. Me and my uncommon knowledge.

    Then on Sunday, I get a text reminding me of my drop off the following morning.

    I mean, A) no one told poor Allie that my car was already onsite, but what’s good communication gonna do for an outfit, anyway? And, B) my appointment was for 7:00, which I thought was when they arrived/opened. Given my myriad experience with these folks, I also know that these appointment slots are rather informal. Last time I dropped my car off – maybe…three weeks ago, now? – my service tech was surprised to see me and when I mentioned that I thought there would be a bigger crowd, he kind of poo-poo-ed the overall effectiveness of the whole appointment notion.

    But, since I did have questions…

    My car is already there, since it was not usable for work, a dropped it off early. A part was ordered, with a two day delivery, and should be there by now.

    Can you confirm it is? If so, I should be picking it up tomorrow. If not, I’ll still need a loaner until it’s done. But I’d rather not get up at 6 to get it. Could it be held until later in the day?

    I know, I know…I didn’t proofread my text. But, it turns out that my typos will only be seen by you since the only follow up I’ve gotten to those questions was this:

    Poor Allie isn’t even real! Still, she’s probably their best employee.

    Anyway, my tech – Joseph – texts me back this morning in response to my Saturday message with this BS…

    So I tell him that I’ll be in around lunchtime to pick up my loaner. At about 12:30, I set out on foot to the dealership which is only about a mile and a half away.

    At least it’s a beautiful day!

    I get there…any guesses?

    No loaner.

    To quote the prophet Kathy Griffin

    Oh, for fuck sake!

    They decided to comp me a rental from Enterprise, telling me that they would pick me up in 5 minutes.

    Well, the wait was longer than my walk to the dealership took, so either I walk really fast or these guys are less tight with honesty than the GOP.

    Back to that whole “good communication” thing, when I finally got to the Enterprise place, I got charged a “Totally refundable $50 deposit” to which I replied,

    Well, if it’s as totally refundable as my comped rental from the dealership, I see a good deal of hassle in my future.

    Nonetheless, here’s the new ride at least through next Monday.

    There was a BMW and Porsche SUV on the lot and I – totally jokingly – asked if I couldn’t have one of those. The rental guy replied, totally serious, “Sure, although that would probably run you a little out of pocket!”

    Nice try.

    My annoyance – I’m oddly kind of over the ~$900 bucks I could have made driving during Pat’s most recent spa visit – is that somehow the logic of spending $385 to rent me a car for seven days is superior to just getting another damn door seal on a plane that would get here in two days.

    I’m not surprised these jokers didn’t think of that – I’m surprised they are both employed and still in business.

    Idiots.

    Ongoing Pat-scapades