There Simply Are No Good Businesses Anymore

My family has bought five Subarus from Wheeling Subaru and get all of our work there and are loyal customers. That’s why I am so thrilled to have to spend over $1,000.00 replacing the rear struts on the car I bought from them less than 3,000 miles ago. The very least these assholes could do is waive the labor costs, which is half the damned bill.

No one gives a shit anymore. Businesses exist solely to fuck people.

I do kinda feel bad for barking at the mechanic. I can be kind of imposing when I am pissed and after they gave me the estimate I did an about face, walked to the garage, pointed to him and yelled “Take that off the god damned lift before I punch someone in the neck.” The assholes tag applies to me, too, but I was so mad I lost peripheral vision. I had to just get out of there before I made the evening news.






147 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Did you have any kind of warranty? If so, for how long was it and what did it cover?

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The MBA mentality RULES!

    Which is why burning the entire motherfucker down is looking to be a viable option.

  3. 3
    Violet says:

    Well that sucks. Did you have an independent mechanic look at it before you bought it?

  4. 4
    John Cole +0 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): It was drive train only. I noticed the rattle two weeks after I bought the car, but there was a snowstorm and we cancelled the appointment and I just got scheduled in for today and got the news.

  5. 5
    Yatsuno says:

    @Violet: Pay the $100 now to save the $1000 later. A lot of used car sales are straight up as-is. JC is lucky he has the drive train warranty.

  6. 6
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Rear struts, eh? Subaru, you say?

    What is it, an Outback? My wife got one that had to have the rear struts replaced two or three times in the first few years we had it. The symptom was that the thing would start shimmying from side to side in an unnerving way whenever it went over a pothole. Granted, there were lots of potholes in our neighborhood, but this was an AWD vehicle that was theoretically supposed to have some modicum of ability to handle rough terrain, and Massachusetts streets really shouldn’t have been too much for it.

    Fortunately, that was all while it was under warranty, and the struts seem to have held much longer since then. We theorized that it was a bad batch of parts.

  7. 7
    C.V. Danes says:

    No one gives a shit anymore.

    I was thinking this same thought a few days ago, but then I was wondering what they would give a shit about? We reached for the stars and all we got in return was an ad-driven search engine, a way to share party pics with “friends” we’ve never met, and Angry Birds…

  8. 8
    some guy says:

    Those are dealer prices. Call around town and see who will replace the struts for less. Surely you can get this work done at half the price.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @John Cole +0: Bummer.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    Make Shawn do it, Cole. Otherwise no spooning.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    I think car dealers have been shady for a long time. Several years ago now a friend was looking at used cars. He found one he liked at a local dealership. The dealer told him it had had one owner and had a good safety record. For some reason he didn’t know about CarFax so we all urged him to insist on getting the CarFax on it. When it came back, the car had had something like three owners and had been in a major wreck. The dealer claimed complete ignorance of it.

    Not sure why a car dealership that has had a longstanding relationship with your family would want to fuck you over though. That’s just stupid.

  12. 12
    Suzanne says:

    Ugh. I’m sorry, Cole. Sell the damn thing and buy something new from someone else.

  13. 13
    Trinity says:

    This.

  14. 14
    joel hanes says:

    Not seeing any dishonesty in what the dealer is doing.

    Used car, good price, powertrain-only warranty doesn’t cover struts.
    You didn’t have an independent mechanic survey it for defects before you bought it.

    You want a car where the dealer is reponsible for defects, you pay the money to get the newer car or the warranty you want.

    Sorry, John; I’m a small-town guy with small-town values too, and I generally agree with you on stuff like this, but on this one I think you’re expecting more from a dealeship than their business model will support.

  15. 15
    Citizen_X says:

    @some guy:

    Those are dealer prices.

    Srsly. Get your warranty work done at the dealer. Find a good garage for everything else.

  16. 16
    chris9059 says:

    This is the new American business model. screw the customer, screw the employees, evade your taxes, ignore safety and environmental regulations and moan about how you are being persecuted the “socialists”.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @joel hanes: I think you have it about right.

  18. 18
    kindness says:

    I know my old squeeze used to have to have the rubber on her CV joints replaced all the time but that was an Outback from the 80’s. I’d heard they fixed it.

    Struts though…..yea, go to someone other than the dealer if it isn’t under warranty.

  19. 19
    James Gary says:

    +1 to Joel Hanes.

    I’m no automotive expert–however, $1,000 in parts and labor for the job you describe doesn’t seem particularly outrageous to me. Sorry you got a lemon, Cole, but these things happen sometimes.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @James Gary: Struts that need replacement don’t equal a lemon.

  21. 21
    Eric U. says:

    you can borrow my spring compressor and floor jacks and have it done in less time that it takes to not drink a sixpack.

  22. 22
    Tone In DC says:

    I can commiserate regarding car drama.

    Two weeks ago, I needed my spark plugs changed. Per the car’s manual, this happens at 120,000 miles. I called up several dealerships, and their quotes ranged from $200 to over eight bills.
    I took the car to the dealer way out in East BF near Baltimore, who told me $200. Dropped off the car and the six plugs. Walked to the poor excuse for a movie theater, as there was a two hour wait on the service.
    Got the phone call in the theater.

    Them: We couldn’t do this for $200, it would cost about $400 for the V6 version.
    Me: I asked you guys about the price days ago. I told your rep that this car is V6 model. I even gave you the plugs, just now.
    Them: The person you spoke to was must have thought you meant the four cylinder.
    Me: I doubt she misheard me. I’ll come pick it up and take my business elsewhere.

    Some guys in a small garage in Alexandria put in the plugs for $245.

    I second the motion to get another bid, John. That’s a nice car you have, but that’s a lot for struts, IMHO.

  23. 23
    Eric U. says:

    fywp will not let me edit my comment, but let’s say they are charging $150 an hour for labor so that’s 3 hours labor. I’m sure they’ll be done in an hour, I am pretty sure I could do it that fast in my driveway

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Get your warranty work done at the dealer. Find a good garage for everything else.

    The manufacturers are doing their best to make their cars impossible for the independent garages to work on. Not sure what the recent state of play is. I think there was a good ruling on the access to diagnostic codes.

  25. 25
    John Cole +0 says:

    @joel hanes: Two weeks after I bought the car I made an appointment for the rattle. We cancelled it for a snowstorm. We then tried to schedule but I could not find a good time. Finally got an appt. for today, was told the rattle is the left rear strut but we have to replace both.

    I’m super glad you think the dealer is being fair for wanting 1k in repairs for something that was there two weeks after I purchased the car. Please tell me what business you run so I can avoid it like the plague.

    I’d even pay for the parts if they would waive the 500 in labor.

  26. 26
    wenchacha says:

    @Matt McIrvin: My car-guy husband says there are sometimes “silent recalls” on cars, where unless the buyer/owner asks, they are not informed that the company owes them the parts or labor to fix. Don’t know if Subaru has done that, but others have.

    Sorry, John Cole. Every time you go out until you get to the 30 day treatment, just ask people if they can wait to punch you in the gut until then. Fergawdsakes.

  27. 27
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Violet: @joel hanes: @chris9059: Between you three, you said about everything I could.

    Car dealers suck. Used cars should come with caveat emptor stamped all over the sticker, the contract and between every line of fine print. And any attempt to address either condition will be met with Reichwhinging over Soshulism and Big Gubmint Treading on Our Rights.

    @John Cole +0: I feel for you, and I’ve been in similar straits (a used car I once had cost more to repair than to purchase), but there’s not a lot to be done when all you have is the stuff already in writing. It’s 2014 and nobody’s a small businessperson with customers s/he knows anymore.

    My favorite example of Car Dealers Behaving Badly: Vern Buchanan.

  28. 28
    chopper says:

    I haveta get the struts done on my car this year. Not looking forward to the price.

    Luckily that’s something any mechanic worth his salt can do.

  29. 29
    BobS says:

    @some gu@Citizen_X: y:These two comments are right on the mark — dealers are for warranty work only. You’re old enough to know better.

  30. 30
    boatboy_srq says:

    @boatboy_srq: could some kind FPer please release this comment? Silly me linked one too many again…

    and please delete this once the earlier comment is released.

  31. 31
    BGinCHI says:

    Agree with others on the dealer thing. I get that you have a history with them, John, but that’s history now.

    Find a good shop and get a quote. Lots of ways to check reliability online these days….

  32. 32
    chopper says:

    @joel hanes:

    Used car, good price, powertrain-only warranty doesn’t cover struts.
    You didn’t have an independent mechanic survey it for defects before you bought it.

    I guess their mechanic didn’t notice it either. Either that or he did and they decided not to mention it. Sketchy either way, no?

  33. 33
    James Gary says:

    @John Cole +0: Two weeks after I bought the car I made an appointment for the rattle. We cancelled it for a snowstorm. We then tried to schedule but I could not find a good time. Finally got an appt. for today, was told the rattle is the left rear strut but we have to replace both.I’m super glad you think the dealer is being fair for wanting 1k in repairs for something that was there two weeks after I purchased the car.

    Not to be a dick here (and maybe I’ve just lived in NYC for too long)—but that dealer doesn’t owe you anything. Saying that he isn’t being “fair” for not cutting you a special deal makes you sound a little like a petulant child. Caveat emptor.

  34. 34
    realbtl says:

    CarFax is good for the first round of weeding out the cars you don’t want but alway, always get an independent mechanic to check it out. A Mustang I was looking at showed one minor accident to the left front. This was true but it was also T-boned in the passenger door which tweaked the frame. If the PO paid for the repairs out of pocket and not through insurance it will likely not show up on CarFax. Same with non-dealer service.

  35. 35
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tone In DC:

    Them: We couldn’t do this for $200, it would cost about $400 for the V6 version…. (etc.)

    Me: I’d like to use this coupon for the oil change.
    Him: That’s only for conventional oil.
    Me: Yes, that’s fine, that’s what I’ve always used in this car.
    Him: The synthetic stuff is much better.
    Me: I’m financially stressed, conventional is fine.

    Ten minutes go by in the waiting room.

    Him: You know, that car only takes synthetic oil.
    Me: What are you talking about? I’ve been putting conventional oil in it for years.
    Him: It takes 5-W20.
    Me: Yes, I know, what’s the problem?
    Him: They don’t make conventional 5-W20.
    Me: Is the car in your garage yet?
    Him: No, it’s still outside.

    Me: [goes out to car, retrieves object, goes back in with object behind my back]

    Me: So what you’re telling me is that they don’t make conventional 5-W20?
    Him: [Romney debate-like pause] Yes. I can look it up for you on the web.
    Me: Don’t bother. [Plunks down empty container of 5-W20 with the large word CONVENTIONAL in capital letters across the front upon the counter in front of him.]
    Him: Well… we don’t have any conventional…
    Me: [picks coupon up off the counter], Well, let’s just forget the whole thing then. [Walks out]

    What this asshole didn’t know is that if I liked them during the oil change, I was going to have them do the brakes and links too.

  36. 36
    Russ says:

    Get two people and stand on the rear bumper and transfer weight up/down and jump off. If car does not continue keep bouncing, then struts are not the problem. A ratlle could be a loose strut at the mountin point on either end. Get under car and get ahold off strut and see if it moves att all. Find a large bump to go over and see what car handles like after bump, if it’s gets squirrelly, then struts need to be replaced.

  37. 37
    John Cole +0 says:

    @James Gary: Whatever. I’m realizing now why they do this. Because you all have grown to accept shitty service.

  38. 38
    different-church-lady says:

    @Russ:

    Get two people and stand on the rear bumper and transfer weight up/down and jump off.

    This is a man who can break his shoulder with a kitchen mop. What could possibly go wrong?

  39. 39
    different-church-lady says:

    @John Cole +0: I haven’t grown to accept it — I’ve grown to accept that there’s not a lot I can do about it.

  40. 40
    C.S. says:

    @James Gary:

    Not to be a dick here, but that dealer doesn’t owe you anything. Caveat emptor.

    Not to be a dick, but you are, in fact, being a dick. You are being a dick by saying “caveat emptor,” as if the Latin exonerates the sentiment. You’re being a dick because you bought into the entire “dickishness is the new cool” that allows longstanding businesses to not care about taking care of loyal customers. You’re being a dick by placing the burden of knowledge on the wrong person, and taking it off of the business which has all of the training, knowledge, and tools available to be able to know precisely the state of things. Oh, wait — Cole coulda/shoulda had an independent mechanic look at it, you say? Why? Why does the business get off scot free in this situation? Why does the buyer of the car have to make an entirely separate purchase just to make sure they’re not getting screwed?

    Oh, yeah . . . it’s because of the Latin.

    Dick.

  41. 41
    Violet says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Me: [picks coupon up off the counter], Well, let’s just forget the whole thing then. [Walks out]

    What this asshole didn’t know is that if I liked them during the oil change, I was going to have them do the brakes and links too.

    Reminds me of this.

  42. 42
    Tone In DC says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Him: You know, that car only takes synthetic oil.
    Me: What are you talking about? I’ve been putting conventional oil in it for years.
    Him: It takes 5-W20.
    Me: Yes, I know, what’s the problem?
    Him: They don’t make conventional 5-W20.
    Me: Is the car in your garage yet?
    Him: No, it’s still outside.

    Eesh.
    Too bad there wasn’t a field nearby for him to fertilize.
    It’s enough to make you curse in fluent kangaroo, I tells ya.

  43. 43
    raven says:

    @C.S.:

    Oh, wait — Cole coulda/shoulda had an independent mechanic look at it, you say

    Anyone that doesn’t have a buyers check by an independent mechanic before they buy a new car is asking for trouble.

  44. 44
    Mike in NC says:

    I didn’t think Subarus were selling well these days. My brother had one years ago and swore it would be his last.

  45. 45
    different-church-lady says:

    @Tone In DC: The sad thing is that for a moment he had me doubting my own sanity. I had to go to go to the car and prove it to myself before I had the guts to call bullshit.

    And when I was at the car, I was thinking, “Do I go back in, or do I just drive away?” Because I’m at the age where I don’t need anymore conflict than necessary.

    But then I thought, “You know what? This asshole has earned what coming to him. Let’s deliver.”

  46. 46
    C.S. says:

    @raven:

    Anyone that doesn’t have a buyers check by an independent mechanic before they buy a new car is asking for trouble.

    Oh, yeah. It’s the buyer’s fault. Absolutely. Hey! Look at the dumbass who bought a car based on the representations of a legitimate business owner! Watta maroon!

    That is being a dick. You think you should always get it checked first by an independent, and I agree . . . but when you take the next step, of blaming the buyer who doesn’t get it checked, instead of the business which could have, should have, and probably did know of the problems, then you’re being a dick. You just are. Sorry.

  47. 47
    Pogonip says:

    If you can possibly afford it, buy a NEW vehicle in a model that’s been around for several years. The extra money is worth the freedom from aggravation like John suffered.

  48. 48
    jenn says:

    One thing that I didn’t see here was whether John talked with anyone who actually had the authority to knock the labor charges off the bill. The mechanics and the random employees who set up appointments/run your credit card typically don’t. Getting grumpy with them does no good, and really just makes the whole situation worse. Talk to the manager.

  49. 49
    Tone In DC says:

    @different-church-lady:

    And when I was at the car, I was thinking, “Do I go back in, or do I just drive away?” Because I’m at the age where I don’t need anymore conflict than necessary.

    But then I thought, “You know what? This asshole has earned what coming to him. Let’s deliver.”

    LULz.

  50. 50
    max says:

    @Matt McIrvin: We theorized that it was a bad batch of parts.

    Defective part design, more likely. Happens.

    @John Cole +0: I’d even pay for the parts if they would waive the 500 in labor.

    KYB rear struts are 60$ apiece. Gabriel is about 63$. I didn’t see any Monroes or fully built struts (that is struts and spring kits, preassembled).

    New set of rear springs ought to be 30-50$. Throw in shock bumpers and stuff and we’re looking at maybe 200 dollars, 300 tops. Which means a 7 to 800 dollar boat payment.

    Yeah, some guy is right, these are dealer ripoff prices. You should be able to get full rear struts replacement for maybe 500-600, depending on how much they gotta fiddle with the parts.

    max
    [‘So I think you’re right Cole, they should not be ripping you on the labor. That said, dealerships tend to be franchise affairs, so your beef might be with Subaru so much as the local dealer.’]

  51. 51
    askew says:

    Hopkins Honda in Minnesota has been great for our family. They’ve given us discounts because we’ve been longtime customers and they even paid me way above bluebook when I traded in my old car that was in need of about $2,000 of repairs.

    Sorry your dealer screwed you over.

    That’s why I always buy new cars. I hate the surprise costs with used cars.

  52. 52
    raven says:

    @C.S.: Listen motherfucker, I found out the hard way and you can jam it if you don’t like it. Every time someone here asks for used car buying advice I say the same thing.

  53. 53
    Forkbeard says:

    Bleh. I’ve had great luck with my local Subaru dealership – we’ve been using them for repairs for the past few years on my wife’s WRX, and I just got a new Forrester from them in June. I’m sorry to hear of anyone getting service like this. :(

  54. 54
    David Fud says:

    That’s a lot better than the $870 the VW dealership wanted for replacing a sideswiped passenger side mirror.

    Seriously, a mirror was the only damage, and it cost $870?

    Looks like the printer/cartridge gig has turned into the car/spare parts gig, except for a lot more than chump change.

  55. 55
    raven says:

    Consumer reports buyers guide

    Take the car to an independent mechanic
    Before you close the deal, have it scru­tinized by a repair shop that routinely does diagnostic work. A dealer should have no problem lending you the car to have it inspected as long as you leave identification. If a salesperson tells you that an independent inspection is not necessary because the dealership has already done it, insist on having your mechanic look at it. If a private seller is reluctant to let you drive the car to a shop, offer to follow the seller to the shop where the inspection will take place.

    A thorough diagnosis should cost around $100, but check the price in advance. Ask the mechanic for a written report detailing the car’s condition, noting any problems found and the cost to repair them. You can then use the report in the negotiation with the seller.
    If you don’t know of a repair shop with which you feel comfortable, try to get a referral from some­one you trust. You can also ask for the name of a good shop at a local auto-parts store. If you can’t get referrals, you can find shops on the Yellow Pages website or at the Car Care Council’s website (www.carcare.org). This is an organization supported by the auto aftermarket industry, but there are no performance criteria for shops listed on the site.

    To check for complaints about any shops you aren’t familiar with, research them at the Better Business Bureau’s website. Members of the American Auto­mobile Association (AAA) can use one of its recommended facilities.

    If you’re visiting a shop for the first time, look for certificates or window decals from AAA or the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). AAA-certified garages must meet certain quality standards. The ASE grants certificates to mechanics who pass exams in any of eight areas of expertise. The institute does not certify shops as a whole, but if 75 percent of the employees are ASE-certified, the shop can carry the seal.

  56. 56
    C.S. says:

    @raven: I say the same thing, too, if someone asks. But that’s not the issue. The issue is someone who doesn’t get a mechanic to look at it. You, it seems, are going out of your way to exonerate the dealer who makes the independent mechanic necessary, and that’s being a dick. Blaming the victim is being a dick. You can choose any context you want, but blaming the victim is always, always being a dick.

  57. 57
    kindness says:

    @Mike in NC: The Outback is a really nice car. Honestly I’m currently looking between a used 3.6 Limited or a Lexus RX-350. Haven’t driven the Lexus yet so I can’t say. I like the room the wagon of the Subaru has though and the AWD is good for the snow in the winter. We’ll see.

  58. 58
    askew says:

    @David Fud:

    The Mazda dealer wanted $300 to replace my sister’s headlight that had burnt out. They made it so damn hard to get the cover off the headlight now that it takes an hour of labor according to the dealer. It took my brother-in-law and neighbor over an hour to do it but she only had to pay for parts.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    DMV .ORG

    Used Car Inspections
    Thinking about buying a used car? Always have a used car inspected by a qualified mechanic before buying it.

    That’s one bit of advice that almost all car experts agree on.

    Why? Because doing so can uncover hidden problems, protect you from unexpected repairs, enhance your safety, and possibly lower the purchase price.

    If you don’t already have a trusted mechanic, ask your family and friends for a reference or check your local listings.

    What a Used Car Inspection Should Cover
    A thorough check-up examines mechanical, safety, and appearance aspects, such as the vehicle’s:

    Tires.
    Frame.
    Suspension.
    Glass.
    Lights.
    Brakes.
    Radiator.
    Hoses.
    Belts.
    Fluids.
    Battery.
    Body condition.
    Exterior surface.
    The best inspections include a road test and a computerized engine analysis. Some comprehensive examinations also evaluate the condition of the instrument controls, pedals, seats, and sound system.

    Where to Get a Used Car Inspection
    Take the car to a trusted repair shop, if you have one. Otherwise, most dealer service departments and independent repair shops will be happy to do the inspection. Just look online or through your phone book to find local shops that perform inspections.

    If the seller refuses to let you take the car away, suggest that the seller accompany you to the shop. Or, use a shop that provides mobile inspections. While these examinations aren’t as complete as those performed on a lift, they still can be quite helpful.

    If you’re not buying from a local seller, you can order a pre-purchase inspection from a certified inspection shop located near the seller, and the shop will send the report to you.

    How Much to Pay for an Inspection
    This isn’t a time to skimp, as a quality inspection can end up saving you thousands of dollars―and a lot of frustration. Expect to pay at least $100 for the examination. However, if you have a regular mechanic shop, it may offer to do the inspection for free.

  60. 60
    raven says:

    @C.S.: Bullshit, car dealers are fucking bandits.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Cole, did you speak to anyone about the circumstances and/or ask for a deal based on your situation? Or did you just get the estimate and blow up?

  62. 62
    raven says:

    @C.S.: And he did ask. It took him 3 months to buy the goddamn thing.

  63. 63
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Got a robocall from the dealer where I bought a brand-new Kia 2 years back, saying that their records “showed” it was time for scheduled service. I rarely am in the vicinity but managed to get an appointment for the next day when I would be.

    The service manager came back & said, “You know, you already had this service done in the spring, so we’ll just change the oil.”

    The cashier handed me a bill for something like $61. For an oil change.

    I balked & went back to the manager. “Look,” I said, “the only reason I came in here is that call telling me it was time for scheduled maintenance. I sure as heck wouldn’t have come all the way out here for an oil change that I could’ve gotten around the corner for less than half the price. I feel like I’ve been baited & switched & I’m starting to think that maybe I ought to get my scheduled maintenance done at another dealer that’s closer.”

    He tore up the bill, went to the computer & cut a new one at the price using their discount coupon, about $30. Which seemed about the best I could expect.

  64. 64
    David Fud says:

    @askew: It seems that automotive design is now integral to extracting the most economic value from the consumer. It is annoying to be treated like a cow in a feed lot, but here we are.

    Maybe there is a reason people are lining up to pay top dollar for Tesla cars besides the electric propulsion. One can hope, anyhow, that they can change the world in more than one way, but that is certainly the daydream believer in me.

  65. 65
    kc says:

    That’s why I am so thrilled to have to spend over $1,000.00 replacing the rear struts on the car I bought from them less than 3,000 miles ago. The very least these assholes could do is waive the labor costs, which is half the damned bill

    .

    That is some major bullshit. I’d have been royally PO’d too.

  66. 66
    WereBear says:

    @askew: That’s why I always buy new cars. I hate the surprise costs with used cars.

    We bought low mileage/used pretty good cars, for a while. Then we had three in a row which cleaned up nice but the previous owner had never maintained or washed (they use salt on the roads high in the mountains here) or cleaned out the door locks after they were off-road, etc. They knew they were trading in it and they didn’t care. So we wound up with a unreliable vehicle AND a car payment AND repair bills.

    Then I put my foot down and we got a inventory leftover economy car with a warranty, a Ford Focus. Driver’s seat fits me like a glove, drives nice, science fiction dashboard, and if anything goes wrong in three years, it’s Ford’s problem. Not mine.

    We did it again last year. The dealership told me something was included and it wasn’t and they gave it to me. Not a big price, but a nice gesture.

    I know people who revel in not having a car payment! yet they always seem to get unpredictable high-ticket repair bills instead.

    You tried, John. I’m sorry. It used to make a lot of sense to buy used. I don’t think it does anymore.

  67. 67
    C.S. says:

    @raven: Yeah, again . . . not the issue. You want to say someone should get an independent mechanic to look at it, you’ve got a friend in me. You want to call car dealers bandits, and I’ll second the motion. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re starting from a place where someone didn’t get the independent mechanic to look at it. And now they’re screwed.

    Would the independent mechanic have diagnosed a problem? If so, then the dealer — with the same resources and knowledge as the independent mechanic — should also have known about the problem . . . and then chose not to say anything about it. If not, then the independent mechanic wouldn’t have done much good, would he?

    Criminy , , , in what other contexts does this impulse exhibit itself? If someone is walking down the street and they get mugged, and the police catch the mugger, they don’t let the guy go if he says “yeah, I did it, but c’mon, you know that neighborhood!” Who do you blame for the subprime mortgage crisis? When someone gets their identity stolen, do you snort derisively and call them a chump for using a credit card?

    The independent mechanic is necessary because dealers are crooks. But if you don’t turn to an independent mechanic, it doesn’t magically turn the dealer into a non-crook if he’s selling you a car without telling you of defects he knows about.

  68. 68
    askew says:

    @WereBear:

    I tend to drive my cars forever so it makes sense for me to buy new as I usually get 10 years without a car payment after my loan is done.

    Used cars are expensive too. My sister ended up getting a new Toyota RAV-4 because the difference between new and a decent used was less than $3,000.

  69. 69
    tulip says:

    John, I’m not sure if this would apply to you or not, but I recently also bought a used car. I had it for less than a month and realized all four tires needed to be replaced. I went back to the dealer and spent about an hour arguing with them. I didn’t threaten to punch anybody in the neck and I’m not very imposing… but I kept going up the food chain and finally they agreed to replace all four tires for free including all labor.

    It may be completely different as this is a big dealership in Oakland, CA. But you may try calling back, talk about the 5 cars your family has purchased from them, etc and see if it gets you anywhere. I kept saying this is unacceptable.

    I even got a tire tread gauge thingy out of it for free along with the tires.

  70. 70
    Tinare says:

    I am trying to buy the car I’ve been leasing. (I know leasing, bad — I just was in a tight cash flow circumstance, so I needed a low payment, my car at the time wasn’t worth the repairs necessary to keep it running, and I didn’t want to buy a used car that I could have afforded at the time due to the age and number of miles that would have been on it.)

    Anyway, I looked around and I can’t buy the equivalent car for the residual price and I like this car and know how it’s been treated, so it makes sense to me to buy this car. So, I get a really good rate on a lease buyout loan from my bank, I set that up, head off to the dealership with my check in hand to buy the car, and they tell me they need to due a safety inspection on the car (at my expense) prior to my buying the car. THEY have to do the inspection — I can’t take it to my mechanic — and I will have to have anything they find repaired before I can buy it as well. The car was just inspected for its annual inspection at the end of April by my mechanic and there was nothing wrong with it. Of course they don’t tell you this on the phone because they want to come into the dealership to try to talk you into another lease, so I had my time wasted by going in to meet with the sales guy. I now have to set up the appointment and then go through a new set of meetings to buy the car. I flipped out on the guy and you can bet there will be blood if they try to tell me that it needs any work done.

    You can bet I will never buy a car from this dealer again.

  71. 71
    kc says:

    Some years ago, I got a call from my father – my mom was in the hospital for emergency surgery. I lived about 160 miles away from them.

    I needed new tires; two were particularly worn, so I went to a tire store on my way out of town to get a couple of new ones because I really didn’t want to take a long trip on the old tires.

    So, they replaced the tires, and then one of them came to where I was sitting in the waiting area. He said “We checked your fluids as a courtesy and you’re really low on power steering fluid and transmission fluid, blah blah blah, here’s an estimate.” I told them I just didn’t have time, I had to get on the road and would deal with the other stuff later.

    I paid them and drove off. I was pretty distraught about my mom and not really thinking straight. So I probably got two or three miles down the road before it hit me: My car didn’t have power steering. Or an automatic transmission.

  72. 72
    WereBear says:

    @WereBear: It used to make a lot of sense to buy used. I don’t think it does anymore.

    A caveat: it sure doesn’t make any sense around here, where it routinely gets down to -40 and there’s salt on the roads and plenty of potholes and vertical driveways and leaping deer.

    Now, in Florida, where I once lived, the roads are flat as a pancake and there’s no freezes to make potholes and the whole car bakes in the sun to a pastel shade and the interiors fall apart around you, but the rest of the car runs fine and will do so for another decade or so after you buy it from the surviving half of the old couple who retired down there.

  73. 73
    sylvainsylvain says:

    One thing I’ve noticed in the last ~10 years or so is formerly excellent car repair garages going downhill with the hiring of a new manager.

    Original proprietor is still on-site, but not from open to close. Not on the floor as much, if at all. New guy’s been hired to take over running the shop, starts acting like all the clowns we’ve been to once,and swore we’d never go back to.

    Sometimes the mechanics are still ok; if you can talk to them first, before the manager gets his hooks in your bidness. Sometimes the owner will take charge, if he remembers you.

    The problem gets worse as time goes on-mechanics turn over, the owner disengages more as he plots on retiring or selling, but the goodwill they’ve generated in the years previous keeps people coming back for a while.

    Eventually a good reliable shop is totally fracked up.

    Cole, try this…take it somewhere else, get an estimate for yr strut job, then take it back to the stealership & quote them that price. If they offer to do it for something in the neighborhood of the other shop’s price, go for it. If not tell him thanks but no thanks, & see if your second shop is gonna become your new mechanic.

  74. 74
    raven says:

    One last thing, my original comment about a buyers check really had nothing to do with Cole. He did what he did. It’s more about a cautionary tale for those who may be in the market for a used vehicle. I took a bath 40 years ago and I’d like it if folks knew it didn’t have to happen.

  75. 75
    EthylEster says:

    @raven: Raven, stop being such a dick! Please…think of the children. How dickish of you to state the obvious.

    Poor JC. Life is really unfair…but you did something not so smart. Man, get anger management help before some 2nd amendment mechanic caps you.

    And a more accurate post title would be: “A business I trusted has let me down”. Which is quite different from your hyperbolic characterization.

  76. 76
    Dave C says:

    I hope this doesn’t come off as offsensive, but John, have you ever considered anger management therapy?

  77. 77
    mai naem mobile says:

    I bought a new gmc jimmy suv in 97. It was the worst car ive ever owned. Total lemon. Transmissin, electrical stuff, radiator, heating, trim stuff, brakes, all had to be fixed. I even got new tires because they wore too quickly. I took it to the dealer at 99K miles for a major tune up because the extended warranty expired at a 100K miles. The week after this tune up i take it in to the same dealer to trade it in and get another car. The salesperson starts to tell me that theres all kinds of problems(broken 4wd that I never used) with my car so he couldn’t give me much money on the trade in. I told him lets talk to the service advisor from yoir dealership who found nothing wrong it last weekweek. He shut up.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: How do you know that the car had the defect when Cole bought it?

  79. 79
    John Cole +0 says:

    @Dave C:

    I hope this doesn’t come off as offsensive, but John, have you ever considered anger management therapy?

    For goodness sakes, if being pissed off about being screwed by people you know on a first name basis and have been a customer of for decades means I need anger management therapy then anger management therapy has no meaning whatsoever. If I weren’t mad about this, I should be checked out.

    The fact that you all seem to think being rogered is something you just accept or were asking for because you didn’t expect a business you have known for two decades lied to you says more about you guys than me. I’m not the one who needs help. You guys need to stop being doormats.

  80. 80
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Well, my initial comment was in response to James Gary, who appeared to be assuming that very fact. And if it didn’t, then why is everyone crawling up the middle of Cole’s back chiding him about taking it to an independent mechanic?

  81. 81
    Dave C says:

    @John Cole +0:

    Refusing to be a doormat in the face of being treated poorly and threatening to punch somebody in the neck are two very, very different things.

  82. 82
    Violet says:

    @John Cole +0: John, they didn’t treat you fairly and aren’t treating you fairly now. If you haven’t escalated your situation to the management of the dealership, it might be worth your time to do that. Perhaps the people you talked to don’t have the authority to make the decision to give you the discount. Of course they should have gone to get the manager for you, but that’s another thing.

    Given the long-standing relationship your family has had with the dealership and the fact you’re on a first name basis with them, it seems quite wrong of them to do what they did. Perhaps they’d like the opportunity to make it right. Not everyone or every business gets it right on the first try.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @John Cole +0: So shouting at people about punching them in the neck = not being a doormat? Like I asked before, did you talk to anyone about the bill or did you just blow up? Blowing up and storming out tends not to get good results.

  84. 84
    different-church-lady says:

    @Dave C: I’ve always kind of imagined that anger management therapy is for people who actually punch others in the neck, rather than rhetorically punch others in the neck.

  85. 85
    NotMax says:

    Do not lend it to any of the frat boys until it has been repaired.

  86. 86
    John Cole +0 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yes. I talked to the service guy as he was tallying it. When the cost of the labor exceeded the cost of the parts, I asked him (in front of several others) “Are you really going to try to charge me over 500 for labor for a car I bought from you a few months and less than 3,000 miles ago?”

    He said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t make those decisions, you have to talk to sales” and I said “OK” and went to sales. I talked to Jeff, the guy who sold me the car and who knows me on a first name basis and when I came in greeted me with a handshake and a smile and asked how my mom was doing and if she still loved her Forrester, and told him “Remember that rattle I called about a few days after I bought the car?” He said he did, and I told him “They want to charge me a grand to fix it, when it was clearly faulty when I bought it.”

    He told me “Sorry, struts aren’t covered.” Then he got quiet, shrugged his shoulders, and went back to typing on his computer. NOT MY FUCKING PROBLEM, SUCKA!

    I walked to the garage, said “Take that damned thing off the lift before I punch someone in the neck.” I then got in my car and drove away.

    I was clearly a crazy person and can not control my anger. Again, you guys are all doormats.

  87. 87
    StringOnAStick says:

    Don’t listen to the Subaru haters; we’re on our 3rd Outback and it is basically the state car of Colorado, at least in the Denver area and the mountain towns. It wasn’t worth looking at a used one here since you don’t get much of a price break thanks to all the demand.

    I’m certainly willing to be nice to car dealers and mechanics, but as 5’3″ blonde, woe unto these guys if they try to bullshit me. I rebuilt a Fiat 124 Spyder as a teen (the oil pump fell off 2 weeks after I bought it as a used car) and I know my way around engines and tools. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t have a clue about this stuff; some of the stuff he comes up with about cars makes me giggle.

  88. 88
    Dave C says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I’ve been in therapy before (though not for anger management), and it seems to me that it’s for anybody whose thought processes are seriously detrimental to their well-being. I don’t know if that includes John or not, but I don’t think you need to have hit people to warrant going to anger management therapy any more than you need to have attempted suicide in order to get therapy for managing depression. Just my $0.02, of course.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.:

    And if it didn’t, then why is everyone crawling up the middle of Cole’s back chiding him about taking it to an independent mechanic?

    Because it was a mistake and people like saying I told you so. Especially when Cole asked for car buying advice months ago and people said make sure you take any used car to an independent mechanic.

  90. 90
    gogol's wife says:

    @John Cole +0:

    The whole idea that there is such a thing as loyalty to customers and absorbing some costs so that the customer will be happy has disappeared. The people you actually talk to are not empowered to make those kinds of decisions. You should see me, trying to get Stop and Shop to rescind their discontinuation of the larger size of Jif extra crunchy. I’ve tried locally, I’ve tried on the phone to customer service, but no one I talk to has the power to make that decision, and the people who have the power to make it are inaccessible. I’m just using one small example of something I see everywhere now. Only our local fruit and vegetable store still operates on “the customer is always right.”

  91. 91
    raven says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I bought a cherry 72 Ford Pickup (now if someone wants to jump ugly me buying a Ford would be a good place) powder and dark blue shortbed. Damn thing was sweet, perfect inside and out. I drove it for about a month when the pushbutton radio buttons started to balk. Then it began to run very roughly. As it turned out it had been in a flood and someone dressed it up and sold it. I An experience mechanic would have picked up the engine problems with a compression test. totally lost my ass and vowed “never again”.

  92. 92
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @John Cole +0: You didn’t provide that level of detail when you told the story before. Hence the asking.

    I was clearly a crazy person and can not control my anger. Again, you guys are all doormats.

    No, you are just an asshole. And I would have taken the car to an independent mechanic before buying it. I also would have done what I did when I was quoted $1300 for a brake job a couple of months ago and told the people that I thought it was too much for the job and that I was going to seek a second opinion. The next garage I went to knew I was seeking a second opinion and delivered results for under $800. Doormat, my ass. I just didn’t find it necessary to shout threats at people.

  93. 93
    gian says:

    This is not a new thing.
    The Andy Griffith show had a story about using sawdust to make a transmission shift smoothly

  94. 94
    Violet says:

    @John Cole +0:

    He said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t make those decisions,”

    Did he tell you who does make those decisions? Is it the sales guy you visited next?

    He told me “Sorry, struts aren’t covered.” Then he got quiet, shrugged his shoulders, and went back to typing on his computer.

    I’d have asked to speak to his boss. Unless he runs the entire dealership, you haven’t got to the top. That’s just the kind of attitude that doesn’t do the dealership any favors. The guy’s boss or the management might like to know what happened.

  95. 95
  96. 96
    NotMax says:

    @John Cole +0

    The anger may have been justified but, sorry, the threat was out of line.

    IMHO.

    If the dealership can’t/won’t deliver satisfaction, get in contact with the Zone Manger.

  97. 97
    srv says:

    So the subie haters were right?

    I started wondering when people started putting their engines on airplanes.

  98. 98
    Eric U. says:

    I would be pissed too, and especially since they sold you a piece of goods and now they aren’t backing it up. And want to make full boat on the repairs. Neck punching is too good for assholes like that. They are making full retail markup on both the labor and the parts, meeting you halfway makes you happy and they still make money. I’m pretty sure I could negate $1000 worth of advertising without really trying.

    But I would get it fixed somewhere else

  99. 99
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Because it was a mistake and people like saying I told you so.

    But the part you’re quoting from my comment concerns the situation where an independent mechanic would not have caught the problem. How can someone rationally say “I told you so” about something that they didn’t tell that person about? Or did people actually say “take it to an independent mechanic, but then don’t buy it anyway because they miss stuff all the time and you’ll be just as screwed”? Because that does not seem to me to be what raven and James Gary and others are saying.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: Exactly. Keep asking for the next level until you find the person who is authorized to say yes. Stay polite and stick to your guns. If that doesn’t get results, then get pissed and let everyone and sundry know.

  101. 101
    gogol's wife says:

    @NotMax:

    OT, but tonight at 8:00 Eastern TCM is showing Hot Saturday, “spicy pre-Code film” with Cary Grant.

  102. 102
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Keep asking for the next level until you find the person who is authorized to say yes.

    As my mom always said, don’t take “No” from someone who can’t say “Yes.”

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: If an independent mechanic and the dealership didn’t see the problem, it probably wasn’t there at the time of purchase. In that case, Cole would be fighting with the dealership over a the cost of a repair not covered by the warranty. As it is, he doesn’t know if he bought a defective car or if the problem occurred later.

  104. 104
    gogol's wife says:

    @C.S.:

    The problem these days (at least in my experience) is they never let you get to the person who can say “yes.” That person is usually in some distant location, and when you call the distant location, the person on the phone also can’t do anything for you but “take a message and let them know your concerns.”

  105. 105
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @gian: That was my favorite episode. Grandma Walton played Hubcaps Lesh, the leader of a gang of car thieves.

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @gogol’s wife: Someone at a dealership is authorized to say yes. I’ll admit that, while I don’t lead with it, there are points during these types of discussions when I mention that I am a lawyer. It doesn’t hurt.

  107. 107
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    As it is, he doesn’t know if he bought a defective car or if the problem occurred later

    .
    But the dealer knows. Or should know. And if he didn’t tell you, that’s not on you, no matter how naive you were. And if there is no way the dealer could have known, then an independent mechanic would have been useless anyway. And that’s my point. You can tell everyone to go to independent mechanics all you want — and again, I would tell people the same thing — but if something goes wrong, it is just simply unmitigated dickishness to blame the buyer and not the dealer.

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: Like I said before, if it was checked out by mechanics for both parties and neither found the problem, then it is no one’s fault. Something just broke after the purchase. As it stands, it’s schrodinger’s strut. We don’t know if it was fucked up at the time of purchase or not. In that case, why should we presume that the dealership – one that Cole trusted – sold him a defective car?

  109. 109
    RSA says:

    @WereBear:

    I know people who revel in not having a car payment! yet they always seem to get unpredictable high-ticket repair bills instead.

    This may happen to me, but it hasn’t yet this year. I was in the habit of buying new cars and driving them until they died, but you know the story about the little old lady who only drove her car to church on Sundays? Well, one of my wife’s friends only drove to the golf course in the summer, so last year I took a chance on a little 1998 convertible with 32K miles. So far, so good.

  110. 110
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Okay I’m not going to read the whole thread but just want to say: This is why we told you to buy a new car.

    Well some of us did.

    You get something not too fancy (a Subaru, for instance) and make payments, and it just runs. For years. And ends up costing you less in the end.

    “These cars run to 200,000 miles, just for starters”, I remember you barking at someone who had written er, buying a car with 100K for that much, are you sure? 100,000 miles is like new, others wrote, blah blah blah.

    No it’s not, I thought when I read that. Yeah they can last a long time, but that doesn’t mean things don’t break along the way, and you have to pay to get them fixed.

    Sell it. Buy a brand new one. Sell that one before it has anything like 100,000 miles on it. When I sold my last car (I don’t need one where I am now) I calculated how much it had cost me, adding the payments and subtracting what I sold it for, and it ended up costing less per month than what I used to spend on used cars, all things tallied up. And it never had to get repaired, not once, because I sold it before it had 50,000 miles on it.

    Just saying.

  111. 111
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    @David Fud: I’ve replaced sideswiped mirrors on an old Dodge Caravan (2ce) and an Olds Silhouette (1ce). I have NEVER paid more than $28 for the part (online) and these were both power mirrors. Geeze, I am in the wrong bidness.

  112. 112
    Keith G says:

    “Take that off the god damned lift before I punch someone in the neck.”

    Many businesses (family run or otherwise) I have associated with would have sternly, yet politely, told you to remove your car from the property and never, never come back.

    Cole, what you did was appalling and there is no excuse for someone classified as an adult to talk to others like that in that type of situation.

  113. 113
    C.S. says:

    . . . why should we presume that the dealership – one that Cole trusted – sold him a defective car?

    Well, geez, I dunno . . . Maybe because, to quote someone upthread, “car dealers are fucking bandits.” Maybe because they have no incentive to make sure the cars aren’t defective, because apparently everyone is always happy to jump in and defend car dealers who successfully get over on their customers. Maybe because it appears from the circumstances that they sold him a defective freakin’ car. Why wouldn’t you presume that they sold him a defective car? Why you gotta lay it all at the feet of the victim?

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: Cole trusted them enough not to get an independent opinion. Also, let’s put it this way. Based on the evidence in front of us right now, no court would conclude that the car was defective when it was sold.

  115. 115
    raven says:

    @C.S.: Fuckin A right “someone” said it.

  116. 116
    gian says:

    The cast of HBOs cat house approves of your business mission statement

  117. 117
    bour3 says:

    GOP is wrong on every major policy question

    Economics and recession
    Environment, climate change
    Health care
    Income inequality
    Tax policy
    Foreign policy
    Infrastructure investment
    Border security and immigrtion
    Race in America
    Industrial safety
    Regulation
    Phosphate-loving folks of Toledo
    Scientific research and so on.

    My eyes glazed over with the conceit. This is precisely what I believe to be true about Democrats, absolutely wrong about everything of which they speak. I’m amazed I’m even linked to this crap.
    Partisan loyalty makes people not just stupid, but mean and stupid.

    I don’t like Republicans, but I absolutely hate partisan Democrats. You. Are. Wrong. About. Everything. Including your vapid and vicious opinions about Republicans. You and your like are the reason why I wrote off nearly everybody I know. They, like you, are just flat too vicious and with sorely misplaced loyalty to even talk to.

  118. 118
    MattR says:

    Seems like a good place to leave this coment by poker pro Daniel Colman who recently won a $15 million top prize, barely showed any emotion after winning and refused to do interviews. He pissed off a bunch of people because he eventually commented that poker was a vice that should be available to individuals but not something that should be glorified. This quote seemed relevant to a thread about how business don’t care about the customer anymore (and customers seem to accept it)

    As for promoting myself, I feel that individual achievements should rarely be celebrated. I am not going to take part in it for others and I wouldn’t want it for myself. If you wonder why our society is so infatuated by individuals and their success, and being a baller, it is not that way for no reason. It is there because it serves a clear purpose. If you get people to look up to someone and adhere to the “gain wealth, forget all but self” motto, then you can get them to ignore the social contract which is very good for power systems. Also it serves as a means of distraction to get people to not pay attention to the things that do matter.

  119. 119
    MattR says:

    @MattR: FYWP. How could I forget that I am not allowed to mention the card game that starts with poke and ends with her?

  120. 120
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Based on the evidence in front of us right now, no court would conclude that the car was defective when it was sold.

    Oh, I certainly agree with that. But so what?

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: I don’t know. What exactly are we fighting about? I am saying that we don’t know that the vehicle was defective when sold so Cole shouldn’t be pissed about that. And, rather than pursuing all his options and trying to get to a yes, Cole blew up and stormed out. Did the dealership handle things well? It doesn’t seem so. It also seems that Cole chose getting pissed off over getting what he wanted.

  122. 122
    James Gary says:

    @bour3: I know you are, but what am I? :P

  123. 123
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    What exactly are we fighting about?

    Anything we can. You new around here or somethin’?

  124. 124
    dirk says:

    Bought a slightly used Nissan from the dealer, financed it through Nissan. Went to make my first payment online, they want to charge me $5 for that. Every time I make an online payment, an extra $5 charge.

    I pay everything online, garbage, phone, electric, water, Netflix, Amazon plus more. None charge extra for making an online payment.

    It’s a fairly minor thing I suppose, but I’ll never buy another Nissan because of it. Greedy fuckers.

  125. 125
    Pogonip says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I don’t know about drinking, but I know several people who became unusually irritable for a week or two after quitting smoking. John was usually irritable. Maybe he’s crankier than usual while his brain rewires itself?

  126. 126
    John Cole +0 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): I didn’t “choose” to get pissed off. I was pissed off. Extremely. After the guy who sold me the damned car, who knows I tried to get in there two weeks after purchasing it, just essentially told me to go to hell, then acted like I wasn’t there, I did the smartest and most restrained thing I could do. I did the equivalent of counting to ten and left before I said or did anything rash. Yes, I told them to get my car off the damned lift before I would punch someone in the neck, and I shouldn’t, but the guy wasn’t threatened and the other three mechanics laughed because they knew what I was pissed about and it wasn’t them and they knew it. I know all of them, because I spent the last 5-6 years taking my old subaru in when it needed repairs. The one mechanic had the same exact car I did, and we use to chat about it the whole time.

    I think me just getting my car and leaving was the best thing I could do, so I did it. I’ll deal with this tomorrow when I am calmer. And I just priced the struts online, and they are only 200 bucks (not the 400 they wanted to charge me), so Shawn and I are probably going to do it. Lemme rephrase that. Shawn is going to do it.

    I’m sorry I am not as cool as you guys are when you are getting rogered.

  127. 127
    different-church-lady says:

    Blog host becomes frustrated, says intemperate things, becomes history’s greatest monster. Sad to see, really…

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @John Cole +0: Just checking… Anything short of that reaction is being a doormat?

  129. 129
    chopper says:

    @John Cole +0:

    You always have a choice as to being pissed or not, at least pissed enough to throw threats around. Likewise, keeping your cool raises significantly your chances of getting some sort of satisfaction out of the situation.

    I tend not to get listed in these sorts of things, I get cynical and throw my hands up and give up figuring I’m boned. I have to stop, take a deep breath, and tell myself ‘no no, you’re going to fight this’. And that usually works.

    Worked great when those shitheads at the computer place wiped my wife’s hard drive without our permission and I totally busted them on it right there.

  130. 130
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @John Cole +0:

    I didn’t “choose” to get pissed off. I was pissed off.

    Fair enough. Let me amend my earlier statement: Cole chose venting his anger over getting what he wanted.

  131. 131
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Well, that’s an aspect of it, but my comments — which were in response to James Gary, and to which raven responded, and then which you jumped in on to back up raven — were about the knee-jerk obsession with blaming the victim, taking as a given that the car was defective. Yes, you should get an independent mechanic . . . but you shouldn’t need to get one. You have to because dealers are crooks, but more than that you have to get one because dealers get a pass on being crooks. Look at the vehemence of raven’s comments — people get pissed off if you trusted the dealer, or if you just didn’t care enough to pay for your own mechanic. It’s your fault. The dealer’s a crook, but it’s your fault.

    As MattR notes through the poker player’s quote, that’s a breakdown of the social contract. Why should it be on the buyer? Why does “caveat emptor” have any argumentative force at all? Why shouldn’t the dealer reimburse the buyer for the money it took to hire the independent mechanic? Why shouldn’t the default presumption be “it’s defective”? It’s ridiculous that people are so eager to jump to defend a company just because a customer didn’t go waaaaaaaaaay out of their way to make sure they weren’t being screwed. Yes, they should . . . but they didn’t. There is quite possibly no other area of social interaction where the bulk of commenters on this blog would side with the company that successfully screwed someone over. But here they do, and that sucks.

    Did Cole overreact? I don’t know. Possibly. I don’t know if it’s an overreaction to get mad as hell in response to “you fucked up — you trusted me.” But I do know that it sucks that we take as a given that “car dealers are fucking bandits,” but then refuse – adamantly and angrily – to follow that premise to its conclusion. In this case, the conclusion would be that it was a defective car and the dealer knew it was defective until they can show otherwise. And before anyone raises it, in this case you could prove the negative. But no, everyone wants to go all “sucks to be you, dumbass.” The reason Cole doesn’t have a case in court is only because the presumptions in the law echo commenters on this thread. That is not a requirement of justice, it’s just something that is there now, and it is something that helps out people who everyone seems to acknowledge “are fucking bandits.” Our argument, then, is about that presumption, and the effects of that presumption, and how that presumption has wormed its way into the heads of people who, in another context and just as one example, would be happy to lock up subprime lenders and throw away the key. From the get-go, the argument was not about whether it is wise to get an independent mechanic. It is wise to get an independent mechanic. Everyone, seriously, hie thyself to an independent mechanic. But that’s because things have gone wrong — because, as Cole (somewhat hyperbolically) says in the title of the post, “There Simply Are No Good Businesses Anymore.” And the reason they’ve gone wrong is that people put up with it. They more than put up with it — they blame the victim. They point fingers. They say “I told you so.”

    It doesn’t have to be that way, but it is that way because people like to crap on Cole and people like him for being stupid or naive, instead of crapping on the business for being crooks.

  132. 132
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: We all live in this world. We can work toward creating another one, but, in the meantime, this is the one we have. And in this world, shouting threats at people if you believe that you are being screwed over is not a sensible way of resolving the situation. The car needs struts; he was given an estimate for the repairs. He could have pursued the matter to the owner/GM of the dealership. He could have said that it was that he wanted to take his car somewhere else for another estimate. He could have gone home and filed a complaint with the consumer protection people in his state if he believed he was being cheated.. He could have done a variety of things. What he did do was blow his top and shout threats at people.

  133. 133
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yes, but that’s not what I was commenting about, and that’s not what the back and forth was about that you responded to. It was about the people jumping on Cole for not getting his own mechanic, and not about his reaction. It’s fine that you’re taking the upstanding citizen stance, but it’s not what the discussion was about.

  134. 134
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    We all live in this world. We can work toward creating another one . . .

    Very high minded of you. But also not even approaching the point.

  135. 135
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: Again, in this world, not getting the independent mechanic is a mistake.

    Let me offer another example: If I say that trusting a Republican who says he cares about the poor is a mistake. I am excusing the Republican. In my view, that guy is already tainted. It is a given. Now, knowing that, do you suggest that I can’t criticize someone for falling for “compassionate conservative” rhetoric – especially if that person had been specifically warned about it? I am pretty much going to leave it here. The horse is long dead and the carcass is starting to pong a bit when we hit it.

  136. 136
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Again, in this world, not getting the independent mechanic is a mistake.

    Jesus Christmas, how in the world do you even pay a modicum of attention to anything anyone has said up to now and still think that’s a statement that’s in dispute, or even relevant?

  137. 137
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: Read the rest of my comment.

  138. 138
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): How about this. How about I offer another example? How about I take your example, in fact? How about we take the poor sap who believes the compassionate conservative line? Does he deserve criticism? Maybe, but that’s not the point of the discussion. Does he deserve getting screwed over by the uncaring and unscrupulous politician? No. He does not. Not in this world, and not in the fanciful world you dismissively seem to insist that I work towards. Does the politician get to skip away without so much as a dirty look? No. He does not. Or, more to the issue, if he does skip away, people such as commenters on this thread raise holy hell about it. Here, in this situation, Cole got screwed. The presumption that everyone was going on was that the car was defective when purchased. That’s the presumption, whether or not it was true. And beginning from that assumption, could Cole have done more to prevent getting screwed? Maybe. Hiring the mechanic could have helped. But – and honestly, I don’t see why I need to repeat this again to someone who claims to be a lawyer and can presumably muster some reading comprehension – that’s not the freaking point. It’s. Not. The. Point. The point is that the culpability of the dealer was being waived away because of Cole’s failure to take every available step to prevent getting screwed. Because, as the dude said in the comment I originally responded to, “caveat emptor.” And that ain’t right in this world.

    Whatever. Hopefully you will in fact leave it here, because if you don’t you’ll just come back and say that you should always get an independent mechanic. Again.

  139. 139
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Read the rest of my comment.

    Oh, I did. The rest of the comment was just as immaterial as the first part.

  140. 140
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @C.S.: I am sorry that everyone did not see the issue exactly as you did. We have failed you as people.

  141. 141
    C.S. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Yeah, didn’t think you could leave it alone. And noble of you to drag everyone else down with you regarding your reading comprehension fail. Tell me again, just so I’m absolutely certain, should I or should I not hire an independent mechanic when I am thinking of purchasing a used car?

  142. 142
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @bour3:
    To whom are you speaking? It seems your comment might be in the wrong thread.

  143. 143
    mclaren says:

    Told you to get a bicycle.

    You didn’t listen.

  144. 144
    joel hanes says:

    @John Cole +0:

    Hi John

    I’m sorry you don’t like hearing that you made a mistake.

    I’m even sorrier you want to blame others for that mistake.

    I wish you well, and know tha it’s no fun being angry and feeling cheated and helpless — I’ve felt that way about a used car purchase myself. But in the end, I was the one that chose poorly.

    I don’t work in a business where you’d be a potential customer,
    so there’s no way for you to get back at me by boycotting something …
    but I don’t want to contribute to your anger, so I’ll stifle for a few months.

    (This is one of the best blog comment sections on the net,
    but my own comments are not much of a contribution;
    I’ll never be missed)

    Ave atque vale

    Joel

  145. 145
    steve from Antioch says:

    This was a used car?

    Who in the world thinks that dealers have an obligation to repair used cars they sell absent a warranty?

    I don’t get it.

  146. 146
    steve says:

    Just wanted to add a few points to the used-car warnings:

    (1) Get BOTH Carfax and Autocheck reports. They often differ (like one lists an accident and the other doesn’t).

    (2) Search the VIN number on the manufacturer’s website and see if there are any open recalls. I recently test-drove a used car that had THREE open safety recalls, two of them listed as “Remedy not yet available” (translation: this car could kill you, and we haven’t figured out what to do about it).

    (3) When you take the car to an independent mechanic to be inspected, DON’T tell the dealer where you’re taking it. If they ask, just shrug and say you haven’t decided yet. Don’t balk at paying $100 for an inspection; it will be the best $100 you ever spent.

    (4) Don’t be impressed when a used car is shiny and clean and smells good. Dealers do this because detailing is far less expensive than fixing the car’s actual problems.

    (5) Don’t have your car repaired at the dealer unless it’s warranty service. (Yes, I know other commenters have said that, but it bears repeating.)

  147. 147
    Michael G says:

    Business should have done the math: suck it up and give crazy man Cole $500 in free labor, and get his business for years to come, or attempt to maximize their profits for one day at the expense of Cole never coming back.

    Dude making the decision probably doesn’t give a shit, since he has no stake in the future profits and is probably treated as yet another disposable employee by his boss. Why would he care that over the next 10 years you would spend $X dollars there–he sees none of that and probably won’t even be working there in a couple of years.

    Short-term corporate thinking–hooray!

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