Dealership Retribution
The Gift that Keeps on Giving

As some of you may recall, we had some issues with a dealership called Tuttle Click Jeep in Irvine, CA, where a negative customer evaluation I made regarding the service we received resulted in them profiling us and harassing us on a subsequent visit. If you are unfamiliar with what had happened, you can read all about it here:

Dealership Evalutation = Dealership Harassment

Of course, the whole point of me sharing our experience with Tuttle Click Jeep was to make sure you knew that your customer evaluations are NOT confidential and that the things you say regarding them can be held against you. And, unfortunately, the reason why I’m writing this article today is to also inform you that your customer evaluations can lead to very real dealership retaliations as well.

Being that we never got our fog lights turned on and that we still had what sounded like an exhaust leak we wanted to have looked at, we decided that it was time to start looking for a new dealership to take our Jeeps to.  So, back on May 12th and thanks to a recommendation that we got from our good friend Moochie, we decided to take our 2009 Sunburst Orange Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited X into Bob Baker Jeep which is located in Carlsbad, CA.

As we had been told, the staff was in fact very friendly and we felt comfortable leaving our Jeep in their hands. However, when I got a call from our service advisor this morning, I was told that our exhaust manifold was cracked and that they had the parts in stock but that it was going to cost us over $400 to fix. Surprised to hear this, I asked why it wasn’t being covered under warranty and she told me that her system indicated our Jeep wasn’t eligible for any warranty work. After hearing this, I explained that this was a 2009 and that was supposed to have a LIFETIME WARRANTY and so she asked me if we bought the Jeep new. I said yes and so she did a bit more digging around and found that a previous dealership had flagged our Jeep’s VIN and put a restriction on ALL future warranty claims due to the lift kit we had installed. When I pointed out that I wasn’t asking to have a suspension related component warranted, she quickly agreed but said that her hands were tied and that the most she could do is recommend that I call the Chrysler Dealer Complaint Line and explain our situation with them. The only way she could authorize warranty work to be done on our Jeep now is if Chrysler removed the restriction placed on our Jeep.  Needless to say, as soon as I got off the phone with her, I made another call to Chrysler.

Back on the phone with Chrysler, I explained my situation to the Dealer Complaint representative that answered my call and as he was very sympathetic and understanding of my situation but unfortunately, he had to inform me that there was nothing he could do and that he would have to forward my case to a case manager.  I let him know that I understood and decided to call Bob Baker back to let them know what was going on and much to my surprise, my service advisor informed me that a quick inspection revealed that my exhaust manifold bolts had come loose a bit and tightening them up back to spec seemed to fix the leak I had.  Best part was, the fix was only going to cost $45.

About a week after picking up our Jeep from Bob Baker, I got a call from an irritable Chrysler Case Manager by the name of Blade, #BB879 (I was informed that they are not allowed to give out last names), who promptly informed me that he wasn’t sure why he was given my case, that his job was to oversees the training of representatives and that there was nothing he could do for me.  In short, this was his only purpose for calling me and he didn’t want to hear a word I might have to say.  When I pressed him on who I should speak to regarding this matter, he informed me that I needed to write a letter and mail it to Chrysler and it’s what I should have done in the first place.  And, after obtaining the address I needed, I did just that.  I summarized my experience on paper, put it in an envelope, placed a 1st class stamp on it and mailed it off.

May 13, 2010

Chrysler Group LLC
P.O. Box 21-8004
Auburn Hills, MI 48321

Dear Chrysler,

I am writing you today in hopes that you might be able to assist me in having a warranty restriction that was apparently placed on my 2009 Jeep Wrangler removed.  I feel that this restriction was placed unfairly and unjustly as a means of retribution from Tuttle Click Jeep located in Irvine, CA.

To summarize the circumstances regarding my Jeep, I purchased it new from Orange Coast Jeep in Costa Mesa, CA, back in June 2009.  In August of 2009, I did have a 3? lift and 35? tires installed on it and in late September of 2009, I noticed that I was having some handling and ride quality issues.  After doing an extensive check of all the suspension components, I found that the ball joints might be worn out.  On October 11, 2010, I took my 4 month old Jeep with only 7,500 miles on it into Tuttle Click Jeep to have them check my ball joints and verify my diagnosis.  When I dropped off my Jeep that morning, I was told that I would be getting a call back that afternoon to let me know what was going on but unfortunately, that call never came.  Having still not getting a call from them by the following morning, I decided to call them to find out what was going on.  At that point and time, I was told that the ball joints were in fact bad and that they needed to be replaced.  When I asked if this was something that could be covered under warranty, I was told no due to the lift kit that I had installed.  When I had explained that the lift kit had only been on for a couple of months and a couple thousand miles, my service advisor suggested that I call the Chrysler Complaint Line and provided me with the number.

When I called the Chrysler Complaint Line, I explained my situation to them and after being put me on hold for a period of time, the representative came back and told me that he spoke with Tuttle Click and said that the reason they would not warranty the ball joints is due to the lift I had installed.  When I asked how this alone would cause my ball joints to fail so quickly, he stated that the technician at Tuttle Click indicated that I “did not have a heavy duty steering stabilizer installed?.  Surprised to hear this, I informed the representative that I own multiple Jeeps, one of which is a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited just like the one I was trying to have serviced and that it’s been riding on over 5? of lift, 37? tires and a stock steering stabilizer for close to three years and without any ball joint problems.  I also explained that I’ve had a rear locker and a steering box replaced without any issues on my 2007 Jeep Wrangler in spite of the lift kit and large tires.  He apologized, informed me that there wasn’t anything more that he could do and recommended that I take my Jeep to another dealership for a second opinion.  He explained that each dealership is independently owned and operated and that I might have better luck with them.  I let the representative know that I was very frustrated at the situation and was very much inconvenienced by Tuttle Click not calling me back when they said they would and it was at this point that the representative asked if I wanted to file a complaint.  I agreed, he took my information, repeated it to me and then told me that “I would be heard?.  From there, I went back to Tuttle Click, picked up my Jeep and proceeded to replace the $80 ball joints myself.

Fast forward to March 17, 2010, I took my Jeep back to Tuttle click to have a pair of factory headlights that I had installed on my 2009 Jeep Wrangler turned on and to have what I thought sounded like an exhaust leak looked at.  As I started to explain to the service advisor what I’d like to have them do, he got interrupted by a phone call from someone who proceeds to ask him a series of questions about me and why I was there. After the service advisor got off the phone, he started to interrogate me as to why I gave them a “zero? the last time I was there. Unsure of what he meant, I ask him to clarify his question and he rudely explained that I gave them a negative review and wanted to know why.  When I asked who called him and why was he now harassing me, he informed me that it was his service manager and so I asked if I could speak to him in person.  After being lead to his office, I asked the service manager if it’s the policy of Tuttle Click Jeep to profile customers and harass them in the manner that they were doing and he responded by saying that he just happened to recognize my Jeep and wanted to know why I “dinked? them. He explained to me that I caused them financial hardship and was unhappy about it. I in turn let him know that while I did agree to have a formal complaint filed against them, I was unaware that it would cause them to get “dinked? and that I had no real idea of what that even meant.  Distraught by the confrontation, my wife asked that we just leave and so we did.  Once I got home, I called the Chrysler Dealership Complaint Line again, informed them of what had happened and expressed my frustration at the fact that my previous complaint was not confidential and how it was now being used to harass and intimidate me.

Unfortunately, due to work and travel, I had not been able to address the fog lights or exhaust manifold again until Tuesday, May 11, 2010.  Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I decided to take my Jeep into Bob Baker Jeep which is located in Carlsbad, CA.  As luck would have it, the staff there was in fact very friendly and I felt very comfortable leaving our Jeep in their hands. However, when I got a scheduled call from our service advisor the next morning, I was told that our exhaust manifold was cracked, that they had the parts in stock but that it was going to cost us over $400 to fix. Surprised to hear this, I asked why it wasn’t being covered under warranty and I was told that their system indicated our Jeep wasn’t eligible for ANY warranty work. When I explained that I had a 2009 and that should have a LIFETIME WARRANTY, they explained that their system showed that a previous dealership had “flagged? our Jeep’s VIN and put a restriction on ALL future warranty claims due to the lift kit we had installed. When I pointed out that I wasn’t asking to have a suspension related component warranted, she agreed but said that her hands were unfortunately tied and that the most she could do is recommend that I call the Chrysler Dealer Complaint Line and explain our situation to them. Apparently, the only way she could authorize warranty work to be done on our Jeep now is if Chrysler removed the restriction that Tuttle Click Jeep placed on our Jeep.

Needless to say, I called the Chrysler Dealer Complaint line on May 12, 2010 and proceeded to explain my situation to them once again.  After a very sympathetic representative took down my information, I was told that there was nothing that he could do and that a case manager would get back to me with in the next 48 hours.  And, on May 13, 2010, I did get a call but from an irritable case manager by the name of Blade #BB879 who proceeded to inform me that there was nothing he could do, that my case should have never of been sent to him in the first place and that he was only addressing me as a matter of training.  When I asked if there was anyone else I could talk to regarding my situation, I was told that I should send a letter to you and so, here I am.

If you would be so kind as to hear me out, I am respectfully asking that you please review my case and reconsider the warranty restriction that has been placed on my Jeep.  I fully accept and understand that some dealerships are unwilling to warranty parts and components due to the lift that I have installed on my Jeep but from my own experience, I know for a fact that some will.  Unfortunately, with this restriction in place, I cannot have ANY warranty work done regardless if it’s suspension related or not.  I would also like to point out that it had been my impression that a customer complaint or dealership evaluation was something that was made in confidence and would something that Chrysler used to help improve customer service.  Had I known these complaints and evaluations are not confidential and that making one would result in the kind of vengeful retribution that I am now suffering, I honestly would have just kept my mouth shut.  Certainly, I never expected that I would lose my entire warranty over something like this and over something that I was actually encouraged to do. 

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Eddie

Long story short, if you’re unhappy with the service you receive at your dealership, you’re better off just keeping your mouth shut.  Chrysler IS NOT your friend and customer evaluations are NOT kept confidential.  Anything you say can and will be used against you by your dealership.  So, the next time you get a survey in the mail, I’d toss it in the trash and if Chrysler calls you to do a survey, just tell them you aren’t interested – trust me, it just isn’t worth it. 

Check back soon as a lot more has happend since I sent off this letter. I will be posting up a follow up to my Chrysler Warranty nightmare shortly.

4 Comments

  1. Wow! Considering ALL the problems that I myself am having with my ’07 JK, I cannot believe that with a NEW vehicle that is pretty much MADE for after market parts, that they would VOID your warrantee. I would find a lawyer that specializes in cases like this. Yes it will cost you money, but counter sue, for costs associated with them voiding a brand new vehicle warrantee.

    My situation is hopeless. I purchased my ’07 JK with 4K miles, and since day one, the ESP & ABS activate when I go around a clover leaf turn, it leaks with BOTH the soft top and the hard top (you can actually HEAR the water in the freedom top swish around, in a turn situation). I cannot apply for a lemon law, or a binding arbitration with DC. They have made an inferior vehicle, for a premium price, but will not stand behind them. Now the NEW recall has been issued, and it just ads to the pile of other problems in my truck. We are not alone, and I simply cannot understand WHY DC, is not helping ANY JK owners with the continual problems that we are having.
    I am actually afraid to take a clover leaf turn in my vehicle! Ever time I exit the highway, my truck takes on a mind of it’s own, and the vehicle cannot have the gas pedal or break pedal touched. Doing so just increases the chance of me going off the road! I am stuck!
    But YOU- You have a fighting chance still. They cannot take away your warrantee. Will they reissue it if you take your lift down? If so, maybe they can take off the hold, and then you can put it back on, possibly? Either way it’s gonna cost you major bucks. Sorry to hear of your problems, and thanks to you, I will steer clear of those surveys!

  2. @ C. Brooks — Wow you have some of the same exact problems I do.

    I have been the sole owner of my 2007 JK Unlimited. Unfortunately for me I regret ever trading in my reliable 2004 which I only got rid of to have a larger vehicle and still drive a Jeep. Since day one I have had issues refilling my tank up. Gas sprays everywhere when its full, I went to the dealer many times under warranty (even while the vehicle was bone stock) only to be told they could not replicate the scenario and that there was nothing they could do.

    My ESP/ABS lights come on and go away as they please without rhyme or reason.

    My door locks and window switches die out of no where and the only way to reactivate them is by turning the ignition on/off/on

    Do I even need to mention the waterfall that is my Freedom top.

    When its cold or damp out the starter doesn’t even try to turn over

    The paint on the hinges started to bubble around 5,000mi and McDonagh Chrysler of East Brunswick NJ blamed it on the way the vehicle was maintained (heated 3 car garage isn’t good enough I guess)

    It’s a shame I loved every Jeep I owned, but this will surely be my last.

  3. Hmmm, I had the same kind of experience with my dealership. When I got the Jeep I immediately took the hard top off so I could take out the soft top (I had to take one off the lot with the dual top group). I noticed two identical paint cracks in the side rails where the hard top mount holes are – someone had torqued the hard top bolts down way past spec, obviously. Well, after taking the Jeep in and having the service person take pictures I didn’t hear anything back. I took it in for an oil change and inquired about the cracks. I was referred to the manager who was chatting with a service tech, he looked at me and told the service person to have me wait in the lounge. A half hour later, he came by to tell me Chrysler is not going to cover the $1200 cost of fixing the cracks, so he wasn’t going to “eat the cost”. In amazement, I said a) wtf with Chrysler, and b) are you kidding – $1200, just give me a free stick of touch up and I’ll fix it so I don’t get moisture & rust. His answer was that Chrysler said it was my fault and he was “fighting” on my behalf, AND the entire deck had to be repainted or it wouldn’t be worth fixing anyway.

    Aside from all of this typical posturing & attempt by the service manager to pocket $1195 dollars for a stick of touchup paint, I later received a survey from Chrysler about my service visit. I replied with my comments about the cracks, and the next day (I did the survey online) I got a voicemail from the service manager rudely asking why I thought he was “screwing me” and why I was giving him negative feedback when it was Chrysler who wouldn’t “let him do the work”.

    Needless to say, I don’t take my Jeep there any more, in fact I’ve been doing all of the maintenance myself with the helpful write-ups here and other sites.

    The combination of passing the feedback directly to the offending party and a service manager who feels a sense of arrogance and complete lack of customer service equals a customer who will not give them one penny again.

  4. I recently bought my 3rd Chrysler/Dodge vehicle at our nearest dealership. Each purchase has been unpleasant even though we’ve liked our vehicles. Our most recent purchase was a 2014 Jeep Patriot, & our worst purchase experience to date although we love our jeep. I use the dealership for service so they can’t blame a problem on someone else if there is a warranty issue. I gave the vehicle high marks but told the truth in depth about our negative buying experience. This is a very small dealership, & we made an appt. days ahead for our 1st oil change. My wife had to wait 5 hours for the oil change. Then when she got home, the next day we noticed a 4 foot in diameter puddle of oil on our garage cement floor. I crawled under it to find the drain plug hanging by a thread. I tightened it 8 revolutions with my fingers alone before getting a socket wrench. Our next nearest dealership is 1 1/2 hours away & I may have to drive there just to get service. I feel like the honest review I left on the survey has set us up quite possibly for retribution & sabotage if we have service work done there now. I called the service dept. & they strangely didn’t seem surprised, offer any apology, or anything. Chrysler needs to pay some attention to these reviews or if not a good class action attorney needs to take note and force them to pay attention.

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