Today we purchased a 1999 Ford Windstar at John L Sullivan in Marysville. They wouldn't let us take it off of the lot without proof of insurance. We got lucky and someone was at Farmers at that time. We brought home our car today. In order to get the low monthly payments that we wanted we had to up the down payment to $2500.00
While driving the children to school this morning I noticed a small quick noise under the car. It sounded like a cat hissing, but it was very low and I couldn't tell where it was coming from.
I emailed John l Sullivan, through the web site, about getting a car facts sheet and wanting to speak with someone.
Automated email response received.
No call back. I called the dealer to see if they had gotten my email they said they had and that no one was in yet but someone would be contacting me shortly. No response.
The cat noise comes and goes, but lately it is getting louder. It happens when the van is going from first to second gear.
While driving the kids to school this morning the transmission slipped out of first gear and would not go into second. I drove them to school in first gear. Later that day the car shifted fine.
The transmission slipped out of gear again, but only in the morning.
I went into the dealership telling them (the receptionist and John) that the transmission had been slipping and I had only had this car for 4 months. Their repair shop wanted to charge me $175.00 just to look at it. I told them that I didn't have any money at this time, that I had put it all into purchasing this car.
My sales guy (Amit) was no longer there so I spoke with John Koo at the front desk who said that without a warranty there is nothing that they can do for me since it was such a "cheap" car. I explained to him that I could not purchase warranties at the time of sale because they had wanted such a large down payment in order to keep my monthly payments at a manageable level. He said there is nothing he could do without a warranty. This upset me and I started to cry.
Then a salesman (Robert) came up to me and said that he had been on my sales team and wanted to try and help me out. He drove my van around the block and said there seemed to be nothing wrong. I told him it only happens in the morning. He also told me that my Windstar (Total Sale Price $9727.36) was only worth $3800 now and trade in value is nothing if there is something wrong with the transmission. He let me look at a red van, went inside to get the keys, returned with no keys, and told me that this car was too expensive and they didn't have anything on the lot in that price range. I left crying.
I took the car in for a free diagnostic at Aamco. They reported that like the dealer had said all of the fluids had been changed, but the new transmission fluid was "contaminated" with the remnants of the burnt fluid that had been removed previously from the car.
I went back to the dealer and talked with Steve complaining that Aamco had told me about the burnt transmission fluid and asked again if there was anything that they could do for me. They told me that they would try to get me into another car. Saul and I test drove a white Town and Country mini-van, filled out the papers, and then was told that they would call me the next morning
No response. So I went in. The dealer (Saul) said that "the bank" would not do the trade without another down payment and any other vehicle on the lot was substantially more than the one that I bought four months earlier, so they could not do the trade without a large down payment. I asked about the $2500.00 that I had just put down in February. I was told that that was for the Windstar and would not apply to a new car.
I called my Bank and my account manger said that John L. Sullivan had not submitted a second request!! She said that the only request was made in February and had been approved. She said that no new request had been made and recommended that contact the dealer to make sure that they had submitted it to the right bank.
I went to a neutral third party asking for information. I told them that I had already been approved for the car loan and asked if there was any way to return the Windstar and apply it to another car.
They showed me the dollar amounts on the vehicles and told me that the Windstar, that I put $2500 down on four months earlier, had a trade in value of $1500. They said that they would be willing to do a trade with no money down, but after we did all of the papers and submitted it to my bank, again I was told that the first down of $2500 "does not count" and I would need to put at least $500 down in order to get a monthly payment off $300..
10:45 a.m. I called my bank back in order to clarify what the dealerships were telling me.
My finance manager told me that there had still not been a request made from John L Sullivan. She told me that their sale is not up to the bank and it looks like John L Sullivan does not want to work with me because they would be taking a loss. She said that I had gotten a rotten deal because low book value on this Windstar at the time of purchase was $3800.00 and on a trade there is no recoup for any of the money (my $2500 down) on the sale. Because it is an older vehicle there is no lemon law challenge, but there are laws that protect my purchase if I choose to look into it and that my bank is very willing to up my loan if a request would have been made. It depends on the dealer and the loss that they would be taking on a new vehicle as to whether or not they want to put me into a new vehicle.
She also told me that the other neutral party had submitted a request and was told that they could do the trade if payments were set at $225 a month with no down. They aren't willing to go that low without money down because again they would be taking a loss after paying off the loan still owed on the Windstar and giving me a lower trade in value of $1500 due to having to fix the transmission problem.
**Come to find out "the bank" isn't the one who was wanting me to go higher on the down in order to get a lower monthly payment (which is why I couldn't afford an kind of warranty in the beginning); When I purchased the van the dealer said, "In order to get the lower monthly payments that you want the bank is going to want more down, can you go up to $2500.?" Then later when the finance assistant asked me if I wanted to purchase a warranty I told him, "Because I had to go so high on the down in order to get the $151.60 a month, I can't do that right now."
1:30 p.m. So, I went in and spoke with Kim at John L. Sullivan concerning the request that had supposedly been made for the other van.
I told her that I had talked with my bank and that they had said that there was no request made. She then got out my file and started to finish the request. She went over and talked to Steve and then asked me if I could make any down payment. I told her that I had already put $2500 into the Windstar and could not put anything down right now. She started to tell me that unfortunately without anything down they were going to require a higher monthly payment. I told her that I had couldn't do that I was on a fixed income. She said, "Without that there is nothing she could do for me since "I don't even think that there is a car on our lot for that price."
I asked her to pull up my yahoo so that I could show her all of the steps that I had taken already to rectify the problem. She read through the document (this document) that I had saved as an attachment (I made a copy for her), she looked at the automated response that I had been sent to me from John L Sullivan and then she made a copy of the report from Aamco.
She called Aamco at 1:20 p.m. After she dialed, and as it was ringing, she told me, "Don't get offended by anything that I might say. I am going to pretend to be your sister so I can get some information." She asked Miguel to call her back on her work number and give her the meaning for the code. I told her "˜after' she had hung up with them that Miguel at Aamco knew my sister and that her store delivered parts to Miguel's store all the time. She then asked me to call Angel and let her know what had just happened in case Miguel called her wondering what was going on.
She showed me their file on my car; one page in particular concerning the break down of where the money went that I had put into the Windstar. She said that I had gotten a "great deal and unfortunately there was nothing that she could do for me without the company taking a loss", but she would wait for a response from Aamco and call me.
She suggested that maybe I could apply for a personal loan.
Later 2:05 p.m. - When Kim called me back she said that Aamco had told her that Aamco did have an in house financing plan with no interest. She said that the code meant the problem was in the torque converter (according to the code) and it would be about $680 to $800 or more for repairs depending upon what they found when they opened up the transmission.
She said that maybe I could call my bank and see if they would raises my credit limit to pay for the repair. I asked, "What about your repair shop there, John said that he could get me a discount?" She told me that John was no longer there. She said that they would need all of the money up front, that they don't have an in house finance program. I told her that I had spoken with John (and Steve) earlier in the week and that he said that he could possibly get me a discount on the repairs. She said that sales has nothing to do with repairs, but she would go back and ask Hector in repair about how much it would cost me and call me back.
2 p.m. No response. I called Hector (742-6406). I gave him my name and told him that I had recently purchased a 99 Ford Windstar from the dealership. I asked if Kim had talked with him about this vehicle. He said that she had and she had given him some paperwork to review, but unfortunately he needed to have his Service Manager (Chuck Taylor) to review it with him, and Chuck wouldn't be in until Monday." He said that he would give me a call on Monday and see what they could do for me.
2:20 p.m. No response. I called Hector. He said. "Let me go and see if he has had time to review all of the documents - hold on." When he got back on the phone he told me that, "He's reviewing it now. Give it about 15 to 20 minutes and he or I will call you back."
3:20 No response!! 3:40 Chuck called me back. He said, "Well I'm not real sure what to do for you. I haven't looked at the car so I don't know what it really needs. I can't authorize Aamco to do it for you. Problem is if I tear down your transmission I need someone to pay me. I talked to sales and they won't do it. They aren't authorizing me to do repairs. I have no problem giving you a discount, but assume it needs an overhaul. Problem is I don't know what it is going to cost once we get in there." I said,"The problem is I "˜just' spent $2500 dollars on purchasing this vehicle and I don't have the money for repairs." He referred me back to Aamco and their payment plan.
I then sent a message through their website. The message reads:
I am formally requesting that repairs be made to the transmission of the FORD Windstar VIN# 2FMZA5140XBC16471 at no cost to the customer (Ms. Bergstrom) and that the response to this request be mailed to 1220 Maple Street, Marysville, CA 95901
I received an automated response stating that someone would get back to me. No response was made.
So, I then sent emails to several of the other John L Sullivan web sites and Dodge /Chrysler hoping to receive a response to my complaints.
I received emailed responses from the dodge.com and chystler.com sites stating that they are not responsible for the individual dealerships. They suggested that I needed to get a hold of the management at the Marysville site. I received automated responses from the other dealerships saying that someone would be in touch with me shortly. I called the Marysville dealership and asked for the email of the person "˜in charge'. They gave me this address: email@example.com I emailed him (Steve) asking him to review my complaint.
Later that day Britany from the Roseville store called me. She left a message concerning the email that they had received from me. When I called her back she gave me her email and I forwarded her the message with the attachment that I had sent to Steve at Marysville. She said that she would get back to me today after reading it.
I then emailed Steve again. No response.
I still have not received an email from Steve or a call from Britany, so I emailed Britany asking if she has had time to review my issue. No response!!
I received an email and phone number from Joy at the Roseville store.
I called Joy and she said," Unfortunately with no money down they (Marysville) can't get me into another vehicle right now. I did call down to the Marysville store and speak with Steve Rodgers and he said that without a warranty they can't cover the cost of the transmission." She asked if I had spoken with Steve. I told her that I had emailed him several times with no response. She suggested that I speak with John Wood. I told her that he's the one that made me cry. She then said," I am sorry. I know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck but there is no way that Marysville is willing to do that right now."
I emailed Joy asking her to send me the email address of the owner of the John L Sullivan dealerships. She sent me a P.O.Box.
**As I sit here numb from all of the indifference that I have received from the staff, management and contacts that I have made with these dealerships I find it hard to believe that there is nothing that anyone can or will do for me. It saddens me to come to the realization that my own community has become a non-feeling corporate industry who only cares about profit and loss and not the customers who make their businesses successful in the first place. I hate the way that I've been told uncaringly that someone is "looking out for my interests and their own, but the bottom line is that the company can not take a loss due to my purchase from them." (???) What about my interests, where did my money go? $2500 + 3 payments of $152 from my point of view are not "˜nothing'.
I wrote a letter to one of the owners asking for a response within two weeks.
I attended a workshop at Rural Legal Services where I had filed a complaint regarding the van. I was given a list of private attorneys.
No response from owner!! I emailed a complaint to the FTC and Attorney General stating:
I financed a vehicle for $9727.36. The vehicle is not running properly due to an pre-existing mechanical problem diagnosed by an independent third party expert (knowledgeable in the technical field of the problem area) and the dealership refuses to fix it. The problems started less than 20 days after the date of sale and I have repeatedly brought it to the attention of the sales consultants, management and ownership of the dealership. I haven't even received my plates yet.
I also filled out DMV "Record of Complaint Forms" on the dealership and the owner complaining of:
1. Faulty inspection procedures done before sale of used vehicle.
2. Fraudulent sales tactics.
3. Poor customer relations after sale.
4. Failure to disclose previous owner when asked in writing.
1. Failure to respond to complaints dated July 28, 2008.
2. Code of ethics.
3. Price related agreements.
4. Price discrimination.
I also attempted to contact some of the attorneys on the list I got from RLS.
Rural Legal Services called me and referred me to the DA's Office.
I took the van to Monroe transmission to get a second estimate.
Scott Gruminger DMV Investigator called me saying that he had spoke with the new general manager at John L Sullivan about my problem and he started to tell me about "˜warranty information on the transmission' and I stopped him and said, "My report to you had nothing to do with my transmission problem. I am taking care of that a different way. My problem, as stated in my complaint, has to do with fraud by the sales people and faulty inspection procedures." He said that he had not seen the report that I had made and said that he would read through it and get back to me.
He also said that John L Sullivan had a new general manager, Bryan Kaestner, and told me that maybe I should call him and we could work something out. When I called Bryan he also only addressed the warranty and mechanical issue. He said the same thing that the others had said about not being able to help me because I had not purchased a warranty. I told him what the transmission places had said about the burnt fluid and he just replied that it's a machine no one can tell when it will breakdown. When I mentioned my other issues he did not address them and went back to the transmission issue. He did however say that he would try and work something out with me with a trade-in... He said he had to go but he would call me back. He did not call me back.
Review about: Ford Windstar.