BRANDON, FLORIDA -- My wife and I have a 2000 Honda Odyssey EX Minivan. Both side doors on the van are electric sliding doors. On 8/13/2006, the passenger side door stopped working. On 8/14/2006 at around 9am, my wife brought the van to Brandon Honda for service. After being in the shop for about 45 minutes, a service adviser from the shop called my wife and explained that it would cost over $1,700 to fix the door. In addition, "after they replaced the door motor and the switches, they would then know if they would have to replace another set of parts for the door" for an additional cost of over $400.
I asked the service manager, Jeff **, the question "How could every component in the door all fail at one time?" Mr. ** replied that he "stands behind" his technicians and he can only "go with" what they say. At that time, I asked Mr. ** to speak with Honda about the cost of the repair and to ask Honda for some financial assistance in that regard. Honda did agree to assist with the cost of the repairs which lowered the initial estimate from $1,700 to $1,050. Honda did not agree to provide assistance if additional repairs were necessary (i.e. the additional $400).
At that point, I explained that I simply did not have that kind of money to pay for the repairs all at once. I paid for an oil change and an $85 diagnostic fee (the fee Brandon Honda charged to diagnose what was supposedly wrong with the door) and drove the van home.
At that point one of my neighbors reminded me of a young man that has been working on Hondas for years. He lives right down the street from me about 8 doors down. I met with him and he agreed to take a look at the van. When we pulled the door paneling off, we found a mess. The Brandon Honda mechanics had left door hardware hanging on the inside of the door, the door plastic covering off, etc., etc. - it was a mess.
After troubleshooting the door for an hour, he replaced a small relay from the fuse box in the engine compartment. According to him, it was a $2 part. I paid him $100 for solving the problem. The van door now works fine and has been working fine ever since. When I called Mr. ** back at Brandon Honda to request a refund of the $85 diagnostic fee, he asked me to wait a week because his daughter was going in for surgery to have her tonsils removed and that he would "deal" with the issue afterwards. I thought using his daughter as an excuse was a little strange, but OK.
A week went by and I called him on 8/31/2006 at around 5pm. Mr. ** told me that "he stands behind his mechanics" and that "the O2 sensor will fail" and that he would not be refunding the diagnostic fee. I asked Mr. ** what an O2 sensor had to do with a door. I asked him if he was sure he knew who I was, my vehicle, problem, etc.. He said he did know who I was and said "you're the one with the 2000 Odyssey with the sliding door problem right?" I answered yes.
At that point he raised his voice to me and explained that a "punk kid" butchered my van and that it would not be covered by Honda (the van is 6 years old and out of warranty so that was a moot point). I asked him again to please explain what an O2 sensor has to do with a door. He refused to answer the question. I decided not to press the question as all I wanted at that point was my $85.
The funny thing is that, if Brandon Honda had replaced ALL of the parts in the door based on their original estimate, the door STILL would not have worked because the relay is in the engine compartment. When I explained that to Mr. **, he told me that I would definitely not be getting any kind of refund as, and he was sure of this, the door would malfunction inside of a month.
That "punk kid" has been working on cars for the last 6 years. He works mostly on Hondas (he drives a Honda Prelude) and does side work/repairs for many of the folks in my neighborhood. He is a clean-cut, well spoken young man and I'm glad I found him. Just because somebody is 21 or 22 years old and works on cars does not mean they are a "punk kid".
As far as "butchering" my car, I witnessed everything the "punk kid" did. I have the old part. All he did was replace a little relay (a part kind of like a fuse). We cleaned and lubricated the door. Everything works fine now. Correcting the mess that the Brandon Honda technicians left behind and replacing the relay is all that was done.
According to the"punk kid", he knows some of the technicians that work at Brandon Honda and some that used to work for Brandon Honda. He explained to me that he was not surprised "they tried to take me" for that large sum of money. He says "they do it all the time because they are the dealership and the customers trust the dealership". I think somebody should do an investigation and, perhaps, catch them in the act.
What's really disappointing to me is that, Brandon Honda has plenty of customers. They shouldn't have to rip folks off. They have so many customers they will do perfectly well financially without lying and stealing. Now, if the "punk kid" mechanic cannot do a repair to our van, we are going to have to drive to Sarasota, Lakeland, or downtown Tampa to get our van worked on because we certainly cannot trust Brandon Honda. That SUCKS.
Today is 12/22/2007 and the door is still working fine. I am in the market for a new car. I would like to purchase a Honda, but I can't because there isn't an honest dealer nearby. Therefore, I'm either going to get a Toyota or a Hyundai. Jeff ** knows exactly who I am. I will be happy to march straight into that dealership and tell him he is a liar to his face. What he does after that is his choice.... It won't faze me either way. I truly believe he lied to me and tried to steal from me. I will not let until I am in receipt of my $85.