Manhattan Jeep Dodge Chrysler

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Major Negligence
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Took my car into the dealership that I originally purchased the car and had done bus. with them for over 16 years. (6cars). They lost or let the car get stolen. To make a long story Short, after the owners son tells me that he was sorry and he would make up for my lose, I was treated a few days later as if I had fault for them losing the car. They acknowledge that they had control of the car and they don't know what happened to the car after I gave them the keys to fix my power steering.

If you want to read the full text please continue reading below.

Re: Vin. # 1J4GW58J13C597115


I currently went through an experience with your Chrysler 5 Star Dealership of Manhattan, (711 Eleventh Ave., New York). I am fully aware that each dealership is independently owned, but what happened to me reflects on the Chrysler Corporation and your product of service. Below is a synopsis that was requested from various New York City news services that are interested to see how this situation will be played out.

On 1/09/08 my 2003 Grand Cherokee Limited, (32,062 mi.) was taken into the service department of Manhattan Jeep for repairs to be done on the power steering unit. An appointment was set for 9:00am. I drove the car inside the building where all the other cars were and I handed the attendant my keys. He presented me with a claim check (#4573, copy enclosed). I was directed to wait in the service area next door while the mileage was taken and the details of the work were given to the service person inside, (Mr. Lebello). To which he presented to me the customers copy of the service order.

1/10/08. I receive a call from Mr. Lebello requesting the number of the claim check. I call him back and relay the number; I asked him if there were any problems. His response to me was; “that with all the cars inside the building they need the hat number to find the car quicker”. I felt at the time that they had control of my car, and there were no problems.

1/11/08. I leave a message for Mr. Lebello to contact me so that I can make arrangements to pick up my car (12:00p.m.). Mr. Lebello leaves me a voice message on my cell phone to inform me that he cannot find my car, (he also has my alternate number which he didn’t use). I finally reach Mr. Lebello at 3:52 p.m., and I am told by him “he thinks that the car is inside the building”. That I should not worry that he will call me back in one hour. At 5:25 I call again and the evening manager, (Mark) tells me, that Mr. Lebello had gone home for the weekend and he’ll be back on Monday. Mark tells me that he’ll look for my car on Saturday when he has time during lunch. He also informs me that the “dealership is not responsible for the car” and if it is missing that the only thing to do was to call my insurance company and report a claim.

I arrive at the building at 5:50 and I find that there was no one searching for my car. The night manager calls Mr. Labello and leaves a message to call the dealership because it was urgent. At the time I was there (2 hours) he never returned the call and I have never heard from him since. I requested to see a copy of the surveillance tape, but I was told that they don’t have surveillance on the property. I was instructed by the night manager, (Mark) that I could conduct my own search of all five floors of the building and the back parking lot to see if I find the car. In the mean time the night manager, “Mark” is busy watching a comedy movie on his computer on the service floor, while also encouraging the other employees that were there to watch. I witnessed this first hand while I had to call my insurance company, the police and my attorney about the situation that was unfolding at that moment. At 8:00 p.m the police arrive to help me file a report. The manager was asked if he looked and he replied no, but that they were free to look, but he felt it was a waste of time. The police drive me two blocks to the dealerships office to see a manager. At the time the night manager and Neil, (my salesman) were there and they told me that if the car was stolen that the dealership would do everything possible to help me get another car. It was commented to me by the night staff at the dealership that there are more than 2.5 million dollars worth of cars inside the building and they could not figure out why there are no surveillance of the facility. Even though when you enter the facility there is a sign outside the entrance that states the property is under surveillance. I was told to come the next day to speak to the General manager, (David); to make arrangements to rent a car while this situation sorted it out.

Incidentally this is also the date of the last payment to Chrysler Financial for purchase of the Jeep. This car was to go to my youngest son who will be going to Drexel University in Philadelphia.

1/12/08. I arrive at the dealership as instructed at 9:45 a.m. and meet Mr. Monninger, who is very apologetic but no more than that. He tells me and my wife that he will do everything possible to help me get another car if the one I took in for service can not be recovered, “not to worry, we will take care of our customers”. He tells me that he will speak to the service manager on Monday and that he will call me. He was “generous” to offer me a “weekend” rental to be returned on Monday. To which I had to physically go to the service department again and request a voucher to be presented at Enterprise for the weekender. I had to wait over two hours for the rental because Mr. Monninger would only allow me to receive a Chrysler product. The manager at Enterprise knowing what had happened to me at the hands of the dealership managed to get me a rental shortly after they had closed for the day. It was a Jeep Commander.

1/14/08. I call Mr. Monniger and he tells me that he has no answers or explanation to what happened to the car. He was very sorry but there is nothing that can be done. He suggests that I file with my insurance company, and would talk to me in 30 days when the car is officially claimed as stolen. I requested that the dealership pay for the balance of the rental that my insurance does not pay, ($20.00 per day). He refuses to pay this amount because he claims that “we don’t make a lot of money at the dealership and they could not afford it”. I told him that I found that to be astounding considering that it is petty cash and his dealership was responsible for not caring for the car, not including the major inconvenience for my business and personal life that this has been bought upon because of their neglect.
Mr. Monninger calls 1 hour later and agrees to pick up the rental for 25 days.

1/16/08 I speak to Detective Holman at Midtown North. He believes that this was an inside theft and that he was going to speak to Mr. Monninger about the occurrence.

1/18/08 I call Mr. Monninger to request information about the insurance carrier of his garage, he tells me that he will talk to his comptroller about furnishing me that information. I inform him that I would like to file through his insurance instead of mine because I could claim the property that was in the car that would not be covered by my policy. 10 minutes later I receive a call from Mr. Mascolino who flatly refused to supply me with any information to help me facilitate this claim.

2/11/08. I called Mr. Monninger and I reminded him that the 30 days has come up and that I was going to have to replace the car that they lost. He tells me that Mr. Iton would call me and he would help me.

2/12/08 I receive a call from Mr. Iton and he offers me a 2007 Jeep with no warranty that was new but since it was purchase from Chrysler it was classified as used, he told me he had a special offer and would drop the price 10,000.00. I check out the cars on the Manhattan Jeep web site and I find the “special” price I am offered was the same price that they were selling last years cars.

2/18/08. I indicated to Mr. Iton that the cars they were steering me were not acceptable at that price and I reminded Mr. Iton that I was told the dealership would find a way get me a car at a better price. I requested that they take off $5,000.00 from the 2007 that they are advertising and I would be happy if there was some kind of concessions to help me out of their situation.

2/19/08 Mr. Iton call me to inform me that Mr. Monninger would not make any deal or concessions and that he was not even willing to drop the destination charge of the car.

In the mean time I have contacted various news agencies that have shown an interest and would like to see the out come of this event. Plus I have contacted the State Attny. General’s office to file a complaint, plus the Dept. Of Con Affairs, NYC A.G. office, who suggested that I take the dealership to court.

Personally am taken aback at the way the dealership personally treated me, as if the lose of the car was somehow my fault. Please keep in mind that I have been a “loyal” customer of both Chrysler products and this particular dealership for more than 16 years. I personally have purchased 4 vehicles from Manhattan Jeep, and my brother has also purchased 3 vehicles from them also. Not including the various family members who have purchased from Manhattan Jeep on my suggestion. I also purchased an extended contract with Chrysler, which is still in effect at this time.

Of course I feel that it would be my duty to inform the general public of what occurred to me and would suggest that they steer away from purchasing at this dealership or even contemplate the purchase of a Chrysler car, because of the manner that this was handled.

I hold no grudge for Manhattan Jeep losing / or allowing for my car to be stolen. In New York this is very possible, but the manner for which they handled it was within the range of incompetence and criminal disregard for the customers that they claim to cherish.

In essence the 5 Star claim that this dealership places itself under is comical considering how they handled my situation. Unfortunately there are some people in Manhattan Chrysler who really tried to help but were unable to because of management. I personally will miss the relationship I had with Neal Iton who various members of my family and myself had known for over 16 years. Whenever I had to replace or purchase a car he was the only person that I would call and make arrangements for a car. I felt that my loyalty to the brand and this dealer warranted better respect and handling of the matter.

I have not heard yet from my insurance company about this claim, but considering that I paid in total $43, 437.00 for the car and will be paid a small fraction of that amount I am losing an enormous amount of value that I had invested. I hope that no one ever has to go through this major hassle and inconvenience to his or her lives. And the dealership should have stood by their word when I was present there with the General Manager proclaiming that he takes care of all his customers and I had nothing to worry about. (He sure took care of me). And if it were not for me going to the dealership and presenting myself they would have waited another 3 days before they considered the situation serious enough to call the police.

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User Replies:
Aerocave on 03/03/2008:
Very interesting story. It would be unfair to blame the dealership for the actual theft--that could happen anywhere...but this is one of these customer situations where, if handled properly, could have resulted in you being even more loyal to the dealership--instead, the mishandling of the situation, especially by the Gen Mgr, has made the theft of your vehicle only the start of the actual complaint.
This is, however, an insurance should not expect the dealership to lose thousands of dollars selling you a new (or newer) vehicle...I agree that the circumstances should be considered in the offer...but make sure you don't let your insurance company "off the hook" either. Good Luck!
yoke on 03/03/2008:
Why would you not blame the dealership? It was in their possession when it was stolen. IMO the dealership needs to make the OP whole again and if it means giving a vehicle to him then so be it. As the OP stated the last payment was made, why should he have to start all over again with payments because the dealership lost his car?
tnchuck100 on 03/03/2008:
There are too many facts left out to make a determination.

Did the dealership provide "reasonable care"? If so, the car owners insurance has the responsibility.

If you can prove the dealership was negligent in some way (ie: they moved/left the car in an unsecured area after it was in their control) then the dealers insurance must pay for the loss.

You may have to go to court to settle this.
Aerocave on 03/03/2008:
So, Yoke, what happens if the car was stolen at Walmart? Should Walmart buy him a new vehicle? How about Home Depot? As Chuck stated, unless negligence on the part of the dealer can be proven, the fact that this happened at a car dealership means nothing...this is an insurance claim.
yoke on 03/03/2008:
Aerocave, the OP actually handed his keys over to someone at the dealership so YES they are responsible, why wouldn't they be. If your car gets stolen out of a parking lot it is your problem, not the owner of the parking lot.
It seems like the dealership has the not our problem attitiude and wanted him to buy a new car from them. Why should the OP have to go through his insurance and have his rates go up because the dealership lost his car? For all the OP knows the car is still there. It seems nobody other than the police and the OP are looking for it. When does it become the dealers problem? For all the OP knows they sold the car to someone else.
Aerocave on 03/03/2008:
But according to the dealership, the car was stolen. Which then goes back to what I said about it happening somewhere else. The reason that it is an issue of where--is because it happened at a car dealership. A lot of times the expectations are simply higher. I totally agree with you that the dealership handled this situation poorly. But if it was was stolen. We have never had a car stolen, but we have had cars damanged on our lot...but what's always interesting is that some people, even after you explain the situation and obviously let them know the car will be fixed, almost expect a "no charge" car out of it...and I always think to myself..."Gee, what would they be asking Walmart for if it happened on their parking lot."
I hope you understand where I am coming from on this...
yoke on 03/03/2008:
Aero, the difference between the car in the Wal-Mart lot and the dealer lot is when you leave your car in the Wal-Mart lot you are in complete control of the car and where you park it, when you leave it at the dealership they are the ones in complete control of your car. When you hand over the keys you expect them to give you the car back in the same condition, other than the repairs being made, that you left it in. If there is a dent it is their responsibility to get it fixed, not the customers. Why should the customer have to pay to have the dent fixed when it was the dealers fault, it is a win win for the dealer if they make the customer pay for their mistake. At what point does the dealer take responsibility? You seem to think they do not have to take any.
Aerocave on 03/03/2008:
Yoke...if someone vandalizes a customer's car sitting outside on our parking lot, regardless of who has the keys, why should it always be the dealer's responsibility? And experienced Car Thieves do not even need keys. You think that every time your car is at a dealership it is expected that we will "watch over it" day and night and "hoard off the vandals and thieves?" Certainly we try (at our store we have a fenced area that is locked at night) and I do believe we need to do our part... But things happen. Now, if a dealership employee damanges a customer car that is completely different...but again, ask yourself this...If a shopping cart unexpectantly careens into your car at Walmart's parking lot or a $19.95 Oil Change Special sign gets blown into your passenger door while its sitting on the dealers lot--isn't it more likely that most customers will accept the Walmart situation as their own responsibility and the Dealer situation, because its a car and it happened at a car dealership, the customer assumes it is always our responsibility? That is the point I am trying to make.
sunshine619 on 03/03/2008:
I agree it shouldn't come out of the dealers pocket of course, but shouldn't the dealerships insurance cover it? I agree that the customer shouldn't have his insurance go up because the dealership lost the car, or it was stolen from their facility, whichever. Also, does the dealer still have the keys or are those gone too?
yoke on 03/04/2008:
Aero, we will have to agree to disagree. IMO, once you hand over your keys to the dealer they are responsible for whatever happens to the vehicle. In this case it was stolen and they did nothing to rectify the situation. It sounds like it was an inside job and that is why nobody bothered to look for the vehicle.
Aerocave on 03/04/2008:
Yoke, I think you are right. I appreciate what you are saying.
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