General Motors Complaint - Catastrophic Mechanical Failure
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -- I was so very excited to find a dealer in my area that had a Solstice in stock for sale! On August 26, 2006 I purchased my 2007 Solstice off the showroom floor of a dealership, Penn Pontiac, Baltimore, MD to be exact, despite horrors with the "salesman" at the dealership. The problems started immediately when I pulled in my driveway with my new prize and my neighbors gathered around to take a look. (How could they not?!) One of them pointed out to me that there was a large screw in my tire. Then, I put the convertible top down and found the rubber weather seal badly damaged. No problem, right, it's a brand new car? Got right on the phone to the putz that I bought the car from who wants to argue with me "how do I know you didn't do it on your way home?" (I live ten minutes from the dealership!) This was on a Saturday evening. When Monday evening (after work) rolled around, I had a friend meet me at the dealership to give me a ride home. I was fully prepared to return the car to them if they were not willing to replace the tire and repair the weatherstripping. After a very heated go-round with my favorite sales rep he finally agreed to do the repairs. Promptly on the 10th of the next month my first car payments, yes plural, showed up in my mailbox. This genius sales rep and the credit manager at the dealership got me financing at two different banks simultaneously! I have a payment due in 10 days, but who do I pay?
Back to the dealership I treck. I could see my favorite sales rep roll his eyes when he saw me coming through the door. It took an act of congress but I did get the financing squared away (without so much as an apology from the dealership.) Oh, by the way, did I mention the "great" bonus I got for buying my car from the fine folks at Penn Pontiac? Free oil changes for the life of the vehicle! Actually, it was a nice little perk (or so I thought). Well, 3000 miles rolls around and I go for my first oil change. No, kidding, it was free! Next time I go back for my second oil change, I ask to have my tires rotated as well. No problem; oil change was free and I paid $19.95 to have the tires rotated. Fair enough.
But, as has been said, the third time was a charm. NOT! I got my oil changed and went to the cashier and proudly presented my free oil change card only to be told that this would be the last free oil change I would get. The dealership had been taken over by new owners; the Bob Bell Automotive Group and they will not honor my free oil change for life perk! Well, didn't that just suck??!! Oh, well. What did I expect? I wrote a nasty letter to Ruthie Penn, the former owner and to Pontiac protesting the rip-off. Neither cared. Ruthie never responded at all; GM responded, but didn't do a thing. I couldn't believe the complacency of GM's customer service person who called me! Anyway, the Bob Bell group is pretty big in Baltimore so surely my nightmare was finally over, right? WRONG! It only went downhill from here. Time for oil change #4, so off to the new owners at the dealership I went. I was also due to have the tires rotated again. I waited an hour or so for them to finish my car and paid the cashier my bill. Around $49, I think. Not too bad. I go out and get into mu car and start out of the parking lot thinking that something didn't feel quite right. But, the parking lot was gravel (yeah, can you believe that one?) so I rolled out onto the highway. I got about 50 feet around the corner and knew something was DEFINITELY wrong. I pulled back onto the parking lot via the other entrance and got out of my car to look. I couldn't believe it! Right front tire had only ONE lug nut on it! Needless to say I was scared to death thinking of what could have been! I walked back into the service area and asked the service manager if he was trying to kill me? Why, he said. I invited him outside with me to look at my car. Oh, I'm sorry. I get that taken care of right away. He called over the intercom for "Chris" who turned out to be some kid who worked on my car that was dummer than a post. Gee, I'm sorry, he said. He fixed my car and I never did see the service manager again. I was still pretty shaken so I just took my car and went home. This took place in late October/early November 2007.
Here comes the icing...On January 21, 2008, at about 5:10 PM, the height of rush hour traffic, I am about 1.2 miles from where I had just left work, on a very high traffic road, driving 40 MPH (the speed limit) in the right lane when, without any warning whatsoever, a loud BOOM! and my car went into a 360 degree spin landing in (luckily) a center turn lane. Scared me unbelievably! How I managed to not hit anyone or have them hit me is nothing short of a miracle! I managed to get the car off the road into a gas station that was fortunately right there. I had difficulty getting the car to move.
People came running from everywhere. I assumed that I blew out a tire, but upon examining the car, there was nothing blown, leaking, dragging or visibly broken. I called AAA and had the car towed just 3 blocks down the road to Anderson Pontiac. The tow truck driver had a very difficult time getting the car to move up on to the rollback. When we got to the dealership, the service department was already closed and again, the tow truck driver had a hard time getting the car off the truck. He thought that I maybe broke a tie road causing a wheel to lock and throw me into such a violent spin. I left the vehicle witha note and went home. Next morning I called the dealership and spoke to a very nice person there who told me that from what little he'd seen that it was most certainly not a tie rod, but rather a problem with the rear-end and he would call me when he had more information; around noon.
Well, it was finally 3:00 and I knew that this was not a case of "no news is good news" so I called the dealership. I spoke to the same guy who informed me that the BOOM I heard was the rear differtial "exploding". Whatever that means! He continued by telling me that he would have to replace the whole rear and that he couldn't locate one anywhere in the country. He told me that the dealership would pay for my rental car and that he would let me know in a few days what he could do.
First, I want to comment on the difference between the service department at this dealership versus the other one that I had been going to. Everyone here from the time I rolled up with the tow truck forward has been so professional and knowledgeable I was shocked. While it is very comforting to know that my car is in good hands, I really wonder what the residual damage is to the vehicle and whether or not I should accept a vehicle back with only 23000 miles on it after such a major and violent incident? I have better than 5 years worth of payments left on this car and what's to say that something else couldn't happen as a result of this incident? And, with all of the historical information available to buyers today, how would I ever sell it? DO you think maybe this car has dark cloud?