Saleen Informative - Saleen Nightmare
BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON -- My Experience as a Saleen Customer:
From the time I was a young boy I dreamed of owning a specialty muscle car, specifically, a Saleen. I finally had the opportunity to make my dream come true this fall. In October of 2007 I purchased a 2006 Saleen S281 SC, (number 1217 to be exact). She is a sleek black beauty with all the bells and whistles, including the special limited production scenic roof. I was absolutely ecstatic! I was so excited that I actually contemplated sleeping in my new car, (a thought that was quickly negated by my wife)! After all these years my dream had come true and I enjoyed every wonderful second of it - for five months.
One day I noticed that the reservoir for the intercooler was empty and there was white build up around the cap. I decided to refill the reservoir and keep a close eye on the issue. A month had gone by and much to my dismay I noticed the reservoir was again empty and I was now hearing an odd “hum” coming from the supercharger. I quickly located the closest Saleen dealer (Bickford Ford in Snohomish) to schedule an appointment – and it was all downhill from there.
My appointment was scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th. When I arrived at Bickford Ford the first question I was asked was, “Did you purchase your car here”? Upon learning that I did not purchase my car from Bickford they then asked “Well did you purchase your car new or used”? Since I purchased the vehicle second hand, my answer prompted the customer service representative to actually moan and say he would be right back because he needed to speak with the service manager. I asked him if there was a problem and he indicated there could be since I did not purchase it “new”. I assured the service representative that my car was still under Ford and Saleen’s warranty so there should not be a problem. How wrong I was!
Upon the service representatives’ return, he had an entirely new reason as to why Bickford might have an issue working on my car. He told me that Bickford would agree to diagnose the issues with my car, but they would not repair the car because “Saleen doesn’t pay their bills”. He then went on to explain that Bickford is actually severing their ties to Saleen and will no longer be selling or servicing their vehicles because they do not pay their bills.
At this point I was beyond frustration and disappointment. Is this the kind of treatment and warranty coverage I expected from a name like Saleen? Certainly not! In fact, I was absolutely shocked to hear these statements about Saleen, especially since it was coming from one of only 4 authorized dealer and service centers in the State of Washington. I began to consider trading in the dream car that was quickly becoming a nightmare.
Before losing all hope, I decided to call all the authorized Saleen dealers in the state to see if they too had had this sort of experience with Saleen. I was dismayed to hear that 2 out of the 4 dealers said they had the same complaints – they were slow to pay (or didn’t pay) their bills.
I finally decided to tackle the problem head on and made the call to Saleen headquarters. After spending two days trying to speak to a live body I was assured the issue with Bickford would be remedied and that someone will call me back - that was 14 days ago. I’m still waiting for the phone to ring…
Eventually, Bickford’s prognosis was that my supercharger would need to be replaced. Bickford manned up and signed on to do the actual work, (even after telling me they would only diagnose the problem but wouldn’t actually fix it).
Bickford ordered my new supercharger from Saleen on February 25th. I was told the supercharger would arrive on February 28th and I would most likely have my car by February 29th - of course, that didn’t actually happen. February 28th came and went so I decided to give Bickford a call since no one bothered to contact me. I learned that my supercharger had not arrived, but it would most likely be in on the 29th and my car would be done no later than March 4th – but of course, it wasn’t. On March 4th I received a call from Bickford and was told my “supercharger did not arrive on the 29th as planned, in fact it still hasn’t shown up and we cannot track it”. HUH?
That’s right, Bickford and Saleen have somehow “lost” my replacement supercharger that was due to arrive on February 28th…29th…err…March 4th. To no avail I immediately started calling the Saleen warranty department to see if someone there could help me track down the supercharger. I don’t think anyone actually works at Saleen.
The first problem when trying to call Saleen is apparently living in Washington State. When you call the 888-829-8832 number from Washington you receive an error message that indicates the number is “unavailable from [my] area”. The second problem you encounter when trying to reach Saleen occurs when you call the 248-743-4800 number after hours and they promptly transfer you to a dial tone. Figuring the third time must be a charm, I called the number in Irvine (949-597-4900), chose option 3 for Warranty or Claims status and left a message on three separate occasions – each time explaining my situation and asking for an immediate call back. Needless to say, I never got a call back. After many days of playing the waiting game I decided to call Irvine again, but this time I choose the After market Parts option hoping someone would answer the phone. After sitting on hold for 18 minutes I was transferred to a recording that transferred me to you guessed it - dial tone.
So here I sit on the evening of March 5th, fourteen days after dropping off my “dream” car and Bickford has yet to receive my supercharger and Saleen has yet to call me back. My dream has been shattered by Saleen and Bickford. As a matter of fact, I would say it has been absolutely destroyed. The Saleen/Bickford experience has pushed me to actually go out and test-drive a brand spanking new 2008 Corvette. After listening to me air my frustrations to the poor and unsuspecting sales guy at Chevrolet, I was offered a trade-in deal almost too good to be true - the only thing left to do is pull the trigger.
As I write this I still have the slightest glimmer of hope that Saleen will come through and make my world right again. Maybe this is just a mix up because they are in the middle of moving, dealing with the retirement of Steve Saleen, surely something. I know I am reaching here, but I truly hope they will rectify this situation and keep my dream alive.