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Car makes many trips to the shop


© St. Petersburg Times, published July 28, 2000

On Memorial Day weekend, my car would not start -- even though the engine was turning over. I had it towed to St. Pete Jeep. Two days later the dealership called me and said it was ready. I had my neighbor drop me off at the dealership. I went in and paid my repair bill of $171.48 and was told my car would be brought to me.

I waited for approximately half an hour. Still no car. I went inside to see what the delay was and was told my car would not start. I was given a ride home.

Two days later, I called to ask about my car and was told it was ready. No mention was made of additional charges. I had another friend drive me to the dealership, and at that time I was informed that I owed an additional sum of approximately $77 for a battery. My battery was fine when the car was brought in. Also, no one ever offered to show me any of the parts I was told had to be replaced. There were some harsh words exchanged because I felt that it should have been repaired the first time.

My daughter paid the bill, and the car ran for almost a week. Then the same problem occurred. It would turn over, but not start. We again had it towed. This time we were told there was a corroded piece that needed to be cleaned. I picked up my car again, and about five days later experienced the same problem. It would turn over but not start. This time we asked St. Pete Jeep to tow it in.

After a couple of days, we got a call and were told the problem was a module and the cost would be an additional $200, which we paid. Four days later, same problem. This time I was without the car for a week. I got it back on July 10. I have enclosed all the bills, and you can see that during June, St. Pete Jeep had the car for almost three weeks. I was never offered a car to drive so that I could get back and forth to work. I was never shown one piece of anything that I was told had been replaced.

To me, if it had been repaired the first time, I would not have had all these extra bills and the inconvenience of being without a car for almost a month. I believe I am entitled to an apology and a part or all of the $460.99 I've paid out in repairs. Kimberly Bramer

Response: Ron York, service director of St. Pete Jeep Chrysler Plymouth, said he agrees that you have experienced an inordinate number of electrical problems in a short span of time but that after each repair, the vehicle would run for a period of time. He said the dealership also paid to have the vehicle towed in, and you were not charged any additional labor after the first repair.

York said your vehicle's odometer shows 89,170 miles on each of the statements, from May 30 on. Before this, the last mileage the dealership shows is 84,170 in March 1997. He said the vehicle therefore probably has more than 100,000 miles on it.

In the shop's vehicle repair history on your car, there is a note that you had it in the shop in June 1999, with an intermittent "crank but not start" complaint. At that time, the shop's test indicated a fuel injector circuit problem, but no repairs were done.

York said he hopes you will understand that a vehicle with more than 100,000 miles on it is more prone to breakdowns. It would have been in the dealership's best interest to sell you all the needed parts and the labor to install them at one time instead of paying a towing bill and not collecting any additional labor costs.

He said he is offering you a $50 credit toward any future service visits as a gesture of good will.

Order received

On May 15, I sent an order to J.D. Marvel Products. I have not received the merchandise, the company does not respond to my inquiries, and the toll-free customer service number in the ad cannot be used in this area. Can you help? Thank you so much. Muriel Fischer

Response: We can and you're welcome. We're glad you finally received your order.

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