Error at Service Department Cost Me My Retirement! Maybe much worse!

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    Cheryl1857posted 3 years ago

    What should I do? Let it go? I can't. It is too wrong! For anyone willing to take the time to read this, I would appreciate any advice. What if the other woman's family was in an accident or fatal accident?

    Why did I have to take money out of a retirement account that is nowhere near able to support us when I was disabled at 42 and my husband is in a wheelchair or bedridden 5 years later. We have no family to help us.

    I apologize for the long post. I sent the local dealership an email regarding this. They sent me an email:
    Subject: Cheryl, Find a Great Ride at a Great Price

    Given the circumstances, it did not improve my mood.

    Last November, I took my 1997 Toyota RAV4 to the Service Department at a large major dealership to have my tires sealed (they were a year old, but the only rust on the vehicle was on the rims) and the shocks, struts and brakes checked. The Service Manager claimed my vehicle was unsafe to drive and I would have to sign a Release of Liability before I could take it off the lot. I was told, not shown, that the front control arms were rotted through and I could lose my steering at any time. Also, I needed front struts and mounts, ball joints were loose, front brake pads and rotors, oil pan and gasket, etc.

    My husband and I are disabled and on a fixed income. We kept up with the scheduled maintenance, including timing belt and water pump, so that it would last (not through a dealership) but through my husband's employer before his accident). Most of our savings had gone toward medical bills.

    There was not one bit of sympathy shown by the Service Manager or Cashier as I cried my eyes out because it was our only means of transportation. They just waited for me to pay my bill for sealing the tires and sign their form. I was told of special financing available on a new vehicle.

    I cried all the way home. We live in the country and the nearest store is 10 miles away. I parked it in the barn and it stayed there for the winter. I found a small dealership with a heart. Victory Auto Express in Northeast Ohio. I know Victor didn't make a dime on the sale and I smile when I drive my 2003 Toyota Highlander not because I got it so cheap, but because Victor really didn't care about making money off the sale.

    Last week, my husband went out to the barn and all the tires were flat, but he noticed the dealership tag on the key ring. It was for a 2003 Toyota Highlander (coincidentally). I thought about it and remembered a woman in the waiting room who was surprised when the Service Manager said that her repairs were quite minor. I remembered he mentioned the air cleaner and I looked and there was a brand new air cleaner!

    My first thought was that this woman drove out of there thinking there was nothing wrong with her vehicle and her steering could go out at anytime! That was 6 months ago. My husband called the son of a deceased friend. Chris is an excellent mechanic who lives nearby. My husband asked him to take a look at it. We don't like to ask for help. He spent a good hour going over everything that was listed on the estimate. There was nothing wrong!

    One month before taking it to the dealership, I had taken it to a muffler shop and the owner had it up on the lift and had showed me how lucky I was that the undercarriage was so solid given the fact it was a 1997. He said that I only needed the muffler and tailpipe. Aluminum was much cheaper, but since I wanted it to last, I paid $600 for the stainless steel. This was in the back of my mind as I am hearing all of these things from the Service Manager. This was a muffler fabricating shop owner, in business for over 30 years saying it was solid.

    I withdrew money from our retirement account and purchased a vehicle based on the "professional evaluation" of a "Reputable Dealership Service Department!!" To add insult to injury, the tires that I paid to have sealed are flat! They made our lives even more difficult! My husband is in a wheelchair and I am not far from one. We are in our fifties and that retirement account will be gone long before we die!

    Note: This post in no way represents my opinion of Toyota Vehicles as this is the 3rrd Toyota purchase.
    Disclaimer: The content of this post is my opinion of what MAY have taken place at a particular Service Department. It is yet to be determined.