Home » How This Customer’s Fender Bender Turned Into Six Months Of Dealership Hell

How This Customer’s Fender Bender Turned Into Six Months Of Dealership Hell

Dude Wheres My Tonale Ts2
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Buying or leasing a new car comes with certain benefits. Chief amongst them are the factory warranty and the fact that you can get repairs handled by the dealership. However, if that dealership fails to deliver, you can find yourself in one heck of a pickle. Worse, if you’ve financed or you’re on a lease, you’re on the hook for payments. David Kaplan from North Carolina has been going through just such a trial, and after six long months, he’s more frustrated than ever.

Speaking to The Autopian, he outlined his tale of woe, which he says all began when he leased a new Alfa Romeo Tonale. He should have been enjoying a glorious time with his new Italian SUV. Instead, it’s been stuck in dealer limbo for over six months now, and he says he’s been stuck paying the bills.

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David’s story begins in August last year when he visited Leith Alfa Romeo in Raleigh, North Carolina. He liked the Tonale, but he had some concerns upfront about service. “The dealership in Raleigh, NC was about 100 miles from my house,” he explains. “They agreed to provide a loaner if the car required service overnight, [since] there was no comfortable place to sleep in their showroom.” With his concerns assuaged, the lease went ahead, and he took delivery of the vehicle.

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce
David sadly didn’t have any pictures of his vehicle before or after the crash, but he purchased a red US spec model similar to this one.

A few months later, trouble struck as he was driving on I-40 in heavy traffic. “A small traffic cone appeared in my lane, I couldn’t avoid it,” he says. The car was still driveable after the incident, but it had sustained some cosmetic damage to the grille and bumper. “I called the dealer to arrange repair and reminded them of their commitment to provide a loaner and they agreed,” he says.

Sadly, things started to go sideways from there. Upon dropping the vehicle off and making a prepayment for repairs, he was told there was no loaner and he’d be on his own. “They sent me by Lyft to the airport so I could rent a car,” he explains. He ended up paying $75 for a rental out of his own pocket to get home.

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Squack
This receipt was provided by David to show his prepayment for repairs to the vehicle.

That would be frustrating enough on its own, but things only got worse. Weeks went by, then months. “The car is still not fixed,” says David. “It is still, I’ve been told, at the dealership awaiting I don’t know what.” All the while, David has kept having to pay his lease month after month—all for a car he doesn’t have, and isn’t able to drive. He’s been lucky enough to have a Volkswagen on hand to get around in the meantime, but his frustration continues to mount.

David made multiple attempts to get to the bottom of the issue as the months ticked by. “First I was told that the parts were back-ordered, then I was told that they were available but were in Italy and would be sent by boat to the US,” he says. “When the parts arrived, they were put on the car but then painting was needed.” Next, he was told that the painting had failed and needed to be redone, then he was told the sensors needed calibration, and the saga kept on going. “I was [then] told that one of the sensors was defective and that it was back ordered; they didn’t know when it would be available.” He notes that he was told it was the adaptive cruise control sensor that was at fault, and he’d had no problems with it when he dropped off the car.

It remains a mystery to David why the vehicle wasn’t repaired in a quick and timely fashion. An insurance estimate made after the incident indicated it was expected the vehicle would take one day to repair. It listed a replacement bumper assembly, park sensor, and distance sensor, with costs expected to be approximately $3,000 including labor. Not cheap, but not surprising—modern bumpers can be expensive to replace.

Insurance Est
The insurance estimate of the repairs required for David’s vehicle.

Regardless, David isn’t hanging out for his Tonale anymore. He’s faced a brick wall at the dealership, and he says Alfa Romeo Customer Care hasn’t come to his aid after five or six phone calls, either.

“I went to Raleigh today to talk with the general manager at the Alfa store,” he says. “Nice guy who was completely sympathetic with my problem, and to declare absolutely that he can do nothing to help me.” He was directed to speak with Alfa Romeo corporate, though he says the general manager would not provide any contact details or help towards that end.

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The Autopian contacted the dealership in question regarding the matter, and received the following statement.

Due to the nature of the damage the vehicle sustained when the driver hit a road hazard, the repair requires a full recalibration of the various driver assistance systems. Leith continues to work closely with the manufacturer and their engineering team to find a resolution for this complex recalibration. We remain committed to completing this repair for the customer.

Alfa Romeo’s US arm has also been contacted for comment on the matter.

Screenshot 2024 06 19 154239
Leith Maserati and Alfa Romeo, as seen on Google Street View.

At this point, David is looking for pretty much any way out of this ugly situation. “They have refused to buy it back, swap it with a new one on their lot, get me out of the lease, or reimburse me for the over $5,000 in costs during the six month period,” he says. He’s since engaged legal representation to serve a letter to the dealership, demanding a buyback and a refund for months of lease payments.

It’s a sad story because David actually quite liked the vehicle up until that point. “I really enjoyed the car,” he says. “But I cannot say anything good about the experience.” In any case, he’s wary about even getting the vehicle back at this point. “[That] would leave me in a position to deal with their ‘Customer Service’ for the remainder of the lease,” he muses.

The situation remains at an impasse. His original lease was for 39 months, leaving him with over two and a half years remaining on the contract. He’s at the point of contemplating whether to stop paying the lease, even at a hit to his credit rating, since he simply doesn’t have the use of the vehicle that he’s paying for. He’s also considered legal action but suspects that fees and the time involved would make it a pointless endeavor.

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Screenshot 2024 06 19 151131
David has engaged a lawyer to try and force some movement in the situation. Thus far, it hasn’t achieved much.

David’s story is a simple one. He paid for a car, and he expected to have one. Instead, he’s out of pocket with years of payments ahead of him if he can’t find a solution. There are supposed to be mechanisms to help customers stuck in quagmires like these, both corporate and legal. David’s at the point where he’s running out of levers to pull.

Fundamentally, it’s not supposed to be like this. Accidents happen, and cars get damaged. Automakers are expected to keep parts on hand to fix them and help keep them on the road. Dealerships in turn are there to handle customer service and repairs. Somewhere in that chain, something went wrong, and that needs to be made right.

Image credits: David Kaplan, Alfa Romeo, Google Street View

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MrLM002
MrLM002
27 days ago

And people wonder why I like my cars to have proper bumpers and the absolute minimum amount of sensors…

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
29 days ago

The poor guy got ripped off. Most of us pay $0 for the privilege to be away from an Alfa for 6 months.

Piston Slap Yo Mama
Piston Slap Yo Mama
29 days ago

Modern America is increasingly hostile to consumer rights and there’s much more deregulation in store for us if Orange Jesus worms his way into office. I, for one, love oversight and want our corporate overlords to pay dearly for trying to screw us, an outcome that grows less common each year.

I miss the big, ugly 5mph bumpers of the 70s. I owned a few Mercedes that had battering ram bumpers attached to the car’s frame with literal oil filled shocks. Even my 1978 Triumph Spitfire had bumpers that shrugged off collisions. All it would take is a mandate …

AlfaWhiz
AlfaWhiz
29 days ago

Good to know that true Alfa spirit is alive and well. You’re doomed to love it and hate it at the same time.

Last edited 29 days ago by AlfaWhiz
Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
29 days ago

Gee. Good to see that Alfa is keeping some of the old school Italian manufacturer traditions alive.

RecoveringGTV6MaratonaOwner
RecoveringGTV6MaratonaOwner
29 days ago

This is the Alfa Romeo that I remember ever so fondly and nostalgically for their top-quality reliable products and excellent customer service, right before finding it necessary to extricate themselves from our unreasonably picky US market! They’ve gone the extra mile to have their own dealers provide their white glove service this time, rather than farming it out to a domestic firm- like Chrysler. It fills me with pride, glee, and mirth to see that they have really turned the corner and lived up to their stupendous and impeccable historical reputation. There is a tear on the crest of my quivering cheek as I type these very words. Welcome back, my old long lost friend!

Last edited 29 days ago by RecoveringGTV6MaratonaOwner
BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
29 days ago

Top notch!

RecoveringGTV6MaratonaOwner
RecoveringGTV6MaratonaOwner
22 days ago
Reply to  BigThingsComin

Thanks! I was having flashbacks as I read the article. I really want Alfa to succeed by matching their reliability and service with their passion this time but I’m of the opinion it may not come to pass. I loved driving mine but eventually was afraid the handle would break off while opening the door or just looking at it could cause something to break; yet, I still miss my untrusty steed and find myself-HI in Raising Arizona cruising late night by convenient stores-unhealthily searching online hoping to find her. Logic has no part in one’s affinity for Alfa!

Besides, being able to actually smoothly shift into second gear without waiting for lower revs is overrated!????

Last edited 22 days ago by RecoveringGTV6MaratonaOwner
Nlpnt
Nlpnt
29 days ago

If the car was drivable the dealership really should’ve been upfront about how long the parts wait would be and that he might as well keep the car and drive it as-is until parts became available.

Jaded Helmsman
Jaded Helmsman
29 days ago

A neighbor leased an Alfa Romeo Stelvio. They started to have issues with the motor cutting out randomly. After a series of attempts by the dealer to resolve the issue, each time identifying a different part as responsible for the issue, the dealer decided that there was a wiring failure somewhere linked to the steering wheel, and that the wheel and wiring would need to be replaced. I can’t tell you exactly which parts were involved, as the story was told to us while drinking Old Fashioneds around our fire pit, and some of the details might have been lost.

The problem with that diagnosis is that none of the parts that needed to be replaced were available — because they were never intended to be replaced. They needed to be taken from the assembly line before they could be installed in a new build. This, obviously, was a problem. They needed to wait for a new batch of parts to be assembled to get an extra made, shipped, and installed. This took several more months, during which they were driving a Fiat 500 loaner. You might note that a Fiat 500 is not directly comparable to a Stelvio, but it was the only option they had.

They ultimately did get the replacement installed, and for a short time it seemed to have resolved the issue. It’s not clear if it resolved the issue in the long term, however, as they took the first opportunity to dump the Stelvio back on the dealer and are now leasing and driving a Mercedes. From the first time the car died on them to the time they got the car back “fixed once and for all” was about 9 months.

Last edited 29 days ago by Jaded Helmsman
Don Mynack
Don Mynack
1 month ago

Why is the insurance company not handling this claim, and providing a rental (if that is part if the policy? Most dealers don’t have body shops…where was this car farmed out to?

RedR58
RedR58
29 days ago
Reply to  Don Mynack

My father‘s 2020 Ford Fusion was rear ended last summer in a slow speed collision on an entrance ramp. Of course the damage was spread across multiple panels and pushed the trunk lid in. He ended up waiting about four or five months for parts sourced from an independent shop that the insurance company paid for. He insisted on OEM parts so it made everything take longer, but he’s happier now than he would’ve been with third-party parts I think.

Framed
Framed
29 days ago
Reply to  Don Mynack

Typical policy will cover 30 days rental in my experience.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 month ago

I’ll probably catch hell for saying this, but an accident is not a mechanical failure. A mechanical failure entitles him to a loaner that they promised, an accident does not. I absolutely agree that everything else has been a nightmare and they should buy back the lease.

Chris Popovic
Chris Popovic
1 month ago

I’m sympathetic but the dealership leased the car. The transaction was complete. The customer wrecked the car. That’s no fault of the dealer. The customer chose to bring to the car to that dealership. He could have gone to any body shop. He didn’t have to go to that dealer. At worst, the body shop owes him a month or three of lease payments, but to ask the dealership to buy it back is silly. He’ll lose that case in a minute. He should have turned tale the minute he didn’t get a loaner and found another shop. Or after a month, especially with the one day estimate, cut his losses and found another body shop.

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
29 days ago
Reply to  Chris Popovic

I feel like if he’d purchased it, he’d be well over the lemon law requirements, so buyback is an appropriate proposition.

Chris Popovic
Chris Popovic
29 days ago
Reply to  Dudeoutwest

That’s not how lemon laws work. The car was manufactured without defect. The driver crashed the card into a pylon. Regardless of how or why, that has nothing to do with a manufacturer. He wrecked it. The damage was caused by him, not the manufacturer. Give a read on how lemon laws work. https://bbbprograms.org/media-center/bd/insights/2021/08/12/lemon-law-101

Dudeoutwest
Dudeoutwest
28 days ago
Reply to  Chris Popovic

Thank you.

Black Peter
Black Peter
29 days ago
Reply to  Chris Popovic

$3000 in repairs is “wrecking” a $45k car, in what world? Also basic negotiation demands the lawyer ask for a buy back and hope for a something in between that and not having a car at all. Not sure where the impulse to blame the victim comes from, regardless of where he brought it this is completely unprofessional and requires a litigious response. People keep saying “he could have brought it anywhere” as if this was expected? “Oh you brought your new Italian import car to the dealership to be repaired? You deserve to be screwed over with interminable delays and no aligned on loaner car.. moron”. It also might not be possible to relocate the car once they started working on it. You start off by saying you’re sympathetic but the rest of the paragraph is anything but.

Scott W.
Scott W.
1 month ago

Sorry to hear the shitty experience David K.’s having at his dealership. Super glad mad scientist Lewin D. is being awesome and amplifying David’s voice – corporations tend to ignore/dismiss us mere mortals.

Thoughts to share to the collected responders over at this water cooler.

  • Leith Group is big – was 2K employees at 30 dealerships when David signed the contract.
  • Leith Group advertises and offers at other brand stores service loaners for ‘repairs over $300’ – so I’m gonna say David’s expectations were exactly as the marketing advertised. Certainly at the Masa-Romeo store front, you can be forgiven that you’d be treated well.
  • Besides the media you know what corporations fear? Lawyers. Who will make statements such as “… they let my client leave their property in a vehicle they knew for a fact had damaged safety equipment, for a trek of at least 200 miles, where upon my client’s welfare and safety were endangered, along with that of the surrounding public. Such malfeasance, such negligence should not stand your honor. Make them pay!!!!!’
  • No matter why David smote the Witches Cone (really @Manwhich? “idiot”? Jerk) he is now suffering financial harm through no action of his own. Lease vehicle – must be maintained thru authorized facilities only, or suffer damages at lease closure if not before. Lawyers – pretty sure They Might Be Giants has the only cool one in the automotive realms.

Hope to hear good news soon for him. Glad to have good folk listening to those of us who’ve made a mistake or two and then get to deal with an extra layer of grief.

:scott, your friendly Triangle denizen:

Ed Dale
Ed Dale
1 month ago

Reading the North Carolina Attorney General’s page on Lemon Law, it looks like he is due a buy back. https://ncdoj.gov/protecting-consumers/automobiles/lemon-law/

He should talk to the attorney used to write the letter and ask him to file a Lemon Law claim.

Chris Popovic
Chris Popovic
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Dale

How does a Lemon Law apply to a customer wrecking the vehicle. There’s no defect in construction. The dude hit a cone.

Scott W.
Scott W.
29 days ago
Reply to  Chris Popovic

North Carolina Lemon Law – rank 26 of 51
When does a Vehicle Qualify?
4 unsuccessful repair attempts of the defect within the shorter of 24 months or 24,000 miles from purchase, or the warranty period; or the vehicle is out of service for 20 business days during any 12-month period of the warranty”

I’d have to say with that definition David’s got a shot at having a standing to make a claim; one wrinkle is the lease but I’m sure the law is defined for that case.

:scott:

Oh – here’s the NC Statue also

Last edited 29 days ago by Scott W.
Redapple
Redapple
29 days ago
Reply to  Scott W.

………repair attempts of the defect…………… ~~~manufacturing defect? NOT crash.

Ben
Ben
29 days ago
Reply to  Redapple

the vehicle is out of service for 20 business days during any 12-month period of the warranty

Also, the fact that they’ve been unable to recalibrate the ADAS systems this whole time sure sounds like a defect to me, regardless of what prompted the initial repair.

Scott W.
Scott W.
28 days ago
Reply to  Redapple

Hola Redapple – see my reply to Chris P below where I show my work of how I came to my conclusions. :scott:

Chris Popovic
Chris Popovic
29 days ago
Reply to  Scott W.

“Repair attempts” do not apply to vehicle damage caused by the driver. Repairs only apply to defects in the manufacturer. https://legaldictionary.net/lemon-law/

Scott W.
Scott W.
28 days ago
Reply to  Chris Popovic

TLDR; David transacted for a car; implied warranty is not being met via 4+ months waiting to be repaired; Lemon Law frameworks empower consumers to force corporate action – definitely for manufacturing defects, but I’d argue for ‘defective’ parts supply/availability.

Hola Chris & Redapple – wanted to share my thought path with all and if either of you are actual lawyers do feel free to guide me to a more correct interpretation.

the M&M War Act – federal law – highlights in essence ‘defects must be repaired or the customer must be made whole.’ State laws are tasked with specifying definitions of all the parts of ‘car’ and ‘customer’ and ‘company’, etc.

One key tenet is ‘express warranty’ – that’s the written part of the transaction that identifies emission controls are Alfa’s responsibility for 100K miles / 10 years but if you use the wrong fluids, or abuse the vehicle, or accident the vehicle – that’s on you.

We’re all familiar with the ‘gotcha’ principle at work here – warranty, insurance, rental contracts – they don’t empower or protect mere mortals -they protect those shiny Corporate Citizens I’m somewhat afraid of.

The Uniform Commerce Code – federal law – enacts protections for consumers along the (incredibly, for legal realms) understandable concept of “Fitness for Particular Purpose” – you sell me a car, I buy a car, it should function as a car.

Again the Feds have the framework for the concept, the states fill in the details; bitching to Ford that your dad’s dad’s dad’s Model T doesn’t “Fitness” well on I-40 West out of Raleigh on a summer Friday afternoon – well … not going to get much sympathy or recourse. At least in NC – no idea how Michigan protects their own.

And thus when I held both concepts at arms length in either hand – did David suffer Alfa’s poor manufacturing and thus deserves to be made whole? No, not really.

However thru no fault of David – look at Alfa’s warranty, they want you to use approved replacement parts (and again he’s got a lease contract on top of the standard warranty) – he does not have the car he transacted for. What ever the reason – low supplies, slow shipping, honest to god acts of war on the high (?) seas! – David is at Alfa’s / Leith’s mercy and as such he’s entitled to protection from poor contractual performance.

He’s paying for a car – all he has are excuses.

ciao,
:scott:

Citations –
LII Uniform Commercial Code § 2-315. Implied Warranty: Fitness for Particular Purpose.
from – https://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/2/2-315
which gives me this –
(9) The term “reasonable and necessary maintenance” consists of those operations (A) which the consumer reasonably can be expected to perform or have performed and (B) which are necessary to keep any consumer product performing its intended function and operating at a reasonable level of performance.
from here – https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/2301

For NC –
(2) Subject to subsection (3), to exclude or modify the implied warranty of merchantability
or any part of it the language must mention merchantability and in case of a writing must be
conspicuous, and to exclude or modify any implied warranty of fitness the exclusion must be by a
writing and conspicuous. Language to exclude all implied warranties of fitness is sufficient if it
states, for example, that “There are no warranties which extend beyond the description on the face
hereof.”
from nc state – https://www.ncleg.gov/enactedlegislation/statutes/pdf/bychapter/chapter_25.pdf

and from Alfa’s warranty –
https://www.alfaromeousa.com/content/dam/alfa/us/owners/warranty/pdfs/100900_24_AF_GW_EN_US_E2_DIGITAL.pdf
3.6 OTHER EXCLUSIONS
Your warranties do not cover the costs of repairing damage or
conditions caused by any of the following:
● Fire or accident
● Abuse or negligence
● Misuse, for example, driving over curbs or overloading

Fun ancillary – how close did Acura come to selling a vehicle not fit for purpose?
https://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/22/business/acura-tire-wear-comes-under-fire.html

At least one case brought to the Government’s attention involved serious injury. Dr. A. Bernhard Kliefoth 3d, a neurosurgeon in Knoxville, Tenn., told the agency that he had been driving his NSX, with 6,053 miles on it, at 45 miles an hour on Oct. 5, 1991, when he lost control on a wet road and collided with an oncoming car, suffering a ruptured disk in his lower back. The police report said the car’s rear tires were completely bald.

Chris Popovic
Chris Popovic
24 days ago
Reply to  Scott W.

The initial argument is does the vehicle qualify for Lemon Law. I cannot see how that applies in this instance, particularly with the items listed in the Alfa warranty.

● Fire or accident – the driver was clearly in an accident with the cone, regardless of how the cone came to be on the road, or how/why the driver engaged said cone, and the subsequent damage.
● Abuse or negligence – who’s to say the driver wasn’t operating the vehicle in a negligible manner? Were they paying attention, were they passing without looking, did they have a clear right of way?
● Misuse, for example, driving over curbs or overloading – was the driver speeding or operating the vehicle in any manner not intended by the manufacturer?

The customer chose a particular shop by their choice. Other avenues were available. The customer also chose to maintain the business relationship with the servicing dealer, despite their repeated delays and assumed incompetence.

There may very well be a civil matter to be dealt with, but as for a Lemon law situation, it doesn’t hold water.

Scott W.
Scott W.
24 days ago
Reply to  Chris Popovic

Chris are you a lawyer? :scott:

Chris Popovic
Chris Popovic
19 days ago
Reply to  Scott W.

I am not but I do negotiate contracts for a living. My legal team and I are very close.

Ed Dale
Ed Dale
29 days ago
Reply to  Ed Dale

Since he has already talked to a lawyer, and as others have pointed out this was a crash not a manufacturing defect, he may be 100% out of luck. I hope he does file a lawsuit for the cost of the car and his legal fees. 6 months without a car is unacceptable.

TJ Heiser
TJ Heiser
1 month ago

When the general manager of the dealership said “There is nothing I can do about it.” the real translation should have been “The owner of the dealership told me to tell you there is nothing we can do about it” The owner could have taken the car back, minus time used, and dealt with the manufacturer directly.
BUT, NOOOO! Dealers have a reputation to uphold!

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
1 month ago

I can’t wrap my head around driving to a dealer 100mi away to lease a Tonale

Nlpnt
Nlpnt
29 days ago
Reply to  Stryker_T

Even if he really wanted one, he must’ve gone past at least three CJDR dealerships which would’ve been happy to get a Hornet off the lot.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

The more I think about it, the worse the prepayment feels. They not only have the car, but this is the dealership that sold him the car. He qualified to lease this car, they have his info, and, again, they have the car. If they don’t think he’s going to pay, why did they lease him a vehicle? And that wouldn’t have required a full car’s worth of collateral (probably no collateral, but I’ve heard of people dropping security deposits).

Michael Kaplan
Michael Kaplan
1 month ago

A couple of clarifications for those who are interested (source: this is my Dad’s car).

The loaner car for “service” – he bought the car from about 1.5 hours from home, so part of the sales pitch was that they would provide a car if the vehicle needed to stay behind for work. The GM confrimed this. No, it wasn’t in writing and Yes, it’s probably more sales pitch than a real commitment. But the expectation was certainly made by the dealer that they would not leave him high-and-dry. And wouldn’t a person expect some good customer service from a fancy Maserati/Alfa dealerhip? (Maybe not.)

Not being able to pick up the car – he has asked to do this on more than one occasion and the dealer has said no. The nominal reason varies from “it’s almost done” to “it’s not safe until the sensors are calibrated”. I’m guessing that the real reason is that they don’t want to assemble it, just to have to take it apart again to finish the job.

Supply chain – certainly an issue for the parts delay, but Alfa is continuing to make cars. That means that parts are available, they are just unwilling to shift any parts from new production to repair. Similarly, the dealer has not come up with any creative solutions, like pulling the needed part from another vehicle or reaching out to other dealers. Maybe they have, and just haven’t told us about it? Regardless, the part is no longer the issue becuase:

Sensor setup – apparently, there is no simple way to setup the front sensors. They have talked about having to ‘tape off the floor’ and waiting for a traveling technician to arrive. It’s interesting to me that this is so difficult and it concerns me that it could be an issue on a whole range of new cars.

Lessons learned:

  • Should he have taken it to an independent repair shop? Maybe. Parts would not have been any faster, and there may still have been a sensor setup issue, but I’m betting customer service would have been better.
  • Should he have not hit an object on the highway? Yes. I’m sure all of us with Lewis Hamilton-like reflexes would have missed it by miles.
  • Should he not have bought an Alfa? Maybe not – they certainly are not known for their reliability. But we are car people, we buy what trips our triggers.
  • My biggest takeaway is that this situation could really happen to any person with any car manufacturer. He’s had no leverage to apply – not with the insurance company, not with the finance company, not with the dealership, nor Alfa US, nor the legal system. I don’t really see that he’s done anything horribly Wrong, he’s just been victimized by a dealer/manufacturer combo that has not proritized the service to this particular customer.
Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Kaplan

Given the various issues this shop has been having, I wouldn’t believe them on the sensor calibration being so tricky, but that’s neither here nor there. At this point, I’d be wondering if they trashed it and are in panic mode trying to hide that until they’ve fixed it.

You mention that he has no leverage with insurance. Has he spoken with his insurance company? What are they saying? Do they think this sequence of events is reasonable? They should be able to throw some weight around if they want to (not saying they will, but they can). If nothing else, they could prevent this for others with the company by refusing to utilize that shop in the future.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Kaplan

Thanks for the clarifications. That helps clear up a lot of stuff that was left out in the original article – I was wondering why a drivable car with cosmetic damage was left at the dealer so long. How firm has he been in demanding the car back? Might be worth cutting his losses and taking it somewhere else for repair. Maybe a different shop can at least make it “safe” to drive until the parts come in.

Also, those who say he shouldn’t have hit the traffic cone are being dickish. I hit a traffic cone on an urban highway recently. It was either the traffic cone, the guardrail on the right, or the semi truck on the left. I could have possibly floored the brakes and stopped, but the pickup truck tailgating me would have ended up in my back seat. Sometimes nailing the traffic cone is the best option.

I think one other lesson here is to always get things in writing. Dealers will tell you anything to sell you a car. If the loaner car was a requirement to purchase the car, that should have been written down in the purchase agreement. If the dealer won’t put it in writing, you should assume the dealer is unwilling to provide a loaner car in any situation. I don’t think your dad did anything wrong here, but assuming a loaner would be provided based on a verbal agreement was naive.

I hope he gets the car fixed soon. While I think he could have made this situation easier, it is completely unacceptable for the dealer to keep a car for six months over a simple fix.

RC
RC
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Kaplan

Two talking tracks:

  • The cone didn’t “just appear.” He needs to own hitting it, and you probably shouldn’t be defending him. People make mistakes. Presumably everybody on the road before him that was also not Lewis Hamilton avoided said cone. Again, bad stuff happens, but it’s not the fault of a stationary inanimate object that it got hit by an Italian performance vehicle driven by the kind of person that presumably likes Italian performance vehicles.
  • Always get things in writing. Always, always, always. This is important, because:

On the other talk track:

  • This should not have taken nearly this long. Months is outrageous.
  • Even if your dad did have in writing that he’d be entitled to a loaner, that would likely only apply for warranty repairs/recalls. His own insurance should be covering his rental costs for events that arose from his actions.

At the end of the day, the dealership needs to make this right, quickly, either by releasing the car and refunding the money or by completing the repair, and extending a credit for the time out of service.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
1 month ago
Reply to  RC

 “A small traffic cone appeared in my lane, I couldn’t avoid it,”

I took that to mean the cone had fallen off a truck or been knocked into his path by another vehicle – that may not be avoidable, vs hitting cones delineating a temporary lane restriction. Sympathy for the former, none for the latter.

Maybe a bad assumption on my part.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dead Elvis, Inc.
Hillbilly Ocean
Hillbilly Ocean
29 days ago
Reply to  Michael Kaplan

Y’all need to call the consumer advocate at WRAL or WTVD.

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