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Need some legal/auto


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Just general comments.

In my view, the mechanism which is making the repair difficult is not your problem. It is the problem of the people who gave the extended warranty.

BTW, was the extended warranty by RR or by a third party? If a third party insurer made the warranty, you should keep them in mind as a party to the complaint.

The general approach is:

1) keep a diary of who you spoke to and what they said.

2) Be polite.

3) Get the name and address of the person in charge of RR warranty and any third party insurer.

4) Consumer complaints are usually handled by state attorney general's office. Such as http://www.atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx.

5) Overall, I suspect that someone is in a squeeze over the costs to replace the bolt and they are trying to make their problem, your problem. And you can not accept that.

6) I'd say, talk to the AG and describe the problem. See what they say.

7) The thing I'd suggest is to write a very polite letter to RR in the USA. On the inside address, show that it is also being sent to the AG's office of consumer complaints. It should open with, "Dear RR, I have been unable to resolve this matter with your dealer. By cc, I am asking for the assistance of the Attorney General's office. Put the dealer and any third-party insurer on the address list too. Then set out the problem on one page.

8) I'm not sure how this is done by e-mail. You might be able to do that on your own. Given the money and time needed to resolve, involved (you need your car) I'd suggest Fed Ex or next day UPS to all.

9) Lawyers are going to cost too much money. You can appreciate where I'm going. Let the "kind individuals" on the other side know that the government is going to come down on them.

I expect that if you do the above you will get some serious attention. Stick to your guns.

Wm McD

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Just to add to the above.

In about 1974 I bought a used car from a dealer in New York. The dealer refused to issue an okay inspection sticker. "That is your problem, kid." I went to DMV and griped. The "police" there asked me to fill out an affidavit, which I did. The next day, the the dealer called and, although grumpy, came through.

In 1995 I had a problem with a catalog company. I wrote the letter of the type I described, to the FTC. Things turned around quickly.

Note that your situation is not really a disputed cost of repair. It is a legal issue of enforcement of an agreement to make repair.

Wm McD

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I'm not a mechanic, so that's a disclaimer to start.

What I am wondering is if the extended warranty covers a water pump that fails, why doesn't it cover a bolt that fails?

Does the extended warranty exclude a corroded bolt? Why is that?

Dee, many service contracts only cover a select list of components. If it isn't listed, it isn't covered. In this case, bolts may not be listed. For example your fan clutch comes apart and the fan blades go through the radiator with part of the fan clutch still attatched. Your contract lists the fan clutch as a covered component but doesn't list the radiator as being covered. All the service contract is liable for is the clutch but not anything else that's damaged as a result of the clutch coming apart. Does it make sense? No. Is it legal? Yes. You can holler and hire attorneys and it's still not covered. Attorneys help write the policies.

As far as the broken bolt goes, you can have a 4" long bolt with threads on the last inch. You can spray whatever type of penetrating oil on it you want and it'll never get to the threads that are siezed. To think that a tech is going to spend 2 hours finessing a bolt out that'll eventually break and then blaming him for it is ludicrous at best. Expecting him to fix it for free makes about as much sense. On the other hand there should be compassion for the customer and a willingness to compromise and assist in the repair. How the shop handles this will ultimately determine whether the customer will eventually return to this place of business to spend his hard earned money.........or not.

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I have made contact with RR North America customer service and we'll see how they will manage the situation. If indeed this is seen with this type of repair then they should have advised me in advance of the possibility and taken the extra attention needed to avoid it. They quoted 10 hours of work to fix the problem. 2 hours to tease out the bolt would have been far less costly all around. This is not a good market for any auto manufacturer to be alienating its customer base. I do happen to live where people can afford these things and there are plenty of options for them to consider. We shall see.

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I see problems all the time with the climate we have here ( using salt and calcium like it's going out of style...) especially at the factory level, where they leave out plastic spacers between aluminum bumper extrusions and the steel brackets they attatch to. Guess what, you have galvanic action, and corrosion happens, bumper falls off, it's not a good scene.

I also see many, many cases where the wrong bolt is used ( should have galvalume coating ) instead there is a cad plated bolt in aluminum. For example, you can have something repaired, such as a collision repair shop, where they substituted a different bolt without the proper coating... leading to future problems.

I have five bucks that says that when the engine was assembled, the wrong fastener was used ( could be the same length and thread ) but without a proper coating.

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Reminds me of my bolt story from last week.

I had a strut crossover tube installed in a 1996 Z28. The cost was 140 for the tube, and 70 bucks for the work. Time was supposed to be less than 1 hour.

4 days later, I'm told the car is done, but 1 of the 8 bolts had to be cut off, and could not be put back in unless I agreed to have the strut removed and reinstalled at my expense. 3 hrs at 96 dollars and hour.

I came to the shop with my son and his video camera, 4 ft of lamp cord, 3 inches of heat shrink tubing, a 1.5 inch bolt, 2 lock washers, 2 regular washers, a nut, wrench, a lighter and a screw driver.

My son video me running the wire from the top of the engine compartment, thru the bolt hole. I reached for the wire behind the wheel assembly, grabed it, put it thru the heat shink tubing on one end, and slide the bolt into the heat shrink tubing on the other. Used a lighter to shrink the tube. Went back to the engine area and pulled the wire thru. when the bolt came up thru the hole, I used the screw driver flat side horizontal to hold the bolt while I put the washers and nut on it, pulling the heat shring off as I grabed the bolt. I tirghtened the nut down. Total time was 3 minutes.

I took the video to the manager of the place and asked him why his staff wanted to charge me 300 dollars for something that took me 3 minutes to do. Concerned that I was going to put the video on U-tube, the manager called all his mechanics and used the video a part of a class in creative thinking. At the end of the class, the manager signed off on the initial 210 dollar service bill and asked me if there was anything else he could do for me that day.

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Very creative and effective. Many techs, not just car mechanics, fail to see the simple way to do something simple.

Once, when working on the roof of a locomotive, my plastic-jacketed 2 D-cell flashlight came out of my pocket and fell into the exhaust all the way down into the turbocharger and out of sight. Since it was a GM-EMD V16-645 engine (16 cylinders, 645ci per cylinder, for 10,320ci or 89L total engine displacement), the turbo is really big and it's about 6 or 7 feet from the roof to the bottom of the turbo. Welded bars across the exhaust made it impossible to have my workmate lower me into the exhaust, so I made a basket and very long handle out of stiff wire and lowered that down around the bend to the bottom of the turbo and fished for the flashlight.

It took a few tries and a mod or two to the basket, but I got the flashlight out within half an hour. Much better than telling the foreman that we needed a few days to re and re the turbo and much simpler than turning the 190-ton locomotive upside down.

The flashlight might have just got blown out or melted on engine startup, but with a $46,000 turbo (1985 price), I was taking no chances.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's a update. I contacted RR USA and they got the bill reduced. I just got the vehicle back. It took them over 3 weeks but we did have the holiday in there too. But they had like NO parts in stock for this engine work and they had trouble doing it as well. The work cost me $760 when my bill should have been $100 for the deductible on the water pump repair. Uncommonly rude people with no sense of customer service. No loaner offered. Still angry enough to have filed a consumer complaint with the state AG.

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