Last Saturday, I bought a new car. 'Twas a monumental occasion to drive and own something with six miles on the odometer. Until now, I’ve never owned a car with less than 60,000 miles on it, and don’t think I’ve even had a rental with less than 10,000 miles, which probably works out to about 30,000 normal miles, based on how rentals are treated.
Normally, I scoff at people who fall for the add-on dealer profit centers known as undercoating and fabric protector. Undercoating was not offered, but interior protection was, and could be had bundled in with an enhanced ignition-disabling security system and Lojack. I have a rather sloppy dog, so protecting the upholstery and carpet seemed like a very good idea, since I plan to own this vehicle for a very long time. I will be paying for it for a very long time - might as well be able to keep it nice. As for the Lojack, it’s paying for itself in less than two years, based on how much it’s saving me on the theft insurance rates.
The way the interior protection goes is if a spilled milkshake, dog drool, or whatever stains the upholstery/carpet and can’t be cleaned, the service will do whatever’s needed to make the stain go away, including replacement of the damaged surface. Same goes for the exterior paint - they’ll fix any egg stains, painted vandalism, bird poop, etc.
Did I mention I drove this car off the lot with six miles on it last Saturday night? On Monday, I made an appointment for the Lojack installation and protection application. This was done on Wednesday. Thursday morning, I return to retieve my car. I’m about to get in and drive way, when something catches my eye. A spot. No. Two spots. Actually, two lines like someone had a pen in their pocket when they sat down. :eek: :mad: :smack:
There is INK on the SEAT! Blue ballpoint ink on my new seats! AGH! Oh, did I mention the seats are dove gray leather? And that I haven’t had the car long enough to even have a pen in it? The ink isn’t mine, and it wasn’t there when I dropped it off. Whether it got there from the Lojack installer, the alarm installer or the protection people, I have no idea. I don’t care either. The car was ink-free when I dropped it off, and that’s how I’m going to accept it back.
At 7:30 AM, the anti-ink staff isn’t in yet, so I’m reassured that someone from the detail shop will call me later that morning. Sure enough, they call at 9:15, and ask me to bring the car back today. I do just that. When I return this afternoon, I find that they are able to completely remove one of the spots, but one did not come out, and their efforts to remove it have damaged the leather’s surface, leaving a surprisingly large patch in a different color and sheen. It almost looked like they tried using sandpaper. I can only imagine how red my face is and how bulgy and throbby that vein in the side of my forehead is. First, I brought the car in to have PROTECTION stuff applied, and they get INK on it in the process. Then, I bring it back to have the ink REMOVED, and they wind up causing MORE DAMAGE! If they left it alone and said “We’re terribly sorry about this. Here’s a voucher for all of your maintenance and oil changes for the next year for free, and a couple free tanks of gas” I’d have been grumpy about the marks, but probably would have accepted the offer and lived with the marks, especially since they’re fairly small.
Lucky for me, I bought that protection plan that will do whatever is needed to restore the car to its original condition. They don’t have a stash of seats in the shop to swap. Apparently, they can’t simply order a seat either. What they’re going to do is remove the seat, and an upholstery shop that has access to the specific leather that the seat factory uses will take the seat apart and replace the inked segment. Huge amount of labor there. Naturally, this will be another visit to the dealership and several days in a service loaner car.
So, to the putz at the dealership that got into my new car with an uncapped pen, thanks a whole lot! Will you be picking me up from work again to retreive the car and to explain to my boss why I’ve been late and had to leave early every other day this week? Yeah, I thought you wouldn’t. Ass.