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Open Letter to Honda

Unlike previous open letters, this one is just a straight-forward gripe.
I'm immensely unhappy with Honda, with the Element, and with the service and parts departments involved.

Dear Honda;

I bought a 2006 Honda Element EX 4wd from Miller Honda in Culver City, California on Saturday, July 8th. . On the way home from the dealership I got in a low-speed collision. I was sure that there was little to no damage to my brand new car, because there was only a very minor scuff on the bumper. However, when I got home, I saw that the engine was leaking coolant.

Unsure if this was a mechanical fault or a collision-related problem, I took it back to the dealer on Monday morning after not driving it at all on Sunday. That was July 10th. Here it is July 18th, and I still don’t have my car back!

To my horror, the dealer told me that over $3,000.00 worth of damage had been done – the bumper cover, condenser and radiator all needed to be replaced and were damaged beyond repair. I am shocked that a less-than-5mph collision could do so much damage. Even worse, the dealer refused to order parts over-night, and instead insisted on waiting until the following Friday to even ORDER the parts – so that they would arrive sometime the following week. They also drastically over-charged my insurance company for the work, who then told me I would have to make up the difference. In the three days that they had the car, I don’t know if they even installed the lojack that I had bought from them – their service department didn’t answer the phone on the several occasions I called, and never returned my calls asking about its status.

I had the car towed to a body-shop, who promised to order the parts the next business day. The body shop is Mr. Polish, of 2605 S. La Cienega in Los Angeles. Here it is a week later, and I still don’t have my car, and they still don’t have the parts. They have told me every day since last Thursday that the parts were on a truck, and would arrive “first thing in the morning!” Apparently those parts are pretty danged elusive!

I am heartily sorry that I bought a car from Miller Honda, who refused to repair the car in anything less than a week. Further, they didn’t answer my questions, or return my calls when I left voicemails. I am even sorrier that I bought a Honda at all – a minor fender-bender shouldn’t cause such an absurd amount of damage and require such extensive repair. I am so sick of dealing with missing parts – I had my car for less than 20 minutes – and now I haven’t seen it in over a week. I am angry, I am frustrated – and I just don’t want the car back. I’m sick to death of dealing with dealers, parts, and repairs for what the bumper should have absorbed in the first place. Have you simply replaced bumpers with crumple-zones so that passengers are more safe, and you can extort drivers for usurious repair bills? I would sincerely like to just drop my useless car off at the dealer, get my down-payment back, and forget about the whole thing! I am dissatisfied with my experience of Honda ownership all together – and so far no one is doing anything to make things better. I will communicate my dissatisfaction to everyone I know, and the readers of the blog I keep. I hope none of them ever buy a Honda – I surely never shall again!

With great dissatisfaction and anger;

David Krieger


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
Lame. Mine (a 91 vintage Civic DX hatchback) is weathering very well. I would have given them my money again if i hadn't read this.
Jul. 18th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
if you change your mind and want to get something else, I'd suggest Glendora Toyota. It's a little farther from where you live, but it's great on the customer service end.

Sorry about the crap you are going through.
Jul. 19th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
Honda of Pasadena is just as bad. They act as if they are doing you a favor by selling you a car- and the follow up service is overpriced, rude and inconvenient. The car is nice and all... But it's not THAT nice.

I'm glad you got that out to the corporation. Please tell us if they make it right for you!
Jul. 19th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC)
sorry that things are not going well :(
I hope they turn out for the better, for what it's worth.
Jul. 19th, 2006 08:21 am (UTC)
One day, I shall invent a device that causes immediate financial harm to a company, in direct proportion to the inconvenience one has suffered by reliance on that company's services, or by that company's negligence.

Hopefully it will involve the same technology as your 'Karma Knob.' That way, we can market it as the 'Karma Cannon.'
Jul. 19th, 2006 08:50 am (UTC)
It's not that you have to invent a device, it's that you have to know the right people.
Jul. 19th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
That is beautiful.
Jul. 19th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
I kept waiting for the usual sig line: "Army ret." Without that endorsement seal, I must seriously question the depth of your rage and disappointment. Does "Army ret." not carry as much credence in your neo-hippie, granola utopia out there? : ) (I keed! I keed!)
Jul. 19th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this one was a serious letter of complaint, rather than being ludicrous for the sake of humor. Hence, I resisted the urge to use the Monty Python'ish signoff.

I have some letters of complaint planned for the near future though, so look forward to more militant, and less neo-hippie granola utopia-ish messages.
Jul. 19th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
Hooray for East Coast style rage! : )
Jul. 19th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
I'll also make liberal (huh huh.. get it, "liberal"?) use of "damn your eyes" and "a pox upon you and your family".

You know, the classics.
Jul. 19th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
Buncha fuckers. I stopped by Miller Honda when I was car shopping and had a really...off-putting experience.
Get your fuckin' money back and go to Car Max.
Jul. 19th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
It is very common for low impact collisions to cause this sort of damage regaurdless of the maker of the vehicle. I do auto insurance for a living and its all too common as is your anger about how much damage is caused. If you find your insurance company is screwing you around I would suggest filing a complaint with the California Department of Insurance.

It will take them a while to get to their complaint but at least you will be a headache to the insurance company.

Jul. 19th, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC)
Well... I guess it's good to hear that it's not just my car that sucks. The insurance company has been fine - they've been very diligent. It was the dealership that was jerking me around -- that and the hassle of finding parts. But I hear that's pretty common, too.

Grr. I'm still steaming, though.
Jul. 20th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC)
Shit man, I think there might have been a 3 day "cooling off" period in which you could have backed out of buying the car. But they'd probably still try to fuck you over as much as possible on the damage/repairs...

However, I'd definitly look at stuff like the lemon law (do they have that in CA?) You might have cause to file a civil court complaint and possibly a lawsuit ... even threating that step might help get some results.

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )