03/03/08: Day Six

Monday, March 3, 2008

Called Mr. Pellegrino to ensure things were on track to take back delivery of the Odyssey that day, and to ask if there was any way for Ourisman Honda to deliver the van back to us instead of us coming in, in the hopes that my husband would not have to take further time off work. Mr. Pellegrino agreed, and said he’d call me later to confirm. I also asked that he make sure the floor-mats were snapped down, since they were not when we first took delivery of the car. Again, he agreed.

3:15 PM
Mr Pellegrino called to say

(a) the car was on its way back to me, and

(b) that the driver would need to take the rental car back to Ourisman.

(c) That the ticket was not officially closed out yet, so he would be mailing the documentation and receipts of service to me

(d) That the driver would provide me with a “We Owe” slip stating that Ourisman Honda owed us free 7500 and 15000 service maintenances.

(e) He did not know anything about the free loaner cars that Rich had offered on Saturday

I informed Mr. Pellegrino that my husband had the rental car, but was on his way home. Mr. Pellegrino said the driver would be awhile yet, so that was fine. Given that I had less then four minutes warning before the driver actually showed up, I’d add a note in here that Ourisman Honda should count themselves lucky that*anyone* was at home.

3:19 PM
I got off the phone with Mr. Pellegrino and immediately called my husband to ask him to come straight home, but before his phone even started ringing, the Ourisman driver was at my door. I quickly explained the situation to my husband, who again cancelled his plans and agreed to come straight home. After getting my 3 year old settled down, he and I went out to talk to the driver.

Upon meeting and talking with the Ourisman driver, I

  • Checked under the hood, saw minimal signs of the transmission fluid leak, but now I *did* see a cap in the previously mentioned open threaded hole approximately one inch in diameter on the transmission (see below picture).
  • Asked the driver to show me how to work the remote start system. He responded that he had no idea and he’d have to call someone. He called, and was then eventually able to show me how to start the car remotely – but between the two of us, we were unable to figure out how to (a) unlock the doors with the remote start activated or (b) turn off the remote start with the factory keyless entry unit.
  • Asked the driver to snap down the floor mats, as this still was not done. He tried to do so, but was not able to get all of the snaps connected either.
  • The driver (Louis) and I examined the remote start system owners manual at length, and it was clear that the manufacturer expressly intended these functions to be active in a completed installation.

Further phones calls ensued over the next two hours between the driver (Louis), myself, and multiple Ourisman Honda employees (including, but not limited to Mr. Pellegrino, Mr. LaPorte, and Aileen). During all of our many conversations, Mr. LaPorte apologized profusely for all of the missteps involved and graciously vowed to do everything in his power to resolve them for us. I’d like also to mention the above-and-beyond customer care and efforts put forth by the driver, Louis, who worked very diligently to help me resolve the issues we discovered over this 2 hour time frame, though he was under the impression he was simply going out to drop off one vehicle and bring another back.

4:13 PM
Aileen made an unsolicited (and extremely antagonistic) call to my residence,. To summarize, during this call there were no apologies, attempts at resolution, nor solutions offered. It was undoubtedly the intent of Aileen to put me in my place, much as she attempted to do Saturday morning while I waited to speak with the general manager, Rich. It appears evident from my experiences that Aileen’s role within Ourisman is to run interference for Rich.

The specifics of the call – after calling my home and identifying herself as the “manager who tried to help me the other day”, she demanded to know my problem, and

(a) She repeatedly told me no Honda vehicle supported the remote-start features I had outlined.

(b) When I explained that I had a 2004 Honda CRV in my possession with both keyless entry and remote starter that did in fact have the ability to (1) start remotely while the doors were open (2) unlock the doors while the remote start system was activated and (3) shut off the remote start system via the keyless entry unit, she repeated her claim that Honda vehicles were not capable of this.

(c) When informed that the remote start owners manual clearly disputed her claims, she again repeated without clarification that Honda vehicles were not capable of performing these functions

(d) When I pressed her to explain to me why these features were disabled, she stated they were disabled due to safety concerns. I very politely asked her to explain the safety concerns to me, since they were available on my CRV’s remote start system, and that I truly did not understand how the safety could be compromised. She refused to comment further and said that there was nothing else to be said, the features were not available.

(e) I expressed surprise that she would call me with no solutions nor answers, and asked if it was her opinion that “I should just deal with this.” Her response was “yes”.

(f) When she continued to badger me to drop things without answering my specific questions or offering solutions, I became irate and I told her that I had no idea why she had bothered calling, and that she should be ashamed of herself for having never once offered so much as an apology for anything that was happening. She then apologized, and I repeated that she should be ashamed of herself for offering such an insincere apology only after being asked. I explained to her that if this was really Ourisman’s way of dealing with customers, then I would be sure to share my experiences with anyone and everyone who would listen, , both in real life and online, and would certainly be including any and all moms groups and school sports associations in the metro area

After the maddening phone call with Aileen, I demonstrated to the Ourisman driver the CRV’s ability to perform the three disabled functions I had attempted to tell Aileen about. Louis witnessed all three of the functions, and agreed that it seemed to defy logic to purposely disable keyless entry into a car while the remote system was activated, or to not provide the ability to shut off the system remotely.

I again spoke with Mr. LaPorte, who again graciously tried to relieve my frustrations and address my concerns. In his attempts to properly assess the situation and all of its components, he asked me to confirm that there were no longer any visible signs of the transmission problem. At this point, I looked under the vehicle and

(a) saw a new puddle forming

(b) got down on the ground and put my fingers in the puddle to ascertain the fluid, which was

(c) red and oily, and clearly more transmission fluid

(d) reported this to Mr.LaPorte (admittedly awash in fury and frustration)

(e) told Mr. LaPorte that I had 0% confidence in this vehicle or in Ourisman Honda and that I regretted terribly my decision to purchase the vehicle at Ourisman and

(f) that I wanted to be released from the contract because the experience was so awful and that I was just sickened looking at this vehicle at this point

(g) Mr. LaPorte had the driver bring the car back to Ourisman for further investigation and/or servicing

(h) Mr. LaPorte requested that I email him the manufacturer owner manual for his own review.

(i) Mr. LaPorte promised follow-by by tomorrow (3/4/08)

7:30 PM
I clearly outlined my issues with the remote start system in an email to Mr.LaPorte (cc Mr Pellegrino), and attached the manufacturers owner manual to this email for his review.

MY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS OF THE DAY (No one will answer these questions, which I personally think are reasonable questions):

  1. TRAN – Why did the hose and clamp come loose – unless the vehicle had taken some sort of a major jolt or other abuse?
  2. TRAN – Why was the cap missing from the transmission in the first place?
  3. TRAN – Why is the transmission still leaking fluid, especially after the dealership has been in possession of it for four days?
  4. RS – Why would anyone buy a car with power sliding doors and then knowingly “upgrade” to a product was going to essentially disable them?
  5. RS – Why can I turn a feature ON but not OFF?
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