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Old 02-07-2009, 11:12 AM   #1
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Why I'll Never Buy an Import Again.

Here is a copy of a letter I am sending to Clark Howard asking for advice.

This is a perfect example as to why the domestics will make a comeback in the comming years. Based on my own research, this is common right now.


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To whom it may concern at Clark Howard’s Team Clark,

I’d like to inform you about a recent and costly ($5,500.0) warranty claim denied by Mazda. I recently took my car in to a Mazda dealer for an oil change and to investigate some internal engine noise. In the spirit of full disclosure, my car was recently on the receiving end of a minor rear end collision that is unrelated. The car was less than 500 miles from voiding the warranty of 50K miles. After changing the oil the technician asked me to produce the receipts for all previous oil changes. He said Mazda would want to see that the car had been properly maintained prior to doing any repair work on the car. I explained that I didn’t have those records as I had changed the oil at many different places over the last 3 years, and wouldn’t be able to produce those records. The advice given me by the dealer was to go to Mazda headquarters and see if they would do any work without the service history. We did and Mazda agreed to pay for an inspection. Upon the inspection pictures were taken and sent to Mazda. The dealer’s assessment was the car had not been neglected. Two days later Mazda said they would not repair the car without receipts. I called Mazda headquarters and made an attempt to plead my case. The first person I spoke to continued to reiterate their position. I asked to speak with his supervisor which he passed me to. The supervisor then read to me, out of the manual, where it states that I expected to maintain service records in order to validate a warranty claim. I questioned him as to why they would pay to inspect the car and ignore the mechanics recommendation to repair the car. He said, “I don’t have an answer for that, Sir.” At this point I asked, “What would happen if I changed the oil myself?” His reply was I’d need to keep the sales receipts for the oil and filters. I then asked, “How would you know if I did it correctly?” He wasn’t able to answer that question either. I then asked to speak with his supervisor to get an explanation as to why they would inspect the car, and ignore the technician, if they were going to deny the claim for lack of documentation. He refused to route the call any higher. I also offered to share the cost with Mazda as I could not produce the required documents. They refused this suggestion also.

Ultimately I explained to him that I had never purchased a foreign car before, I had always driven domestics. I had been convinced that the foreign cars were a better investment. Mazda’s handling of this situation has proved me wrong. As a reference, I had Chevrolet transmission fail out of warranty a couple years ago. The dealer agreed to split the cost of that repair with me as it was very close to the warranty mileage. They did not ask me for service records.

Since, my conversation with Mazda, I have taken my car to another private mechanic, and he quoted the repair to be $5,500.00. They also confirmed that the engine had not been neglected. He did some research for me and found out that there is an ongoing problem with my particular motor. Mazda will normally not repair this motor but replace it when it comes to them under warranty. He was unable to find a used motor and I had to buy a new one from Mazda. He suggests that this is a large contributor to them not standing by the warranty.

My opinion of this situation is that Mazda, along with all other car companies, are struggling. As such they decided to cut costs by finding a way out of honoring expensive warranty repairs. Furthermore I spoke to the dealer asking them for some concession. They explained to me that in this economy, the only consistent income stream is from the service department. They would be unable to do the costly repair and was also unwilling to share the cost with me.

My car is currently being repaired by the private shop as I can no longer afford to be without a vehicle. It is less than a year from being paid off, and I’d like to keep it. But I am highly motivated to trade it in for a comparable domestic used car as I don’t want to advertise for Mazda any longer.

Any advice you may be able to offer will be greatly appreciated.

Extremely frustrated,

Chris
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:18 AM   #2
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I feel your pain. I have had nothing but trouble with the 2003 Toyota 4Runner I bought for my son. I will never buy another Toyota as long as I live.
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:13 PM   #3
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Doesn't Ford own Mazda? :\
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:32 PM   #4
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Dude, I love Clark Howard!

I take my wifes car to the Lexus dealer for all services and keep up with the recomended services. I do this to avoid the situation you have with records and receipts. But IT IS EXPENSIVE and bullshit to have to do that.
What a freakin racket. gtahvit I'm with you on this. Hope Clark Howard airs this and loses them sales.

What a lame answer, "In this echonomy all we the only consistant stream of revenue is services"? Huh. Why didn't he just say "In this echonomy the only way to make money is to screw you out of the warranty you were promised". !@#E$R%^&*(_)(*&^%$
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:32 PM   #5
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Doesn't Ford own Mazda? :\
that is what I was going to say,,,maybe it isnt run by ford just owned....i duno
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Old 02-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #6
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Mazda was sold off (along with everything else) by Ford. It never struck anybody as convenient that Ford didn't 'need' to apply for loans? I have to say...it's something to wonder; whether or not your situation would be different if Mazda was still under Ford's ownership, gtahvit?...

Sorry to hear about the problems you're having, man.:( It sounds like you're getting this all fixed up mechanically, but I hope the rest of the issue gets cleared up somehow.
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Old 02-07-2009, 02:14 PM   #7
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oh i always thought ford was owned by mazda. but nvm, and thats why i noticed mazda's design was changing cuz it wasn't under ford anymore..

but ya sorry bout ur car dude thats why i always buy american
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Old 02-07-2009, 03:15 PM   #8
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Was told by Kia that my air conditioner was not covered because I didnt have records of scheduled service performed on it. What service does an air conditioner need on scheduled maintenance. It had a leak. Funk dem... Get a "domestic" lawyer and show them the true cost of operating in America. No more foerign for me either. Their warranties are like Insurance, Only good till you need them to cover a claim.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:26 PM   #9
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I have always been a GM person, but my wife just had to have a Honda Accord awhile back. I bought a used 04 accord coupe ex with 3k miles on it. we kept it a year and it went back for the check engine light once and a broken peice of interior trim once. It got 32 mpg on the highway it was a 4cy 5sp. I traded it off with 20k miles.

I know these are not major problems, but I always heard the imports are perfect. My 04 Silverado company truck went 107k before I got an 07 Impala company car never a problem with either. My 07 Impala with 60k on it gets better mileage with a v-6 auto than the smaller 4cy 5sp accord got.

It appears to be the imports do a better job at one thing, public perception nothing else.

I have a friend who is a service manager at a Chevy store and they also have a Toyota store. He is always telling me how hard Toyota is to get along with. GM does a much better job taking care of thier customer.
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:49 PM   #10
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Wow that explains what I was told.... the owner of the local Mazda dealer also owns the Saturn dealership
I was in the Saturn dealership getting my oil changed and noticed all the cars parked behind the Mazda dealership. I commented to the service advisor about it and he said, He used to work over there and they stay covered up all the time with repairs. it is much easier at the Saturn dealership, they don't have nearly as many problems...
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:23 PM   #11
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While this is obviously a whole brand behaving badly, induvidual dealerships can be asses as well. We found out too late that the local GM dealership had not properly serviced our Saab for at least the last few times we'd left it there for service. We tried to get that recitified somehow but couldn't prove it, and the short story is that they're a bunch of idiots. I'll never ever buy a car from them, even though they're the only GM dealer for like 40 miles. The dealers are rude and snippy to you unless you walk in wearing a suit, while the Audi dealer up the road was very friendly and casually when I walked in with my backpack on even after I just got of the bus.

So certianly, there are idiots out there, and I feel your pain brother.
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:32 PM   #12
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thats beyond ridiculous sorry man!!
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:12 PM   #13
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Ford still do have some shares of Mazda, they only sold off 35%

And to my unhappy mod, Since you put 5 grand into the hatchback, you should keep it untill it conks out again then buy an aveo or somethin
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:26 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dragoneye View Post
Mazda was sold off (along with everything else) by Ford. It never struck anybody as convenient that Ford didn't 'need' to apply for loans? I have to say...it's something to wonder; whether or not your situation would be different if Mazda was still under Ford's ownership, gtahvit?...

Sorry to hear about the problems you're having, man.:( It sounds like you're getting this all fixed up mechanically, but I hope the rest of the issue gets cleared up somehow.
I think it would have been handled differently if Ford was still the parent company.

Hopefully, with the appropriate pressure I can at least get some of the repair covered.

Thanks for all the support guys. Thank God we have the money to get the car fixed. That's saying a lot in this economy.

It could be worse.
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:47 PM   #15
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sorry to hear for ur troubles. iv never had a problem with my mazda3 and its not stock by anymeans and the dealers in my location are top notch with service and warrenty.
i can understand ur hate towards forign companies after a incident like this. hopefully the situation can get better.
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:50 PM   #16
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I think Ford still has a 13% stake in mazda. They sold a majority of its stake in Mazda last year after GM sold shares of Suzuki.
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Old 02-07-2009, 07:50 PM   #17
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Sheesh.

So who is this Clark fellow anyway? Talk radio? I love talk radio and would really like to tune into car-talk.
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:30 PM   #18
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Id talk to a lawyer
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:54 PM   #19
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The Ford Mo Co website still shows mazda as part of them.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:02 PM   #20
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Id talk to a lawyer
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:20 PM   #21
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see, that's IMO the same kind of "wrong thinking" that other people have in regards to domestic cars nowadays. yes you had a problem, but that doesn't mean all imports are and will always be crap.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:36 PM   #22
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see, that's IMO the same kind of "wrong thinking" that other people have in regards to domestic cars nowadays. yes you had a problem, but that doesn't mean all imports are and will always be crap.
He's not saying the cars are and always will be crap, he's saying that the company is playing a very dirty game here. Stuff happens, but if a company offers you a warranty, they need to keep their word.
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:54 PM   #23
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see, that's IMO the same kind of "wrong thinking" that other people have in regards to domestic cars nowadays. yes you had a problem, but that doesn't mean all imports are and will always be crap.
Definately agreed..
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:01 PM   #24
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To be clear.

All I'm saying is that I am not going to buy a foreign car again. This was my first import car, I've always bought GM products in the past, other than a couple wranglers.

After this experience, I've decided to go back to domestics, GM in particular.

I never said nobody should stop buying foreign should they choose to. I'm just letting people know what happened to me.

Take it or leave it.
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Old 02-07-2009, 10:01 PM   #25
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Quote:
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He's not saying the cars are and always will be crap, he's saying that the company is playing a very dirty game here. Stuff happens, but if a company offers you a warranty, they need to keep their word.
+1. If you noticed in his post, diddiyo, he cited an issue with a GM vehicle he had. And they performed a moderate repair OUT of warranty for free...when you experience such a sharp contrast, it's hard not to grow a bias. Being that it's for domestics. I certainly won't begrudge him of it.
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