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Sunroof leak on my Saturn Outlook

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Comments

  • dompdomp Posts: 24
    Ditto on the sunroof leak. This time (been in for leak repairs several times before - but those were covered by warranty) water is leaking on the fuse box. Won't shift out of first, continues to run after key is removed. Bill is up to $1000 so far, and not even sure if the shifting/running issue has been fixed.

    Emailed GM customer service. At the VERY least I would think GM would cover the $500 they're charging me to fix the leak they've "fixed" several times in the past.
  • Good morning Saturn outlook owners. I started in on this post over a year ago do to my frustastion with what I thought was going to be a reliable and safe vehicle for my wife and three children. The problems started almost immediately after purchasing it. Broken side mirror motor, leaking water from roof rack, power steering leak, seized transmission shifter in cold weather ( due to excess moisture, go figure), sway bar end link replacemant, auto lift gate motor failure which gave me a concussion and almost killed my 1 year old. I want to know when GM is going to do right by recalling all Saturn outlooks. Thank you Sarah for always replying to these posts. I think that it is time to see action however!
  • elaskoelasko Posts: 1
    We are in the same situation. It started with a leaky sunroof and has progressed to all kinds of electrical problems. The remote start does not work, power tailgate does not work and only one stereo speaker works. The stereo goes on when vehicle is shut off, vehicle does not shut off at times. I am sure I'm forgetting other problems we have had. Its too bad we are having all of theses problems because we really like our Outlook. Our local Chevy dealer is no help at all, just gives us outrageous quotes for repairs that we cannot afford or have faith that they will permanently fix the problems.
    Any info on recalls or service bulletins would be appreciated
  • nancy1960nancy1960 Posts: 54
    Welcome to the club elasko that NO one wants to join :(! There are two bulletin’s #10-08-67-001 A and 08207A. Do you know if you had these repairs done? Most of us have and the repairs failed as you can see by reading all the posts. I hope this info. is helpful.
    ***********************************************************
    September 2008
    Dear General Motors Customer:

    We have learned that your 2008 model year Buick Enclave or 2007-2008 model year GMC Acadia or Saturn OUTLOOK, equipped with a sunroof, may have a condition in which water is not properly drained away from the sunroof. If this condition were to occur, water may enter the interior of the vehicle and dampen the carpet, upholstery, and other interior components.

    Your satisfaction with your Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, or Saturn OUTLOOK is very important to us, so we are announcing a program to prevent this condition or, if it has occurred, to fix it.

    What We Will Do: Your GM dealer/retailer will install drain tube extension assemblies and ensure that the water drains properly. This service will be performed for you at no charge until September 30, 2009 .

    What You Should Do: To limit any possible inconvenience, we recommend that you contact your dealer/retailer as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for this repair. By scheduling an appointment, your dealer/retailer can ensure that the necessary parts will be available on your scheduled appointment date.

    Customer Reply Form: The enclosed customer reply form identifies your vehicle. Presentation of this form to your dealer/retailer will assist in making the necessary correction in the shortest possible time. If you no longer own this vehicle, please let us know by completing the form and mailing it back to us. If you have any questions or need any assistance to better understand related repairs, please contact your dealer/retailer.

    If you have questions related to a potential reimbursement, please contact the appropriate Customer Assistance Center at the number listed below.

    Division
    Number
    Text Telephones (TTY)

    Buick
    1-866-608-8080
    1-800-832-8425

    GMC
    1-866-996-9463
    1-800-462-8583

    Saturn
    1-800-972-8876
    1-800-833-6000

    Guam
    1-671-648-8450


    Puerto Rico - English
    1-800-496-9992


    Puerto Rico - Español
    1-800-496-9993


    Virgin Islands
    1-800-496-9994



    Courtesy Transportation
    If your vehicle is within the New Vehicle Limited Warranty your dealer/retailer may provide you with shuttle service or some other form of courtesy transportation while your vehicle is at the dealership/facility for this repair. Please refer to your Owner’s Manual and your dealer/retailer for details on Courtesy Transportation.

    We sincerely regret any inconvenience or concern that this situation may cause you. We want you to know that we will do our best, throughout your ownership experience, to ensure that your GM vehicle provides you many miles of enjoyable driving.

    Scott Lawson

    General Director,

    Customer and Relationship Services

    Subject: 08207- Sunroof Water Leak - Install Drain Tube Extensions
    Models: 2008 Buick Enclave
    2007-2008 GMC Acadia
    2007-2008 Saturn OUTLOOK
    Equipped with a Sunroof

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    THIS PROGRAM IS IN EFFECT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30, 2009.
    Condition
    Certain 2008 model year Buick Enclave; 2007-2008 model year GMC Acadia and Saturn OUTLOOK vehicles equipped with a sunroof may have a condition in which water is not properly drained away from the sunroof. If this condition were to occur, water may enter the interior of the vehicle and dampen the carpet, upholstery, and other interior components.

    Correction
    Dealers/retailers are to install drain tube extension assemblies, and ensure that the water drains properly.

    Vehicles Involved
    Involved are certain 2008 model year Buick Enclave; 2007-2008 model year GMC Acadia and Saturn OUTLOOK vehicles equipped with a sunroof and built within these VIN breakpoints:

    Year Division Model From Through
    2008 Buick Enclave 8J100004 8J168550
    2007 GMC Acadia 7J100150 7J175624
    2008 GMC Acadia 8J100942 8J168630
    2007 Saturn OUTLOOK 7J100003 7J175620
    2008 Saturn OUTLOOK 8J100640 8J168626

    Important: Dealers/retailers are to confirm vehicle eligibility prior to beginning repairs by using the system(s) below. Not all vehicles within the above breakpoints may be involved.

    - GM dealers and Canadian Saturn/Saab retailers should use GMVIS.
    - Saturn US retailers should use the 'Investigate Vehicle History' link on the Global Warranty Management application within DealerWorld.

    For dealers/retailers with involved vehicles, a listing with involved vehicles containing the complete vehicle identification number, customer name, and address information has been prepared and will be provided through the applicable system listed below. Dealers/retailers will not have a report available if they have no involved vehicles currently assigned.

    - US GM and Saturn dealers/retailers - GM DealerWorld Recall Information
    - Canadian GM/Saturn/Saab dealers/retailers - GMinfoNet Recall Reports
    - Export dealers - sent directly to dealers

    The listing may contain customer names and addresses obtained from Motor Vehicle Registration Records. The use of such motor vehicle registration data for any purpose other than follow-up necessary to complete this program is a violation of law in several states/provinces/countries. Accordingly, you are urged to limit the use of this report to the follow-up necessary to complete this program.

    Parts Information
    GM, Saturn/Saab Canada Only - Parts required to complete this program are to be obtained from General Motors Service and Parts Operations (GMSPO). Please refer to your "involved vehicles listing" before ordering parts. Normal orders should be placed on a DRO = Daily Replenishment Order. In an emergency situation, parts should be ordered on a CSO = Customer Special Order.

    Saturn US Only - A pre-shipment of the required parts to perform this repair has been sent to involved Saturn US retailers from Saturn Service Parts Operations (SSPO).

    Part Number
    Description
    Qty/ Vehicle

    25930220
    Tube, Sun Rf Hsg RR Drn
    2

    To Be Obtained Locally
    Tie Straps
    8


    Service Procedure
    Important: Before lowering the headliner, please perform the following steps to avoid damage to the interior trim.

    On the assist handle, use a small screwdriver to open both screw covers by prying carefully from the inboard edge. Remove the screws.

    On the "A" pillar and "D" pillar, use a small screw driver to open the screw cover by prying carefully from the bottom edge. Remove the screws.
    On the "B" pillar and "C" pillar, use a small screw driver to open the screw cover by prying carefully from the
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,055
    crazyoutlook,
    Thank you for taking the time to post your experience. I apologize for your frustrations. Can you please email me your VIN, current mileage, and GM dealer of choice? Please include your contact information (including mailing address) in your email as well as a description of your concerns. Have you spoke with GM Customer assistance regarding your concerns? I look forward to hearing from you.
    Christina
    GM Customer Service
    SocialMedia@GM.com
  • I think we should ALL go to our local news and any other news station we can to get the word out there. With any luck, some news station will do a report and make this well known and maybe get us a class action law suit. I am amazed that there haven't been any deaths...at least that we know of with all these problems. I have already emailed the local news and am going to compile more links to the other forums with these same issues and pass it on to other news stations. We should also get this out on UTube.
  • nancy1960nancy1960 Posts: 54
    Great next step from Bubbles1965...It says to include backup information, folks, I think we have plenty of that! What do you all think of writing to ABC? If your in, it would be a good idea to send our letters on the same day to the same news organizations that way I believe we will get the attention we need to make GM accountable.

    Thank you for your request to ABC News.

    To submit a story idea to one of the ABC News shows listed below, write a single page letter including your name, phone number, and address. Include photocopies of backup information. On the outside of the envelope, write "Story Idea." If a producer is interested in your story, he/she will contact you. Here are the show addresses:

    20/20
    147 Columbus Avenue
    New York, NY 10023

    Primetime/What Would You Do?
    147 Columbus Avenue
    New York, NY 10023

    Nightline/This Week
    1717 DeSales Street NW
    Washington, DC 20036

    ABC World News with Diane Sawyer
    47 West 66th Street, 2nd Floor
    New York, NY 10023

    Good Morning America
    147 Columbus Avenue
    New York, NY 10023
  • dompdomp Posts: 24
    Thanks for the bulletin information. I'm pretty sure those were applied to my vehicle a while back, but it looks like the problem is back.

    The attorney general's website suggests contacting Center for Auto Safety for information on "secret warranties" that may apply, but they say to contact the manufacturer. Attorney general's website says to contact Consumer Protection Division or get a lawyer.

    You would think between with 2 years of Outlook, Enclave, Acadias (perhaps others as well) there would be enough momentum for a story or a class action suit.
  • I have filed a complaint with the safety board, the Attorney General here in NC and I just sent out emails to ABC news, CBS news and MSNBC news. This is my first reply back.

    Thank you for your request to ABC News.

    To submit a story idea to one of the ABC News shows listed below, write a single page letter including your name, phone number, and address. Include photocopies of backup information. On the outside of the envelope, write "Story Idea." If a producer is interested in your story, he/she will contact you. Here are the show addresses:

    20/20
    147 Columbus Avenue
    New York, NY 10023

    Primetime/What Would You Do?
    147 Columbus Avenue
    New York, NY 10023

    Nightline/This Week
    1717 DeSales Street NW
    Washington, DC 20036

    ABC World News with Diane Sawyer
    47 West 66th Street, 2nd Floor
    New York, NY 10023

    Good Morning America
    147 Columbus Avenue
    New York, NY 10023

    I suggest EVERYONE type up a letter and send them out to as many National News stations as possible. If they get enough of these letters, they might do a story on it and if so..maybe we will have answers and real help for a change. I am a lucky one..so far. I have a 2008 Saturn Outlook that is almost always covered, either in a carport or under a car cover. This is the first year that I had left it out in a heavy rain and found a leak. It took GM 3 times to find the actual leak and the first two times I had to pay a little over $100 each time. The third time, I contacted Sarah from GM customer service..in this forum, she got them to pay the $400 cost of replacing the moonroof seal. The extended warrany from Zurich is a rip off. They don't cover seals or gaskets. That was basically $1400 down the drain. So far, I have left my car out every time it rained and so far, no leaks. I don't trust this fix though after reading all the complaints in this forum and the acadia and saturn forums. Because of this, I ended up trading in my Outlook for a Chevy Traverse. I should be picking it up in the next two weeks. I did NOT get a sunroof this time. It is sad that we paid so much for these beautiful vehicles. We bailed out GM and they continue to rip off the Acadia, Enclave and Outlook owners of 2007-2008 SUVs with these sunroofs. They should either buy these back or give us a better trade in to get another vehicle..without a sunroof. If anyone does try a class action lawsuit..just let us all know who to contact. I think getting the news involved is our best bet for actual answers..before someone gets killed with all these electrical issues I have been reading about.
  • dompdomp Posts: 24
    Glad to here Sarah came through for you. Hoping to get some help as well. I'm $1000 out of pocket so far (for a problem they supposedly already fixed under the earlier bulletin) and told that may just be the beginning of the related repairs.

    My cars have almost always had sunroofs or been convertibles. I've heard about issues with aftermarket installations, but never had any water issues with my other cars.

    Yeah, the electrical issues have been scary - melted headlight wiring, heated washer fluid fires, now this.

    Are you sending to each of those news contacts listed?
  • nancy1960nancy1960 Posts: 54
    Domp, If you look up your VIN # it will indicate if you had these bulletins done. Here's the issue; GM made the public aware of these problems and put service bulletins out to fix the problems, extent the drain tubes etc. The repairs failed and problems they were hoping to fix happened. It's helpful to look back on previous post to get really informed before talking to GM. Stay strong!! Complaints can also be made to BBB and NTSHA as well.
  • nancy1960nancy1960 Posts: 54
    OH MY GOODNESS!! THIS IS A MUST READ ON SECRET WARRANTIES!
    READ, READ, READ....

    Secret warranties are a multi-billion consumer abuse. Every auto company makes mistakes in building cars. Whether they are design defects that affect every car or whether they are manufacturing defects which affect only some cars, they must be repaired. The only question is who pays for the manufacturers' mistakes, the manufacturer or the consumer. Although the auto manufacturer often establishes a secret warranty to pay for the repair, all too often it is the consumer who pays for the manufacturer's mistake because the consumer never finds out about the secret warranty. That's wrong and the Center for Auto Safety wants to change it.

    In a 1987 report the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) created national headlines by identifying 10 exemplary secret warranties covering 30 million vehicles and $3 billion in repair costs. Yet this is but the tip of the iceberg for we estimate that at any one time over 500 secret warranties exist for all auto companies. According to a Toyota whistleblower who provided a complete list in May 1988, Toyota alone had 41 secret warranties at that time.

    By exposing secret warranties, CAS forces manufacturers to pay for their mistakes and creates a strong incentive for them to build better cars in the future. once secret warranties are disclosed, consumers will save hundreds, if not thousands, in repair bills on their personal cars. Spurred on by CAS exposes, state legislatures are moving to pass secret warranty disclosure laws that will protect consumers. Until then, consumers must rely on the strategies suggested in our book, Little Secrets of the Auto Industry, to discover and use secret warranties to pay for repairs in their vehicles.

    What is a secret warranty?
    Auto companies hate the term secret warranties. They call them policy adjustments, good will programs, service campaigns or extended warranties . But whatever they are called, they are a longstanding industry practice. When a car company has a major defect that occurs after its written warranty expires, it establishes an adjustment policy to pay for repairs rather than deal with many thousands, if not millions, of complaints on a case by case basis. But the auto company communicates the policy only to regional offices and not even always to its dealers. The auto manufacturers never notify the consumer; so only the consumer who complains loudly enough gets covered by the secret warranty. Other consumers end up bearing the costs of the manufacturer's mistakes.

    Examples of Secret Warranties
    CAS has documented case after case of secret warranties since our founding in 1970. one of the first and most famous was Ford's J-67 Limited Service Program which covered rust on 12 million 1969-72 cars and trucks. In this case a bulletin which went out only to Ford regional offices stated, "This is a limited service program without dealership notification and should be administered on an individual complaint basis." Under this program, Ford would pay up to 100% to repair rust and paint damage on its vehicles even if it cost over a $1000.

    CAS has uncovered secret warranties on all auto companies with little differences between them. A 1972 Mazda secret warranty bulletin doubled the coverage for rotary engine damage but cautioned, "Since this is a temporary program which may be terminated at [any] time, owners are not to be informed of the extended coverage." Honda had secret warranties on head gaskets and rusting fenders in the mid-1970's; Chrysler had rusting fenders on Volares and Aspens in the late 1970's; GM had the transmission secret warranty caused by a ban on sperm whale oil as a lubricant; Peugeot and Subaru both covered defective head gaskets; and VW covered valve stem seals.

    Secret warranties soared after 1980 when the federal government dropped all efforts to ban them. GM had a 5 year/50,000 mile secret warranty covering repair of defective rack and pinion power steering systems on all 16 million of its 1981-88 front wheel drive cars. Toyota covered pulsating brakes on its 1983-86 Camry in a $100 million secret warranty. Ford never told owners of its 1985-92 F-series pickups that America's most popular truck had peeling paint because Ford skipped the primer layer. According to Nissan documents provided to CAS by a whistleblower in 1990, Nissan had at one time up to 48 secret warranties covering various cars and trucks.

    There is no doubt that auto manufacturers presently have many other secret warranties. However, assessing how widespread secret warranty programs are is difficult because these programs, by definition, are not intended for public disclosure. Since CAS began exposing secret warranties more widely in the 1980's, the auto makers having gotten better at keeping them secret. Even CAS can no longer get lists of secret warranties to disclose. one Honda insider told CAS that Honda has only one secret warranty book for each of its regions. The book is chained to a desk. Every page has the region's number superimposed on it so that any photo of a book page would show the region from which it came.

    But it is known that the regulatory climate has been very favorable to the automakers since 1980. Furthermore, secret warranties are viewed by the automakers as an effective tool to maintain good customer relations. Loyal customers and customers that complain loudly and persistently are rewarded. Other consumers get saddled with repair costs caused by the manufacturers' mistakes.

    No Uniform Law Requires Secret Warranty Disclosure
    No federal law requires auto companies to disclose secret warranties. In the late 1970's, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sought to litigate individual secret warranties against each auto company beginning with piston scuffing and cracked blocks in 1976-78 Fords. The FTC settled its case by requiring Ford to notify and directly compensate owners according to the secret warranty policy and to notify all future owners until the consent agreement expired eight years later in 1988. Although the FTC later filed similar complaints and actions against GM, VW, Honda, and Chrysler in the late 1970's, it dropped the requirement of secret warranty notification. In 1981 after the change of Administrations, the Commission completely dropped its efforts to expose secret warranties.

    Where a secret warranty exists, consumers could ban together to file a class action against the manufacturer for an unfair trade practice but this is a major effort which is rarely used and is a poor substitute for a disclosure law. In 1989, CAS helped the Center for Public Interest Law successfully sue Toyota over a secret warranty that covered up to $1800 in repair costs for pulsating brakes in over 400,000 1983-87 Camrys. To settle CAS' class action Toyota agreed to 1) notify all present and past owners, 2) reimburse consumers for all repair expenses already incurred, and repair all ca
  • nancy1960nancy1960 Posts: 54
    OH MY GOODNESS!! THIS IS A MUST READ ON SECRET WARRANTIES!
    READ, READ, READ....

    Secret warranties are a multi-billion consumer abuse. Every auto company makes mistakes in building cars. Whether they are design defects that affect every car or whether they are manufacturing defects which affect only some cars, they must be repaired. The only question is who pays for the manufacturers' mistakes, the manufacturer or the consumer. Although the auto manufacturer often establishes a secret warranty to pay for the repair, all too often it is the consumer who pays for the manufacturer's mistake because the consumer never finds out about the secret warranty. That's wrong and the Center for Auto Safety wants to change it.

    In a 1987 report the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) created national headlines by identifying 10 exemplary secret warranties covering 30 million vehicles and $3 billion in repair costs. Yet this is but the tip of the iceberg for we estimate that at any one time over 500 secret warranties exist for all auto companies. According to a Toyota whistleblower who provided a complete list in May 1988, Toyota alone had 41 secret warranties at that time.

    By exposing secret warranties, CAS forces manufacturers to pay for their mistakes and creates a strong incentive for them to build better cars in the future. once secret warranties are disclosed, consumers will save hundreds, if not thousands, in repair bills on their personal cars. Spurred on by CAS exposes, state legislatures are moving to pass secret warranty disclosure laws that will protect consumers. Until then, consumers must rely on the strategies suggested in our book, Little Secrets of the Auto Industry, to discover and use secret warranties to pay for repairs in their vehicles.

    What is a secret warranty?
    Auto companies hate the term secret warranties. They call them policy adjustments, good will programs, service campaigns or extended warranties . But whatever they are called, they are a longstanding industry practice. When a car company has a major defect that occurs after its written warranty expires, it establishes an adjustment policy to pay for repairs rather than deal with many thousands, if not millions, of complaints on a case by case basis. But the auto company communicates the policy only to regional offices and not even always to its dealers. The auto manufacturers never notify the consumer; so only the consumer who complains loudly enough gets covered by the secret warranty. Other consumers end up bearing the costs of the manufacturer's mistakes.

    Examples of Secret Warranties
    CAS has documented case after case of secret warranties since our founding in 1970. one of the first and most famous was Ford's J-67 Limited Service Program which covered rust on 12 million 1969-72 cars and trucks. In this case a bulletin which went out only to Ford regional offices stated, "This is a limited service program without dealership notification and should be administered on an individual complaint basis." Under this program, Ford would pay up to 100% to repair rust and paint damage on its vehicles even if it cost over a $1000.

    CAS has uncovered secret warranties on all auto companies with little differences between them. A 1972 Mazda secret warranty bulletin doubled the coverage for rotary engine damage but cautioned, "Since this is a temporary program which may be terminated at [any] time, owners are not to be informed of the extended coverage." Honda had secret warranties on head gaskets and rusting fenders in the mid-1970's; Chrysler had rusting fenders on Volares and Aspens in the late 1970's; GM had the transmission secret warranty caused by a ban on sperm whale oil as a lubricant; Peugeot and Subaru both covered defective head gaskets; and VW covered valve stem seals.

    Secret warranties soared after 1980 when the federal government dropped all efforts to ban them. GM had a 5 year/50,000 mile secret warranty covering repair of defective rack and pinion power steering systems on all 16 million of its 1981-88 front wheel drive cars. Toyota covered pulsating brakes on its 1983-86 Camry in a $100 million secret warranty. Ford never told owners of its 1985-92 F-series pickups that America's most popular truck had peeling paint because Ford skipped the primer layer. According to Nissan documents provided to CAS by a whistleblower in 1990, Nissan had at one time up to 48 secret warranties covering various cars and trucks.

    There is no doubt that auto manufacturers presently have many other secret warranties. However, assessing how widespread secret warranty programs are is difficult because these programs, by definition, are not intended for public disclosure. Since CAS began exposing secret warranties more widely in the 1980's, the auto makers having gotten better at keeping them secret. Even CAS can no longer get lists of secret warranties to disclose. one Honda insider told CAS that Honda has only one secret warranty book for each of its regions. The book is chained to a desk. Every page has the region's number superimposed on it so that any photo of a book page would show the region from which it came.

    But it is known that the regulatory climate has been very favorable to the automakers since 1980. Furthermore, secret warranties are viewed by the automakers as an effective tool to maintain good customer relations. Loyal customers and customers that complain loudly and persistently are rewarded. Other consumers get saddled with repair costs caused by the manufacturers' mistakes.

    No Uniform Law Requires Secret Warranty Disclosure
    No federal law requires auto companies to disclose secret warranties. In the late 1970's, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sought to litigate individual secret warranties against each auto company beginning with piston scuffing and cracked blocks in 1976-78 Fords. The FTC settled its case by requiring Ford to notify and directly compensate owners according to the secret warranty policy and to notify all future owners until the consent agreement expired eight years later in 1988. Although the FTC later filed similar complaints and actions against GM, VW, Honda, and Chrysler in the late 1970's, it dropped the requirement of secret warranty notification. In 1981 after the change of Administrations, the Commission completely dropped its efforts to expose secret warranties.

    Where a secret warranty exists, consumers could ban together to file a class action against the manufacturer for an unfair trade practice but this is a major effort which is rarely used and is a poor substitute for a disclosure law. In 1989, CAS helped the Center for Public Interest Law successfully sue Toyota over a secret warranty that covered up to $1800 in repair costs for pulsating brakes in over 400,000 1983-87 Camrys. To settle CAS' class action Toyota agreed to 1) notify all present and past owners, 2) reimburse consumers for all repair expenses already incurred, and repair all ca
  • nancy1960nancy1960 Posts: 54
    Con't of Secret Warranty:

    Where a secret warranty exists, consumers could ban together to file a class action against the manufacturer for an unfair trade practice but this is a major effort which is rarely used and is a poor substitute for a disclosure law. In 1989, CAS helped the Center for Public Interest Law successfully sue Toyota over a secret warranty that covered up to $1800 in repair costs for pulsating brakes in over 400,000 1983-87 Camrys. To settle CAS' class action Toyota agreed to 1) notify all present and past owners, 2) reimburse consumers for all repair expenses already incurred, and repair all cars with this defect that had not yet been repaired. CAS estimates the total cost to Toyota to be over $100 million, most of which would have been borne by consumers but for CAS' action.

    State Secret Warranty Laws
    In order to protect consumers from undisclosed defects, five states (California, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin) have enacted secret warranty laws and other states are considering secret warranty legislation. The state secret warranty laws already enacted require manufacturers to disclose their "warranty adjustment" programs by giving direct notice of any warranty extension to affected owners, including information about the terms of the warranty, and provision for reimbursement to consumers who already have paid for the covered repair. Until all states enact and enforce secret warranty laws, consumers will be kept in the dark about secret warranties.

    How to Find a Secret Warranty
    Until secret warranty disclosure laws become the law of the land, the only way to find out about secret warranties is just plain hard work. First, one checks the technical service bulletins for your vehicle type and model year. Service bulletins are published by the manufacturer and sent to dealerships to assist them in diagnosing and repairing problems on the vehicles they service. The existence of a service bulletin does not conclusively prove the auto company has a secret warranty but it does show a defect or problem exists for which the manufacturer has had to develop a repair. Service bulletins can be difficult to decipher, but it is well worth the effort. Finding the right bulletin could save you thousands of dollars in repair costs. The right bulletin is the one that tells the dealer how to diagnose and fix the problem. It also will authorize the dealer to make the repairs at the manufacturer's expense even though the defect is no longer covered by the manufacturer's express warranty.

    The trouble is that manufacturers often do not put the terms authorizing free repair in the technical service bulletins but give this information only to their factory representatives so that both the dealer and consumer are kept in the dark. Watch for code words in bulletins such as "check for availability of good will assistance." Companies often use such language to get around the triggering requirements for customer notification in states that have secret warranty disclosure laws.

    Secret warranties are often revealed when owners of vehicles of the same type and age are treated differently by the dealer or manufacturer. If some owners get their vehicles repaired at no cost or at a discount whereas other owners of the same vehicle do not, it is possible that a secret warranty covers the defect involved. However, it is also possible that the dealer or manufacturer has decided on a case-by-case basis to reimburse a relatively small number of owners to retain their goodwill and not as part of a warranty adjustment program. To constitute a secret warranty, the difference in treatment of customers must be based on a corporate policy to reimburse owners that is communicated to regional offices and usually also to dealers but that is not communicated to consumers.

    How to Use a Secret Warranty
    After determining that your vehicle is covered by a secret warranty, the next step is to take advantage of your knowledge. The best way to do this is to take the service bulletin that proves the existence of the secret warranty with you when you go to your dealer to get the defect repaired. Without the bulletin, you will have a much more difficult time getting the dealer to repair your vehicle free of charge. Even if the dealer refuses to recognize the existence of the secret warranty [he might not know that the secret warranty exists] or if your vehicle is beyond the period of coverage of the secret warranty, he still may repair your vehicle at no expense as part of a goodwill adjustment.

    If the dealer claims your vehicle is not covered by a secret warranty and refuses to give you a goodwill adjustment, your next step is to pursue your claim directly with the manufacturer. You should do this for two reasons. First, unlike dealers, the manufacturer will know always know if a certain defect in one of its own vehicles is covered by a secret warranty. Second, every manufacturer has a system to handle consumer complaints, which should be followed even though it may not work in most cases. Complaint handling mechanisms outside the manufacturer's system (e.g. arbitration) require exhaustion of all remedies that the manufacturer provides.

    Contact the manufacturer's division (also called regional, district or zone) office in your area. The locations and correct names of district offices and the complaint procedures are often spelled out in the owner's manual. If the manufacturer's representative refuses to see you, contact the regional office or the manufacturer's owner relations office, often located in Detroit for domestic manufacturers, California for Japanese and Asian manufacturers, and New Jersey for European manufacturers.

    If the manufacturer refuses to extend the secret warranty to your vehicle (perhaps because your car is beyond the time or mileage requirements of the secret warranty), do not give up. Manufacturers only reimburse those owners who complain loudly and persistently; those who put off complaining, or who never complain at all, must pay for the manufacturer's mistakes.

    The next step is to make enough noise outside the manufacturer's complaint handling system to get results. A strong commitment is necessary to successfully use this procedure, because you will not get results unless you are willing to persistently follow up letters and phone calls.

    Complain in writing to the manufacturer's Chairman of the Board or President with copies of that letter to others. Set forth the defect covered by the secret warranty clearly and precisely within the letter and refer to the collected documentation of the car's troubles and your attempts to have the car repaired "within the system."

    Send copies to various organizations such as local and national consumer groups, local and state consumer protection agencies, state attorneys general, federal agencies and members of Congress. Even if these agencies or groups cannot act directly on your behalf, the
  • nancy1960nancy1960 Posts: 54
    ANOTHER MUST READ:

    CBS did a story on "Secret Warranties" in 2011
    Uncovering Secret Warranties on Cars
    By Jerry Edgerton

    Imagine you're a car maker who wants to defuse a potential bombshell. You just learned about a nasty defect in one of your models. How do you reckon with the trouble without the toxic publicity of a recall? You might whisper to dealers that it's fine for them to quietly provide free fixes to owners who complain. That's how Toyota kept the lid on its sudden acceleration risks as early as '02 Camrys, according to investigative firm Safety Research and Strategies
    Almost all carmakers use "secret warranties." You, too, may be able to get persistent flaws in your car fixed free even if your warranty has expired --provided you can track down other complaints and negotiate shrewdly with your dealer.

    Finding out if your vehicle is covered by hush-hush arrangements can be tricky, say advocates at the Center for Auto Safety (CAS), who originally discovered and named secret warranties in the early '70s. "Manufacturers increasingly have worked hard to keep secret warranties secret," says executive director Clarence M. Ditlow III.

    The CAS estimates about 500 secret warranties are in force at any time and says the number has grown over the past decade since regulators often haven't demanded full safety recalls.

    Your job finding out about secret warranties may be a little easier if you live in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia or Wisconsin, which require owner notification of them.

    If your car has a chronic problem that seems dangerous, here's how to crack the codes of secret warranties and get what you deserve:

    Start with the government
    Check the web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Go to the Defects and Recalls section and search three sections: defect investigations, complaints and technical service bulletins.

    Defect Investigations. Check to see if problems like yours triggered a NHTSA investigation. If one is underway, it may strengthen your case for a free repair. But if (as in the case of Toyota unintended acceleration for '02 Camrys) NHTSA closed the investigation without ordering any action, it undermines your argument.

    Complaints. In the Search Complaints section, see if other owners raised your problem and if they took their cars to the dealership. Be especially alert for a notation that the dealer repaired the car at no charge and show it to your dealer.

    Technical service bulletins. NHTSA puts summaries of these safety-related documents on its site, but getting full versions takes several weeks or longer. If evidence from investigations or owner complaints make it likely that your car company has detailed fixes for the problem, buy a full set of bulletins at the Alldata consumer web site for $26.95.

    Getting a Free Repair
    Take printouts bolstering your case to the dealership."If you have done your research and have the documents, you should be in a stronger bargaining position," says Sean Kane, whose Safety Research and Strategies does general auto safety research and also works with plaintiffs' attorneys. But you're not assured of a free repair. You could get a discounted fix or be asked to pay full price.

    You have a better chance of a free repair if you are a regular customer of the dealer or have:

    A car under original warranty.

    A technical service bulletin that mentions "goodwill assistance" or "goodwill adjustment." That's manufacturer's code for a secret warranty.

    A bushel of NHTSA complaints for the same problem, especially if one mentions a free fix by a dealer.

    If you get no satisfaction from the dealer, call the manufacturer's regional office, often listed in the owner's manual, and repeat your case. If you're still rebuffed, write complaints to top executives at headquarters.

    Remember, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,985
    edited April 2012
    More right here at Edmunds (first published in 2000 and updated since then):

    The Secret Warranty

    The main takeaway is that you need to be the original owner and have shown loyalty to the brand by paying dealer prices for regular maintenance. Even then it's a bit of a crap shoot.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • worried17worried17 Posts: 6
    Finally got GM to let us take our car in to get looked at - come to find out - GEE - IT IS LEAKING -this will be the FOURTH time this damn car has been brought in for leaking water all from the sunroof. My husband and I were flabbergasted with their response - they stated that the drain tubes in the sunroof were clogged and it was causing the leaks and that we would have to pay $300 to have them unclogged - WTF! When my husband asked them why they would be clogged -we have NO trees around us, the car sits in the open, there is NO way for stuff to get into a sunroof that is SEALED and we barely ever use the sunroof and they replied that it is part of the "regular maintenance" we are supposed to do on the car. WHAT???? I have NEVER EVER had ANY dealer tell me that you must perform regular maintenance of having drain tubes checked on a sunroof....NEVER and both my husband and I have always owned cars with sunroofs. He then said it is in the handbook somewhere - so we went through the entire handbook - NOPE - NOT there! I am FLOORED.....we were told at the last fix that the drains were clogged (AND NO, NO ONE said anything that we were supposed to be doing "routine" maintenance on the drain tubes) because the drains have been found to not be long enough to handle it when it rained so they did the recall of extending our drains and that would take care of any issues with them getting clogged. OF COURSE they couldn't get any of the electrical issues to present themselves -what a coincidence....so are they calling me LIAR????? all FOUR car windows have intermittent problems where they will not go up or down, the rear hatch has intermittent problems of NOT opening or closing both through the key fob and when you push on the button on the back gate, the car DVD/Stereo system that I paid a FORTUNE FOR as an upgrade stays black or does not work intermittently, the car DID NOT TURN OFF after taking the key out of the ignition...THESE ARE ALL ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS...and gee, my car is leaking water - last time I checked electrical wires and water DON'T mix! Routine Maintenance my bum! How in their right mind can they sit there in good conscious and tell us that we must pay $300.00 to fix a problem that is CLEARLY a design flaw....and that does not address any of the electrical problems we have been having. We will never, ever purchase from GM again that is for darn sure - they get bailed out by the government and they don't even have the decency to take care of a KNOWN ongoing problem - KARMA is all I can say
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    worried17,

    I'm sorry - I realize that you are not satisfied at the moment with the current diagnosis at your dealership. If we can look into this further with you, please contact us at socialmedia@gm.com (include your name/Edmunds username, phone and address, the last 8 of your VIN and current mileage, the name of your dealership and a description of your visits there (include date, etc) for the leaking concern).

    Best,
    Sarah
    GM Customer Service
  • dompdomp Posts: 24
    I'm in the same boat. Mind if I ask what area of the country you're in?

    My dealer is trying to charge me $500 to re-repair the leak they fixed previously ($500 not including any damamge caused by the leak).

    I agree about sunroof maintenance - I find nothing about maintaining drains, haven't been told about maintaining drains when the tubes were fixed the first couple of times.
  • worried17worried17 Posts: 6
    edited May 2012
    We are in Brevard County- Florida- we have called GM back and told them that this is just not acceptable to us...especially knowing that the car has now been in the shop 4 times for the exact same thing and each time they "supposedly" fixed it. Why should WE be responsible for paying to fix something that should have been fixed PROPERLY THREE OTHER TIMES. Are we supposed to take it into a GM dealer to fix something and then take it to a 3rd party shop after every fix just to make sure that GM fixed it correctly???? When you take a car in and they say they "fixed it", I am trusting that they are telling the truth and they knew what they were doing...now I have to second guess every single time the darn car is taken in. I am furious to learn that we are also going to be held responsible for going through the process of blowing out/cleaning out the drain lines to the sunroof on a regular basis because GM built a faulty design. So this is just going to keep happening over and over and over again all because GM is not stepping up and taking care of the issue. We SHOULD have gone through the Lemon Law filing process. The last time we brought it in was the 3rd repair and we were well within our time frame to file for the Lemon Law and they ASSURED us that the problem was fixed so we stupidly believed them and did not file...now we are out of our time frame. We paid $40,000 for this blasted car. Why is it that companies in the USA just can't make a quality vehicle or at least OWN UP TO IT when they realize there is a major flaw?
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