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SOA Warranty Problems & Questions

135

Comments

  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    I would commend my Subaru dealer for accurately diagnosing the problem with my Outback. Even though that decision went against me. I commend Valvoline for recognizing their culpability and immediately resolving it in full.

    From that perspective I would say absolutely buy a Subaru. My son's legacy has over 200K on it. My wife's '04 OBW has 45K without a minutes headache.

    SOA on the other hand, imho, could use some work. Phone calls not returned, no real critical thinking about how to help me solve my problem while 400 miles away from home. Seemed more interested in getting me off their plate. District rep refused to speak with me directly about the issue. Communication is the key in conflict resolution and SOA didn't do well in my book.

    Fore warned is fore armed. I will be prepared to be more direct in my own problem resolution if I ever have another problem.
  • If I was on the fence to buy a vehicle, and I read this one offense, yes, I would scratch Subaru out quickly as well. The customer service and how they resolve issues is what makes me as a first time customer.

    Yes, you can read every issue per vehicle manufacturer. But you cant deny the fact that this issue will sway many possible first time Subaru owners.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    True but as was said previously, you can find instances like this across the board, not matter what make/model/manufacturer.

    -mike
  • Ithe Subaru dealer Service head, Mark Naman tought of that - the level was correct. SOA is simply screwing me. I have contacted a lawyer, and we'll go from there. SOA did let me move all the way up the chain, and Customer Service is VERY important to me. Kevin Shumaker was very patient and went back to the dealer several times, but his super, Renee Fricke was surly and difficult, but her boss, Charlie McEntee, while acknowledging that their claim was weak, Subaru was sticking with Ed Lucksic's off-the-cuff diagnosis. Lucksic has still never seen the car. It's very disappointing - this was our second Subaru, and they were expected to be our brand of choice going forward. Not now - they aren't better than Toyota or Honda.

    We'll just see how the court goes.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    It is very unfortunate, but they are all very short sighted. They live for today's balance sheet, with little regard for whether you will be back a few years down the road. I was a three time Toyota buyer, but in 2002 I purchased two new cars from Subaru and Honda. Toyota gave me the middle finger on a costly tranny problem. I had enough documentation to probably have won in court, but it just wasn't worth the stress. As said before my post, keep searching and read the horror stories under each and every manufacturer. Sad, but true....

    Steve
  • I didn't think my post would require an explanation but apparently it does. Smitty, it's not about one incident. I'm looking at the fact that someone with Mr. Lucksic's lack of customer service skills could rise to the level of regional rep. To me, it means his superiors are either ignorant of his job skills, or they condone it and are just arrogant. Either way, it tells me there are people farther up the food chain at SOA that don't have you, the customer, as their #1 concern. Your defense of the Subaru line is admirable, but perhaps you would be less loyal if it was YOUR wallet that was about to be emptied by Mr. Lucksic. You should thank me for taking a shot at this pathetic lack of customer service, after all, it might be your car in the shop next week.
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    The BBB has a program called Autoline. Its purpose is to bring two parties (consumers and auto manufacturers) together for dispute mediation. The problem is that Subaru of America doesn't belong and won't participate. The New York Lemon Law also has an arbitration process, however it only comes into play after a Lemon Law claim is filed, which wouldn't occur until after several complaints about the same issue. Therefore there isn't a way to get SOA to the table without litigation.

    I'd like to know, as a percentage, how much less SOA reimburses its dealer compared to the "retail" price that we pay and how does that impact on a dealers objectivity. Also if there is a time issue. The dealer gets my check today, how long does it take for Subaru to reimburse the dealer? Once again does that affect whether a dealer declares a repair to be out of warranty.

    Are there rebates to a dealer as an example if they have a lower than average warranty repair rate. Are there other incentives that the individual consumer will find impossible to compete with for a fair determination.

    Anyone aware of any other arbitration vehicles available to bring a neutral third party into the process?

    Perhaps our new Governor "Bulldog" Spitzer will task his new AG to investigate this. Perhaps we should help him make this decision.
  • "Your defense of the Subaru line is admirable, but perhaps you would be less loyal if it was YOUR wallet that was about to be emptied by Mr. Lucksic."

    What I said wasn't a defense of Subaru; it was a defense of using common sense when researching a vehicle purchase. I'd have responded the same way if you were talking about Chevy, Honda, Mercury, whatever.

    To rule out a make on the basis of one completely unconfirmed, one-sided account you've read on an internet message board strikes me as overreaction, is all. Like I said, you could pretty easily dig up a similar tale of woe for every single make out there.

    Instead of focusing on one isolated incident, I'd make my choice on the basis of a larger sample size. And the overwhelming odds with *any* make are against your needing to have a major warranty repair made.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Glad to hear there was a happy ending. Guess I would have liked to see SoA give you a little help, even if only to document the things they observed to help you make the claim with the shop that screwed up.

    -juice
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Juice........as annoyed as I was with my dealer originally, it was their documentation and showing the VIOC manager the damage and the overfill that convinced VIOC to pay the damages.

    SoA on the other hand did nothing to help. As I said before, should I ever have another major problem I'll handle things directly with my selling dealer and the dealer that I take my car to for repair.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, ironically you would call SoA to help when you felt like the dealer was not helping.

    Given you have found a good, honest dealer, SoA becomes unnecessary for you. So it shouldn't matter.

    -juice
  • "I'd like to know, as a percentage, how much less SOA reimburses its dealer compared to the "retail" price that we pay and how does that impact on a dealers objectivity"

    I'd like to know that too. I bought a 2007 Legacy the other day on the advice of a friend. I really like the car, but the clutch pedal is squeaky and my feeling is that if I paid for a new car, I'm entitled to have the problem fixed.

    The warranty says that you can take the car to any dealership, but it's starting to look like this is a lie. The dealer I took the car to gave me the runaround. I called SOA and they were supposed to have another dealer contact me, but nobody contacted me.

    Another dealer I called claimed that clutch pedals always squeak in the winter and I would just have to live with it.

    The obvious explanation for all of this is that Subaru of America underfunds its warranty work to the point where dealers try to avoid doing the work. I suspect that if the car were out of warranty, the dealers would be all too happy to do the work and charge me a premium rate for the repairs.

    Anyway, I'm an attorney and I'm not going to put up with this nonsense. I sent SOA a threatening letter yesterday, and I will file suit next week if necessary.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Whether Subaru is tighter than most I cannot say. But out of warranty walk-in work is far more lucrative to any dealership because it is pretty much unregulated and markup is unlimited. I recently went thru a situation with my wife's Honda. The folks there were real gentlemen, and handled it very well, but we had a very frank discussion about how little Honda would pay on the diagnostic labor or the part. The dealership must literally prove it to Honda that the repair is essential, or they get stiffed. If they get stiffed, they have to pass it back to the customer. It creates a very advesarial relationship all around. Thus they would in some cases rather turn you away at the door than get stuck in the middle in a no-win situation.

    One way to insure it will go positively is to go in armed with as much factual info as possible. I have always felt that if you can show them both the necessity and possible causes of the problem, you have the best chance of getting them to take it on, and fix the issue.

    Steve
  • "One way to insure it will go positively is to go in armed with as much factual info as possible."

    I'm not sure what more info I could arm myself with. The clutch pedal is squeaky. The car is new. I like the car a lot, but I paid for a new car and I want it to be working perfectly. Call me fussy, but there it is.

    "Thus they would in some cases rather turn you away at the door than get stuck in the middle in a no-win situation."

    I wouldn't call it a "no-win" situation so much as a "no-profit" situation. A legitimate business honors its obligations even if it won't make as much money. If the business is unable to honor its obligations, then it should file bankruptcy.

    Just my humble opinion.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    The clutch pedal is squeaky. The car is new. I like the car a lot, but I paid for a new car and I want it to be working perfectly.

    Agreed. And, "squeaky in the cold" is a line if I ever heard one. Of all the complaints I have with my '07, which is ~ 6 weeks old now, the clutch is not among them. Even at -40F, there is not a bit of squeak - works perfectly and silently, as it should. In the last week, the warmest temperature has been -16F, and the lowest -44F. No squeaks. But, maybe they mean it is "normal" for just your car. :sick:
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    I never said you were wrong! My purpose in responding to you was to attemp to explain how the system works. Or maybe I should say why the system is as disfunctional as it is. In an ideal world they would bend over backwards to make you happy. Then they would fight the good fight to get reimbursed, and if they lost, chalk it up to the cost of putting customer satisfaction as job 1. Unfortunately, few seem to be up to the task. Perhaps the issue is shortsightedness. If they loose you, someone else will fill the gap a few years from now when you are ready to buy again.

    I have had excellent experiences with two dealerships. For most of the others I would recommend public floggings or perhaps stoning as a just punishment for how they disrespect customers.

    Steve
  • Glad to hear that you were able to get your oil change/differential problem resolved. Just wondering if you'd care to share the name of the Subaru dealer which diagnosed your oil change problem.

    Martin
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Martin,

    We have two OBW's we bought one at each of the dealers in Syracuse, NY. In my opinion both are good. Romano diagnosed the problem and subsequently helped me recover from Valvoline.

    Steve
  • Thanks Steve. I've heard mostly horror stories about Romano, although I don't have any first hand experience. Its good to learn that they are a reasonable alternative. I've only dealt with the other dealer.

    Martin
  • dcabdcab Posts: 101
    Maybe you've heard those horror stories from Bill Rapp employees? We've purchased both of our Subarus from Romano and have our cars serviced there with no complaints.
  • I've heard a number of negative comments over the years from people who purchased cars other than Subaru from Romano. In fact, I've been surprised that so many individuals who don't even know each other have had similar comments. None of the comments, pro or con, were from their Subaru customers. One day, I'll have to check them out for service.
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Wouldn't it be interesting to set up a thread called "Dealer Reviews" where EVERY dealer in the country had a thread here for attaboys or criticism by its customers. Might make for some interesting discussions with dealers when we as consumers referred the dealers to their thread to see what their customers thought of their service. Might be interesting for dealer management and sales people as well. Certainly wouldn't mention individual names but dealer names would be enough.

    I think it might carry some weight with SoA as well.
  • lskinnerlskinner Posts: 8
    An update: SOA actually did respond and helped me set up an appointment at another dealer. I went there this morning and the service guy said that he lubricated the return spring on the clutch pedal; that this would improve things; that springs squeak a little, especially new ones; that this is a problem others have encountered; and that I should give the lubrication a chance to work.

    Frankly, I had the feeling he was BSing me. However, the squeak does seem to have subsided for the time being.

    My previous car was a Honda, which was nearly 100% perfect for the 6 1/2 years I owned it. Essentially the only work necessary was routine maintenance and replacement of parts that wore out. (The only non-routine problem with my Honda was that the headlights burned out more frequently than one would expect.) So perhaps I'm a little spoiled.

    In fairness, I should say that besides the clutch pedal issue, I love the car so far.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hey, if it work, don't jinx it, just be happy there's no more squeek! ;)

    -juice
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    On my '96 Outback, I had some squeaky door issues when it was around 9 years old and 190,000 miles. I sprayed lithium grease on the hinges and sliders, but was disappointed that it did not seem to make any immediate difference. Within two days, though, they were perfectly silent and stayed that way through the night it was killed.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    I happened to stumble upon this while researching another tranny issue: From a 4 year old Subaru publication intended for aftermarket shops:

    Changing the engine oil would seem to be such a simple procedure. Yet a mistake can yield catastrophic results. The transmission in the photo above was being replaced due to a differential failure. The differential failure was not caused by a part failure, but rather by operator error. The differential fluid had been drained during an oil service, rather than the engine oil. The drained fluid was not replaced, and a few hundred miles later, the differential was destroyed. This error may have been caused by unfamiliarity with Subaru vehicles or simple inattentiveness. In any case, it’s not a mistake any of us would want to make. Although we ran this information in an earlier End Wrench, seeing the destroyed transaxle drove home the fact that some technicians still need to be reminded of the correct service procedures.

    Steve
  • bogey5bogey5 Posts: 35
    Steve,

    All in all I was very fortunate in this whole episode. I learned a lot! I had asked the Valvoline manager if he was aware of any technical bulletins that VIOC had sent out cautioning against this kind of mistake but at that point he wasn't going to acknowledge anything like that. I'll bet there is one now if not before. My Subaru dealer did tell me that Subaru doesn't send these kind of service advisories to places like VIOC any more. Too bad.

    Before donning the collar I spent 38 years selling medical products, mainly custom wheelchairs, power wheelchairs etc. and drove Astro vans and Caravans and beat the daylights out of them. Finally blew an engine on the Washington beltway on my last Dodge at 180K. Even with great abuse and very poor maintenance they seemed to last well into 150K plus.

    I guess I have to be a bit more attuned to the needs of my little OBW. Tanny and other systems are fine. Whew!!

    Steve
  • larryaklarryak Posts: 18
    Hello,

    I'm having a problem getting coverage under the Subaru Extended Warranty, I'm hoping to get some constructive feedback here.
    The extended Warranty expired in late Dec., 2005.
    The story:
    I purchased a new Outback in Dec, 1999.
    All was well (mostly) until March, 2004 (odometer:40K). Then one day I turned the AC on and there was no cooling until after 15-20 minutes of driving. The-compressor-was-not-engaged (trust me on this). As it was a very intermittent problem, and because going to the dealer was a real pain, I did not bring it to the dealer's attention until mid Nov, 2005. They said the refrigerant level was very low and recharged the system for which they charged me $200, which I paid, figuring that if it fixed the problem I was getting off cheap. Afterwards the frequency of malfunctions actually increased. I took the car back, more than once, in 2006. After several visits (most ended as "all OK, no problem found"), eventually I proved to them that it was still not working and they replaced some parts for no charge but the repairs did not do the job and now they say additional parts need to be replaced...expensive ones. These they want me to pay for.
    Am I unreasonable to expect this to be covered by the warranty? If so, how does one "motivate" them to take care of this? Is it reasonable for me to pay part of this (as they seem about to suggest)? I have been in contact with a Subaru customer service rep but they don't seem to be on "my" side.

    Larry
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Let me get this straight, it took you a year and a half (March 2004 to Nov 2005) to bring this in for a problem? Unfortunately as much as I would like to side with you, if you read your warranty you are required to bring the problem to their attention ASAP as continued driving could (not necessarily did) cause more damage.

    In the case of your compressor, if it was not kicking on, the parts were not being lubricated, and thus some of the parts that you would like them to cover under warranty, could have actually broken due to your lack of bringing it in in a timely fashion to be repaired.

    Sorry but you are SOL with SOA on this one, and I'm the biggest advocate of having an extended warranty, but if you don't hold up your end of the agreement I can't hold them responsible for it.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    From a practical stand point, the repairs done in Nov. 2005 should come with a one year warranty, i.e. that extended your coverage until Nov. 2006.

    Given we're well into 2007, it's quite a stretch.

    Hindsight is 20/20, but I would have tried to document the problem some how, maybe with a home video, before Nov. '06.

    It's kind of late now.

    Call 800-SUBARU3 and be REAL nice, plead your case. Ask them to check their records to see how many times you went in before Nov. 06, so they can understand your frustration.

    At best I imagine they'll share the cost, but even that's not guaranteed.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
This discussion has been closed.