This is the second run-in that I've had with Duluth Dodge, that could have very easily went badly if one were unknowledgeable about how dealerships (and cars) work.
The first incident happened in October of 2008. Here is what happened. My girlfriends car had been mis-firing and I scanned the codes to see what was wrong. The reader through a code which prompted me to have the emission control pump replaced. When I called the dealership where she bought the car (none to my surprise) they had went out of business (Houston Dodge, Pine River---that's a whole other story). I started looking around Duluth (where we are both currently going to school) and found Duluth Dodge, Mitsubishi, Suzuki. 1st mistake.... Duluth Dodge charges $109.00 per hour for labor, un-benounced to me, Superior Chrysler only charges $80.00 (now I know). Anyway, took it in and the next day we get a phone call saying "we found out whats wrong with the car, total is $2,825...." I said I hope you didn't fix it and they hadn't, I said "so what's wrong with it?" "Well, it needs four tires, ball-joints, tie rod ends, spark plug wires, spark plugs, 4 wheel alignment,both axles, brake pads and the evaporative emission's pump has a crack in it. Wow, I really have to say thanks for the information but lets fix whats wrong with the car, that I don't want to do,,,,, the evaporative emission pump, installed, $285.00. So I payed them to replace the pump, I did the brakes, plugs and wires. Took it to Tires Plus, guess what?? NO BAD tie-rods, ball joints, axles etc, obviously the tires were shot and needed to be replaced, and FYI, if your going to spend $300-600 on tires, spend the extra $60 and get AN ALIGNMENT!!!
Round two ding ding. Last week my girlfriend says the cars mis-firing again. Oh boy... Code comes out for Camshaft Position Sensor... Part is $60 at any parts store, and this is the only time I've found that a part was cheaper every Dodge dealership except, Duluth Dodge. Every other dealership in a 100 mile radius get $56 for this part, Duluth Dodge, $76.00. So again I took the car and for their peace of mind let them do the scan themselves.
Less than an hour after we left, I received a phone call. We scanned the car, it has a bad Camshaft sensor, total is $361.00. This is where they got snakey and remember they were talking to my girlfriend who is (sorry babe) not to car savvy. "Fix it" I hear her say, I interrupted, "How much?" She says "361.00" wo, wo wo wo..... Let's give someone else a call. I called NAPA and they said $107.50 installed out the door. But, I understand dealerships are dealerships and they charge more because they may (or may not) have more well trained technicians who see the same cars, day after day, after day after day and furthermore, they have OE parts, which are hopefully higher quality. So just to check, I called three Dodge dealerships, Superior Chrysler center-parts-labor-diagnostic scan and tax $153.00. SONJU -$178 OUT THE DOOR and my favorite Tanner motors in Brainerd... $123.00 OUT THE DOOR.
DODGE BOOK CALLS FOR .7 HOURS OF LABOR TO REPLACE THE PART!!
So I called back Duluth Dodge, maintained my composure, and asked for a breakdown of the charges. First error on their behalf, of the $361, $109 was for the diagnostic scan which should have been waived because we were planning on having the car fixed their. So it should have been said, when they called, $273, fixed and out the door or $109 for the Di-scan. Second mistake, $173 for labor hummm last time I checked, there was no way that 109X.7 equaled more than $109. So what were they charging the extra money for?? That was like pulling teeth, first I got disconnected, then lost on hold, then the guy wasn't there etc. Finally got him back on the phone and he says that the mechanic found some (rough looking) wires. Smells fishy... I told them thanks but no thanks I'll pay the $109 and we'll pick the car up later. Not 15 minutes later they call back saying the mechanic looked over the wires and found that a new sensor could safely be installed and the wires would be fine. I called Dodge headquarters and filed a complaint about the dealership for trying to scam...
So, we arrive to pickup the car I again mystify myself at my ability to stay calm. He brings out the technician who says quote "I've seen a hundred Neon's come in and they all have the same problem, the wires (for the Camshaft Pos. Sensor) rub on the back of the head until they short out and cause the Camshaft Sensor to fail." My immediate reply "Is there a recall?" "No, recalls are only issued if safety is a factor" My question to anyone reading this, if your car stalls in the middle of an intersection, is it a safety issue??? If your have a leaking fuel line that finds the short, is that a safety issue???
Wish I had more time, but this has basically become a rant so I'll cut it off, I will be filing another Rip Off Report against Dodge corporation later. No time now.