I have a complaint that I would like to make against Rock River Kia located at 224 N Alpine Rd Rockford Illinois 61107 and Kia Motors of America located at 9801 Muirlands Boulevard Irvine, CA 92618-2521. In the spring of 2001 I purchased a new Kia Rio from Rock River Kia in Rockford Illinois.
Though this was not my first choice of car but it was a good price and came with a 10 year/100,000 mile warranty and a 5 year roadside assistance warranty. The salesman really stressed the warranty and I expected the company would honor it. I was to find out different.
When I first purchased this car I noticed at once there were a few minor problems and the quality was not quiet as good as American cars. Nothing that really concerned me a lot. The rear drivers side seat belt was torn in several places, the carpets were of low quality and poorly installed, and the dome light promptly quit. Still, the car seemed reasonably well put together and considering the price and warranty I was happy.
In January of this year my wife and daughter were driving the car across town. While waiting at a light the car made a clunk, my daughter felt the clutch kick back, and the car died. She tried to re-start it but it would not even turn over. They pushed the car to a nearby parking lot and called me. I have worked on cars for years, hold a degree in Mechanical Design, and have worked in engineering departments for local companies.
It was dark, and very cold but I examined the car quickly. I thought that perhaps the clutch cable had snapped. Since it was cold, and I was still recovering from a brain aneurysm I decided now was the time to use the warranty.
I called the roadside assistance number and a wrecker was quickly dispatched to take my car to the nearest Kia dealer, Rock River Kia 43 miles away, where I had purchased the car. Since the car had broken down on a weekend it was the following Monday before I heard from the Kia dealer. I was contacted by the Rock River Ford/Hyundai/Kia service manager Charlie Kasnick.
He wanted to know why the car had been towed in. I explained to him what had happened and he promised to look at it as soon as he could. Later that morning I was again called by Mr Kasnick, he could not locate the car. I described the car and assured him it had been towed there. Later that day he called me and said they found the car and that the clutch was not out, the engine had failed!
I could not believe this, the car only had 43,000 miles on it. He told me that it had been examined carefully and that the engine had indeed failed and that they would repair it for $90.00 an hour plus parts. This car has a 10 year/100,000 miles warranty I told him, I should not have to pay anything! "Well", he said, "you did not change the oil enough so the warranty will not cover it".
I had changed the oil more than enough I replied and told him I would be up the next morning to examine the car myself. The next morning I went to Rockford and examined the car. The cam cover on the top of the engine had been removed, the car's started motor would crank now, and sure enough the cams did not turn. It appeared that the engine had failed.
Charlie Kasnick joined me at the car while I examined it. The cam lobes had a covering of oil, and showed no evidence of excessive wear. I then started asking him again about the warranty. He once again told me the car would not be covered, as the oil had not been changed enough. I asked him what lead him to this conclusion.
He replied, "you can tell". That would not carry much weight in court I told him but he seemed unimpressed. "I've never lost a case", he replied and the asked me if I wanted them to repair it at $90.00 an hour plus parts. "No", I told him, "I want you to honor the warranty". He told me I would have to produce oil change receipts and he would be happy to fix the car.
The car has had garage oil changes but who keeps those receipts. Besides, most oil changes I do myself and have no receipt for. As it happened I thought I had several receipts in the car's glove box but when I searched for them they were gone. He then told me that I had to make arrangements to have the car removed as there was a $25.00 a day storage fee and labor costs for what they had already done, which was remove the cam cover.
Long and short of it, I had to pay better than $300.00 to get my non-running car brought home. The car was towed home and I began searching for oil change receipts. I contacted the garages that we use. One, which uses a computer system, was immediately able to produce a receipt for two oil changes. I faxed these to Charlie Kasnick at Rock River Kia and he acknowledged receiving them.
Another, which does not use a computer system needed to search its files and did produce receipts for three oil changes. These were in addition to oil changes I performed. At any rate, I would not have expected a well engineered and constructed engine to fail at 43,000 miles if it had only had five oil changes.
One mechanic told me that he would not have expected it to fail if it had had no oil changes, provided an adequate volume of oil was maintained. I began copying and faxing the next three receipts to Mr Kasnick at Rock River Kia. He did not acknowledg receiving these. I told him that if they did not honor the warranty I would have no choice but to take Rock River Kia to court. He told me to "go ahead", he had never lost a case.
I also told him that I would write letters for publication in local newspapers, picket their business, and create a web page. He again told me to "go ahead" and do what I thought I had to do. "Besides", he told me, "my problem was with Kia, "they are the ones that are refusing to honor the warranty".
He then told me that since I was suing them he could no longer talk with me and hung up. Having worked in manufacturing myself, I know that a dealer generally pays a portion of any warranty work. In the case of one company I worked for the dealer paid 50% of the warranty. I was never able to confirm it but I would expect that something similar exists between Rock River Kia and Kia motor company.
Additionally, the dealer is also paying the mechanics who do the actual work and this keeps them from performing other paid work. I called the Kia Motors of America customer service number and voiced my complaint with them. They told me that Kia had a representative in the area and that they followed his recommendation.
They refused to provide me with this person's name or contact information so I was unable to confirm if they had actually examined the car themselves or were just taking the word of the service manager at Rock River Kia. I suspect that the Kia representative probably just took the word of Charlie Kasnick the service manager.
I also question if they examined the car enough to really determine what the problem is. They removed the cam cover on the top of the engine and were somehow able to make the starter motor crank. Other than that I see no evidence that they did anything else.
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