I purchased a 2004 Passat TDI in July 2005 from VW of America. It was a buyback with claims that the engine did not start, probably due to failure to understand what a glow plug indicator light was all about, or so I assumed. In the last year and a half I have been very pleased with all of the features that the car offered, good milage, reasonable maintenance costs etc. I have had all service done by VW at the local dealership at the intervals stipulated.
On December 10, 2006 while driving the service indicator lights came on stating STOP... a good effective communication. The car was overheating and after letting it cool down I made my way home being careful not to let it get hot again, stopping along the way as necessary. The following day I went to the dealership to purchase new coolant and told them about the episode and that the heater was not putting out any heat. They responded by saying that the was a high incidence of the water pumps failing in these cars at 50-75,000 miles. I made an apointment for the next available time, Thursday the 14th, and brought the car in as requested.
The service advisor started by telling me that there was an $80.00 diagnostic charge to look at the car. I responded that since the car had 59,337 mile on it and that the powertrain warranty covered the water pump until 60,000 miles that I didn't plan on spending $80.00. His response was that if it was the water pump then there would be no charge. Five hours later the motive began to become apparent.
First, after I called to check on the status I was informed that the thermostat was bad and that it would be $200.00 to replace it... a $22.00 part suddenly grew to $200.00. He also stated that it was possible that the failure of the thermostat could have caused a failure of the water pump, in which case the powertrain warranty would be void... how convenient. It doesn't require MENSA membership to guess what happened next.
Meanwhile I was in touch with VW customer care center. Jeff Monroe, the first 'customer advocate' I spoke with agreed that if the waterpump and the thermostat were bad that VW would err on the side of the consumer and warranty the whole claim. Later in the day I spoke with Joann (no last name) who promised that someone would be back in touch with me by the end of business the next day, Friday the 15th. Needless to say, that promise was as unfulfilled as it now appears the warranty is. A call today, Monday December 18, 2006 has elicited yet another promise of someone getting in touch by 'the end of the day'
I will keep this updated and would appreciate any other experiences, good or bad, on other folks treatment by the Customer Care Center at VW.