Customer (Aimee Phillips) 07/17/2002 05:32 PM
On Saturday July 6, 2002 I purchased a Toyota Certified 2002 used (6000miles) dbl cab 4D Tacoma pick up. I was a return customer, having purchased a standard new 2001 Tacoma pick up last September.
On Monday, July 8, 2002 we noticed that the power window buttons were extremely hot to the touch. I called the Springfield Lithia dealership and brought it in on Wednesday morning, July 10 at 9 a.m. for service.
My son and I took a walk for the 45 minute wait estimate the service desk person gave us. Upon our return, the service person told us, "We can't work on those windows...they aren't Toyota windows - neither is the keyless entry." When I told the service person that I had no idea they weren't factory, he said, "Talk to your salesman."
I did that. Shane seemed confused that service wouldn't work on the windows and said that he'd "get back to me." I explained to Shane that he had overcharged me for the vehicle, (27,000) and that I had purchased the Toyota 100,000 warranty under the assumption that I was getting a factory, certified, "like new" car and that Shane did not inform me that there were aftermarket windows/locks.
That was last Wednesday. As noted in my planner, I proceeded to call Shane for the rest of Wednesday and Thursday, finally contacting the sales manager, Vince, when Shane did not return my calls. I spoke with Vince on Friday morning as I traveled down the I-5 freeway at 65 mph.
Approximately 20 minutes (about 9-9:30 a.m.)after hanging up, every engine light in the vehicle came on and a high whining sound pierced the cab. I immediately pulled over and turned off the car. Smoke or steam came from the hood. The area is heavily wooded, there are no houses, and there is no cell phone service.
After about 40 minutes, an Oregon Highway Patrolman pulled up behind me. After attempting to maintain my composure for the last 40 minutes, intermittently crying, I completely lost it. The officer, Kevin Bennett, was incredibly kind. He called his dispatcher, requested she call Lithia Toyota to send a tow truck & tell them to arrange a rental car, and asked her to call the party I was on my way to meet 2 hours away to let them know I was on the side of the road. He reported that there was some kind of fluid all over the vehicle's hood and down the sides of the vehicle.
Officer Bennett said that I'd done the right thing to stay in the car and that he's been a partolman for 25 years and there are more dangers on I-5 than the average citizen imagines. He acknowledged that the situation must have been very frightening and that I was lucky to be safe.
He then drove me south to Roseburg to the Lithia Ford dealership, where an Enterprise employee picked me up and took me back to his office to fill out info for the rental. I was put into a tiny ford escort for 9.99 a day. I asked the employee if I could get something a little more comparable to what I'd been driving and he said that he had asked Lithia Toyota and they'd said, "No."
A complete mess, still very shook up from my time on the side of the road, I headed north for the Lithia Toyota dealership.
When I arrived, I was still upset, but still had it in my silly little head that the dealership would handle the situation appropriately.
Instead, Shane and Vince, completely oblivious to the stress of what I'd just experienced, attempted to put me into more expensive vehicle. They actually sat me in Shane's cubicle (I didn't look so hot to prospective customers) and started haggling over price, Shane going back and forth between the cubicle and Vince. Amazed, I explained to Shane that I did not want to make a deal, did not want a more expensive vehicle, I wanted my original 2001 pick up back and would never get into the 2002 vehicle again.
Shane went to see Vince, and came back and said, "We can't undo a deal. Why don't you go home and calm down and call when you feel better." Only a pat on the head could have made the experience completely patronizing.
Instead, I went home, called a friend in the car business, and he said, yes they can undo the deal, we do it all the time. Call an attorney.
I spoke with the attorney on Monday. When I left his office, I attempted once and for all to deal with Lithia. First I spoke with the service department. The man I spoke with said that it was some type of bolt in the engine which broke off, causing a belt to come off. He said that it was either a factory defect or someone had over tightened the bolt. I then spoke with Shane who asked me if I'd heard the "good news." I asked him what that was and he repeated the broken bolt info the service department had just explained to me. I explained that I didn't see how that was good news and asked him again about the nondisclosure regarding the aftermarket windows.
Shane's response was the final straw: "I didn't say they were Toyota windows, I said that they were power windows." This attitude is unbelievable. Basically,
Lithia is treating me poorly for trusting them, the very thing they want you to do when you walk in the door. I'm actually impressed with their ability to go from appearing to be your "best friend" to your worst enemy within hours.
I insisted that Lithia give me a pick-up as a rental because that is what I'd bought. My warranty provides up to 35.00 day for a rental - - I do not appreciate the fact that, after my safety was already compromised on the side of I-5 on Friday morning, I was then put into a tiny car to ride back up to Springfield, Lithia denying the coverage my warranty provides. I ended up over at the Springfield Enterprise to switch cars and commented that the pick up was red, (pretty much the car color I dislike the most), and the Enterprise salesman commented, "I'd just be grateful to get a truck."
I found the comment interesting as I knew Shane had called over for the vehicle switch. Here is what I would have been grateful for: A 27,000 dollar 2002 Toyota Pickup with all factory parts that did not break down, stranding me on the side of the I-5 freeway. For 27,000 I don't expect to break down anywhere, expect to have all Toyota parts covered by the warranty, and I expect to absolutely love my car and receive excellent customer service.
Now, I will be grateful to simply never deal with Lithia again.
I have spent everyday recounting this story to everyone I see and warning them, "don't shop at Lithia."
My attorney is waiting until Friday to send a letter detailing my expectations in this deal gone sour. It is my hope that this situation will be handled without my attorney's involvement.
Thank you for your time.
Aimee D. Phillips
9-28-02 This situation has yet to be resolved. The
vehicle is still sitting on Lithia's lot. They have repaired it and want me to come pick it up. I don't want it. I have since purchased a different vehicle (new) through an online car buying service (wonderful experience - highly recommend it to anyone looking to buy a car - NO hassles!).
Lithia sold my 2001 trade in. I am working with an attorney in hopes of resolving this situation. I am also wondering if the bolt breaking on the crank/pulley (service said this is what happened) is a problem anyone else has had
Eugene, Oregon Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Toyota Dealers and Products