I purchased a 1999 Saab 9.5 SE from a small dealership in Englewood, CO, called Sharper Auto. My wife and I had wanted to purchase a Saab for the superb handling and terrific winter driving record that came with the car. Being a foreign vehicle with 45k miles on it, we requested a top of the line extended warranty to cover us from any major items in the future. We purchased a highly recommended warranty from the dealership; they had claimed that this was the very best extended warranty for European Vehicles and they would stand behind the warranty 100%. It was a total cost of $1530.00. We purchased the new car extended warranty which they said had bumper to bumper coverage. This was a huge expense at the time, but we deemed it necessary especially in case problems would arise in the future
On June 16, 2005, I was driving from Grand Junction, CO, to Denver, CO. As I ascended up Vail Pass my car lost all power, it had not died, but I had no acceleration at all. I pulled to the side of the road called my State Farm agent and had it towed to the nearest car service center in Frisco, CO. The service station manager looked at the spark plugs and pinpointed the problem. There was something floating around the engine block, the piston exploded or something along those lines. He was not a Saab expert so he thought it best that I tow it to a Saab dealership. Mike Shaw Saab in Denver, CO was the closest.
Once the dealership was able to take a look at it in Denver, they called Wynn's Warranty Company and followed the typical protocol. Wynn's Warranty asked that they tear the engine apart and find the issue. Wynn's sent a third party inspector, whom they pay, to take photos of the engine and file a report of what he/she saw. It was filed online to Wynn's Warranty; management within Wynn's then denied my claim. They concluded that there was an abnormal combustion within the cylinder which means Mike Shaw Saab could not pin point a failed component.
So after many heated phone calls to both Mike Shaw Saab (Travis Busby) and Wynn's Warranty (Mac McDowell) about my claim and the possibilities of what caused the problem I finally was able to get Travis Busby of Mike Shaw to look over the engine again and retest all components. Once they did so, they indeed came up with a severe problem or failed component. They concluded that the mass airflow sensor was the cause of my engine failure from the very beginning. The mass airflow sensor is a covered component per my new car extended warranty contract .
I was promised on more than one occasion and by more than one person (Mac McDowell and Ron Riphagen both claims supervisors) within the Wynn's Warranty organization that if I could find a failed component then they would review my claim and send another inspector to review the proof/evidence. Mike Shaw Saab, upon finding that this mass airflow sensor failed contacted Wynn's, but they said that there is no way that the mass airflow sensor caused the problem! They have continued to deny my claim and essentially wash their hands of my vehicle and my new car extended warranty.
I am writing this letter to you for assistance in exposing this company and their broken promises. I have two children and a wife. For the last four weeks now, I have been in the middle of a nightmare. I have been calling many people and not getting heard by any of them. I have requested my inspection report from Wynn's via fax. They said it I should receive it in 7-10 days following a written request, that was three weeks ago. Trying to speak to anyone of importance within the Wynn's Warranty organization is like trying to leave East Berlin during communism. I have been without a vehicle for four weeks. My business is in disarray because of this. My vehicle is an extension of me, being without it, I am at a loss. I have gone above and beyond the dealers recommended oil changes (they request one every 10k miles, I change the oil once very 3-4k) and used the recommended above 87 octane fuel. My dealership stands behind my claim that this is a warranty issue and they have the evidence to prove such (failed mass airflow sensor). However, I am getting no where with the crooked organization.
Wynn's Extended Care is a fairly large company and I have been wrongly treated from day one with this issue. I paid $1530.00 for this new car extended warranty and now that I have an issue, a serious one, they want nothing to do with me. Also, they don't want me to speak to anyone within the organization that will comply with the truth, that based on the warranty that I purchased I am covered on this issue.
I am pleading for you to expose this dishonest crooked company. They need to be held accountable for breaking their contract and not living up to the standards that they set forth on my warranty. No one should treat their customers/clients as if they are meaningless and this is how they have treated me. I can assure you that I am not the only sour individual who has been in a nightmare with Wynn's Extended Care. They need to be showcased to all for what they truly are; lying dishonest thieves.
Time Line of Events
June 16th Driving from Grand Junction, CO to Denver, CO.
11:30am as I was ascending up Vail Pass, the power in my vehicle stopped. The car did not die; I just lost all power in my vehicle. I then had the vehicle towed to Mike's Mountain Motors. 970-668-3312 (Jim)
Jim took a look at the vehicle and inspected the spark plugs, from that point he stated that there was loose metal inside the engine block, thus either a piston blew or some other large issue. At that point he didn't feel comfortable in working on the Saab as he had never before, thus he thought I should tow it to Denver and the Saab Dealership Mike Shaw 303-757-6161. It was towed to Mike Shaw Saab on Sun. June 19th. Meanwhile I rented a vehicle from June 16th through the 20th and had to drive that vehicle back to Utah and pay a $150.00 drop fee on top of my daily fee.
June 20th Mike Shaw opened for business and spoke to me about the problem. The service department couldn't look at the vehicle for a few days.
June 22nd Mike Shaw finally was able to look at the vehicle. They determined that the 4th piston exploded in the vehicle. They then contacted Wynn's, my extended warranty company to see what they requested to be done.
June 23-24 Mike Shaw technicians took apart the vehicle and laid the parts out for the third party inspector hired from Wynn's to review the parts and submit their claim back to Wynn's.
June 24 Wynn's warranty's third party inspector came and took photos of the vehicle and its parts and placed the info. online for Wynn's management to review and make their decision. By request I faxed Travis Busby from Mike Shaw all my service records and my oil change records that I could track down.
June 30 Wynn's Warranty Denied the Claim based on abnormal combustion within cylinder and lack of failed component evidence.
June 30 I spoke to Rhonda Customer Service Manager about the claim; she was quite rude and would not direct my phone call the VP Michelle Villegas nor any other individual above her. She proceeded to tell me the claim has been denied and that was all they could do. I then spoke to Travis Busby at Mike Shaw and could not believe their claim and said he would assist me with this matter. I called Wynn's again and requested to get an explanation regarding my denied claim from the Claims Department Manager, Ron Riphagen. He never called me back. I also requested again to speak to Michelle Villegas and they told me I had to send in a written request via fax and it would take 7-10 days to get that via snail mail.
July 1 I requested in writing via fax to the Claims Supervisor for my inspection report and the name and company of the third party inspector who inspected my vehicle for Wynn's. I was quite irate and wanted to get to the bottom of this issue. I called Wynn's again and was hung up on twice by Josie and by Juan. Both were quick rude when I requested o speak to Michelle Villegas the VP and/or the CEO Steve Brooks. They continually said, my claim has been denied. I then tried to utilize Travis and see what the exact issue was with my vehicle and why they were not paying my claim. He walked me through the problem and indicated that they did not test the fuel octane level, the inspector hardly looked at the vehicle and didn't do a thorough enough inspection and was shocked that they did not approve to fix my vehicle. He again claimed he would try and help and see if Saab would cover my vehicle based on the extended warranty that they have increased based on the 9.5 sludge problems in the engine block. He said he would check into that.
July 5 I again got on the phone to see if Travis has heard anything, he claimed he was still working on it. I requested my customer service report of everything faxed to me. Travis said he would fax it to me. Nothing came.
July 6 Nothing new from Travis, at this point I heavily relied his assistance to get things done.
July 7 I spoke to Travis a few times and the Head technician looked at the vehicle and said that he has placed a phone call to Saab to see if they would cover my engine. I requested my customer service report of everything faxed to me. Travis said he would fax it to me. Nothing came.
July 8 I called Wynn's Warranty and spoke to Mac, another claims supervisor about their denial of my claim, he explained the problem in English and stated that I needed a concrete reason from the dealership as to why my vehicle has abnormal combustion within the cylinder, if Mike Shaw Saab could pinpoint the problem then they would review the issue and see what they would do. I need a reason as to why my piston in the 1st cylinder exploded, piston in the 2nd cylinder melted, etc. Mike Shaw and their knowledge of Saabs couldn't come up with a concrete reason as to why my entire engine was worthless. They mentioned a mass flow sensor malfunction which the system deemed normal when they first review the computer, Travis Busby told me that it wouldn't read what the mass flow sensor was doing at Vail Pass when I had the problem, simply because we were now at 5280 and not 10000 feet. Travis also told me that 4 Saab vehicles with fewer than 50k miles were towed in over the weekend with the same problem and they couldn't pin point the problem. Those were all covered and got new engines no questions asked. Why cannot anyone pinpoint why my engine melted?
July 11 My father in law finally got involved, but my wife and he thought I was being nice and not assertive enough and getting no where. He called Wynn's, they gave him the run around, he called various people within Saab and finally got a hold of the GM of Mike Shaw and he brought this issue to his attention and he said he would get to the bottom of it immediately. My father in law threatened to bring this issue to the media court and involve the Media, they didn't seem bothered. No one called back.
July 12 I called Travis at 9am and spoke to him, he told me that my father in law has shaken up the Mike Shaw organization and that he is threatening bring this issue to the media, I reiterated that sentiment, because we were getting no where. He also stated if my father-in-law continued to press the envelope that they would tow my vehicle away and drop it off. They were only trying to help me out. I requested my customer service report of everything faxed to me. Travis said he was told not to fax anything to me because it might incriminate Mike Shaw Saab. I told him that I wanted to send everything to Wynn's and get this all resolved and I needed that to prove to them that they have done their due diligence. He said he would be able to send me the truth about the car. Nothing came. My father-in-law and myself got on the phone at 1pm and called the GM of Mike Shaw Saab to see if he indeed checked into the status of my vehicle, he said he did and that they had requested Wynn's Warranty's inspector to come out again and revisit the vehicle and look into the mass airflow sensor . He claimed that he would get back to us when he heard anything else. I spoke to Wynn's and wanted an explanation in regard to my warranty and where it indicated that they do not cover abnormal combustion within a cylinder. Ron Riphagen finally got on the phone and explained in the warranty it states that their obligation is to, reimburse you for the reasonable costs to repair or replace any or all parts that fail as the result of a covered breakdown, again Mike Shaw could not pinpoint that something failed, and thus they denied my claim.
I was fed up and called Saab USA and spoke to Maritza and told her my story and she was empathetic, and started a File # 176428922 and said that she would call Mike Shaw Saab and check into the issue. I also faxed them an insurance card to verify myself and the VIN number of the vehicle.
July 13 - Travis Busby from Mike Shaw Saab contacted me at about 12:30pm and let me know that they had tested the mass airflow sensor and had indicated that it had indeed failed. They strongly believed that to be the tip of the ice berg that caused the damage to my vehicle. He told me that he had called Mac (at Wynn's) and left him a voice about sending another inspector to take another look at the engine. Evidently they did not show up on Wed.
July 14 - I called Travis Busby at about 9am and no one had showed up at Mike Shaw to view the vehicle. Travis thought I should call Wynn's and find out what was going on. I left numerous messages for Mac and Ron Riphagen, but no one returned my calls. Various customer service agents said that would have either claim supervisor contact me about the claim.
July 15 - I started my phone calls again about 10am MST. Travis still had not heard from Wynn's about an inspector coming to look at the vehicle. I reassured Travis that since they had found a failed component that I was after Wynn's to cover my claim 100% based on the warranty that I purchased. I asked Travis to send me a letter indicating that they had found a verifiable reason as to why my vehicle broke down and engine was destroyed. It was a failed mass airflow sensor. He said he would fax me a letter indicating just this; I didn't receive the letter on the 15th. I called Wynn's and spoke to Mac, he told me that management reviewed the claim again, based on the new information and still denied the claim as the mass airflow sensor could not have caused this sort of damage. I brought up the conversation that we had prior; if Mike Shaw could find a failed component that they would revisit the claim and send out an inspector to review the engine. That did not happen. I was irate and wanted to speak to someone with power who could explain this to me. He said I would be getting a letter in the mail explaining why my claim was denied and who I could speak to about it. He again said I could not talk to anyone beyond him. I wanted to speak to someone else; he said he would transfer me to a customer service manager who could help. I was really irate and exploded. The customer service rep, Dean gave me the run around and wanted to hear what I wanted, I reiterated the story about Mac and Ron's promise and that they needed to send another Third Party inspector to look at my engine, he said he would speak to Mac and then get back to me. He never did. I called back and wondered why he had not called me back; he said that Mac was supposed to call me. He told me he would walk and tell Mac to call me in a few minutes. He never did, I called back at 5:30 MST and the office was closed. I didn't speak to Mac again. Part of the conversation with Dean, he reiterated that MAC was the decision maker on my vehicle and he was the only one!
July 18 - I called Wynn's Warranty and spoke to Mac McDowell at 9:30am PST. He didn't remember me from Friday. He placed me on hold for 10 minutes as he reviewed my claim and then told me that they have closed the claim as denied. He mentioned that a letter will be sent out as to who I can contact and why they denied the claim. I pressured him on the fact that we would hire an attorney and get the mass media involved, he said that I needed to get my facts straight about the problem with the vehicle, that in no way did the mass airflow sensor cause the damage to the car, but it was a detonation problem. I asked him if he was a SAAB expert and he told me no, but claimed he new the ins and outs of engines and in no way did a mass airflow sensor cause this issue. I told him I would fax him a final request and my entire story within an hour and he could respond to that. I faxed the Cover page, my warranty and my letter that I would send to the media outlets if he didn't respond by 5pm on Tues.
I sent my entire story and documents to Michelle Villegas at Wynn's via usps.com, since I could not ever speak to her on the phone. She received the package on July 20th.
July 19 - I called Mac McDowell at 2pm MST and asked if he got the fax, he claimed he did and forwarded it to the customer service department. He again said I could do anything I wanted and that my claim was closed, as denied. I then sent the letter to the media, my letter from Mike Shaw Saab and the warranty to 75 media outlets that I have an affiliation with. This was the last straw.
I did some more researching of Wynn's and happened upon the insurance company that writes their claims, Scottsdale Insurance a subsidiary of National Casualty Insurance. I called the 1-800 number and spoke to John Molia who was quite nice and acted as if he would be of assistance. He said he would find out the issue and get back to me with some advice/results. I sent the entire package that was in my fax also to Michelle Villegas at Wynn's via usps.com and she received the package on July 20th.
July 20 -I heard back from various media contacts and they are in the process of looking at my story and the extended warranty business as a whole.
July 21 - I was called back by John Molia who was able to speak to the top of the food chain at Wynn's in Miami, Florida about my claim and said I should fax all the documents on my claim to Paul Gulemes at 305-261-4465. I did so at 11:30 MST.
Contact Numbers for your review
Travis Busby Customer Car Rep. at Mike Shaw Saab 303-757-6161, have him paged or hold the line for him.
Mac McDowell Wynn's Extended Care Warranty Claims Supervisor
1-800-989-8386 ext. 1285
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