Complaint Category: Failure to honor service under the terms of warranties
Complaint: After 4 service trips Fournier installed an Engine in my car without my knowledge and refused to warrant the Engine or their work.
Between October and November 2012, Fournier made repairs to my 2004 Audi that required return trips to correct the problem. My car quit on me on 408 and had to be towed to their shop. After arriving, the female owner stated that the mechanic messed up and didn't put something back on that caused the car to quit. she stated it was a quick fix and they would call me the next day to pick it up. i ended up calling Fournier and was told the car was not ready. the next several days Fournier did not reach out to me, I had to calll them to find out the status of my car. i was told it was a gasket, and it would be ready the next day. when thet finally called on Friday afternoon, i was told to pick up my car and to return the rental car or charges beyond that day would be at my expense. when i arrived to pick up the car i was informed they put a Engine in my car and I would have to take the car as is....they would not be warranting the work. i asked for the owner, had a lengthy call with him, and was finally able to take my car but without paperwork. the owner stated he would call me on Monday and we could work out the logistics behind a warranty of the Engine nor their work. i called several days and left several messages, and the owner has not yet returned my call.
Business' Initial Response
In response to Mrs. ******* complaint I would like to clarify details being misconstrued and questions being asked. The point of 4 trips being mentioned to the best of my knowledge is 3 trips.
On 10/22/12 her vehicle was brought in for a check engine light being on and for "running rough". We found a minimum of 13 codes, inspected and found a vacuum leak at a crank case valve leading to the rough running conditions and the codes being generated. Issue was repaired and vehicle was running fine, all codes were cleared as condition indicated there was no further issues to be addressed, but had recommended to the customer replacement of various internals that were showing wear and/or were susceptible to failure soon. Vehicle was released same day, 10/22/12.
On 11/09/12, 18 days later, Mrs. ******* returned with her car saying her check engine light has been on, has intermittent hum, and is running rough again. Our technician scanned for codes and found 6 of the codes as the previous trip. Upon inspection our technician found the previously replaced vaccum valve was not causing this issue so he performed a smoke test and found another vacuum leak had formed at another vacuum valve and that a few hoses were showing indicators of dry rot that were either contributing to the vacuum leaks or would in the very near future. Mrs. ******* was made aware of the issues with plastic valves and attachments in the engine bay that become brittle, more infamous so in her vehicle model. During replacement of needed parts a brittle nipple that goes to the coolant system was damaged and we replaced said part at our expense. Vehicle was released the same day, 11/09/12.
On 11/12/12 Mrs. ******* returned with her vehicle stating the coolant light came on, the vehicle wouldn't accelerate, then oil light came on, and vehicle was slowing down and stalled. She also indicated the temp gauge was in the middle but that she was "going to add coolant after arriving home." Upon inspection we determined that the coolant hose we had replaced had let loose from the connection point. We cannot determine the cause of failure at this connection as this hose does not take standard clamps as most domestic or late model vehicles do, it has a clip system, and clearly the clip was on well enough at the time to be test driven and then driven off lot by customer and around town for a length of time, all while under coolant pressure. We notified customer that engine damage had occurred from driving vehicle after loss of ALL coolant, and while there were indicators that vehicle should have been pulled over and stopped after indicators (warning dash lights, coolant steam and stream, burning smell), we felt a level of responsibility because the loss of coolant came from a hose we had replaced. We were going to repair anything that had failed as a result of that overheating at no cost to her, and even supplied her with a rental vehicle until such time the repairs were completed. After further engine inspection we determined the current high mileage engine was not worth repairing, as the cost of repairing the engine might supersede simply replacing the motor with another in running condition with lower mileage, as well as the risk that after repairing the damaged engine top end there was unseen damage in the lower bearings we could not confirm until the end which would require replacing the motor regardless. The motor was replaced, all accessory parts installed, and tested and ready on 11/15/12, we called Mrs. ******* with no response so we left a message the vehicle was ready. On 11/16/12 we called Mrs. ******* again to notify her that her vehicle was ready and informed her we could not continue to pay for a rental when her car was ready and we had received no response to our calls. Mrs. ****** eventually arrived after closing on a Friday night, and we even asked our technicians to stay longer so we could answer any technical questions she might have. Mrs. ******* asked about a motor warranty and we informed her there was no labor warranty on the motor, and reaffirmed it was a lower mileage motor, as her motor that had overheated was 183 thousand miles, this motor was at 114 thousand miles. We asked Mrs. ******* to sign our invoicing, which confirms not only that she is now taking possession of the vehicle but also what work was performed on it. As stated, this engine replacement, parts and labor, as well as all other components and labor (oil filter, oil change, thermostat housing, etc. etc.) was ALL done at our expense, and at NO cost to her. But Mrs. ******* refused to sign anything, she wanted nothing to do with any paperwork.
So in summary, I am confused about the complaint. While a coolant connector was damaged while in our care because of how brittle the component was (given it is an 8+ yr old, 183k mile Audi with plastic engine bay components infamous for being fragile and needing attention and replacement), we had replaced it at our expense. Later when finding out that the engine failed from overheating that stemmed from a combined failure of a part we had installed and fault of the driver from continuing to drive with catastrophic coolant loss, we still covered ALL parts and labor, the tow in, and a rental vehicle. There are warranty options available from the engine supplier that range from parts and labor and differing lengths of coverage that we wished to discuss with her, but she would not respond to calls and refused to sign for the paperwork and documentation regarding the repair and engine that would have listed those options. If she is concerned about warranties for any of the previously performed repairs that she had paid for, that is of course warranteed as per previous invoices. We believe that while we regret any distress the incident caused her, we upheld our work above and beyond by shouldering all the costs without request for joint payment when it was her inability to halt the vehicle during multiple warning indicators before catastrophic damage occurred, paying for towing and rental car, communicating to the best of our ability, and even staying after hours to ensure she regained use of her car at the earliest time possible. We cannot and do not believe we should be expected to warranty this motor further as if she purchased this vehicle new from us.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
While I appreciate the efforts made by Fournier's to correct their wrong, the issue is this...major damage was caused because their technician neglected to properly secure the pipe. By not doing so, this caused my car to run hot, and eventually quit on the highway. I explained to the front desk receptionist as well as the owner that I did not continue to drive the car when it ran hot. Within seconds to a minute, the coolant light appeared, a lantern type pictured appeared with a drip, and the car decelerated. Recognizing this, I began to cross lanes and exited the highway coasting down the John Young exit off of the 408 highway. This happened on Monday, following picking up my car on the previous Friday repairs completed by Fournier.
Fournier is not being trustful about the phone call activity between us. I initiated canals to them to find out when I could pick up my car. Not once was I told the extent of the damage to my car and they were replacing the engine. They did provide a rental car for me, and finally called me on Friday afternoon around 3:00pm to tell me my car was ready and I needed to pick it up before closing or the rental car expense was mine. I left work early,however had to go to Enterprise first and wait for them to transport me to Fournier. I called a couple of times to let them know I was in route, and was told they would wait. I even asked if it was possible to have a technician pick me up at Enterprise in my car to avoid others having to wait beyond closing on a Friday night. I was told not to worry, they would be there. When I arrived to pick up my car, this is when I was told they had replaced the motor in my car. I was shocked by what had been communicated to me, and even more shocked when I was asked to sign the form to release my car, which also stated I was taking the car as is, with no warranty. I refused to sigh, and was told I could not take my car, and the conversation went down hill from there. The receptionist called the owner who yelled over the phone at me for about 10-15 minutes as to how much work had been done to my car without charging me for it, and how dare I ask for the work to be warranted. Eventually, the owner and I agreed to discuss the issue further on Monday, and he released the car to me without signing the document. After leaving about a block away another light appeared,which was the hood light on my car. I called and left a message at Fournier regarding this. The light remained on all weekend, in addition to the alarm periodically sounding off. I did not get a call back on Monday morning, so I eventually called around lunch time, spoke with the receptionist, asked for the owner, and was told he was not in. i explained the 2 issues with the alarm and the hood light, and was told to bring the car in to have them check it out. I left work early again, they checked the car, and determine the alarm wire was not reconnected, which caused the alarm sounding, and the hood light. While at the shop, I left a message to have the owner call me as we discussed so that we could talk through the engine warranty. I called a couple of days later and left another message, and another one a couple of days after that. I was told he was not feeling well, and was going to have to have neck or back surgery. To this day, I have not received a returned call from the owner.
After the first of the year, my engine light came on again. Fournier states they installed a newer engine in my car. If that is the case, why is my engine light on, and my car idles like a plane in the morning? Fournier has worked on repairs for my car since 2007, for which i have paid thousands of dollars for their services.They have always done good work, provided good service, and warranted the work they did. The issues incurred with them over these last repairs has been very disappointing, and warrants correcting. As a business, it is not appropriate and perhaps illegal to perform work on a customers car without their knowledge or consent. Fournier has been grossly negligent I their repairs and their service to me. In their effort to correct an error made by their technician, they say they installed a newer engine in my car. I don't know this to be factual, because I have no proof nor paperwork of such repairs. In addition, if they did so, as a business, why would you not warrant your work?
Unfortunately, I do not believe a newer engine was installed in my car, because the engine light is now back on, and the car idles like an airplane. All of this within 5 weeks after they supposedly installed answer engine. At this point, I no longer trust Fournier nor their business practices. I am requesting immediate resolution from Fournier to resolve this issue. My car is in need of an engine. Based on their negligence, Fournier should be held accountable and financially responsible for the cost of an engine for my car, labor, and warranty cost of work by a certified reputable Audi dealer or comparable foreign auto repair shop.
Business' Final Response
After a few attempts at reaching Ms. ****** to resolve the issues she has the last call I placed on 2/14 I left a message for her to contact me at her earliest convenience. Ms. ******* responded today, 2/18. I returned her call and asked what she was looking for to be resolved. In the complaint she appeared to be concerned that a better motor, or any other motor, was even installed, and that there was no evidence of such. She also seemed to be concerned with an accompanying warranty. I brought up her complaint of a "airplane" sound and the lit engine light, to which I explained from her description it is likely a "secondary air pump", which on her vehicle when it begins to fail makes that noise. This part has nothing to do with the engine replacement, and again, is a known issue with this vehicle, in line with the many brittle plastic parts that fail within the engine compartment from age and heat. I explained we would be happy to take a look at the noise for her to satisfy her concern with the cause and that it has nothing to do with the motor we installed, at which she told me she does not trust us to look at the vehicle.
I then explained the paperwork she refused to sign has not only the 6 month warranty for parts from the engine distributor, but also listed mileage that shows it being 114,000 miles on the motor (compared to the motor that was removed at 182,214 miles) which would be approximately 68,000 miles less. She brought up concerns of signing paperwork, but I do not understand as there was no charge to her, the signature would only stand as evidence she retrieved her vehicle (no longer in our possession) and was made aware of what had been performed on the vehicle. She repeatedly asked why I was calling her when I was offering no more than previous communication with others in our staff. The only thing that would seem not resolved to her satisfaction was a labor warranty. Ms. ******* feels that she is due a full warranty including labor as if she paid for a motor replacement. I explained that if anything were to happen with the motor that was a result of our work, we would clearly handle that, as the history of us trying to satisfy her led us here. I also explained that if the motor was to have issue outside of any work we had done or the installation it would not be covered. I used running an engine without oil, or any maintenance issues not being covered, at which point she became offended and said she would not do that. When I questioned the line of thinking that leads her to believe she is entitled to an extensive labor warranty, she brought up she has been a customer for years with many previous repairs completed here without issue. To confirm that I am aware of her history since what I have for invoices, I listed off the 2 oil changes and fuel pump replacement in the 6 year span as a customer I can see. When I said this, she scolded me I should have done my research, implying it was vastly more than simply that. Concerned I am not fully aware or informed with her history here as a customer, I listed off the dates and the accompanying 2 oil changes and fuel pump replacement in order, at which point she bid me goodbye and hung up.
We have replaced a brittle plastic piece that failed when handled during installation of a hose that we paid for. When the clamp that goes to that piece came off DAYS later, and she drove the car until engine failure regardless of warning lights and spewing coolant, we replaced an entire motor at our expense AND provided her a rental. I think what we have paid out our expense in a domino effect from the failures of her parts and in rental is a testament to our willingness to cover anything that might even remotely be our responsibility. So I am left wondering, when I can prove the motor was put in, I can prove it is a better motor, I can provide paperwork showing parts warranty for 6 months, and our track record of standing by our work to a large expense, why she would expect a full labor warranty that would cover beyond anything that is our responsibility from a shop she is now claiming she doesn't trust to bring her vehicle back in to? I do not believe she will be satisfied unless now we buy her a new motor and full warranty from elsewhere, regardless of the lengths we have gone up to by now. I don't believe that is fair, and I regret to say we will not meet her demands for a new motor somewhere else or some premium labor warranty that would cover anything that could ever happen to that motor for some unlisted length of time.
Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.