Hallmark replaced steering rack, steering rack was defective, when we took car back to have the problem fixed, we were told we would have to pay again
On 5/6/15 we had our car towed to Hallmark VW to have it looked at for several problems. One major issue was overheating the other major issue was a vibration on the passenger side when the car accelerated. On 5/14/15 we were sent an e-mail itemizing the individual problems and the costs associated with repairing each one. We elected to have the major problems repaired by Hallmark and decided that I would do the minor ones myself. It was in this e-mail dated 5/14/15 that I was told that we had no choice in regards to replacement parts to repair the steering rack, we were told that Volkswagen no longer made that particular item and we were forced to use "aftermarket" parts, we reluctantly agreed since we were under the assumption that we had no choice. The repairs were finished on 5/23/15, we actually picked the car up on 5/29/15. Approximately 3 days after I brought the car home, I noticed that the power steering reservoir was empty, I filled it back up and gave Hallmark the benefit of the doubt that maybe they had just forgotten to top it off after the repair. But, in the ensuing weeks we had to repeat filling the reservoir off about every 3 days. This went on for about a month, I thought perhaps it was a leak that might seal itself up if given enough time. On 7/8/15 I notified Hallmark that there was a leak and that it was coming from the steering rack that they installed, they responded on 7/9/15, telling me to bring the car back and they would look at it. This is where the real problems started. Due to the fact that we only have two cars, we could not take it back to Hallmark until 7/30/15, it was then that we were notified that the new steering rack that was installed was defective, we were told that the steering rack would be replaced at no additional cost, but that since we "elected" to use aftermarket parts, that we would have to pay for the labor to have the rack replaced. It was then that I communicated with the General Manager, **** ******** of my dissatisfaction with this situation and I felt that we should not have to pay for the labor. He explained to me that since we, (Hallmark and us), were "forced" to use aftermarket parts that we would have to pay for the labor, he did however agree to split the cost with me. We were told that it would take some time to get the replacement rack in so it wasn't until 8/26/15 that we took the car back to them. Since then we have been told by Hallmark that they have done this rack replacement procedure 2 times, each time the aftermarket rack has been defective and that we would potentially be liable for paying labor for each time this procedure was done. On or about 9/10/15, it was suggested by **** ******** Service Manager for Hallmark that we take our car to ***** ****** to have them do the work. Since the aftermarket part was from them, if they did the work, we would not continue to accrue labor charges. On 9/14/15 I spoke with **** ******* about this issue and what my options were. It was then that he informed me that if we wanted to, we could have the actual OEM/VW part put in, but is would take "some time" to get it in and that it would cost around $900 for the part. It was then that I told him that if we had known that the OEM part was obtainable, we would have elected to use it instead of aftermarket parts, but that we were told by them that we had no choice, that we had to use aftermarket parts. As of today, 9/17/15, they have had our car for 23 days, during this time we have had to rent a car for 8 days and borrow a car for the balance of that time. When we had the rental car, we called repeatedly to try to get a status on the car, but they would never get back to us. If we had not been told at the beginning that we had to use aftermarket parts, we would have used OEM parts and would not be in this predicament. They led us down this path with erroneous information. We were told we had no choice and now they don't even want to do the work. Is this fair?
I want Hallmark to be accountable for their employees. I want them to repair our car using the OEM parts which we were deceived into not buying to begin with, and up to the standard that we expect from a dealer. Basically, I am seeking that they do the job that we have already paid them for and for us not to accrue any more costs associated with this repair.
Hallmark takes these complaints very seriously. We want satisfied customers and we recognize that mediation and having an open mind are sometimes a part of that process.
OEM parts have not always been available for this vehicle. The customer was given an original estimate with aftermarket parts because there were no OEM parts in the country and nothing scheduled at that time to produce that part. Aftermarket parts from *** **** were used to get the car back on the road.
The aftermarket parts come with a parts warranty but not a labor warranty. The customer is clear on this issue. So as the part fails, the customer will have to continue to pay labor charges. However, if the customer takes the vehicle to PEP Boys and performs the repair there, Pep Boys will warranty the parts AND the labor.
In the course of resolving this repair issue we have communicated with Volkswagen and it is true there are no parts in the United States or Canada. However, Volkswagen is under the belief that this part may be produced soon in Germany. We have told the customer that this part may take 60-90 days to receive.
It is Hallmark's opinion that we have discounted previous charges to the customer as well as offered numerous alternatives to completing this repair. Our alternatives include waiving all charges, other than car rental, and sending the repair to *** ***** The customer will have to pay labor to replace the part at either facility, might as well go to Pep Boys so the labor will be warrantied.
We are happy to perform the work for the customer, but it doesn't make financial sense for the customer to continue paying labor charges. We think *** **** is the best long term option for the customer. If the customer decides to go with the OEM part, we will cross our fingers and hope that it comes in.
Please let us know how to proceed.