I have 2 warranty's on my Subaru. Major engine failure requires new block. D ******/Subaru refuses to cover unless I produce all oil change records.
Before I get to the complaint, I would like to offer a quick current real-life analogy that applies in this case. I needed an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan of my left leg this week, with the cost resulting to approximately $2,000. My insurance company did not need any pre-authorization, it was all fine, and they are paying xxx percent. Now imagine if something completely different transpired. What if the Insurance company said "no, we are not paying anything, you have to pay for it all unless you can prove for the last 2 years with records, you have been taking Vitamins." It is extremely unlikely that Vitamins had anything to do with a stress fracture, but I am swindled out of my money unless I either come up with the records that ****** satisfy them or fight them on their denial.
That is nearly my exact position with ****** ****** Subaru. I am not unfamiliar to fighting when companies do bad things. I had a cement contractor try to make off with $2500 of my deposit and not do any work. I was highlighted on a television news episode of "Get Gephardt" and I got the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing involved. I prevailed in that incident.
I have a 2010 Subaru Forester, with approximately 44k miles on it. I had picked up my 10 year old son from school, was getting on the freeway onramp and accelerating to 65 mph with the engine revolutions between 4-5,000 (it is an automatic). All of the sudden a clicking sound started - not too loud, but noticeable. I got off the next ramp, and examined the engine. Nothing unusual could be seen, nothing leaking, nothing loose, no engine lights, no warning lights, nothing. I proceeded home, but the noise got much worse by arrival. I didn't want to drive it further, so it was my idea to have AAA tow it to ****** ****** Subaru, where I had purchased the vehicle. At the time of purchase, I was strongly encouraged to also get the extended warranty for 6 years/100,000 miles, which I did at rather substantial cost. I was told 2 days ago by the service department at ****** ******, that "bad things" had happened inside the engine, it was broken rod, I would need a "new block," and Subaru was not going to pay unless I could produce all oil change records since I purchased the vehicle(!) They said they had no oil change records, so I would need to produce those. I said "wait a minute, I had the oil changed a lot by other people, but I know for a fact you guys changed it once as I had a coupon for it. " They said "hold for a minute," then they came back to the phone "oh yeah, we found that one, and we also saw that you had a sticker on your windshield from last year, but we need more than that." Unless I can prove that I had my oil changed 4-6 months ago and then back to the beginning of my vehicle most likely, they are going to refuse to pay anything. I have had it changed in Seattle, changed in Sacramento, and here in Utah and I am scrambling to find records. This is outrageous, absurd, and smacks of what can be seen in some legal defense firms - deny everything, and assert reasons no matter how farfetched, ridiculous, unlikely, or impossible.
I have started networking to the people I know. Everybody I have talked to is stunned and shocked. I work with someone who was an auto mechanic for 20 years (they are in computers now) who said that is just ridiculous - demanding oil change records and citing that as an excuse for a rod breaking. Since I have purchased the vehicle, never has even one engine warning light come on. It only has 44k miles on it. No check-engine, no oil, no temperature, nothing. I checked all fluid levels usually once a month, and also before going on any trip. This vehicle is not some turbo-charged teenage car that is abused. I am nearly 55 years old, this is a station wagon, and I had my 10 year old son in the car. I have owned and maintained dozens of cars in my lifetime, and this is absolutely crazy.
Their refusal to pay unless I produce enough oil change records to satisfy them is outrageous and absurd. Already, 10 people at the firm I work at wanted to know specifically what I drove and who the dealership was. One, a medical Physician, summed it up best after I told him, said and I quote "good to know, I ****** never be going there." I am looking into if 3M (where I have been employed for decades), who is a huge major sponsor of NASCAR (Greg Biffle's car was 3rd in the Daytona 500 a couple of days ago) and of automobile manufacturing, has any indirect ties to the companies represented at ****** ******. I ****** see if I can lodge a formal complaint with the 3M Corporate Auto division. I have already, 3 relatives who have been taking their vehicles there, that upon hearing my story are furious and ready to blacklist. I have had 2 volunteers, who are offering potential legal services. Every single person I have talked to is outraged and tell me to fight this.
This is actually the second vehicle that I have purchased at ****** ******. I also had purchased a Ram Truck, that worked flawless for years until I sold it. Until this happened I was a loyal and repeating customer. This needs intervention and resolution.
I want them to honor at least one of the two warranty's (one I purchased at my personal cost for over almost 2 thousand). Presently they refuse to pay anything unless I produce the oil change records I had done all over the western US. That is ridiculous.
Business' Initial Response
Contact Name and Title: ************ Service Manager
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: *****@heydoug.net
****** ****** Subaru is not refusing to cover the warranty on this 2010 Forester. The warranties are made by Subaru of America, Inc. This customer also has a service contract that is issued by Zurich of North America. The warranty made by Subaru of America (SOA) is the warranty in question by this owner. On most major failures, SOA asks to see the maintenance records of the vehicle. In the Subaru Warranty and Maintenance Booklet, which is part of the owners manuals supplied with every new vehicle, Subaru writes; "Your Maintenance Resposibilities
It is your responsibility to have all scheduled inspection and maintenance services performed at the times and mileagees recommended at the back of this Booklet and to retain proof that inspection and maintenance services are performed when recommended. You are responsible for checking such items as fluid levels and tire pressures regularly." SOA further writes;
"What is Not Covered (Subaru Limitied Warranties)
Damage or Malfunctions Due to Lack of Maintenance or Failure to Follow Instructions
Thes warranties do not cover any part which malfunctions, fails or is damaged due to failure to follow the operating instructions set forth in the Owner's Maunal or a failure to follow the Schedule of Recommended Inspection and Maintenance Services set forth in this Booklet."
When this Forester was towed into ****** ****** Service Department, it was determined that there was a major engine failure and that we would need to provide service records to Subaru of America to get authorization for warranty of this repair. ****** ****** Subaru had serviced this vehicle 1 time, Jan. 20, 2010 at XXXXX miles. The current service sticker on the windshield of the vehicle shows that it was serviced 2/18/2011 and that the next oil change is due at XXXXX miles, the vehicle now has XXXXX miles. Because these are the only 2 records that were available to us, we have asked the owners to provide us with their service records so that we can give them to Subaru of America. In accordance with the policies outlined in the Owners Manual, Subaru cannot honor warranty repairs without service records. These owners have been asked for their service records not because ****** ****** Subaru is denying warranty for this vehicle but because Subaru of America requires us to provide them as a condition to warranty this repair.
On February 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm the owner authorized ****** ****** Subaru to do the repairs to his vehicle, stating that if the warranty on his vehicle was not going to pay for the repairs then he would. So far the owner has been unable or unwilling to provide any records for us to give to Subaru of America.
Consumer's Final Response
I have never refused to either give ****** ****** service records, nor refused their offer to help. I simply stated their offer was totally pointless and useless. I had already exhausted every avenue possible and couldn't find the two service facilities I was seeking. I spent at least 4 hours on the phone calling every listed facility in the out of state areas. Do they think I would not have already done this? What would they do, call them again?
I was never suggesting nor stating that ****** ****** should attempt to break Subaru established policies. Where did I say they should do that?
Subaru can do whatever unethical but legal thing they want. What I did want was ****** ****** to at least contribute 1/2 of the repair cost as a good ****** gesture, since I CAN document a lot of what service was done, and I have purchased two brand new vehicles from them. ****** ****** is passing the total cost of parts and labor on to me. I have now talked to 6 active auto repair mechanics, and not one sides with either Subaru nor the hard line ****** ****** is taking.
I dropped off to ****** ****** Subaru earlier this morning, my detailed records of what service I had done myself, as well as records proof that I had purchased 3 CASES of oil over that past 2 years from Costco, to accomplish what I had detailed. As one auto mechanic said, most warranties honor service records done by either the owner or 3rd parties, as outlined in the Right to Repair Act. The only thing I am missing is 2 of the 13 times service was done, because those were done out of state when I was on vacation.
I did speak with two different Attorneys. As one put it (and you can verify this) he was "rather surprised at the hard line taken by Subaru and ****** ******."
I have now been without my vehicle for one month. Not only do I have car rental expenses, but my life was turned upside down. I have now personally talked to probably 50 people, I have never exaggerated what transpired nor misrepresented any of the facts to them, and not one single person is not absolutely shocked. Nevertheless, as the Attorney I spoke to said, Subaru and ****** ****** can take the hard line position they are taking, and even ignore my submission of my own records that he suggested that I do. With that, it would be a long and hard court battle.
So, if my latest submission to Subaru and ****** ****** is rejected out of hand which I expect it probably ****** be, I can either spend months in court fighting or accept that I lost this one. It goes without saying that I don't have the deep resources that Corporations would have, so I guess I would lose this one. To put it this way in closing, my wife's Visiting Teacher was at our home last night. Her and her husband recently just finished off completely paying for their house, and next month were going to pay cash for a new car. Upon hearing our experience, she said she definitely would be looking to buy her new vehicle elsewhere.
Business' Final Response
****** ****** Subaru service department is here to help owners with their maintenance and repair needs of their vehicles. We are willing to assist owners in any way we can. The warranty on the vehicle is made by Subaru of America, not by ****** ******. We must follow the policies and the procedures as set by SOA. SOA is only asking for records to show that the owner has maintained their vehicle. The oil change sticker that was on the windshield indicates that the oil was changed on 2/18/2011 and that the next service is due at XXXXX miles. The records that we have for this vehicle are the reciept for that oil change and the one that was preformed here at ****** ****** Subaru on 1/20/2010 at XXXXX miles. We ****** be happy to assist the owner in obtaining the other records if he ****** tell us when and where he had the services done. Once we can obtain those records we can submit them to SOA. Again, ****** ****** Subaru is here to help the owner in any way that we can.