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78 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After you read this letter, know that today the GM called and left a message at my wife's work telling her(us) that he would give us a $130 for our trouble or he will take the Pilot back, refund us our money and call it even. I was shocked to say the least. I'm posting this letter because, I'm angry and I want everyone in Southern California to know what happened at BALL Honda in National City.

Dear: Mr. Al Hammerschmidt, GM

Hello. It was very nice to meet you Friday the 11th when we first picked up our
vehicle (Honda Pilot). We appreciate your involvement in our purchase.
Although, Dawn and I have had some problems related to our new vehicle purchase
that should not be happening of which we thought you would want to be aware.

Again, we bought the 2003 Honda Pilot EX-L NAVI on October 11th, 2003. That
evening when we looked it over we noticed a small chip in the body (down to the
metal) under the driver's side headlight. Greg Maness made a note of it and
said to bring it back at our convenience to have it repaired. We brought the
vehicle back on Monday the 14th. The items to be addressed at that time were:
1) Repair small dent under left front headlight.
2) Install the (4) rubber plugs under vehicle. Two on each side near the rear
jack lifts.
3) Three places in rear of vehicle have molding that was not put back in
correctly and as a result are buckling out of shape.
4) Need manuals returned that came with these items:
CD changer & Rear View Camera.

We were told everything was repaired and ready for pickup on Wed. the 16th of
October. At that point we had even said we would let the small dent under the
headlight go, so we were not expecting that to be fixed when we came to pick up
the vehicle. We drove from La Jolla area on my wife's lunch hour to pick it up.
The lunch hour turned into a 2 hour ordeal. When the vehicle was brought to us
we were left standing there with no one to talk to and the only thing that had
been resolved was that the plugs were installed under the vehicle with no
explanation as to why nothing else was accomplished. Just is your car.
So to be clear, the manuals were not given to us or anywhere in the car and the
three molding issues we pointed out were not corrected. Not only were the
molding issues not corrected the headline was damaged even more than when we
left the car with Ball service group. The molding was still buckling in two
places and the headliner over the rear door hung lower and had stains from
grease and glue on it. I was not happy at this point.

After asking for assistance and explaining our issues a service advisor named
Robert assured us that all our concerns would be addressed / repaired. He said
that we should let them repair the dent in the front and we agreed. We agreed
whole heartily because at that point we remembered that when you order a brand
new car and wait 4 months for it to come it you shouldn't have to accept it
damaged. Robert rationalized that our problems with the service department were
due to the fact that an employee handling our car in service (Chris) had left
the company. Realistically that doesn't explain the issues away. Someone else
worked on the vehicle directly and damaged the headliner further and tried to
return it to us with hope that we would blow it off. At this point Robert
agreed to have an upholstery specialist look at the headliner regarding cleaning
/ repairing it. So, we left the vehicle in Robert's hands expecting to hear
from him the next day sometime. Maybe it should go without saying but
does concerns us that your dealership's service department would let a brand new
vehicle with an obviously broken / permanently damaged headliner go back to the
customer as fixed.

We had to called for status the next day (Thursday the 17th). After talking
back and forth to Robert and now Jeff, a service manager assigned at this point,
Jeff said it would take a week to get a new headliner. He told us we could come
pick it up instead of being without a car for a week. I assumed the dent in the
front, the other two molding issues, and the pinstripes were repaired and that
the manuals would be available. I called my wife to tell her we would pick up
the vehicle on her lunch hour that day (17th). She asked if anything else
beyond the headliner issue had been resolved. I said I assume they had repaired
what they could. She called and found out that nothing had been done. We told
them to keep it and repair all the other issues, beyond the headliner, and then
call us when it is ready.

Jeff called us on Friday the 18th and told us it was ready for pickup. We
trustingly came to pick it up. When we looked it over this time, the two
buckling molding issues were not fixed, the manuals from the accessories were
not available, and we additionally noticed two circular stains on the carpet
over the cargo hatch. Jeff assured us he would address the buckling molding and
get the stains out when the headliner was replaced and that he would continue to
try to obtain the manuals. We left with the vehicle.

Today, Tuesday the 22nd, my wife calls me and said on her way to work this
morning a couple of angry drivers in stop and go traffic told her that her
brakes lights were not working on her BRAND NEW vehicle. She had a friend at
work verify this. The top brake light near the roof was all that was working.
We have been driving this vehicle exclusively for the past few days. We could
possibly get a ticket and then there is the issue of our safety. I'm Extremely
Angry about the brake lights not working. Especially with as many chance as the
service crew has had to rectify the mistakes and inspect their workmanship.
Attention to detail is critical when it comes to safety features on a vehicle.
Plus, the fact that your dealership is advertising (by means of the neon green
"Ball" license plate) an obvious brand new vehicle that doesn't have functioning
brake lights can't be good for business. The isn't exactly positive
advertising. In retrospect, several drivers have tried to get my wife's
attention since we picked the vehicle up on Friday. She thought they were just
noticing the Pilot for the first time and pointing etc. When we gave Greg
(Sales) feedback over the phone last week (Wed. or Thursday evening) and when we
talked to Jeff (Service) Friday as we picked up our car they had both said maybe
they could fill up our gas tank once or twice to help ease the hassle / pain of
the situation. The offering at that point was considerate ...but the gas tank
was not fueled at any point.

To reiterate, we truly enjoyed working with the sales people and the financial
officer at your dealership during the purchase of our new car. You, Tony,
Edward, Greg, Samantha, and others were extremely nice and patient.
Additionally, we love our new Honda. Although, if I were to take that phone
survey at this point the service department would not receive all 5's from me

Our plan now is to bring the vehicle back down this afternoon for resolution to
the molding / headliner damage, brake light repair, accessory manual issues, and
the carpet stain. We wanted to bring our situation to your attention. Maybe you
will be able to bring attention to the failures in the service department and
rectify the procedures / process. Hopefully, we will also come out of this
situation satisfied overall. Thank you for your time and attention to the above
issues mentioned.


And after all of this, they still didn't put the headliner in correctly and we had to go back again and have it repaired.

494 Posts
Sorry to hear about your dealer problems. :( I hope it works out to your advantage.

77 Posts
i had the same kind of situation with our dealership after they abcked our Pilot into something else damaging the bumper. We had to bring it back numerous times to take care of overspray and incomplete repair.

Be very stern with them and make sure it is on the service ticket exactly what they have to do. On the last time i brought mine in... i looked over the ticket and what they did not type up... i wrote and signed. I told them that i would not accept it back until all of those issues are taken care of. And force a rental car out of them... you shouldnt need to be driven back and forth while repairs are done.

Lastly... when you get it back dont leave until you check everything over, check for any new body damage, interior damage, etc, note anything... and have them fix it if there is anything else.

With my Accord i never had any of these issues becuase after 200K miles, all i went to the dealership for was maintenance.

BUt my PIlot has recalls and stuff... which i am now seeing that the dealership screws up in differnt ways.

On the other hand... i never had any of these issues with my BMW. Everytime i bring it in i get another BMW to drive. they inspect the car for any damage what so ever when i bring it in... then check it again before it leaves... one time tools fell and scratched up the fender... they fixed it... detailed the outside and inside of the car... took care of other nics unrelated on other parts of the car... and then left me a BMW bag with a thank you card and Meguire's care pack for the exterior. True, BMW is very stingy when it comes to warranty issues, but they take care of you with their service.

I guess i am just spoiled with the BMW and its service, but i still hold my dealership to such standards.

BTW, if BMW made a 7 passenger X5... we would have gotten that instead.
but then again i am very happy with the PIlot and for what it is used for.

2,388 Posts
Man, that truly sucks. I'm going through a similar situation with my dealer and I know how frustrating it can be. Until all the things have been fixed and resolved, it's always in the back of your mind. I hate that. And this is for things that you had absolutely nothing to do with.

23 Posts
Choctaw said:
After you read this letter, know that today the GM called and left a message at my wife's work telling her(us) that he would give us a $130 for our trouble or he will take the Pilot back, refund us our money and call it even.... And after all of this, they still didn't put the headliner in correctly and we had to go back again and have it repaired.

You may want to seriously consider contacting the Honda America head office to find out who is in charge of your dealer's sales district from a management, director, and VP level, as well as the names of their managers up to VP level as well.

Then, send the local/district guy your letter, CC'd again to the dealer, and also to everyone else you can find all the way up the food chain.

It has been my experience that few people like finding out that their boss has been told about problems with their performance, much less to have his boss told, and that guys boss as well.

This is probably the best way to resolve this and to get some real action. Sending a copy to local newspapers is also good to try.

Finally, if they will give you ALL your money back, so that you don't lose 1 cent, why not just return the vehicle, take the money, go to another dealer, and buy from them. If you relate your story to the new dealer and make them an offer on the spot, chances are they will accept since they don't really have to make much of an effort to sell you anything.

Just my 2 cents...

Good luck...


33 Posts
My Pilot was recently at the Dealership for two weeks due to a seized cam-shaft. I can say that my experience with the dealership was completely different than yours. I had no trouble getting the car fixed, getting a rental, ect... However, they did give me the phone numbers for American Honda and the Honda Customer Relations Zone Offices if I wanted to call them. I pass them onto you in case you would like to go further with this than the dealership. Also American Honda offered me an accessory or an extended warranty as compensation for my troubles.

American Honda Consumer affairs 1-800-999-1009

Honda Customer Relations Zone Offices Western Zone - CA
700 Van Ness Avenue
Torrance, CA 90509-2260


465 Posts
Boy does this bring back memories. Chrysler memories. No, not memories, NIGHTMARES. Hope your problem is solved. My Chrysler endured 18 service visits and was never fixed.:3: And the dealer couldn't have cared less.:3: :3: :moon: :3: :3:

388 Posts

Choctaw, awsome letter please kee pus posted on the outcome, and I also think cc'ing Honda is a great idea.

78 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thank you guys for all your advice. I'll definitely be contacting Honda's customer relations. You know, if more people would stand up to people(business's) like this, we all would be much more satisfied with the products we buy.

And while I have the attention of some of you, remember to VOTE on November 5th! Hopefully for the Republicans. I'm ready to get Federal taxes cut down so more people can live above the poverty line. Ok, enough of that, I could go on for days about politics.

388 Posts
Honda will care more than a traditiaonl American company about making it right, especially due to the fact that it is a new vehicle. As typical of import dealers appears that the dealer is a clown show

As long as I can get a bigger refund to buy more accesories for my pilot:2:

804 Posts
Nice letter. I agree with Anthony. I would take the refund. It gives you a chance to get a pristine car and possibly for less money. There are a lot of dealers closer too.

When I brought my Pilot to Ball for some DIO's, there was a line in the service department. Since the Ball group also services their Mitsu and GMC stores, they are VERY busy. It doesn't surprise me that they dropped the ball (heh).

28 Posts
Choctaw, I reserved a Sage Brush EX with Ball. It should be coming in sometime next week. Thanks for the heads up with the service department. Thus far my experience with the sales group has been pretty good. I'll keep my fingers crossed for no paint chips or molding issues. I hope everything works out for you.

I ran into a similar issue at another South Bay dealership when I purchased a then-new Mustang. The sales person made a scratch worse and then had the door sanded and painted without telling me. They tried to get me to accept a red car with a "pinkish" door. I made them give me a new vehicle.
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