Dwayne Cooney took his Chevy Malibu in for service to Jim Butler Chevrolet to fix a few minor issues. According to his dash cam, the work took an hour and a half. He was charged $600 for four and half hours of work. And now the dealer is suing him for $25,000. What? [Updated with dealer comment]
Cooney's Malibu had a few minor issues after a dead battery in the weeks prior. Apparently the key fobs would no longer work and the tire pressure monitor was staying on. Additionally, there was an airbag warning light on as a result of an earlier service. He was told that their might be a known fault with the car and it could be a fairly long fix with the wiring harness.
Cooney says he told the dealer that the maximum time that he approved to work on the car would be four hours. But when the dealer called, they told him the time it took was "four and a half hours" and $660.
But Mr. Cooney had a dash cam in his car, and it shows that the service wasn't nearly as serious as they had originally said, it was a misplaced fuse that was actually causing the issue, not a full wiring harness meltdown. The kicker?
The whole job took an hour and a half according to the time stamps on the camera.
Obviously, Jim Butler Chevrolet is none to happy about this video, denies overcharging, and has said that the video does not show the true amount of time that the car was in for service. A judge has already ordered the YouTube video taken down and then had it reinstated since free speech laws are incredibly hard to lock down.
After the video went up, Jim Butler Chevrolet put up their own video showing what it's like in their service bay:
The dealer is suing for $25,000 because of damages from the video. Cooney says he offered to settle with a partial refund and apology. We've heard of customers suing the dealer before, but never really hear about a dealer suing a customer. This is a new one.
We spoke to Brad Sowers, the owner of the dealer, to explain why exactly their is a lawsuit and to hear what happened. He said he believes that the camera footage was edited, and it shows four days of footage in 17 minutes. The video was published without him being told at all.
The ironic part is that the issue was caused by the dash cam, says Sowers. Sowers also said that Cooney approved the four hours of time.
Sowers says that he "never received a formal response to offers they've put out there for lawyers." In fact, he "sent Cooney an email this week to sit down," but so far all of those requests have gone unanswered. Cooney hasn't sat down with the dealer.
Then Sowers said the best line ever uttered by a car dealer. "I'm a car dealer, I'll never win in the PR world."
Ain't it the truth? He says he has full documentation of when the car went into service as well as phone records that proves he's correct, and it'll have to go to court. We await the outcome.
Hat Tip to @DigitalNeal!