As Jalopnik’s resident car buying expert and professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve decided to pick a few questions and try to help out. This week we are discussing what to do if the dealer’s service department was joy riding your car, selling a used Lambo, and what to do if you bought the wrong car.
First up, what should you do if you take your car in for service and you think the dealership staff was joyriding in it?
Just curious as to what you think is a “reasonable” number of miles a dealer’s service team should put on a car when verifying a repair? We have brought our 2016 Range Rover Supercharged into a dealer here in Chicago 4 times now to repair a faulty suspension (the dash warns us of some sort of issue; we bring the car in; they troubleshoot/repair/road test and then give us the car back. Then repeat).
The last “repair” we got the car back 9 days after it was brought in. The car was given to us with an empty tank (we took it in full), with soda spills on/around the cup holder (we never slop up this car) and 425 more miles added to the odometer. 425! The dealer said this is normal. We looked at the log of where the car was driven (Land/Range Rover has a GPS “Journeys” app, which shows where the car was driven, how many miles, length of time, etc.). During the St. Patrick’s day weekend, it (to me) looks like the car was joyridden (a la Ferris Bueller) to bars/restaurants (after midnight) and concerts. Just seems a little (a lot) shady, especially when the repair was done on day 2, but the car was not returned to us until day 9.
What are the expectations we should have when we turn the keys over to a dealer? Should there be rules and procedures for where/when/how long a client’s car can be driven? Or am I being too crazy?
First of all, I am shocked, shocked that a high quality car like a Range Rover would require so many trips to the service department.
But all sarcasm aside 425 miles does seem excessive just to see if the repaired components were working properly. There are no specific hard and fast rules as to how a customer’s car should be used. But there is an expectation that while a car can be test driven to make sure the repair is working, the car should not be used for the personal transportation of the dealership staff after hours.
For a legal perspective, I asked consumer protection attorney and friend of Jalopnik Steve Lehto about this, and he said:
Tough call. The miles may or may not be normal. But if the car was used (take it to the store, or to get food, or go to a bar) in a way other than simply driving it down the road, I think the guy has a right to complain. The car is to be test driven. Not taken on a joyride.
Then, what is the remedy? This is where it gets tough. How was he harmed? As in, what is the dollar amount of compensation? That is where most courts would look at this and say, “Yeah, it was wrong but you don’t get anything from it.” I’d suggest never going back and maybe reviewing them HONESTLY on some sites like Yelp and so on.
While Steve says you may not have grounds to sue the dealer, that doesn’t mean you can’t hold them accountable. We have had all kinds of stories on this website of dealers abusing customer cars, but usually there are video recordings via a dashcam. This Range Rover log thing is a bit different. I would suggest you contact the service manager and tell him your concerns, present your evidence, and give him an opportunity to make it right.
If the dealer is not cooperative you can contact Land Rover corporate, and chances are they will be sending you a survey to ask about your experience at the dealership. Escalating the complaint to corporate and posting your experiences to various outlets like Yelp and social media may encourage the dealer to keep better tabs on how their staff use customer cars.
Next up, what’s the best way to sell an exotic car when you are used to selling cheap stuff?
We bought an 07 Gallardo a few of year ago. Looking for advice on how to sell it. I’ve sold cars less than $10,000 via the various sites but not sure what to do with such a high cost vehicle. What is your advice?
Selling a Lamborghini isn’t all that different than selling something cheap—it just may take a slightly different approach. There is nothing wrong with tossing your Lambo on Craigslist to see who bites; it is a free listing. But you will also want to cast the net a bit wider and put it on some of the larger sites like Autotrader, Cars.com or CarGurus. It may be worth looking into some Gallardo forums to see if there are classified sections for a more targeted audience.
You probably already know how to protect yourself from scammers, but be prepared for serious buyers to want to know anything and everything about this car. The more information you can disclose, the more pictures you have the better. If the car has flaws or issues, be clear about them. Most buyers are going to want to have this car inspected by shop, so hopefully there is one nearby that’s qualified to do this. The prospective buyer should be paying for the inspection.
As for pricing, have a look at what similar cars are listing for and price your car accordingly. With a little patience and the right number, you will find a buyer.
And finally, what should you do if you just bought a new car and you think you made a mistake?
I think I bought the wrong car.
I was torn between the luxury and power of a loaded Subaru Legacy with an automatic transmission, and the fun outdoorsiness of the Subaru Crosstrek with a manual transmission.
After several drives, I chose the luxurious Legacy. I’ve been driving it for a week, and I think I made a mistake. It’s too fancy! I’m afraid to drive it on dirt roads! It has cameras EVERYWHERE! What is the best course of action if I decide that yes, this is the wrong car, and I need to make a change?
There are basically two choices here. Take a bath on the trade in and buy something else, or embrace the Legacy and make it your own maybe throw a lift and some knobby tires and enjoy the trails. Now even if you take it off road as is, unless you do something crazy you aren’t likely to break it.
My suggestion would be to hang tight for a bit and pay it down so you at least have an equilibrium between your loan balance and your trade in value before you decide to get something else. Who knows, after living with the Legacy for a while, you may come to really like it.
Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at email@example.com!