Monday, January 25, 2010

Benson Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep

I thought long and hard deciphering if I should put the name of the business on this one. Then I remembered how horrible the customer service I received was and how stressed out I was for A YEAR AND A HALF and decided, yes, I would definitely put the name of the business up.  Maybe it will keep someone from making the same mistake I did and if it does then it is well worth it.

*side note: this is really long!

Before you read this - I realize that what I'm about to say is totally superficial and I'm half joking. It's just for dramatic effect, you get the point, ha!

Ever since I was in the 6th grade and saw the movie CLUELESS I've wanted a Jeep Wrangler. That movie was huge when I was in middle school and all the girls (including myself) thought Cher Horowitz was so cool, Jeep and all. So that's what started it all (well, that and Barbie had one too!).  So, when I was 21 and got my first "real" job, I decided to get that Jeep Wrangler.  I loved it, it was my "dream car" and I finally got it. It was a great car and I never had any problems with it. The next year Jeep came out with a new, totally redesigned Jeep Wrangler so I decided that I needed, aka wanted, a new one (I did not need a new one, I was just being stupid and selfish). So I did a little searching on the internet and found a brand new '07 Jeep Wrangler X (soft top) at Benson on Wade Hampton Blvd. I made a phone call and set up the appointment and went out and looked at it the next day. I decided that I loved it and just had to have it so I traded in my current Jeep (which I had only kept for a year!) and purchased the new one after A LOT of haggling which was really started to get on my nerves, especially since the price they were asking was ridiculous. I mean, it's a Jeep - get real, it's not a luxury car by any means. BIG MISTAKE. From the day that I drove the car off the lot I had problems with the dealership. Two days after I bought it I got a call from them because they had put down the wrong VIN on all my forms and they needed me to come back and resign everything. It wasn't that big of a deal but Benson is totally out of the way from everywhere that I go and gas was outrageous at the time. So we (Matt and I) went back up there and I resigned everything.  While we were there the finance person apologized and Matt jokingly said, "Hey as long as you reimburse our gas for the drive, it's all good!" He was totally kidding but the finance manager insisted that they would do that so of course we said Okay. She calls the salesperson we were dealing with to tell him and comes in and says this (and I'm not even kidding): "Well, I spoke with the Manager and sinced you guys screwed us so bad on the price of the car we're not going to be able to do that." My jaw hit the floor, I could not believe that he said that to us. Matt was kidding but this guy was serious. So anyway, we left and just decided to forget about the fact that he was so rude. Everything was fine.....oh for about 2 weeks. Then one day it started raining. And the rain started coming in the passenger side window...then the driver's side window. Oh, and ya know where else? The back windows too. Happy Happy Joy Joy. I freaked out but then Matt calmed me (as he always does) and said that the top was probably just zipped up incorrectly. So he took it off and put it back on. It stopped raining and we stopped thinking about it.  Needless to say, this continued happening and to make a long story short I'll just say this - over the year and a half that I had that vehicle it was in the shop at Benson 8 times and at the shop at another Jeep Dealership twice. The top was replaced twice and the bar at the top/front of the vehicle was also replaced. Nothing worked. At one point one of the mechanics told us that the car was most likely manufactured incorrectly. That nearly made my heart stop because obviously I financed the car and had quite a bit left to pay on it. Now, when I say it rained in my car I do not mean a small drip. I may as well have left the top off in the rain. It was terrible.  I had to drive home from work one day when it was pouring outside and I had to change my clothes when I got home because my pants were soaking wet from the drenched seat.  My new car constantly smelled like mildew even though I always tried to dry up the wetness, and eventually the water leaked into the dashboard and my CD player stopped working. In other words, it was a nightmare. During this experience I talked to the general manager numerous times and he was clearly not interested in helping us. He just suggested that we bring the car in to be "fixed" again. He wouldn't return our phone calls and even stood me up for a meeting and came up with some crazy excuse.  The only way we could talk to him was to catch him off guard on the phone or just randomly show up at the dealership.  By the end of it, I was thoroughly fed up with the treatment I received.  All I wanted was for someone to help me!! I spoke with the original sales rep, the sales manager, I even called Mr. Benson himself and told him about my situation.  He just referred me back to the manager (who I'm not going to name). I was so angered by all of this that I actually considered making flyers that read: "Don't buy from Benson" (or something to that effect) and posting them all up and down Wade Hampton and throughout the parking lot at the dealership. However, my better judgement kicked in and I decided against it! 

In the end, we decided to get an attorney and that was the best decision we could have made. It took about a month and a half but that did the trick. Within a few days of receiving the paper work from our attorney, the manager contacted me and it was like he was a new person. He kept saying "Mrs. Reid this and Mrs. Reid that" and "Oh we just want to make sure everything works out and Chrysler is going to buy back your vehicle, blah blah blah". WOW. I was floored. Not only because I was so happy that it was finally over but because the customer service I received had changed so drastically. Someone was finally willing to help me.....and Gee all it took was a paper from the attorney. Here's an idea: NEVER go to Benson. 

So, in closing, things worked out, Chrysler paid off my loan AND reimbursed me for all the payments I made. I wasn't expecting that but I was very happy with the outcome.  I just wish that someone at the dealership would have helped me somehow. I went in there spent my money on one of their vehicles and as soon as I left they just wrote me off.  It's the worst experience I've ever had and to this day I continue to tell people about it and have actually deterred a few people from going there to look at a new car.

The day after I turned in my Jeep I bought an '07 Mercedes-Benz C230 and it's the best decision we could have made.  After a year it is still at the same value as when I bought it and I got an awesome deal on it. The staff at Carlton Motorcars is awesome.  Mr. Carlton even wanted to met me in person and personally thanked me for my business. What a turn-a-round!

PS. Two weeks after I deposited the check from Chrysler they filed for Bankrupcy. How's that for cutting it close!

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