Lord, have mercy. (aka The Car Debaucle)

November 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

You’re gonna need a snack.

I’m just warning you right out the gate.  This entire drama has been like one bad episode of Designing Women meets The Jeffersons.

Crap.  I just dated myself again. Essentially, I got all riled up and the southern accent came out on some poor unsuspecting Sales Manager in Charleston.

Back here I introduced you to Nathalia.  For the first time since 2005, I had a car payment on reliable wheels.  Overjoyed was the word of the day, until the “small oil leak” began to produce very very loud warning noises the second day I owned her.
(If you don’t have a snack yet, now would be the time to make that happen.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait…..)

When I found her online (that doesn’t sound creepy at all), I went back and forth with the internet sales manager.  His name is Dennis and he’s a Wolfpack Alum!  We  bonded.  It was lovely. Trying to get the loan was not so lovely.
After a bunch of teeth pulling over a very very very high interest rate, my Dad called and agreed to help.  Hallay. Freaking. Lujah.
I went for a run while texting Daniel.  “Wanna drive to Charleston today?”  “Uh….sure.  Let me pay a bill and I’ll come pick you up.”  (I love that man.)

Nathalia had what our off-site mechanic thought was a small oil leak.  Asked them to fix it per the terms of the sale and they said sure.  By the time Daniel and I showed up in Charleston, Dad and the finance director, Tony, were BFF&E&E and there were three vehicles pulled up for me to look at. HA.
Tony extended a 30 day warranty on the small oil leak and one of the fog lights needed to be replaced.  We set up an appointment in Charleston for the fix on November 10th and I came back to Raleigh.
That was October 25th. I, ladies and gentlemen, was a car owner.

As I pulled in to Asheville two days later, there were very very loud noises.  iiiSTOP ENGINE – TURN ENGINE OFF – OIL PRESSURE!!!  (Yes, those are Spanish exclamation points.  For emphasis.) After talking to Tony, I drove her to Leith Volkswagen in Raleigh to see what was up.
And folks, enter the BEST customer service experience I’ve had in quite some time.  Aaron, Adam, & Kevin run a stellar service department.  And I’m not just sayin’ that because Aaron’s really good lookin’.  They’re fantastic.  They put me in a rental (and four days after that, a loaner) to drive while mine got the small oil leak worked on.
Except it wasn’t a small oil leak.  It was a large oil leak coming from behind the engine.  That told them the engine had been out of the car, which wasn’t documented.  After some snooping around, they discovered accident damage.  Major oil leak.  Oil pressure indicating internal engine failure. Sigh.  Awesome. They call Tony and are told for me to get my car back so I could drive it down to Charleston for them to fix it.
(I really want a scratching record noise to play right here)
“Did she just say they wanted her to drive that car 277 miles after they got told it had major engine problems?” Yep.  Yep, she did.
And, technically, they wanted me to drive it for four DAYS before that!

W. T. F. Mate.

Aaron, the smart one, told me to stay in the loaner car until I had to leave town.  I was so appreciative. Swapped cars on Friday (after takin’ those service boys coffee!) (treat yo’ people right, that’s all I’m sayin’) and headed down to Charleston.
I got all the way to Fayetteville before the Spanish warnings started again.  At 845pm, the dealership was about to close and I was about to be very stranded.  So, I called them.  Our salesman tells me to “keep driving until something happens”.
What do the warnings classify as?  Yeah, I don’t know. I call Aaron.  Who, graciously, walks me through how to check a few different things. Called Dad twice.  After HE talks to Stokes in Charleston, we decide I’m stayin’ in Fayettenam for the night.

I paid for the Sleep Inn out of pocket and got more than 6 hours sleep in a row for the first time in about a month. It was lovely. 🙂 The next day, Dad goes down to Stokes and talks to the GM.  Enter Dave.
Dave gets the car towed to a dealership in Fayetteville and a rental car to pick me up.  I am told to drive to Charleston and come see him for a loaner.  The photo gig that I had at 4pm in Charleston?
Lost that.

I show up and Dave isn’t there.  We call him and he tells me he’ll arrive in 20 minutes. I wait. In the meantime, they attempt to pull the loaner around.  This dealership tries to stick me in this:

Ok, not exactly.  But, it’s close, right?

In case you never saw Nathalia, she looks kinda like this:

Whew, ANYWHO, an hour and a half later (YES.  NINETY MINUTES.), I tell that dealership that I’m going home and to have Dave call me.
An hour after that?  Still nothing.  Dad calls up there.
“I’m sorry, but Dave has already come and gone for the day.”

Me: “Give me the phone.”
And I proceed to give this guy Anthony twenty two and one-half minutes of what I thought.
Daddy kept grabbing my arm and telling me to take a breath.

After a lot of teeth pulling, I’m in a Mazda 3 hatchback, Nathalia is still at the dealership in Fayettenam, and I head back to Raleigh.
(Are you exhausted yet?  Because I sure as heck am.)
Here, a flow chart:

Steve Larsen at Valley Volkswagen proceeds to do all the work on Monday and Tuesday to find out exactly what Leith had already found.  Steve’s really great, too.  Super professional and explained everything calmly and succinctly without being condescending.  If you need a car in the Fayetteville area, go see them.

On Wednesday morning, day 21 of the Debaucle, Tony in Charleston and I have a conversation.  They need to buy the car back.  Whether they knew about the accident or not, there is now a car with a faulty engine that I have driven for less than four days and I am not interested in keeping it any longer.
Tony tells me he has to talk to Dave and will be in touch asap.
And we wait.
We wait.
And on Friday at 6pm (day 23), Dad has to go by there.  He, literally, sneaks in to the dealership to corner Dave and find out what the h-ity H-H is goin’ on.  Dave gives him a letter stating that they are willing to pay for all repairs on the car.
REPAIRS!  Bahahahaha.  (He was high, I’m sure of it.)
This is the letter:

Did you catch it?  “To home it may concern”….
At this point, I’m no longer frustrated.  I’m just giggling.  This has all got to be a joke.  I’m on an episode of JackAss, aren’t I?  Ok, cameras!  Come on out!  Gig’s up, she knows!

If only there were cameras, maybe I would have a working vehicle.  Like a BMW!  Or a TRUCK!  Could they put a sweet sound system and a bubble gum machine in it?  Because that would be amazing.

Friday night, so fed up, I climb into bed and grab a pretty important journal.  Flip it open and read, on the last page, in my very own handwriting:
Do not lose heart.
Your God has been merciful.
Trust Papa. He knows you. He knows what you carry and what you walk through.
He will be your advocate.

So, I waited.  Waited and dealt with other aspects of life and waited.
On Monday, I waited.
Then, on Tuesday, on the way to work, I thought “Something happens today.  Let’s see what we can see.”
I called Stokes corporate offices.  Asked to speak to Eddie Stokes, the Executive VP of the corporation and the uncle of Dave.

He may be Dave’s uncle, but he also rides Harleys every Saturday with my long-time friend (and ex-boyfriend…ish) Tom.
Dave doesn’t seem to understand how small the world is in terms of Amaris.
But, he sure did find out!

One call to Eddie Stokes led to the easiest, peasiest, slice-it-like-butter conversation with Sir Dave.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiAnd they are buying the car back!!!!!!
A little NKOTB to celebrate:

And I have an appointment with a very nice man on Saturday to get something certified pre-owned.
At the greatest little dealership in town, Leith Volkswagen.

Chair dance with me!
Happy sigh.
So thankful.


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