"Never again will I purchase from this dealership"
I am writing this letter to inform your company of the service and experience my husband and I had throughout the process of purchasing our 2017 Toyota Highlander.
We were very pleased with our salesman. He answered all questions, helped us set up some of the settings in our vehicle, and made the whole experience quite pleasant. We did all of our paperwork, and off we went in our first ever brand new car. This was a Wednesday at the end of October. Fast forward to the next Monday. I receive a call from Fitzgerald Toyota letting me know I had been driving around without an inspection sticker. Whoever I spoke with then informed me that I was to come that day and get my inspection sticker. In return, I told them I was at work and was not able to come that day because I had my children and plans were already made. The representative I spoke with was very firm with me that I needed to get there ASAP. This was not my problem.! They sold me a vehicle without an inspection sticker on it. Had I wanted to cause a stink about it I could have, but I did not. What would have happened if I was pulled over? They knew it would have fallen back on them and they could potentially get in trouble legally. So there was a trip to town that I did not need to make, but did, because of their error.
October through January everything goes smoothly, we were happy with our purchase. Here comes February. I started hearing a high pitched humming type noise upon acceleration. This is my primary vehicle; my husband drives our other vehicle so he did not know anything about it. I got an email stating we were scheduled for our first maintenance appointment on Februrary 22nd. Because this noise had started I wanted an earlier appointment so I scheduled it online for February 14th. I wrote a detailed note and taped it to my keys explaining the noise and asking if they would check on it for me. My husband dropped off the car overnight and put the keys in the drop box. Around 9am, my husband received a call stating our car was done. When he inquired what the noise was they had no idea what he was talking about. He then explained about the note and the mechanic said that the information was never passed on to them. They told him they would check it out and then call us back. So there was my second complaint. They were going to let us drive off in a vehicle with a bum transmission because of the lack of communication within the department.
Later on that afternoon, I receive a call from someone in the Maintenance Department. He called asking for my husband, I told him that he was able to speak with me as my name is on the car and it is my primary vehicle. I asked him what was going on. He told me it was my transmission and that he needed to speak with Mr. Shaffron. Again, I told him he can talk to me. He asked if my husband was with me and I told him no I was at work and my husband was at home. He asked for my husband’s phone number. I felt very belittled and discriminated against. Despite me telling him that he could speak with me he refused to. I was so upset and just gave him my husband’s number and hung up the phone with him.
This same person calls my husband. When he told my husband (Andy) what was going on Andy got pretty upset, rightfully so. We had this vehicle for not even four months and the TRANSMISSION went out on it? This employee then told my husband, “It’s not like you bought a land rover.” Excuse me, what? We had just spend near $40,000.00 on a vehicle and you’re going to tell us it’s not like we bought a land rover? Absolutely inappropriate! These are the kind of people that are representing Toyota, thus this is why I am telling you all of this because I feel like you need to know. We were then told to come into the dealership that evening and we would discuss what needed to be done.
Andy waited for me to get off work and we went together. Luckily, my dad was in town, otherwise we wouldn’t have anyone to keep our infant and toddler. This was a total and complete inconvenience. We were at the dealership for close to two hours. We were dealing with Ed McCurry, one of the managers, I am not positive of his full title. He told us that they will get us a new transmission and apologized. I do not feel that he was understanding the depth of the situation. We informed him of his employee and how we were treated and he said he had only been there a few months. I do not care how long someone has been there you do not treat a customer like that, especially after dropping 40k on something that was supposed to be top of the line. Ed then told me he would take care of it. Whether or not that happened I do not know. No one ever followed up or sent a formal apology.
In this same meeting we spoke with the head mechanic, Kenny. Kenny laughed when we told him what his employee said to us. I told him flat out I did not find it funny. That changed his tune. He said he had been in contact with someone higher up in Toyota and that they knew there was some issues with 2017 transmissions. He explained to us that there needs to be so many reported before they will do a recall. Again, excuse me, what? You are going to put the safety of your customers on the line because you don’t have enough of them having issues to notify the customers? Not very smart. In our town that same week someone died on the interstate because their vehicle had broken down and a tractor trailer hit him. Do you have any idea how easily that could have been my family and me? I am NOT okay with this. We bought your vehicle knowing it was rated number one in the consumer report and it was one of the safest vehicles around. Moving on, Ed told us it was their job to fix it and if we weren’t happy we were to contact someone from Toyota. The very same day as soon as we got home, we contacted Toyota and Andy spoke with someone and they informed him that someone would call him the next day. Nobody called, so come that evening Andy had to call back to Toyota and spoke with a case manager named George. He was baffled. All he could say was this never happens , and that they would start a case for us. That conversation wrapped up and we felt that it was going to be expedited, but it was not. They did contact us soon after letting us know there were no transmissions and that they were working towards getting one. We expressed our dissatisfaction and the vibe that we got what we got and there was no changing it. We were in disbelief that Toyota would not stand behind a brand new vehicle with 4,600 miles on it.
Wrapping up our conversation, they told us we needed to leave our vehicle there and that we would get a rental. We were not thrilled with this because we were going out of town that weekend. They did not have any AWD vehicles there for us to borrow. Mind you, we live in central Pennsylvania and they were calling for snow the weekend we were traveling. Ed then contacted New Enterprise, explained the situation, and they said they had an AWD vehicle there for us. Ed assured us that we would not have to put down a penny of our own money that everything was taken care of by Fitzgerald, they would just take our license and we would be good to go. Not true. We went to Enterprise and they needed $100.00 deposit for insurance protection. We told them no and that Ed said everything was taken care of. So the nice lady at Enterprise called Ed and the volume was very loud on her phone. We heard Ed say that they wouldn’t pay the extra $18/day for the insurance coverage and that we had to put our $100 down. He flat out lied to us. At this point, we were done with them and ready to get home to our children. Enterprise gave us the choice between a Dodge Journey and a Hyundai Santa Fe. We chose the Santa Fe because I had driven one before and was more comfortable with it. Happy Valentine’s Day to us! We had plans, but instead we spent our evening at Fitzgerald Toyota being mocked and argued with.
Moving on to the weekend we went out of town. First of all, we had to take two vehicles because we did not have the space in the Santa Fe as we did in our Highlander. I am sorry, but if you take my Highlander from me, you should be giving me a vehicle comparable. So that meant double the gas and double the turnpike fees. That was the first thing that had us upset. Second, we got a horrific snow storm. I was not able to make it up the lane because of the snow. It was at that point that I realized the car was 2 WHEEL DRIVE! I had to walk over a mile and a half to get home because this vehicle left me stranded. Ed told us he made it very clear that when he called New Enterprise he would get us AWD. Again, we were deceived.
The purpose of the letter is to inform you of our entire Toyota experience. We are completely dissatisfied. I do not feel safe in this vehicle. As stated before we cannot believe that your company, Toyota, will not stand behind this matter. Yes, it has a new transmission, but can you blame us for wondering what is going to happen at 10k miles or 20k miles. We bought this vehicle with the intent to drive it for 200k or as long as it will go. It is my hope that you will consider a buy back and we would give another Highlander a try. We did not go into this ignorant. We knew what we were buying and everything we experienced went against everything we researched.