There are a few lessons to be learned from a minister's experience at a Nissan dealership in northern California. One is attention to detail, since nothing could be as elementary as writing down the correct odometer reading when a vehicle is in for service.
As reported by KGO-TV, the service department of a Daly City dealership changed the oil in a 2006 Sentra and recorded the mileage as 57,000 miles. Nine days later the car showed up for work that the owner thought should be handled under its warranty but it was denied coverage under that contract because it was over the 75,000-mile maximum.
The actual reading was 87,000 miles, which would have meant that the car had been driven 30,000 miles in just nine days, which even the dealer admitted was impossible. The explanation from the dealer was that its staff had mistaken an eight for a five and written 57,000 down erroneously. The owner contended that the odometer had malfunctioned and jumped to 87,000. He supported this explanation with service records that indicted that the car had been consistently driven 10,000 miles per year.
A stalemate ensued and the inoperable car sat at the dealership for two months. California's Bureau of Auto Repair referred the owner to the ABC affiliate's consumer-protection staff. With Nissan corporate involved, an offer was made to cover the cost of the transmission, while the owner paid for the labor. This settlement was refused. A subsequent offer made with dealership participation just prior to air time was accepted by the owner.
So what is the other takeaway from this very unusual episode? It seems that the fact that the owner did regular service to the vehicle, and more importantly, had the records to prove that the higher mileage was inconsistent with his driving pattern, was the linchpin in resolving the problem to the owner's satisfaction.
It didn't hurt that the Bureau of Auto Repair advocated for the owner by suggesting to involve the media, which brought the issue before the public.
So when faced with a dispute, remember to look for physical proof of your claim and then bring to bear all the pressure available to resolve the situation to your satisfaction.[KGO-TV]