Screwed by Criswell Chrysler
TL;DR: Bought a vehicle with a hard to notice body damage, the dealer told me to go pound sand.
I purchased a 19 PacHy Limited from Criswell CJDR in Gaithersburg, MD. I found Carl on this forum. The purchase process was swift, I was in and out in an hour. I did a casual walkaround, didn’t notice anything unusual. The van was parked tightly between other vehicles and I couldn’t see it in its entirety. In the evening of the same day (it was Saturday) I glanced on the van across my garage and one body gap seemed rather large. I looked closely and found that the skirt running under the cabin didn’t fit right. It didn’t have any visible scratches, so I chalked it off to an assembly error. Not a bid deal, next Monday I took it to another dealer close to my home. They agreed that the it could be a misaligned part. Their shop was busy and we had an upcoming July 4th trip, so I scheduled for the next week. When I brought the van back the dealer still kept it for a better part of the week before informing me that once they put the van on the lift, they found a damage- someone jumped a curb dislodging the skirt and ripping a felt underbody cover panel. It was a dealer’s lot damage, not an assembly issue covered by the factory warranty. I emailed Carl and explained the situation. After some emails we set up an appointment for me to bring the van for an assessment.
Oh, the change of the attitude… Everybody was so polite when I came in with a cash for a quick and easy purchase. But all smiles suddenly disappeared when I needed an actual assistance. Despite having an appointment, I was told that a lift was not available because they were already backed up (at 9AM, mind you). About an hour later it became clear that the lift wouldn’t be available at all and they were not going to accept responsibility for the damage.
Much fuss was made about me not calling Criswell right away. It was a fair question, and I explained that I acted based on assumption that my problem was a manufacturing defect which could be fixed by any dealer. Criswell is an hour drive and their techs couldn’t even figure out how to make a simple option adjustment I requested at the delivery. The nearest dealer is 5 minutes away from me and I had a good experience with their service department. It didn’t occur to me to inform Carl that I was taking the van to another dealer. I emailed Carl as soon as I learned about the damage.
While at Criswell I was talking mostly with their sales manager, Kevin, if I recall correctly. His position was that I couldn’t prove that the damage wasn’t done much later. I showed him the pictures on my phone taken on the night of the day I purchased the van. I could hardly believe his response. He said that the date on the pictures could be altered. He had an audacity to not so subtly hint that I was a fraudster. Never in my life I was treated that way. Especially not at a business where I was a trouble-free paying customer. At that point it became clear that they had no intention to stand behind the product they sell. Kevin was on the roll with insults and mockingly advised me to call Chrysler. He knew perfectly well that Chrysler wouldn’t get involved in a dealership matter. I had enough and left.
Any dealer can sell you a car if you come in knowing exactly what you want and don’t waste their time with endless test drives, quotes from competitors or financing problems. But a situation where something doesn’t go as planned is the true measure of the customer service. And Criswell failed it hard.
I’m realistic. I know it is caveat emptor if I buy a used car privately or from a shady used car dealer. However, when purchasing an expensive vehicle from a new car dealer I expect a certain level of respect and service. Not be accused of a fraud.
*** 2019 Hybrid Limited ***