Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thank You, Sir. May I Have Another?

We still do not have a resolution on the repair or replacement of my son’s car following his accident almost three weeks ago. He’s still is a rent car.
He called me yesterday because the passenger side door on his rental wouldn’t latch.
I tried to talk him through a quick fix, but he couldn’t get it. The car was driven to a nearby service station, but they couldn’t figure it out. The car was taken to the rental place for a once-over. They couldn’t fix it, either.

They had no replacement vehicles and it would be several hours before they would get any, so a suggestion was made that the car be taken to a dealership just a couple of doors down to see if there was anything they could do. It seemed like a good idea, and away went the rent car people on a mission to have the latch repaired.

Less than a half hour later, the rent car people returned with an unrepaired latch and a stunning announcement: this car has been involved in a collision. Damage to the right front bumper caused the right front quarter-panel to buckle, which caused the door to be damaged which led to the broken latch. That was the assessment of the automotive genius at the dealership. The rent car company asked me to pay the deductible on my car insurance’s collision provision. This is, by the way, One Thousand Dollars.

To say this tale concocted by some nameless Wizard of Auto Repair strains credibility is a bit of an understatement. The rent car lady generated a report which was quite simply inaccurate. I immediately called State Farm to put my objection on the record. I contacted the rent car company’s “loss” department and explained that their people were off the mark.

Excellent Jeff in the “loss” department listened carefully, actually laughed when I made my “Wizard” reference and said he would double check things. Less than an hour later, excellent Jeff called me back to say there was no damage to the door or the quarter-panel and that the latch is under warranty. He said my One Thousand Dollars would be refunded and thanked me for using his company for my rental car needs.

So, all’s well that ends well? Not so fast. We still have an incompetent, possibly crooked dealership to discuss. Okay, maybe just one incompetent possibly crooked person in the dealership. It can’t be institutional, can it? We still have a rental car company that apparently does not allow its front line people to use common sense and judgment. I mean, why promote that when a rule will do, right?

As I said to my wife, my daughter and The Happy Couple when all of this had unfolded, “If I didn’t have my personality, we just would have been out a thousand bucks and that would have been the end of it.”

My favorite moment of the whole day came after the Rent Car Lady had returned from her visit with the Wizard and made the pronouncement of the Great Chain Reaction Latch Malfunction. She was on the phone with my Top Notch State Farm Agent, who was asking her about the damage. She said, “Based on my experience, there will be more than a thousand dollars’ worth of damage to this vehicle.” Keep in mind, as I pointed out several times during the course of the day, when she took possession of the vehicle to drive it to the dealership, she did not mention any damage whatsoever. Now, in her experienced estimation, the invisible damage will exceed the amount of my deductible.

Just remember this: the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. Right now, I’m not feeling so smart. God is testing me. I know it. I hope I pass and once I do, I hope I am smart enough to figure out what it all means.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Er....sorry.... but I have to take back the "just kidding" remark I made in reply to an earlier post. It really does suck to be you.