A tale of Myxomycetous Spheroidal antics

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

Five months ago, I bought a brand new Suzuki Swift from a local dealer. Two months later, I called the dealer to arrange some warranty repairs and have the car examined by a mechanic. I got a message that the phone was not in service. I drove over to the dealer and, finding an empty building, realized that the phone wasn't the only thing that was out of order. They took everything but the light bulbs and the smell of cheap cologne. I called Suzuki and they explained that the dealership had moved hours away to another part of the state. I explained that the dealership had assured me of service at the time they sold me the car, and the well-spoken lady at Suzuki told me that they have no control or responsibility for what salesmen tell customers. I called the owner of the relocated dealership to protest my situation, and he thought I was unreasonable because "people drive for hours from all over to do business with us." Being naive, I thought it was against the law for businesses to sell someone defective merchandise and disappear. I contacted the Attorney General. All I wanted was to get my car fixed locally and have Suzuki pick up the tab. The Attorney General contacted Suzuki and the dealership, and, well, the best they could do was get the dealer to drive me to the local bus terminal while my car was in the shop. I have two options left, hire a lawyer (remember, I bought a Suzuki, not a BMW), or pay for the repairs out of my pocket. Can you think of anything else?

TOM: Yes we can. But first of all, we want you to know that the well-spoken lady from Suzuki is right when she says that they have no control over what their dealers say. In fact, many manufacturers will tell you privately that even they're embarrassed by the myxomycetous spheroidal (slime-ball-like) antics of some of their dealers.

RAY: Anyway, we're going to suggest two additional options for you, John; one that's not going to work, and one that is. The first option (the one that won't work) is to try getting your car serviced at a local Chevy/Geo dealer. Geo sells this same exact car under the name Geo Metro. Unfortunately, since the profit on your Swift went to Suzuki, the Geo dealer will probably tell you to go fly a kite.

TOM: So the other option is this: Get a copy of the local paper from the town where the Suzuki dealer now resides. Put an ad in that paper that says "1990 Suzuki Swift, almost new, must sell." When you get calls, set up all of the appointments on the same afternoon.

RAY: Then make an appointment to have the car serviced by the dealer that morning. After it's been serviced, show it to the interested buyers, and take the first reasonable offer. Then take that ride to the bus station that the Attorney General managed to secure for you.

TOM: When you get back home, get off the bus in front of the oldest, best established dealership in town. Then use the money you got for the Suzuki to plunk down a deposit on another car.

RAY: I guess the purchase price of the car isn't everything, is it, John? Buying a car from the wrong dealer can haunt you long after you've spent the 200 dollars in savings and forgotten about the free floor mats. Next time, you really should consider the reputation of the dealership, it's service department, and, of course, it's proximity to home.

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