Here I chronicle the relationship I had and currently have with VW starting with falling in love with TDI (♥), to betrayal (WTF?), to hurtsville (listening to Richard Marx), to betrayal (I hate you VW), to being stranded (So this is Pittsburg, not bad), to renting the only vehicle in a Enterprise lot…a shitty GM product (f’ing Impala), to coming to closure (no more crying), to falling in love again (Hello Golf R!), to saying goodbye to TDI.
The saga began July 12, 2015, and ended October 16, 2015. I purchased new from the dealer a blue 2014 VW Jetta TDI Sportwagen. I throughly enjoyed driving the vehicle, the torque, fuel economy, and all that usable storage space. I enjoyed all that until it left me stranded twice on the same road trip. If you have nothing better else to do feel free to start at the bottom to follow all my rants. By the way, I’m still enjoying my Golf R and we have logged over 16,000 miles on road trips to date.
It should be mentioned that Three Rivers’ Volkswagen in McMurray PA is a great group to work with as was Byers Imports in Columbus Ohio. I’m sorry they had to bear witness to my travel delay fueled frustrations, but if I lived in either market they would be my VW dealer!
At this point I’m in a good place automotively speaking. I was mad at VW, and now I’m not plus I’m driving another VW. First world problem I know, but it could prove interesting to give an update when I reach the same mileage or time of ownership with the R sort of a contrast and compare type piece. Stay tuned!
FINAL UPDATE 10/16: I received the official payoff notice from Volkswagen, I am TDI free!! Bittersweet.
UPDATE 10/12: I received my check from Volkswagen and expect the payoff notice for the loan in the coming days.
UPDATE 10/9: I completed the paperwork, and returned the package back to Volkswagen.
UPDATE 9/28: My Volkswagen Regional Care Advocate’s assistant sent me the final paperwork to be completed to finish my repurchase transaction. I now need to send a power of attorney as well as odometer certification documents back to VW along with my second set of keys and VW will repurchase my JSW TDI, send me a check, and mail back my personal possessions from the JSW currently at Three Rivers VW.
UPDATE 9/4: I sent my Volkswagen Regional Care Advocate my purchase agreement-sales contract along with the information on the extended warranty. She also asked me to sign a release to pull the loan information on the JSW TDI. Wonder why they’d need that since the loan is through VW Credit, and during my first conversation with Cheri she knew I had purchased another VW to replace the JSW TDI, weird. When I returned home I had a letter from the Virginia Commonwealth’s attorneys office letting me know they’ve contacted Volkswagen of America about my complaint.
UPDATE 9/3: The Pennsylvania Commonwealth’s Office of the Attorney General left a message stating that they were transferring my complaint about Volkswagen of America to Maryland’s Attorney General’s office. Also, Cheri with Volkswagen asked me to send my purchase agreement-sales contract for the JSW TDI.
UPDATE 9/2: I sent my Volkswagen Regional Care Advocate my list of out of pocket expenses and expectations. The current out of pocket expenses totals $3,054.29, not including repurchasing the vehicle and refunding the tax-title-tags-down payment paid on the JSW TDI.
UPDATE 9/1: I called Three Rivers Volkswagen to let them know I was not planning to sign any paperwork for the JSW TDI since VW should be relieving me of it. Then I spoke with my Regional Care Advocate to let her know I would’t be signing anything, and she told me signing the paperwork only released the dealer of liability not Volkswagen. I called back asking for that in writing, but was referred instead to the legal department since she could no longer speak with me about the matter. I spoke with Cheri in Legal. Cheri asked me what I wanted to do, and I explained in detail what I expected VW to do. She asked that I fax or email my list to her.
UPDATE 8/31: I called for my Volkswagen Regional Care Advocate, but instead left a message for my Legal representative, Cheri.
UPDATE 8/26: Three Rivers Volkswagen called to tell me they’ve been directed by Volkswagen to return my car to me, and will be driving it out to me on Wednesday, September 2nd. I like the staff at this Volkswagen, and I feel bad for them that Volkswagen can’t ship it out to me. I believe I missed a called from my Regional Care Advocate this evening.
UPDATE 8/25: I received an email from my Regional Care Advocate basically saying they’ll have another update for me on 8/25, but “work with Three Rivers Volkswagen for reuniting your Jetta SportWagen back with you”. You can almost feel the corporate insincerity oozing through that electronic message. What’s the over under on getting that car back before Labor Day? I do not think they took my repeated requests for full reimbursement and repurchase of the vehicle seriously. I will move forward with filing complaints with both the Pennsylvania and Virginia’s commonwealth office of attorney general for consumer complaint division.
UPDATE 8/25: Notified by Enterprise that I had questions about the damage on the POS rental I returned to their Woodbridge location on 8/23. It’s funny, the Enterprise representative that checked the POS rental back in never mentioned anything about the damage when he signed my contract indicating no damage. He asked me how the car was for me, and I told him it sucked he wrote down the final rental amount to be charged to my CC. I was in and out in less than 8 minutes, and that was our entire interaction.
UPDATE 8/22: I upgraded from the POS rental car from Enterprise to this:
UPDATE 8/21: So the Regional Care Advocate left me a message saying she had be reassigned to my case after the delay caused by my letter reaching the Legal Department. She was unable to move forward with shipping my car until the Legal Department gave the ok. Based on this rate I should have my car back in September. Does anyone else feel this is absolutely insane?
8/20: I called the Volkswagen Regional Care Advocate and was told my case had been upgraded or turned over to Regional Supervisor, but that person was unavailable so I left my number.
UPDATE 8/19: The VW dealer in Pennsylvania called to tell me my Regional Care Advocate has been replaced by the Legal Department, and that “they” would be contacting me shortly. Meanwhile the car is still sitting in Pennsylvania. I contacted the consumer advocate for the local CBS affiliate in DC back on August 12th, WUSA, and asked them if they were interested in my problem and could they help me. I sent them more information today documenting my out of pocket expenses.
UPDATE 8/18: Guess what? Still no word from my Volkswagen Regional Care Advocate or the carrier who may or may not be delivering the TDI back to me. I called Three Rivers Volkswagen in Pennsylvania who told me they haven’t heard from my Care Advocate since last Thursday-Friday (8/13-8/14), and did not mention to them at that time about shipping the vehicle back to me. The plot thickens!
UPDATE 8/17: Still haven’t heard from Volkswagen with an update on delivery of the TDI back to me. So that means I’ll still be renting the Chevrolet Impala from Enterprise. Plan to contact Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection to determine if this falls under their purview.
UPDATE 8/12: I sent email and called the local NBC, FOX, and CBS affiliates in Washington DC, and both FOX and CBS responded. CBS has asked for additional information about my problem.
UPDATE 8/11: My Volkswagen Care Advocate told me they would not relieve me of the vehicle since they feel the time to repair the vehicle hasn’t been unduly long or out of the ordinary to check the fuel system, they are also not going to make my next loan payment as I had requested since I haven’t had the vehicle for nearly a month, nor provide me with a new non-diesel vehicle as requested (Golf R) at a fair negotiated market rate for said new vehicle under the same loan terms with a seamless transition between vehicles, and they will only reimburse me for less than half of my actual expenses which does not include the other issues resulting from having to use a rental car for 30 days. But, they will ship the car back to me from PA so I don’t incur any storage fees from Three Rivers Volkswagen. And yet, I still have not heard any update on when the car, I don’t want anymore, will be shipped to me. It was at this point I decided to contact my local news stations asking any of their consumer advocates to see if this rose to the level of media interest. Additionally, I will also file a complaint with the local consumer protection agency of my county government. And all of this still does lessen the frustration that only a little over a year since I went through the car buying process I have to renew my search for a replacement. Between losing faith in the car I once enjoyed owning, being stranded in 2 different states in the span of three days, dealing with a polite/friendly but unsympathetic corporate VW “care advocate”, having to front a lot of expense out of my own pocket (minus the fuel system repair and car carrier service), the hassle of transporting a large breed dog who had just undergone knee surgery 4 days before the first breakdown, and by the way without the utility vehicle I had purchased to transport him I had to arrange to rent a minivan to take him for his post-op check up and all the hassle with arranging for a second rental car after missing 2 days of work during a critical period at work. As I write this I am not mad, because that emotion left some time ago, no bewildered is more like it. I am bewildered that a company who knew I was on a road trip back to DC, and had no access to a dealer loaner, could take this long and not ship the vehicle back to my local dealer who could then provide a loaner to me so I would not have to keep a rental since July 14th.
UPDATE 8/10: Volkswagen Care Advocate just emailed me to say they were waiting on an update from the field representative from Three Rivers Volkswagen dealer, and that they will follow up with me by phone on 8/11 or approximately 30 days since the car broke down the first time in Ohio last month.
UPDATE 8/8: Three Rivers Volkswagen notified me on Thursday that the JSW has finally been repaired, only 26 days after the first breakdown on my road trip back to DC.
UPDTE 8/6: VW Regional Care Advocate called to tell me that at this time they were not planning to relieve me of the vehicle, and that I could file with VW Roadside Assistance to claim the amount of money they offer for Trip Interruption protection.
UPDATE 8/6: I called Enterprise, PA location, to give them an update, and confirm they had the monthly rate and that Volkswagen still had the car.
UPDATE 8/6: Volkswagen Regional Care Advocate called to provide an update.
UPDATE 8/6: Three Rivers Volkswagen called to give me an update., and I called them back later in the day to check on the status of my inquiry about pricing the Jetta Sportwagen for sale/trade.
UPDATE 8/5: I mailed Volkswagen of America in Herndon Virginia a certified letter letting them know I believe the car falls under the definition of a lemon under Maryland statutes.
UPDATE 8/3: Three Rivers Volkswagen called.
UPDATE 8/1: I called Three Rivers Volkswagen to find out the status of the repair, ad get a copy of the most current service ticket they had for the Jetta Sportwagen. Basically this is being drive by Volkswagen of America; first send out a VW engineer to the dealer to look at the car, then conduct a fuel analysis, then wait for the results, then decide what if any repair is needed. At this point I asked them what the value of the Jetta Sportwagen was and if they had any Golf GTI’s or Golf R’s they would be willing to deal on.
UPDATE 8/1: I called Byers Import in Columbus Ohio to get a copy of the work ticket they issued for the Jetta Sportwagen on July 13th.
UPDATE 7/31: My Regional Care Advocate called to give me an update. I gave her the list of my reasonable demands for Volkswagen:
- Volkswagen relieve me of the car.
- Volkswagen provide another VW car of my choosing at a fair price, and provide the same loan terms (APR), and monies previously paid towards this car (read: down payment-title-tax fees).
- Volkswagen transfer my personal possessions from the Jetta Sportwagen to the new car and ship it to my home at no cost to me.
- Volkswagen should make my August loan payment for the car, I mean it’s the least they could do since they’ve kept the car for going on 18 or so days with no end in sight.
- Volkswagen cover all travel related expenses incurred by me since the start of this issue on July 12th. If the car was a local VW dealer, I may have gotten loaner for a part of the month in the same city let alone state in which I live, not in PENNSYLVANIA.
- I was not submitting any reimbursement claim to each separate entity, as I was only one person that VW had to deal with I was only go to deal with the VW Regional Care Advocate to agree to the total amount reimbursed and submit for reimbursement, and not chase down multiple people for fractions of the total amount incurred.
UPDATE 7/30: I went to Enterprise to remove the additional insurance coverage from the Impala as the daily rate is about $52. The new rate is $32/day. I also asked whether any other “cheaper” vehicle was available, and the answer was no. In fact the manager at the location, closest to my home, said I had the cheapest rate they could offer at $32. I also enquired whether any mini vans or SUV’s were available since I’ll be needing one for Seamus’ next vet appointment.
UPDATE 7/28: Enterprise gave me a monthly rate for the Impala since she was surprised the car hadn’t been repaired yet. Deciding whether walking to work is better than driving this Impala.
UPDATE 7/22: I received an email from my VW Regional Care Advocate saying she was waiting on an update, and would follow up with me on 7/23.
UPDATE: 7/21: I received an email from my VW Regional Care Advocate saying she was waiting on an update, and would follow up with me on 7/22.
UPDATE 7/16: I received an email from my VW Regional Care Advocate saying she was waiting on an update, and would follow up with me on 7/20.
UPDATE 7/14: Back on the road and at Washington PA, the car repeats the same performance of losing power (again flashing glow plug warning light appears, an ominous sign) around 11am. This time it only takes 20 minutes after notifying VW Roadside Assistance about the 2nd breakdown. Things are looking up, or are they? The vehicle is towed to Three Rivers Volkswagen (just outside Pittsburgh), and I spend the better part of the day while they try to work me into service. An hour or so later they do, and begin working with Volkswagen on the phone to troubleshoot and use the service ticket I provided them from Byers Imports to bring them up to speed. Around 3-4pm they let me know the car will need to remain at the dealership pending Volkswagen’s list of procedures that need to be followed related to this type of repair. It’s at this time that I am introduced to my VW Regional Care Advocate, Ashlee E, who will be assisting me through this process, and I mentioned that this is the second time this has happened in 3 days leaving me stranded in another state during a busy week at work, and that Volkswagen needs to make this right…now. The dealership has no loaner vehicles they can issue me, and instead have their shuttle driver take me to an Enterprise Rental Car office. The first Enterprise Rental Car office had no cars to rent, and this second location only has one, a ragged out Chevrolet Impala. Oh joy.
UPDATE 7/13: I call Byers Imports at 9 am to let the service department know I’m an out of towner on a trip back to DC to see if they could do anything for me. The service manager says they are booked until Thursday, but he will make my car a priority. I talk with him 2 more times throughout the day about the status of the car and the directions he’s receiving on the phone from Volkswagen about the procedure to check to related fuel/fuel system issues that seem to have caused the breakdown yesterday. Around 4-4:30pm he let’s me know the car is ready to be picked up after being repaired.
UPDATE 7/12: Car loses power just outside Columbus Ohio a little after 12pm. I notify VW Roadside Assistance around 12:30 and they send a tow truck to pick me up around 3:30. The tow truck delivers both me and the car to Byers Imports, which is closed on Sundays so I get a taxi from there to a hotel nearby.