After 32 Trips to Dealer, Man's Engine Light Problem Not Fixed - NBC Southern California
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After 32 Trips to Dealer, Man's Engine Light Problem Not Fixed

Manufacturer offers to pay man $2,000 on condition he doesn't bring his truck in for engine light repairs that mechanics haven't been able to fix.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    As one local man's car repair nightmare showed, a service contract for a used vehicle doesn't always guarantee that your car will get the service it needs. NBC4 I-Team consumer reporter Randy Mac reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014)

    Self-professed hotrod guy and former cop, Jerry Macenas' 2008 Dodge pickup has provided him with an unsolved mystery.

    "It does absolutely everything I want it to until the light comes on," he said.

    The check-engine light has been coming on and staying on periodically for two years.

    About the only place he drives these days is to Browning Dodge/Chrysler trying to get it fixed.
     
    "I have been back to the dealer 32 times," he said.
     
    The dealership confirms Macenas' service records, roughly $15,000 in testing and parts replacement, under his extended service contract.

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    "It shouldn’t take two years to resolve any situation," he said.

    Resolution is now offered in the form of a settlement, the Browning dealership confirms. Chrysler authorized a payoff to Macenas of $2,000, in exchange for him signing a waiver no longer pursuing a fix for the engine light problem.

    "So he has $2,000 ... What good is that?" said Liz Gayle, an attorney who specializes in warranty and contract law. "I would never want to waive any of my rights under a warranty or under an extended service contract if a car is still broken or if you’re going to keep ownership of the vehicle."

    Macenas says if the truck's not fixed, it's useless. It can't pass a smog test. It can't be legally registered with the state.

    "I lose a minimum of three hours every day I have to take the truck in," he said.
     
    Time is still on Macenas' side. His service contract doesn't end until June 2015.

    Browning Dodge/Chrysler officials confirm they'll continue to work to fix the truck, with guidance from Chrysler corporate.

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    "It’s not my fault they can’t fix it," Macenas said. "They built this truck. It’s their problem. They need to fix it."

    Macenas' truck does not qualify under the lemon law.

    He bought it used. It was not a certified pre-owned vehicle.

    Regarding service contracts:

    • Keep your receipts;
    • Try to negotiate with the manufacturer, not the vendor;
    • Never sign any settlement that eliminates your rights as a consumer.

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