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2001 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi... I really need help with this one on how to handle the situation. I purchased a used 2001 Forester the week before Christmas. Had a scare with the breaks slipping in the snow so I took it in to a Dealer who I will not name at this time.

I was told that it needed break work done not pads but the rotors. Could not afford to do both back and front so paid over $500.00 and got the front done. Left the shop and noticed that the rims looked much brighter, but was in a hurry; it was very late and had been there for several hours, because I had to wait while the work was being done. This was a Fri. On Sunday a friend at church asked me if I had gotten a different car. I said it is the same car and thought nothing of it, and totally forgot about noticing the difference in the rims. A week later another person asked the same question and this time I asked why? They said, because the rims are different. We went out and looked at them and sure enough my original rims had been replaced. They are Subaru rims, but the fact that they were changed to some shiny ugly rough feeling mat finished rims without my permission and knowledge really made me feel like I was violated.

I will be talking the dealership about this, but am unsure of how to approach them. I do not have a picture of the car before taking it in, but I know the rims that I have now are not the ones that were on the car when I purchased the car before i took it in. I decided on using a Subaru dealer after reading this site and because of the dealer reputation. Now I have no idea where I can take it for repairs. I am very disappointed.

Thank You in advance
LaniG
 

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Lifer
2015 Forester CVT
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526 Posts
Demand restoration of your property

Hi... I really need help with this one on how to handle the situation. I purchased a used 2001 Forester the week before Christmas. Had a scare with the breaks slipping in the snow so I took it in to a Dealer who I will not name at this time.

I was told that it needed break work done not pads but the rotors. Could not afford to do both back and front so paid over $500.00 and got the front done. Left the shop and noticed that the rims looked much brighter, but was in a hurry; it was very late and had been there for several hours, because I had to wait while the work was being done. This was a Fri. On Sunday a friend at church asked me if I had gotten a different car. I said it is the same car and thought nothing of it, and totally forgot about noticing the difference in the rims. A week later another person asked the same question and this time I asked why? They said, because the rims are different. We went out and looked at them and sure enough my original rims had been replaced. They are Subaru rims, but the fact that they were changed to some shiny ugly rough feeling mat finished rims without my permission and knowledge really made me feel like I was violated.

I will be talking the dealership about this, but am unsure of how to approach them. I do not have a picture of the car before taking it in, but I know the rims that I have now are not the ones that were on the car when I purchased the car before i took it in. I decided on using a Subaru dealer after reading this site and because of the dealer reputation. Now I have no idea where I can take it for repairs. I am very disappointed.

Thank You in advance
LaniG
Take a photo of your car now.

Use the dealers website contact system to send, in writing, the fact the wheels and tires were changed by the dealership without your permission on the date of your service. Ask that whoever receives your message forward that message to the service manager, the sales manager, and the dealership owner(s).

Demand that the dealership inform you when they have time for a quick in-and-out appointment to restore what you bought.

Inform Subaru of America, the State Bureau of Automotive Affairs, and the State Attorney General, in written form, of the fraud. Request a response regarding their intended action from SoA, the BAR, and the AG.

You seem like a very nice person. This is probably not a case where you should be excessively nice.

Let us know who the dealer is and how you do please.

Best of luck!
 

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2014 Forester 2.5i Touring
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24 Posts
Take a photo of your car now.

Use the dealers website contact system to send, in writing, the fact the wheels and tires were changed by the dealership without your permission on the date of your service. Ask that whoever receives your message forward that message to the service manager, the sales manager, and the dealership owner(s).

Demand that the dealership inform you when they have time for a quick in-and-out appointment to restore what you bought.

Inform Subaru of America, the State Bureau of Automotive Affairs, and the State Attorney General, in written form, of the fraud. Request a response regarding their intended action from SoA, the BAR, and the AG.

You seem like a very nice person. This is probably not a case where you should be excessively nice.

Let us know who the dealer is and how you do please.

Best of luck!
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I disagree with this accelerated approach. I'm don't disagree that you may get to the point of bringing in legal entities but I don't think that's step #1. I say go to the dealership or email them explaining what occurred and ask for an explanation. Obviously this doesn't mean you have to accept this explanation and I would ask as many questions as needed to try and get to the bottom of this. If your first step is to bring in the authorities you won't get your rims back and you'll get nowhere discussing things with the dealership
 

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Just a member
03 XS AUTO
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847 Posts
Check the vin on your car. Make sure it is yours. Are all of your personal belongings inside or do they belong to someone else. The car you are in, may not be yours. It can and has happened many times before. If it is your car, drive up to the dealership and talk to the service manager. Someone else may have talked to him already about having the wrong wheels on their car. Swapped wheels is highly unusual thing to happen.
 

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Just a member
03 XS AUTO
Joined
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847 Posts
Take a photo of your car now.

Use the dealers website contact system to send, in writing, the fact the wheels and tires were changed by the dealership without your permission on the date of your service. Ask that whoever receives your message forward that message to the service manager, the sales manager, and the dealership owner(s).

Demand that the dealership inform you when they have time for a quick in-and-out appointment to restore what you bought.

Inform Subaru of America, the State Bureau of Automotive Affairs, and the State Attorney General, in written form, of the fraud. Request a response regarding their intended action from SoA, the BAR, and the AG.

You seem like a very nice person. This is probably not a case where you should be excessively nice.

Let us know who the dealer is and how you do please.

Best of luck!
Good grief man chill out. The dealer could have made a mistake. I am always disappointed when someone wants to start to resolve a problem by immediately getting the legal system involved. Yes he could write a bunch of letters, contact the AG from his area, or he could go up the the service manager of the dealer and say "Hey man, these wheels aren't mine, any ideas what happened." Which do you think sounds better? Which do you think he will get the best and fastest results from?

Two kinds of people in the world....
 

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Premium Member
2014 Forester XT Touring CVT
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12,780 Posts
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! I disagree with this accelerated approach. I'm don't disagree that you may get to the point of bringing in legal entities but I don't think that's step #1. I say go to the dealership or email them explaining what occurred and ask for an explanation. Obviously this doesn't mean you have to accept this explanation and I would ask as many questions as needed to try and get to the bottom of this. If your first step is to bring in the authorities you won't get your rims back and you'll get nowhere discussing things with the dealership
I agree with this.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,710 Posts
$500 to have brakes done on 2 wheels is outrageous. You need to find a good local shop...I know..I know..this is phila. That price should have covered all 4 wheels...pads and rotors.
 

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2014 2.5i Premium 6MT
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82 Posts
First confirm that you have the right car. If the rims were swapped start by assuming it was a mistake (could be). If the wheels were swapped intentionally it was by an employee and likely not an institutional problem: the dealership will be grateful if it gives them a chance to identify and deal with a dishonest employee.

Call the service manager. Do not request an appointment. Tell them what happened and that you will be by tomorrow at a precise time so they can put your own wheels back on your car. YOU are telling THEM--you are in charge.

When you show up, talk to the service manager directly. If your wheels magically reappear and are quickly installed, assume this was a mistake. I think this is the most likely scenario, and you can facilitate it by giving them a graceful exit regardless of whether they deserve it or not.

If your wheels do NOT appear, be prepared to prove that your car had different wheels before (you should be able to identify the brand/style/etc. A photo would be good, a receipt from a tire shop that has the serial numbers of the tires would also be good. Tell the manager you will be contacting the owner of the dealership and SOA.

If the service manager resists, then send a certified, return receipt letter to the owner (not the manager) of the dealership, and another to SOA. Read up on how to write complaint letters before you compose this letter. You don't need a lawyer, but tone and attention to detail (names of people at the dealership, date, time, etc.) will help you get what you want. If you paid by credit card, you can cancel the transaction (explain that in the letter)--in that case you should also call the accounting department and explain that your wheels were switched in error and you'll reauthorize the charge when you get them back. Mention to them as well that you are writing the owner. These people are more sensitive to the bottom line than low-level employees in the service department and they will likely apply pressure as well.

Years ago I had a problem with a dealership and had to do this. The employee involved was fired, the owner thanked me, and I continued to have some work done there (though much less).

And, yeah, $500 for a pair of rotors and pads is way expensive. There's probably no point in going back there regardless of the outcome. Brakes are high on the list of things any shop can do where the dealer has no technical advantage based on proprietary equipment from the manufacturer.
 

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Resident Coffee Addict
2012 X Premium 5 Speeds of AWESOMENESS
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562 Posts
I had an issue with a dealership near to me. The service tech had broken the tensioner bolt on my alternator, and no one had informed me it had happened. It wasn't even on the service ticket. I only noticed it when all of my electrics started to act up. When I got home, I checked it, and noticed the bolt was broken.

I called up the dealership, and spoke to the service manager. He assured me that the tech who worked on my Foz wouldn't have done that and not told anyone about it. Well, needless to say, I wasn't too happy about it, and I made my dissatisfaction known to the service manager. He said he would make it right, but I ended up replacing the part with a part from the salvage yard. And I never heard from the dealership again. I will never use that dealership again.

Dealerships are business just like any other. If you express your dissatisfaction, firmly, and with an assured demeanor, stating that if they don't make it right, you will go above their heads, usually, they will make it right.
 

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12 Premium 5-speed
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4,486 Posts
$500 to have brakes done on 2 wheels is outrageous. You need to find a good local shop...I know..I know..this is phila. That price should have covered all 4 wheels...pads and rotors.
Or four used wheels...
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT Manual
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219 Posts
Post a picture of your entire bill from the Subaru dealer. Cover the names/addresses if you wish.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
+1

Was gonna suggest that. Would love to see...............................
 

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2001 Forester Automatic
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4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Everyone,
All of this is very Helpful in giving me a starting point and direction. Unfortunately I don't have a scanner to image the bill. I really appreciate this forum. I see now that I was fully taken advantage of. That shouldn't surprise me. It's to be expected I guess. I'm not ready for the retirement home yet, but when they see the a grey headed woman coming their way I guess all they see is easy money and Dollar signs. I will take the median approach. Firm and direct, telling them of their mistake and requesting my mag wheels back. Do they still call them MAGS did I even spell it right?
Thank you Everyone
Lani
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
Lani

Probably alloys nowadays :) (Mags being corruption of magnesium wheels for racing.) (Assuming you had alloys wheels and not wheel covers?)


If you like, you could just briefly list out what that $500 bill covered, parts, labour, etc
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,432 Posts
Did your original wheels look like this? These are the stock alloys that came with the 2001 S model:



This is what the steel wheels from the L model look like - is that what they put on your car instead?

 

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2010 Scion xB
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1,055 Posts
Lani,

Like many businesses of that size, there are camera's everywhere and I wouldn't be surprised if the video is stored somewhere in the database of your visit. Good luck and it seems I hear more horror stories of dealerships than small shops when it comes to repairs or the aftermath of service.

Good Luck!
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
Silke

Good find, I had a look on 101 and couldn't see much for that era.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
Although I should know what they look like as I had one, too! :icon_redface: hehehe
 

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2014 Forester XT CVT w/ S & S#
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307 Posts
Thanks Everyone,
All of this is very Helpful in giving me a starting point and direction. Unfortunately I don't have a scanner to image the bill.
Lani
You don't need a scanner ... take a digital pic with a good smart phone or a digital camera. Flash off, good indirect light, contrasting/plain background.

There is a website and app called "Repair Pal" ... debatable how good it is, but it lists high / low repair costs for various repairs in your area (ZIP code) and it lists recommended repair shops. Or ask here ... someone must know of a good shop in your metro area
 

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2011 Forester 5 Speed Manual
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1,612 Posts
theft? file a police report

then really apply heat & use the real name of the business which may not be the name of the dealership, also get the name of the Service Manager, you'll need an individuals name:

file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
BBB serving Metro Washington DC & Eastern Pennsylvania

file a complaint with the Attorney General's office
The Office: Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

take them to Small Claims Court:
How Do I... @ The Philadelphia Courts - First Judicial District of Pennsylvania

stay organized and keep separate files for each complaint / report / case

they need to know you are not alone. someone there knows what happened. someone there knows the person / people responsible. don't lose your temper. don't get emotional
 
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