Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Vehicle Go Round

So my husband and son went on a little trip this past week down to Fort Lauderdale. One of the men in our church was going down to visit his son and he invited my guys to go with him. The trip was to include scuba diving in the ocean and ... lobstering? Fishing for lobster? However you want to say it. So they left Thursday afternoon after work. They took our van because they were towing a boat. Normally Terry would use his pickup truck for something like that, but the truck is without a side mirror, courtesy of our son. Yeah, another story and he'll get that thing replaced this week, thank you very much.
So they're driving down in our van on what I thought was a 2-1/2 hour trip. Turns out it's more between 4-5 hours. At least, that's what I found out when Terry called me at 10:30 Thursday night. They were in Jupiter, Florida, one hundred miles north of Ft. Lauderdale and the van was broken down. Seems the alternator went out on them. So he wanted me to find a Ford dealership near where they were and told me to find the warranty papers. So I got online, searching for Ford dealerships in Jupiter. There aren't any, by the way. I found a couple as close as I could, but I needed to know exactly where they exited so I could direct them to the closest one. Then I had to find to warranty papers. We'd used them in November of last year, and then they had disappeared. I had looked through all the files and any stacks of paper I could find, but the warranty papers weren't there. At one point earlier this year, I had even called the dealership that did the warranty work because they had copied our warranty contract. They couldn't seem to find it either.
Well, now I was getting desparate. They needed those warranty papers down in Jupiter. So I prayed and asked God to help me find them. Then it occurred to me that I switched purses right around Christmas time. Sure enough, the papers were in my old purse. I love it when God answers prayer!
I was also thrilled because it only took me half an hour to find the dealership and the papers. I called Terry back only to hear that the guy they were traveling with had Triple A Plus, and so they were towing the van the rest of the way to Ft. Lauderdale. So I wasted my time looking for Jupiter dealerships. Terry told me he would call me in the morning with fax numbers so I could fax a copy of the warranty. I said sure, I could do it as soon as I got to work. He said fine. Now, Terry knows I start work at 10:00 in the morning. I figured if he needed something earlier he would say so. Well, he did say so, but not until 7:30 the next morning.
I was just getting ready to get in the shower when he called me with the dealership fax number. He spoke as if he expected to get the fax right away, so I reminded him that I didn't start work until ten.
"They've got to have these papers now, so they can start work on the van!" He insisted. "Otherwise they won't have it done when we're ready to leave Saturday afternoon."
I should mention that Terry had arranged for a sitter for our four boys while I was working on Friday. The sitter was 20-25 minutes south of our house. My job is 10 minutes north of our house. You do the math. There was no way I had time for a fax run and still get to work on time.
So I grabbed the warranty and ran to Office Max, fuming all the way. I ended up standing outside the Office Max for 10 minutes because they didn't open until eight in the morning. Steam was coming out my ears by the time they finally opened the doors. The man at the fax counter very slowly copied all the pages of the warranty and then set up the fax. I know I was driving him nuts, but I couldn't help it. I drummed my fingers on the counter, shifted from one foot to the other and basically appeared to be practically jumping out of my skin. The man slowly cleaned up his area until I wanted to climb over the counter and check the fax myself. Surely it must be done by now! He kept reassuring me it would take just a little longer. When the thing finally beeped, fifteen minutes later, it was because the machine had cut off on the last page. I frantically dialed my husband.
"Are you still at the dealership?"
"No, why?"
"The fax didn't go through. And now I'm really going to be late to work!"
"Here, let me give you their number to call. Do you have a pen?"
There was some noise in the background. "yeah, I've got one."
More noise. "Are you ready to write it down?"
"Yes, give it to me!"
More noise in the background. "Have you got a pen yet?"
Apparently he couldn't hear me, so I spoke louder. The Office Max guy moved away discreetly and that's when I realized I probably looked and sounded like I was out of control. Well, I was. I hadn't even had a shower yet for pete's sake.
I made it clear that I was ready for the number. When I called the dealership the guy told me his machine ran out of paper, but it was fixed now. I wasn't sure why that would cut off the fax, as most machines will store the incoming message until new paper was added. Then I asked him how many pages he actually got. The guy said all he really needed was the first page with the name and phone number of the warranty company. I nearly exploded. I could have given that information to Terry over the phone last night. And that also explained the cut-off fax. The guy didn't need the other pages so he simply disconnected. Creep!
Then I had to convince the Office Max guy that the fax did go through. Without a confirmation, he just wasn't quick to accept that. I assured him that I, the customer, was satisfied. Now could I just pay the stupid bill so I could go? Apparently they are supposed to have a confirmation sheet before they ring it up, and he really had a problem deviating from procedure. He finally rang it up and I almost ran for the door. I was headed back home when my husband called again.
"Hi. They got the fax. They're fine."
"I know."
More noise in the background. "What did you say?"
My boiling point was reached. "I said, I just found that out!" I hung up the phone without waiting for him to answer and raced home. I ended up being only ten minutes late to work, which surprised me. Terry called that afternoon and we spoke briefly and then I didn't hear from him until Saturday afternoon.
"Does our warranty cover a rental?"
All that rushing for nothing. When Terry called the dealership Saturday morning to see if the vehicle was ready, they told him there was a process they had to go through with our warranty, so they weren't ready yet. I called the warranty company and found out that the dealership was calling at the same time for authorization to do the work. Their process consisted of ignoring our van until we needed it. When they were caught in their lie, then they got belligerent. They had other work to do and our timeframe wasn't their problem. They finally agreed to pay $35 a day for a rental for three days. And by the way, the rental company closes in half an hour. You'd better hurry if you want to get there on time.
Do you know what size car you get for $35 a day? Something in the area of a Yugo. But the car rental agent had mercy on them. He rented them a pickup for $35 a day so they could tow the boat back home. Now Terry has to make another trip down there by Tuesday to return the rental and pick up our van. He'll have to take the boys with him because I have to work. Oh, and did I mention we're supposed to get a hurricane on Tuesday? Yeah, that was some great weekend!

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