Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My administrative mess with Spinelli Mazda

Cars are major expenses, and for me, it’s the biggest expense that I've committed to. In addition to lease payments & gas being a significant part of my 4 week rolling budgets, I’m realizing that car ownership also comes with significant head-aches. This week, I’m dealing with the frustration of my speeding ticket that has snowballed into a fine for failing to appear in court even though the Canada Post strike meant I never received my summons.

I’m also on the hunt for the $500 that Spinelli Mazda offered as an incentive for making a purchase with them. If you remember from my post about the car purchase, I graduated from university five years ago so I still qualified for a student discount. Score! The $500 was not taken off the purchase price of our car, but would be a mail-in rebate once the paperwork was complete.

Zoom, zoom! My new wheels are fabulous,
but I'm getting a head-ache from them too.

Last month, I realized that we were four months post-purchase and I had not received the $500 cash back. I called my sales rep Jeremiah and spoke to him about the missing moula. He agreed it was strange. Jeremiah promised to call me back the next day once he’d followed-up with the dealership’s accounting department.

Sixteen days later, I realized that he had still not called me back. I phoned in and left another message which he responded to the next day. When we spoke, I was rushing out of a meeting so Jeremiah quickly explained that there had been an error in paperwork. Spinelli Mazda had only processed the registration of our CX7 to my Eye Candy (even though the purchasing agreement was with the two of us), so when he made the request for the $500 student rebate on my behalf, Mazda head-office refused it. And rightly so, my Eye Candy is not the recent graduate.  

Once I hung up with Jeremiah, I was fuming! The dealership made the mistake on the registration and when the rebate was refused, my sales rep didn’t even have the common sense to figure out why and correct the error. There was no reactivity on Jeremiah’s part and all he did was blame the secretary at Spinelli Mazda (who he informed me has since been fired for making similar clerical errors). His laissez-faire attitude towards post-sale customer relationship is appalling to both my Eye Candy and me since we both work in sales & marketing.  

I phoned the SAAQ (Société l’assurance automobile Quebec, not to be confused with the SAQ that is our wine & liquor stores) to better understand my options. I have to go in-person to a SAAQ office with my Eye Candy, wait in line, show the proof of purchase, and pay $124 to have the car re-registered in person to both of us. Then I can send the new registration form back to Mazda Spinella for my $500 student fee.

Knowing that I’d be out both my time and $124 for the registration, I called back the dealership and spoke with Jeremiah. He explained that he had called the dealership’s contact with the SAAQ and Denise at the Lachine SAAQ is aware of our situation. So if my Eye Candy and I go in person with the forms, the SAAQ will refund the initial $124 registration fee that the dealership paid for and charge us $124 for the new registration. He explained it’s a wash on our part.

A wash? Not when it comes to my money.
Except it’s not a wash.

We both have to take time off work to get this done (time = money) and what are the odds that I’ll pick a number, wait in line and magically meet Denise? I really doubt that will happen, but at this point, I have to get the registration sorted out.

The registration came with the car when we picked it up and we should have realized then that the vehicle was not made out to both of us. And when I got pulled over for speeding on my way into a funeral home (read about that ordeal here) and handed over my license and registration to the police officer, I should have noticed then that the car was not made-out to me. Oh, the irony of that!

My Eye Candy has suggested that I start a complaint process with the Mazda head office regarding the dealership’s major lapse in paperwork and my sales rep’s lack of  initiative to get this paperwork messed sorted out.

Personally, I’m tempted to drive back to the dealership and make a big deal about getting the “Spinelli Mazda” bumpersticker removed from the back of my vehicle. At the moment, I would not recommend any of my friends to Jeremiah for their next car purchase, and if they want me to advertise their dealership then they can pay me a $500 media space fee.

Please share any other ideas on how to speed up my registration with the SAAQ and handle my complaint with Mazda.  


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