Losing Trust and Moving On
I have been through a difficult week.
If you know me, you know I’m an optimist and a trusting person. I trust the world so much that I refused to teach my children to be afraid of it, staring down a pre-school teacher who was horrified that Peter approached a strange elder at the mall on an outing (and of course made both of their days).
Thus, when the world slaps me with its unfairness I do not take it well. The automobile dealership put a transmission with a cracked housing into my car in October. On the two occasions I took the car back in for a fluid leak they failed to tell the transmission housing was cracked, although I specifically asked if the leak was a sign of a larger problem, and they had just attempted to repair the damage with silicon. I have always had a hard time with mechanics because my experience has been negative, so it was even more difficult that I trusted them and they so betrayed that trust.
I have a more realistic view now that the being a consumer leaves you very few rights since the system is built and maintained by people with the money and power to keep it running for their own benefit. I do not suggest that any mechanic would knowingly put in a broken part - I think it more likely they simply failed to inspect it after they assured me they would. However, auto dealerships (at least in Colorado) have built a system so completely to their benefit that they make more money if they put a bad part in your automobile than if it is good. They charge you labor twice. If I have another mechanic look at their work, I have no right to charge them for the inspection even if it turns out the work was done improperly.
Before you have work done, find out what is warrantied and what the conditions of the warranty are. It is likely that on a failure you will pay a second labor charge, and possible that if the first part is broken and replaced, the warranty still ends relative to the first repair date. It is probable that you have no rights for anyone but the original shop to do any warranty work.
When the world slaps me, I get emotional. I cry; I eat too much; I am not pleasant to be around. Part of healing is seeing beyond – it’s just a car, and in the end I am only out about $250 due to their actions. I know I do not want to do business with them again. This is a valuable lesson, perhaps worth $250. Since October I have taken my other two vehicles to a different mechanic and gained respect for him. He treats me like I am not an idiot, and excitedly shows me how bad a part is that he pulled off. A long time ago I worked on cars. I know what a spark plug is supposed to look like. This mechanic inspected the transmission when I suspected the dealership was trying to cover up its earlier work. Going from having two repair shops I trust to one is a survivable change. Going from one to none would have been, well, I’m not sure how I would have worked it out.
And far more than that, - the really important thing is that despite being difficult to be around, I had the support of an amazing array of people. My children’s father went far beyond what anyone could have expected in interacting with the dealership when I did not feel I could without screaming hysterically at them, and he eventually negotiated the best settlement we could get. My new mechanic has been awesome spending much time on the phone with me, my children’s father, and the dealership. My boyfriend happens to be a forensic scientist and photographer specializing in automobiles and recorded the evidence. When I had to take the old transmission to the dealership, my son (not a morning person) drove it up there so I would not have to interact with them. Other friends also offered emotional support. I was not alone. I was instead supported by the right people with the right skills willing to help me get to the other side of this, get my car back, and move on.
Moving on is about finding the good in a bad experience. It’s about silver linings and lessons. It’s about feeling the love and support you’re offered, alongside the negative. It’s also about forgiveness. I will not forget what happened, nor have I completely let go of clever (and legal) ideas for revenge. But I’m not holding this in my heart. I’m moving on.
And oh my goodness! If in all the troubles of the world, I say “I've been through a difficult week” because of anything to do with a car, let me be immensely grateful.
Thanks for listening. I needed to share. (If you live in the Fort Collins area and need the name of either the dealership or my new mechanic, feel free to ask me in email. )