Nice try, shady Nissan dealer

I had an incredibly frustrating experience with a local Nissan dealer that I wanted to share so other Nissan owners don’t fall victim to the same shenanigans. I won’t name the dealer, because everything was resolved in the end, and I don’t want its name to show up in Google searches, but anyone who knows where I live can probably figure it out. And if any of my friends also drive Nissans and want to avoid this place (highly recommended), email me and I’ll tell you which dealer it was.

HomeyOne Sunday last month, I drove to my softball quarterfinal and semifinal doubleheader, blasting Rush to help wake me up. That was the last time my car stereo worked properly. I actually didn’t use it on the way back from the field, because I took our dog home from the park. I also drove into Hoboken and back that afternoon, but didn’t have any music on because the entire family was in the car.

The next morning, when I started up the Rogue to go satisfy my craving for Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, the very same Rush CD was playing, but there was dead silence in the car. The same thing happened with the radio, and with a different CD. The stereo was powering up, spinning the CD and pulling in radio signals, but nothing at all was coming out of the speakers.

I decided to take the Rogue in that day and choose between two nearby dealers, clearly making the wrong choice. I should have gone to the dealer in the better area, but I thought the traffic would be lighter going to the one in the crappier area, and I knew exactly where it was. My gut told me to go to the better dealer, but I didn’t listen.

I drove to the dealer late that morning and, after waiting about an hour (perfectly acceptable wait), I was told that a new radio was being ordered, and that everything was under warranty, so it wouldn’t cost me anything. The woman at the front desk said the radio should arrive by the end of that week, and someone from the dealership would call when it was received.

I never heard from the dealership, so I called the following Monday and, no exaggeration, spoke with seven different people and was put on hold for several minutes three different times, just to find out if the radio had arrived (it did, and no one bothered to call) and to set up an appointment to get it installed.

I brought the Rogue in that Tuesday and, after two-and-a-half hours, the technician who worked on the job came into the waiting area and told me there were coins in my car stereo, and that putting a new unit in didn’t solve the problem, so I’d have to bring the car back another day and leave it there. When I said I had no idea how coins could have gotten into the stereo, he mentioned noticing the car seat in the back and said kids do things like this all the time.

My kid has never, ever been in the front seat of my car. And I don’t keep coins in the car anymore. I used to keep quarters in the car for meters, but most meters in Hoboken and Manhattan have been converted to the centralized payment boxes that accept cards.

While I did buy my Rogue used, I have had it since January 2013, and I have listened to CDs or Yankees games just about every time I have driven the car. I have never, ever heard anything resembling the sound of loose coins jingling around my radio. It’s a very obvious sound and pretty hard to miss.

I was asked to bring the car back that Friday and leave it at the dealership. Again, my gut told me to bring it to a different dealer, but I was swamped that week, so I kept the appointment.

After not hearing anything all day, I called late in the afternoon, and they said they’d check on the car. A different person called back and said I could come get the car by 6, and then asked how I intended to pay for the radio. When I mentioned that I was told everything was covered by warranty, he said, “Well, the coins in your radio made your warranty invalid.”

At this point, I absolutely blew a gasket, and insisted that there was no way I was responsible for putting coins in my car radio, because I am not a moron, and there was no way my kid was responsible because, as I said earlier, he has never been in the front seat of my car.

I asked how much they were trying to charge me, and the total came to about $600, between the new radio and labor. I said, “Don’t you think someone should have called me and ASKED if I wanted to spend $600 repairing a radio?” After a few seconds of silence, he said he would call me back, and he did a few minutes later to tell me they would figure out a way to put the repair through under warranty, and I could come get my car.

I have two conclusions, although I don’t have solid proof of either. The first is that the only reason they didn’t press the issue on paying for this job is the fact that no one called to ask my permission to move forward. The second, and more controversial, is that they had a radio with coins stuffed into it sitting around, and when they saw the car seat in my car, figured they could convince me that my kid put coins in my radio, so that they didn’t have to pay for it.

There was absolutely no way in hell I was giving this dealership $600, or even $6.

Anyway, as I said, I won’t name the dealer, because the situation was resolved (albeit with tons of aggravation), and I don’t want people Googling that dealer to come across a blog post. I struggled with the decision on that, but I feel like it’s the right thing to do.

But as a general word of caution, be careful when you pull into a dealership with a car seat in your car. Certain people apparently think car seats are an invitation to pull off shady things. Not on my watch

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