Car companies are run by humans, deal with it (long)

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Active member
May 14, 2018
Tesla Owner
Model 3
This isn't a story about delivery of my Tesla (which was awesome!, btw), but a reminder that all car companies have their own problems, and I don't expect either Tesla or anyone else to ever be perfect. I share this because (1) it's painful sometimes to read complaints and think "yeah, that happens everywhere, humans are imperfect", but keep my mouth shut because it's generally not what the person going through it in the moment wants or needs to hear and (2) I just wanted to vent about my non-Tesla experience in the past few months that followed picking up my Model 3 in June.

In late 2015, my favorite car that I'd ever owned up to that point, an 2005 Acura TL, was reaching it's end of life for me. It had a lot of life left in it for someone, but needed some work that I neither wanted to foot the bill for nor logistically deal with. I also knew the Model 3 was coming, but it hadn't yet been revealed, and I had some serious savings to build up to be ready. So, I drove the TL to Carmax, took their offer and called it day -- yes, I know I could get a little more in a private sale, but Carmax max it's so easy that it was worth it to me to take a small hit.

At that moment, I needed a car to get me through a few years until the Model 3 was out, so I decided on a 3 year lease of a Hyundai Sonata Plug-in on the logic that it would ease me into electric without giving up the pseudo luxury feel that I came to appreciate with Acura, and it would hopefully be timed perfectly for when the Model 3 would likely be ready.

The buying/leasing experience of the Hyundai was abysmal. I won't go into gory detail, but will summarize as it took me 3 hours at the dealer just to agree on the price that was listed on their website, and then the actual paperwork had all sorts of other things that made it more, etc... basically, the nonsense you'd expect from a traditional dealer. About 2 weeks after taking it home I discovered a small dent in the driver side door just below the door handle. I have no idea how I didn't notice it the day I got it, but I didn't. Since it was barely noticeable, and I had minor damage protection on the lease agreement, I just let it go and never thought about it again. Point being, the traditional dealer buying experience sucks in it's own wonderful ways, and still doesn't catch 100% of problems on cars prior to sale.

Fast forward to June 2018, and my Model 3 is ready. I go pick it up, bask in the glow of feeling like a 12 year old that just opened his NES on Christmas morning, and then give it 2 weeks with the Hyundai still sitting in the driveway, just in case anything comes up on the 3. Nothing does, so I'm ready to return the lease. It's a few months early, but there is no penalty and they say to just drop it off at the dealer and they'd send the bill for the lease balance. Perfect, and just as I expected. Thus, I call the dealer to be sure and drop it off that day. They give me the plates and an odometer reading confirmation form, and I'm on my way. All that's left is to return the plates to the state and cancel my insurance, for which I choose to wait until I get the final bill... I have no idea if that's a requirement, but it felt right and I figured it would be one extra month, no big deal.

A month passes and nothing from the lease company, so I call and they say the dealer hasn't "grounded it". I call the dealer, the finance guy I talk to says he'll look into and call me back. He doesn't, so I call him two days later... he forgot, and will look into it and call me back in 15 minutes. He does this time, and says he found a stack of papers that didn't get processed and will do it immediately (I fail to verify that mine is actually part of that stack... doh!). Another month passes, nothing. I call the dealer again... that guy no longer works there, lovely. I talk to another guy that forwards me to the service manager... I get voicemail, leave a message, never get called back. I call a week later, same drill. It's now the 2nd week in August, 2 months since I dropped off the car. I decide to drive to the dealer to deal with it in person, and talk to another service guy (the manager is on vacation until next week, which does turn out to be true, fwiw). I'm no longer associated with the car in the service centers computer (great!), but none of the paperwork has been filed, so we go over to the sales manager together and he tells the service guy to find the keys and he'll take care of it right there. Guess what, he can't find the keys and says he'll look into it and call me later. He never does, so I call him 3 days later and he says the service manager was supposed to call me and he'll get him to do so right away. He never does, so I drive down there again and find the service manager in person. They STILL CAN'T FIND THE KEYS! Does that mean they can't find the car either? wth? I have no idea and didn't ask.

At this point, my general feeling is "this isn't my problem, take me to the sales manager and ground it so that I'm done". I literally stand over the sales managers shoulder for 15 minutes while he logs into Hyundai finance and grounds it. He said he'd shoot me a message when it was done, but I wasn't falling for that again. He finishes, and I'm waiting for a print out to take with me as paper proof, so that I can be done with this, and their printer is broken ... because of course it is. So now, I'm falling for this again.

Is my lease actually closed out at this point? I have no idea, but will find out Monday when I call Hyundai finance.

In the meantime, I still get to smile every day as I get into the Model 3 and feel like a 12 year old on Christmas morning.