Five years ago I walked into one of your dealerships just outside of Atlanta on a mission to purchase myself a diesel Jetta. The moment I saw her I knew that she was the one. She was bright red with cream interior and she was perfect. After some negotiating and paper signing, the keys were handed to me and Charley was mine. All mine.
After many miles, a plethora of road trips, countless car karaoke sessions, and too many memories to count, Charley brought me back to my home in Memphis. Just under a year after returning home and a month after officially obtaining her title, the news ran a story. A story that quickly became The Story. Every VW TDI owner knows the story.
You had committed fraud. Fraud with the emissions regulations on your TDI engines. Most of the specific mechanics around the issue I still don't quite understand, but I do know that the moment I heard the news, I held out hope that maybe my Charley wasn't one of the ones that would be affected. However, I had the familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong. Deep down I knew. I knew that I had finally finished paying her off, I finally had the title in hand, and now there was a problem. A problem I couldn't solve. A problem that I had to wait to find out if it was only a minor problem or if it was a major problem.
That waiting was extended a few times with the delays in the settlement agreement with the courts. Then again, this is something that you already know. You know how long your customers had to wait, you know how long your customers drove their vehicles around wishing they were coated in bubble wrap, and you know you made a big mistake. You know all of these things.
I know that you know these things because you immediately went into damage control surrounding your image. You sent out goodwill packages and we are sorry letters. You paid off your customers with gift cards, roadside assistance, and the promise to right the wrongs.
The problem I had with this goodwill package was that I had to register and submit for the package. You didn't contact owners directly and let them know that their TDI engines may be ones that were affected. You tucked your tails and buried your heads hoping that people wouldn't come claim what was rightfully theirs. I appreciated the package in the sense that it was the very least you could do and it helped me to buy the new A/C compressor in my car. The very one that has to be done in a dealership and thus is quite overpriced. The very one that today is a purchase I wouldn't make again. The very one that sits in my TDI waiting to be shipped away and never used again.
Once I received the information about how the settlement would proceed I weighed my options. I bought Charley without the intention of getting rid of her. This car was with me for the long haul. She was solidly built and other than an A/C compressor, I hadn't had any problems with her. It took me a long time to fully digest what had happened and make a decision on my next step. Ultimately I decided the problem was major and not minor so I decided that it made more sense to take the buyback option. Originally I told myself I wouldn't take the buyback option, but after doing some research and reading through the proposed settlement fully it just didn't seem likely that you would be able to fix my girl Charley. I submitted my choice and then sat back to wait on my final offer.
When I received my final offer I was in shock. This was really going to happen. I was going to give up something that I had worked so hard to take care of and maintain. I was going to hand the keys back and walk away. I wasn't happy that the amount I was getting didn't match the amount that I paid for a car that you knew had a problem. I decided that I had more than made up the difference in amounts with the years and love that Charley had given me. I signed and resubmitted my offer letter only to wait some more. Are you noticing a theme yet?
Finally some progress happened. I got the email that my paperwork had been accepted and it was time to make my buyback appointment. Of course I would have to wait over a month for my appointment. The first appointment available was today January 6th. That was fine with me because it bought me a little more time with Charley and would allow me ample time to make the best decision on what vehicle I should purchase next.
Today. Appointment day. Today. The day that I lost all faith in you. Today. The day that took me from disappointed with you to angry with you. So incredibly angry. I arrived at my appointment on time only to be left standing in the showroom for thirty minutes. Thirty minutes with only one person acknowledging my existence. Nothing like making an appointment and waiting around. Customer service at it's finest right there. After the thirty minute delay I was asked to walk outside so that pictures could be taken of my car. Once back inside the office I learned that due to my mileage my buyback option was going to be less that the amount on the check. The amount that you agreed to pay me based on mileage I had already provided. The amount that you came up with. The amount that I accepted with no questions or push back. The amount that I am currently owed and being told I will not receive. Not only will I not be receiving it, I have to come back at a later date to do this whole parade again.
I have to come back to you. To you who caused this problem. I have to reschedule my day again to bring you my car that you sold me with a defect. My car that I worked so very hard to own. My car that today I was prepared to hand the keys back and walk away. My car that is now currently sitting in my driveway because you refused to accept her.
Do you know when I get the privilege of returning? February. The end of February. Almost two months from today. Two months. Completely and utterly unacceptable. I was taught that if you create a problem you fix it. You fix it efficiently, you fix it well, and you make sure that if anyone was affected that you give them everything you can to rectify your wrong. You and I clearly weren't taught the same.
My disappointment dissipated a while ago during all the waiting that I have done. The anger. The anger is still very much there. It is very prevalent and sits right on the surface. At the genesis of this whole issue, I was never mad. Now I am mad. You've lost a customer. You've lost a customer who is loyal to the end. This, this is the end. I will not recommend you to anyone. In fact I will make sure that everyone knows the situation you have created and refuse to resolve. I will let everyone know that the people you employ are not helpful in the least. That behind the curtain, through the smoke and mirrors you are a company with morals that don't align. You are a company that places themselves in such high regard that they forget the customer. The customer who is always right. The customer who spends their hard earned money with you. The very customer who is sitting here now writing you a letter to let you know how this situation that is monetarily painful for you harbors more than just monetary pain with her.
I wish I could say that I wish you the best, but I don't. I wish you everything you deserve. I wish for this whole episode to be over and the chapter to end, but again I am forced to wait for you.
Tired of Waiting