Yesterday many of us were bummed out by hearing that it’s perfectly legal for a repair shop employee to take a customer’s car for a joyride. And if the car gets wrecked in the process, well, there’s not much police can do. Which is why it’s heartening to hear that a man whose $55,000 Camaro was wrecked during a dealership worker’s joyride is getting his car replaced… after the dealership had a good dose of public shaming.
A Delaware car dealership employee took a customer’s rare Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for a spin last month and sent it straight into a telephone poll, reports the News Journal, and since then the owner says it’s been a helluva time getting it replaced.
John, who’s been collecting Camaros for a long time, wanted the dealership to find him a replacement for his black 2012 version of the car, which is the most powerful four-passenger car Chevrolet makes. Current models start at around $55,000.
But at first the dealership’s managers said they weren’t responsible for the joyride and instead simply blamed the employee. Once John took his tale of woe to the camaro5.com forums, however, the bad publicity stirred up a firestorm for the dealership.
After hundreds of phone calls, a few posts on blogs and an onslaught of comments on Facebook, the dealership has finally found a replacement for John’s Camaro that he can live with. He’s agreed to pay the same payments he had been making on his wrecked car.
“I cried for about 10 minutes, looking at my black car, trashed,” John said of when he got the phone call that his car had been totaled. He’d brought it in for a paint repair under warranty. “It was a very sentimental car. And I know the collectability of these cars.”
State Police charged the employee with with careless driving and failure to have proof of insurance in the December accident, and he was fired from his job the day he was due back at work after the crash. That’s when the dealership started dragging its feet on providing insurance information and didn’t want to help him find a replacement, John said in his forum posts.
Eventually the dealership offered him another 2012 Zl1 they’d found, but John said it was subpar and wouldn’t do. When his posts went viral this month, he says retired General Motors executives called him personally to say that GM would probably step in.
He met with the dealership this week and finally was offered a better replacement, a 2013 model he’s agreed to buy.
“An unfortunate thing that happened to the consumer has turned into an unfortunate situation for the dealer as well,” a sales manager at the dealership said. “We feel we’ve done as best we can.”
In the meantime, John is grateful for some of the dealership’s employees, saying they’ve gone through quite a lot in this whole ordeal. He even brought the receptionist flowers for having to field so many angry phone calls.
“It was really overwhelming,” John explained of the posts’ popularity. “I want to try to get everything back to normal. I don’t want no hard feelings over all this.”
*Thanks for the link, Kenneth!
Wrecked Camaro’s tale goes viral; owner getting replacement ZL1 [The News Journal]