Mazda Dealer Won't Give Loyalty Discount Because Insurer Now Owns My Totaled Car

What does it mean to be “loyal” to a car manufacturer? Brett tells Consumerist that he wanted to take advantage of a program that offered a $500 loyalty discount to people who already own Mazdas. He negotiated a price with a local dealer, then learned that he wasn’t eligible for the $500 discount…because his previous Mazda had been totaled (that’s a picture of it, at left), and his car insurance company now holds the title.

My last two cars have been Mazdas. My most recent one was a 2005 Mazda Tribute that was totalled while I slept soundly in my nearby apartment. A driver fell asleep and rammed into my car, pushing it on top of the car parked behind me (see attached picture). My insurance company wrote me a check for the car and I went car shopping. A big incentive for me was the $500 Mazda Owner Loyalty Cash Program (fine print below). I explained my situation, that I had to send in my Title to my insurance company, but I have a copy of it and my registration. I proceeded to negotiate a price over email.

When I actually arrived at the dealership to close the deal, they wouldn’t honor the promotion because technically my insurance company now owned the car. While factually correct, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m “loyal” to Mazda. It just seems absurd that Mazda would choose not to honor a promotion for such a technicality. If Mazda doesn’t consider me a loyal customer, then why should I remain loyal?

This seems like a flimsy excuse to deny a discount that is relatively small compared to the total price of the car. Try contacting the company (escalate if necessary.) Or, is there another Mazda dealership in town? They might knock $500 off the price just for the sake of taking a sale away from a competitor. Or not, but why not find out?

From Mazda’s site, here are the details of the program Brett was trying to take part in:

Mazda Owner Loyalty Cash Program $500 is good toward a new 2010 MAZDA3, 2010 MAZDA6, 2010 CX-7 or 2010 CX-9. Excludes MAZDASPEED3. The Mazda Owner Loyalty Cash Program CANNOT be combined with other private offers but CAN be combined with other public purchase incentives including but not limited to customer cash back, lease and APR incentives/offers. The offer is transferable within household, must live at the same address. Present dealer with proof of ownership (copy of vehicle registration or title) at time of purchase. Offer expires 6/30/2010

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.