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Helpful Suggestions

A Message from the Founder of Don’t Buy Nissan: Buy the Competition

Due to life circumstances, I can no longer dedicate the time and energy to answer Nissan owners who write in or post a comment.

After my four year nightmare of owning a Nissan Sentra and getting no help from Nissan Corporate or three different dealerships after 20 services (with the exception of the buyback from Power Nissan), I have dedicated much time the past two years to helping other Nissan owners who have had the unfortunate circumstances of learning what I did — that Nissan cars are faulty, built poorly, with manufacturer defects, Nissan doesn’t stand behind their warranties, nor do the dealerships care to help their customers. All Nissan cares about is the sale.

Hundreds of Nissan owners have written in and I’ve provided as much advice as I could, taking suggestions from my four year struggle. Two years have gone by since Power Nissan bought back my Sentra after I put so much pressure on them, it was the only choice they had, and I can no longer dedicate the time or effort to this website, nor do I want the negativity or bad memories of owning my Nissan.

By the way on a positive note: I am almost two years into my ownership of a Toyota Corolla LE and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Toyota is a great company and they offer 2 years of free maintenance services with any new car, along with low APR (I got 1.9% in February 2012). I highly recommend the Corolla LE — the LE has an awesome Bluetooth radio that you can hook up your phone to and talk handsfree (and get music from your phone over your radio). After doing much research and also considering the Hyundai Elantra (my second choice), Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Kia Forte, I’m very satisfied that I went with the Corolla. And the Marina Del Rey Toyota Dealership totally takes care of me and is awesome. (And I swear this website is not some elongated advertisement for Toyota — my Toyota love is genuine and I came to Toyota after many friends and family recommended them after having multiple Toyotas and witnessing how long they last).

I will leave this website up to help others, and feel free to post your comments. Also below is a list of suggestions I came up with over the past couple years, that I send to others which may or may not be helpful to you [I am not a lawyer and I do not offer legal advice; any advice or suggestions should be researched by you and decisions made based on your own research]:

  • CONTACT THE GENERAL MANAGER (GM) AT THE DEALERSHIP: The Service Manager is usually no help I have found. Go straight to the GM, the top dog at the dealership. A GM settled my dispute and bought back my used Nissan Sentra. If a GM at one dealership won’t help you, try another dealership. Sometimes the GM is listed on the website for the dealership, or just call and ask for their name, try to schedule an appointment, and go down there and explain your situation, and bring documentation if you have it.
  • CONTACT A LEMON LAW ATTORNEY: If you’ve had your Nissan into the dealership multiple times and it’s still under warranty (or possibly it was under warranty when you started having problems) contact a local lemon law attorney ASAP. Most lemon law lawyers should work on a contingent basis, which means you pay them nothing up front, they get a percentage of the settlement and/or the manufacturer ends up paying their fee, which means they only take on cases they believe they will win. Don’t be like me, I waited too long out of warranty, and that’s what the dealerships want you to do. If you are in CA, contact Normal Taylor & Assoc. – he wrote a book on CA lemon law: 888.493.0434,http://www.normantaylor.com/
  • NHTSA: File a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (if enough people do this on your model, they may open an investigation): https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/  – also, research this site and see if there are other reports with your problem.
  • NISSAN CONTACTS: As you will see in a comment on the contacts page here: https://dontbuynissan.wordpress.com/contact/ – another Nissan owner, Joe, said he contacted Bradley Thacker’s office and someone there helped him out.  You may want to try him or some of the other contacts on that list.  Remember to be really nice, as you get more bees with honey.
  • SMALL CLAIMS COURT: you may also want to look into filing a small claims lawsuit against the dealership and/or Nissan North America.  In the state of CA the maximum for small claims court was raised to $10,000 in 2012.  Lawyers are not allowed in CA small claims court, so Nissan cannot bring lawyers and if you do, you can ask the judge to throw them out (look up the Heather Peters Honda Civic case).
  • TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETINS: Technical Service Bulletins are internal memo’s from the manufacturer to the dealerships when they have received multiple complaints on an issue and have issued a “fix” to the dealers, however they don’t deem it necessary to “issue a recall.”  See if you can find any “Technical Service Bulletins / TSB’s” on your car here: http://x.nissanhelp.com/forums/Knowledgebase/links/160 (this site allows you 2 free TSB’s per day or you can sign up and pay for unlimited, this is where I found the TSB’s on my Sentra that proved it was a known issue).  You may then be able to use these TSB’s as negotiating power, since they show it’s a known issue (honestly it didn’t work for me, as I really encountered some slimeballs that just didn’t care, but every dealership is different).
  • AAA: Also, if you are a AAA member and the dealership is a AAA dealership, then depending on what membership you have, AAA might be able to step in to help negotiate (not all dealers are AAA though) – if you have AAA, call them for advice.
  • YELP: You can also write a review on Yelp (www.yelp.com) of both the dealership and Nissan Consumer Affairs http://www.yelp.com/biz/nissan-consumer-affairs-franklin, and I would suggest naming names in your reviews, as I have found some people don’t like their names searchable on the internet and this can be negotiating power for you.
  • DOCUMENT ALL CORRESPONDENCE: Keep records of everyone you correspond with and what they say [noting the reps full name (ask them to spell it), rep ID # or ext. #, and date and time spoke to] as this creates a legal document presentable in a court of law.
  • NO BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU (BBB): I used to suggest contacting the BBB, but don’t waste your time, as there are reports that the BBB is now corrupt (just google Better Business Bureau corruption), and my report with them was useless as they listed it as resolved when it was far from resolved by me and gave Universal City Nissan an A rating (which goes in line with the corruption charges of the articles on the BBB).

The more we spread the word about how Nissan treats their customers and how they don’t back their faulty products, the more people will learn that you DON’T BUY NISSAN, BUY THE COMPETITION.  Be sure to spread the word about your experience with your Nissan to all your family and friends.

Good luck!

I am not a lawyer and I do not offer legal advice; any advice or suggestions should be researched by you and decisions made based on your own research — Yes I am repeating my disclaimer — Read it, follow it, live it.

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February 4, 2012

Information for all car owners

I received this information yesterday from a source (which I may be able to reveal at a later date).  While I cannot verify the accuracy of this information (#1 and #2), trust me, my source is a good one.  Here is information for all car owners (my comments are in brackets):

1. All the dealerships do is try to get you through the warranty period, trying to charge you for what they can, but will replace parts under warranty whether they believe they will fix your car or not to try to get you out the door so you will put more miles on your car so that it gets “out of warranty.”  They are not there to help you, to try and fix your car properly or to aid you.   Some dealerships will go so far as to not give you a repair order so that you don’t have detailed records.

[This definitely applies to my case seeing that none of the fixes ever fixed my car.  Luckily since I work for lawyers myself, I keep very detailed records, it’s a “habit” of mine, and I would advise all car owners to do the same.  Whenever you speak to anyone at a car company (or any business for that matter nowadays whether it be your cell phone company or bank or student loan), whether it be the manufacturer or a dealership, get their full name (ask them to spell it out for you), any type of rep ID or extension #, and all their contact information including phone number, email and fax.

Sometimes the manufacturer will not give out their email as they don’t want to put things in writing and don’t want to make it easy for you to contact them, because they know that creates a legal paper trail. But usually if you can get just one person’s email, then you will know how the company does their emails.  For instance with Nissan, it’s firstname.lastname@nissan-usa.com for all the people in Consumer Affairs.  Now with the Nissan executives, it gets a little tricky  because they switch it up because they don’t want to be contacted.  And with Sage Auto who owns Universal City Nissan and Auto Nation who owns Power Nissan, there is no method to their emails.  With Sage Auto, the Service Manager is firstnamelastinitial@sageauto.com but another service advisor is firstname.lastname@sageauto.com.  With Auto Nation, the Service Manager is lastnamefirstinitial@autonation.com but then the Assistant Service manager is lastnamefirstinitial6@autonation.com (now I believe this means there are 6 people with that name, but it makes it difficult to guess that if you don’t know that).

For the VP in charge of Total Customer Satisfaction, Brad Thacker’s email is: brad.thacker@nissan-usa.com.  However Carlos Ghosen, CEO, is not carlos.ghosen@nissan-usa.com.  I know this because I’ve sent emails to Mr. Ghosen and they have been returned undeliverable and I have sent emails to Mr. Thacker and they have not been returned.  Therefore Mr. Thacker has received my emails and I believe that is legal proof.  I have also emailed other Nissan executives and they too have been returned, and I’ve tried both @nissan-usa.com and nissanusa.com.  Here is Mr. Thacker’s Facebook page by the way: http://www.facebook.com/brad.thacker

In my opinion, any company that does this, that hides contact information from the public in order so they cannot be contacted is shady.  Because if they ran a business on the up and up, there should be no problem with contacting the upper management if you are unhappy with what lower management does for you, and the upper management should be more than happy to talk to you.  Any business should be in the business of servicing its customers.   Nissan of course is not.

Anna Naraeva refused to give me her supervisor’s name saying it’s “internal information” and refused to give me Brad Thacker’s phone number saying again it’s “internal information.”  Why would the VP of Total Customer Satisfaction of Nissan not want to make his phone number available to Nissan Owners?  I am a Nissan owner and I am far from a “totally satisfied customer,” so why won’t Ms. Naraeva allow me to contact Mr. Thacker?  Luckily I’m more intelligent than Ms. Naraeva and found Mr. Thacker’s email through a quick search.  So now this just makes Ms. Naraeva and Nissan’s policies as a whole look bad and makes it seem like their business is shady and that Nissan does not care about their customers.]

2.  Even if your car is currently out of warranty, if you’ve made a request in the past for them to buy it back you may have a case.

[Make sure to make a request for buyback in writing as soon as possible, as soon as you may suspect your car is not fixable.  Do your best to get confirmation of receipt of your request, and then get in writing their answer, demand it, demand it be emailed to you or faxed.]

3. Even if you sell your car, you may still be able to go after the manufacturer for a cash settlement for all your troubles.  On March 2, 2011, precedent in CA was set in the case Martinez v. Kia Motors America, Inc

[From research I just did, Kia tried to appeal and depublish the case, but the court would not allow it, therefore the case is now ” binding legal authority.”]

4. If you have a lemon car, in an effort to get a car company to buyback or settle on your lemon, go park on a public street near the dealership and make some big signs saying your car is a lemon.  You can even print out a handout that lists all the times your car was serviced to give out to potential buyers.  Try to do this on a holiday weekend when they are having a big sale.  The dealership will hate you and may call the police, but the police can’t do anything as long as you are on public property and you are not blocking any entrance to the dealership.  If you do this enough, the dealership may help with the manufacturer in persuading them to offer a settlement, in order to get you to go away.

[Make sure to research your local laws before doing this, as I am not a lawyer and I do not know what protest laws are.  This was simply a suggestion by a source who knows car owners who have done this.  I have not tried this yet.  So it’s very important to know your local laws, possibly even call the nearest police station to the dealership and ask them, and don’t blame me if you get arrested – this is simply advice from a source, use at your own discretion.]