Piston Slap: Tom's Rhinoplasty Edition

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC commentator minion444 writes,

At the end of May, I bought my wife a new ’08 Mazda Miata. She was feeling left out, because I have my motorcycle and it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We took delivery on Sat. On Sunday, it was very overcast and saw that the nose (bumper) cover was touched up in the center. About a 1 foot square. The dealer called us on Monday morning bright and early to thank us and ask us how the we liked the car.

I told him we noticed the car was damaged and re-painted. He said he had no knowledge of it and that he would check it out and told us to bring it in. The car was originally delivered in PA and I bought it from a NJ dealer. When we brought it in, he admitted that the car was touched up and told us he would repair it as new. He is in the process of painting the bumper for the second time now. The 1st time, the color was too dark.

Do, I have any legal remedy here? I bought a new car and expected a new car? Was he legally bound to disclose the original damage?

Sajeev replies:

Last time I checked the rules in Texas, a dealer must disclose damage on a new car. Question is, who is at fault? Maybe the NJ dealer picked up the PA Miata and never got a heads-up as to its condition. Or maybe they never checked.

It’s good to hear that the dealer “admitted the car was touched up” and is trying to make it right. Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of the dealer’s body shop: normally a third party affair with little to no connection with Mazda.

And the horror stories I could tell you about dealer body shops! I betcha they blended the bumper the first time, and the second attempt is a full re-spray (if you are lucky). If that doesn’t work, it’s time to get tough. Maybe you’ll need a lawyer, or take the dealer to small claims court for a re-spray at a reputable body shop elsewhere. If so, get their admission of guilt on paper, lest the burden of proof rest on your shoulders after you took delivery.

Good luck, but I hope you won’t need it.

[Send your technical queries to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Oldyak Oldyak on Jul 02, 2009

    this may have been covered already but,when I worked at a Honda store any new car with damage repair was issued a special written statement to the buyer as to damage and repair while in the Dealers possession. Of course it didn't apply to cars that were damaged b-4 dealer took possession... hope this helps..

  • Minion444 Minion444 on Jul 02, 2009

    THanks, for all the responses. We got the car back from the dealer. It was Hamilton Mazda in NJ. THey have tried to be very accommodating. Going so far as to pick up the car and leave my wife a loaner. The nose cover was removed and painted off the car. They took the time to match the paint properly and put everything back together. (third try) We got a great deal on it, Mazda was giving $5k rebates. The car will be detailed by the dealer on the first service. I bought a new 83' Ford Escort GT. It was my first new car (I sold my 68 GTO for it!, What was I thinking!) It had a baseball size dent in the front fender. Dealer told me it was there and arranged to fix it on the first service. It was fine. I was really put off that this was not disclosed at purchase. You could not see the repair in the sun, only when it was overcast. Let's talk about Miata's. I ride motorcycles and love cars. I hadn't driven a Miata since the 1st gen. I am 6'4 and it doesn't really fit me. My wife finally let me drive it. WOW! It cost only $4k more than my motorcycle and it is amazing. To feel the road in a car, like a proper roadster, brought me back to the days of driving with my dad in his 61 MGA with Glass Pack Mufflers. It may be a chicks car, but I will drive it as often as she lets me. Ride Fast.... David

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