I was trying to prevent an accident or damage to my car as a result of the problem indicated by the Check Engine light. ... On Wednesday, August **, the check engine light came on while I was driving to work. At the same time the cruise control light started flashing on and off. I pulled over and looked up these "symptoms" in my owners manual which told me to take it in to the dealership to be looked at right away. I turned around and drove my **** Subaru Outback to the Carbone dealership in Bennington, VT where I purchased the car used * year ago. The service department at Carbone was struggling with computer issues but offered to have a technician look at my car. About ** minutes later they offered me a code number they had "pulled" while checking out my car... told me what they thought it meant... and told me to drive my car directly to the Bennington Subaru dealership for service. I did as instructed and drove my car to Bennington Subaru (less than a quarter mile away.) At the service center I was greeted by an employee in uniform, one of three working that day, and explained my situation. I did not get her name but have seen her since and she acknowledges speaking with me that morning. She did not offer to have anyone look at my car but instead looked up the code written down for me at Carbone. She explained that there was NO URGENCY but my car would "eventually" need to be repaired. I asked her if I should drive my car and she assured me it was "safe to drive". I asked about driving all the way to work and she asked where I worked. I told her in Manchester, Vermont (about ** miles from Bennington) and she said "yes, no problem" I would be able to drive back and forth to work safely until the car is repaired. She did not offer to schedule an appointment for that day or any time in the near future. I trusted what she told me, left the dealership, and drove to work. I drove home on Wednesday, and drove to and from work again on Thursday. On Friday morning, August **, while driving to work, the engine started to race and I pulled over to the side of the road. After turning off the engine it would not restart so I called Subaru, explained my situation and asked about towing. They gave me the name and number for a local towing company and I called for them to tow the car to Subaru. When I arrived the person I had spoken to on Wednesday was busy with another customer so I spoke to a different employee. I had already settled my bill for towing and the Bennington Subaru dealership offered to have another employee drive me to work and promised the car would be evaluated later in the day. I called later and I believe I spoke with the original employee from Wednesday who indicated the problem was probably a belt but the issue had not yet been positively diagnosed. She called me back later in the afternoon and said the diagnostics would require at least an hour of effort and some parts would need to be removed to find the issue. She said I should expect it to cost at least $*** to do the diagnostic work and I told her to go ahead, since the car was no longer drive-able I would need to know what needed to be repaired. She told me the service center was very busy (the first time she mentioned this detail) and they would not be able to do the diagnostic work until Tuesday, September *, after the holiday weekend. She offered me a loaner car to drive while my car was in for service and offered to send someone to pick me up from work so I would arrive before the service center closed at *:** pm. I was picked up by the employee I had spoken with on Friday morning, driven from Manchester to Bennington, my auto insurance and drivers license were photocopied by a third employee and I was given a rental agreement (no charge) and a set of keys. She (the third employee) showed me where the loaner car was located, was friendly and helpful and opened the garage doors to let me exit. I heard nothing from Subaru on Tuesday. On Tuesday afternoon I called and was told they had not worked on my car yet. Eventually I received a call from the original employee who told me the engine had seized and was beyond repair. She quoted prices for replacing the engine and I questioned the dealerships responsibility since I had brought in the car on Wednesday, August ** when the engine light came on and was assured the car was "safe to drive". She said yes, she remembered talking with me on Wednesday (now a week ago) but the service center had been very busy and she did not remember everything about our conversation. She joked that she often had trouble remembering things that happened "yesterday". On Wednesday morning, September *, at about **:** am I received a call from Ryan O'Neil who identified himself as the Service Department Manager and said he was somewhat familiar with my issue but asked me to "tell me your side of the story." I explained everything and he said "I will talk to my manager and call you back after I work out some numbers." I did not hear anything more from Ryan later that day or the next. On Friday, September *, I received a call from Ryan and he said he had spoken to Isaac, his manager. He said they were sorry for my situation but did not feel it was the dealerships responsibility and could only offer to take a "few hundred dollars off" for labor if I chose to replace the engine at an estimated cost of $*,*** to *,***.
This is particularly frustrating because they did not even offer to look at my car when I brought it in on Wednesday, August **. When I asked them for help they assured me the problem was NOT URGENT and the vehicle was "safe to drive".
I believe Bennington Subaru is responsible for my engine seizing. If they had looked at my car when I brought it in on Wednesday, August **, or told me to not drive it until they could look at it, they could have diagnosed and fixed the problem before it caused the engine to seize. At the very least, I believe they should take responsibility and offer to split the cost of replacing the engine. I drove this vehicle into there service center on Wednesday, August **. I asked them to help me. They assured me the problem was NOT URGENT and the vehicle was "safe to drive". Two days later the vehicle was no longer drive-able.
I purchased a new Subaru Forester from this dealership in December **** with my husband Jeffery Piper. I owned this vehicle and had it serviced at Bennington Subaru many times between **** - ****. This is my second Subaru product purchased to replace my **** Subaru Forester because I was very happy with the performance of the first vehicle and satisfied with the service I had received over the years.
I have communicated with the Service Department Manager, Ryan O'Neil, but his offer to "take a few hundred dollars off" for labor if I replace the engine is not acceptable.