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HotRodLincoln

A once very proud and vocal owner, now wondering.

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So if you follow my posts you will see I have reported shear excellence regarding our 014 DJ. Well, we have developed a problem. The car is 2 years old and has 20ish k on it. We wash it frequently and it gets hand waxed at least twice a year. It gets underbody / car washed minimum once a week all winter long while they are salting. We keep our vehicles mint. So, a few weeks ago while we were at the local dealership thinking about trading in for a 300.....the salesman looks over our DJ and notices that the paint is bubbling on the rear hatch in 4 areas. OMG. This must have happened over the winter (which was mild and near snow free btw). Anyway, shocked and surprised I say Dodge will take care of it as its clearly something going on UNDER the paint and must be prep/application error which finally appeared. Salesman says, hope so as it would effect trade value as we would have to repaint it yada yada. No problem we set appointment, Dealer takes pics and next thing you know I get the call saying FCA denied it. WTF! I call the customer line and he tells me the digital department says no and it stands. WTF! He agrees to escalate it to another person who essentially tells me the same thing. So here we are with a 2 y.o. 20 k mile DJ in otherwise brand new condition with the optional pearl white paint....and a rear hatch with the paint bubbling in 4 very noticeable and large areas and CLEARLY an issue UNDER the paint and NOT in any way from anything we may or may not have done. In no way is it environmental or anything like that.

So...what are my options here? Small claims ct? the BBB? the state atty general? maybe the automotive consumer action program? Yup, did some research as to my re-course. What a shame that FCA would treat us so badly and unfairly after all these years of loyal ownership. A warranty that is not honored is a serious infraction. I hope that someone here can get a note to someone somewhere that can make this right. I certainly hope they rescind their denial decision mind before it gets ugly. Thoughts?

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Also where on the hatch is it bubbling? Mine is on the corners that always stick out on the bumper. Its actually starting to rust. I got a 2011

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Also where on the hatch is it bubbling? Mine is on the corners that always stick out on the bumper. Its actually starting to rust. I got a 2011

If you are the original owner, there is a rust warranty. I think it's like 5 years, unlimited mileage for outer body (painted) sheet metal.

Edited by jkeaton

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Plastic hatch (Magnets will not stick to it) and aluminum hood, as stated. Sounds like your Dealer does not want to sell you a 300.

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Ask your selling dealer to schedule the car to be seen by their District Service Manager. The car still falls well within the basic 3/36 warranty as you are aware. Digital imaging is required for authorization prior to performing warranty paint repair issues which is what the dealer did for you, but I really don't understand why your claim was denied based on the location of the damage and the warranty status of your car. The DSM has the authority to override a denied claim if he/she deems the repair as warrantable, and if the denied claim is overturned by the DSM then your dealer can go ahead and repair the car and their claim will be paid.

Edited by Journeyman425

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Thanks for your help journeyman425, I will try to get ahold of the dsm. So far I have had zero luck with dodge CS. I have talked to my case manager on three occasions only to be told she cant do anything. I have yet to get any explanation. I have tried calling back twice now leaving a please call back message with no call back. I have been very polite up until pretty darn soon. Case / claim # 29044473. I will not let this go as it has turned into principals now. This vehicle has been babied, over-maintained, hand waxed, parked in shade, etc. So the hatch is composite and the paint is lifting up off it in bubble form. Tiny bubbles, four areas. I have done paint and mech work for many years when I was younger and have never seen anything quite like it. Happened during this past winter (which was mild and near snowless). My only guess is that, and this is a stab in the dark here, is that something in the composite released and lifted all the paint product in circular patterns and only on hatch and only in four areas mid hatch about 3" radius per area. For this to not be covered on such a new low mile vehicle is a real shame on FCA. I plan to pursue this if necessary to the Automotive Consumer Action Program, the BBB, the State Consumer Protection Office, and lastly in small claims court with FCA as defendant. I am now very concerned with any other warranty issue I may have with this dodge, and my other dodge while still under "supposed" coverage. I have had ZERO warranty claims on either up until now....so claim one and here we go.

Edited by HotRodLincoln

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My guess is that that rust warranty is regarding perforation only. They obviously don't want to be responsible for paint chips and scratches from damage leading to surface rust. Rust through would probably take more than 5 years in most if not all situations. So Toyota buys back 10 year old rusted pickups for top dollar from their owners, and FCA hoses folks with 2 y.o. warrantied vehicle with bubbling paint issues. OMG. :(

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Please keep us posted. I'm really quite honestly surprised at how FCA has handled your situation. It's not representative of how warranty claims are usually handled, at least in my own experience. I'm curious of the overall relationship status of your dealer vis-à-vis FCA.

Warranty perforation is indeed defined differently than what has happened to your paint. Your diagnosis based on your experience seems sound. I hope it goes in your favor before you have to revert to any additional steps beyond where you are now.

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The fiasco continues on. Under recommendation, We have gone to the original purchased at dealer....they said looks like a no brainer...they should fix. They sent us to their subcontract auto-body shop for repair estimate... Apparently the estimate was too high (hello its pearl opalescent paint) and they are trying to cut the cost down before submitting it again to FCA. ?? The weeks roll by and the FCA customer service fellah never looks into it despite my pleads to do so. I get the run around by dealer, and messages back from FCA CS agent who only leaves a call back message...but is never available when I call. I'm officially horrified by the whole way I have been handled by FCA and dealers. I'm a very reasonable person and not a complainer at all, but this is an insult. Case #29044473.

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You have a warranty. You also have a paint for which a premium was charged to apply and it was done improperly. And you are getting the run-around.

Make certain your dealer supports your claim, get it in writing, if possible - if not, get it from the shop that did the estimate and get another estimate or two from the most expensive shops in the area, since you want it done right.

Then write them a registered letter telling them that dithering for almost two months for something that is CLEARLY a warranty issue is insulting and give them 14 days to fix it to your satisfaction or to face the consequences, which will be to have the vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice without further notice and then to claim reimbursement in small claims court, a case which they will clearly lose. Remember to write the phrase 'without prejudice' and that the letter is sent registered on the top of the text.

You DO have the documentation to cover yourself? Hang onto it because if they don't budge you will need it for court.

These guys (manufacturers, insurance companies and so on) all stall, hoping that you'll go away or settle for less - and it works, because 99.9% of people don't follow through to the end (I'm one of the .1% and have won every time I've been challenged by one of these issues and small claims court judges LOVE to see the small guy will against big business if the case is valid - ultimately the big boys almost always lose when the tenacious clients bite and won't let go. However in the end they save more money by shortchanging the majority than they spend defending against the hard*sses.

Edited by bramfrank

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Update. So our local dealer was of zero help as you read above.. Under suggestion I took it back to the purchasing dealer about 45 mins from me. They re-submitted the claim and Dodge this time agreed to repair. The estimate came back from the body shop at $1000, but I was told that Dodge would only be willing to pay 800. ?? Dealer told me not to worry about it. More ISSUE; The body shop repainted the tailgate twice and each time the paint lifted and bubbled in the same areas......it now looks worse than before. Now there are rings and pimples and bubbles less pronounced but much more of. They did a great job with the paint work but are at a loss as to why that even with an epoxy sealer something is reacting with the paints. The body shop insists that a complete new tailgate be the next order of repair. I am awaiting word now as dealer is to talk to Dodge about the situation. Wow. We both love this vehicle and want it done right. Just a week or so without our DJ left us missing it. My wife was sure happy to get it back even though we both know it will have to go back for correction. Question is....will Dodge just step up or give me more grief? Stay tuned.

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I have spots of paint bubbling on my hatch. It looks like someone used touch up paint and that is what is bubbling

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Interesting as I have noted on my Freemont that the paint quality overall is not the best. I have a 16 year old Mercedes that sits in the open with a more durable paint job. My paint is about a thin as tissue paper and the bonnet (hood) has a definite "sand texture" feeling, despite numerous coats of wax.

Edited by rb48901

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2 hours ago, rb48901 said:

Interesting as I have noted on my Freemont that the paint quality overall is not the best. I have a 16 year old Mercedes that sits in the open with a more durable paint job. My paint is about a thin as tissue paper and the bonnet (hood) has a definite "sand texture" feeling, despite numerous coats of wax.

 

Have you cleaned the surface with a clay bar?

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Yah, that I would imagine will be a major uphill battle to get a warranty claim on as most (if not all) dealers will use any excuse possible to say the issue is not from the paint but caused by a stone chip, salt or whatever.  I hope the OP gets a resolution to this issue.

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I feel compelled to comment since I do work for a dealer. Quite honestly I have never seen such a seemingly simple repair escalate into such a complex case. We do not do bodywork at my facility so I have no professional experience with it. With that being said, it seems to me that the prep process prior to painting the liftgate may have been inadequate. Most of my Journey was repainted except for the roof and liftgate. The color is Copper Pearl and there are no issues with the paint at all, a year and a half later. I suspect that the factory might agree and reject the claim for a new liftgate, and require that the bodyshop re-do the work as originally authorized. I'm sure this is not what you would like to hear, but with my overall experience with warranty claims, I suspect that this is the route that will be followed. So sorry for all the disappointments. It's very frustrating.

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Update;  Dealer notified me that Dodge will not Continue any further with this claim/ repair, and then proceeded to tell the dealer that it should have never been authorized to begin with as records show that it was denied initially at the first dealer that I had brought it to here near me.  My tailgate actually looks worse now that ever. The paint is lifting and bubbling in many areas.  Dodge CS has always been two steps behind what the dealer was doing so I'm  convinced they are just "yes" men to tell customer whatever they want to hear, and do NOTHING to make anything happen in your favor.  Dealer suggested I get a lawyer.....but I'm not spending 2~3k or more on a 1~2k repair.  I will plead with the body shop who repainted it and hope they are willing to try again a third time....at their expense. I doubt they will as they already lost money and know the composite tailgate is releasing some solvent that is lifting the paint.

I have lost any and all confidence in Dodge standing behind their product.  Sadly, this will be our last Fiat Chrysler product.  

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You don't need a lawyer at all.  You can't use a lawyer in small claims (at least up where I am) and besides, these courts root for the underdog.  But you need to be well prepared and go to court well dressed.

Like I previously wrote small claims court is the answer.  But to claim from that court you need to suffer an actual loss.

Start by sending FCA's warranty group a registered letter that briefly describes the problem and your dealer's attempts to remedy the situation.  Do not bother with the details of the finger pointing.  Point out that the work was not satisfactory and that the dealer believes that there is an underlying defect in the tailgate and that they recommend it be replaced, but that for some inexplicable reason FCA seems to be resisting this REMEDY.  (Don't forget to have the 'registered mail' and 'without prejuduce' terms clearly indicated at the head of the letter.

Ask them what THEIR remedy for this DEFECT might be, since the vehicle is within the basic bumper-to-bumper factory warranty and has been well treated and in fact PAMPERED.

Give them 14 days to respond with their solution and say that at that point given how much time has elapsed since the DEFECT was reported to them you will have alternative but to proceed with a (Trade or Repair, whichever you decide you what to do)  and to claim the amounts (trade-in loss because of the defect, or amount paid to replace and paint the tailgate) back through the courts and that given FCA's reluctance to honor their warranty and the report you have in hand from the selling dealer you are CONFIDENT that you will prevail.

(Note the words in CAPITALS)  These are key words for your offense. And keep copies of everything including the receipt from your registered letter (get a signature confirmation, too)

Get your selling dealer to document the fact that in their opinion there is a DEFECT in the hatch that affects the paint's ability to adhere and seal the surface.  Get them to provide a quotation to replace the hatch and paint it properly.

You then have three options:

1. You trade in the vehicle and take the loss because of the paint, AND GET DOCUMENTATION OF THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED BECAUSE OF THE PAINT ISSUE FROM THE NEW DEALER.  You then sue FCA (and possibly the dealer that did their best to paint it properly . . . . you do that for the sake of being complete.  Chrysler will end up with the bill)  for a total that is what you lost because of the DEFECT - don't forget to calculate taxes, and the interest you will pay on the difference if you've financed the trade.

2. You take the vehicle to a dealer (even the selling dealer) and let them fix it properly for however much it costs to repair, noting that THEY will now be responsible for that paint moving forward.  You sue FCA (and the dealer) for the cost of the repair.  Again, FCA will be forced to pay.

3. You do whatever, but you DON'T sue, in which case you deserve what you end up with.

NOTE:  In making your claim always include the term "Plus Costs" to the amount you are claiming - why should you pay the filing fees to the courts from your pocket?  Let FCA add that amount to their payment.

Good luck.

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As this is a repeat issue does your state have a lemon law? In Georgia 3 tries at a warranty issue and the dealer has to buy the car back. This is the same issue and it has been done more than once. I would look into that. 3/36 bumper to bumper is supposed to be just that. 

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UPDATE:  I'm all fixed up.  I felt it was not worth legal action and just kinda of let it be. Time passed.   Despite being well out of warranty period I visited my local dealer and complained again....this time someone higher up got the word.  My entire tailgate was replaced brand new and a perfect repaint all courtesy of Dodge.  Lesson; be persistent. Visit different dealers. 

50k miles now and 4.5 years.  This vehicle has been 100% reliable with ZERO mechanical or electrical issues. If not for the tailgate paint issue, its been flawless.

 

The issue as determined by the body shop was that some oil had gotten onto the inside of the gate, which is made of a somewhat porous type composite, and it acted like a solvent and lifted the paint-base. Likely happened when I had it oil undercoated which I highly recommend....but do not let them spray inside that rear gate!

As a testament to quality of this car; 85% of its miles are commuting in semi urban area so it can be called city driving....but not heavy congestion.

Original wear items, but wiper blades, still intact...all of them.

Tires; about shot

Brakes and rotors, plenty left.

Battery, was never really strong reserve-wise, but still doing its job.

87 Octane fuel always and never complains and gets 27 MPG on highway @ 65~70. Commuting its 21ish and this v-6 is very powerful. 

 

Would I buy again? Absolutely. There is no better valued SUV available. I get a chuckle when I read certain and plentiful known to be biased sources that dog this brand and model. They couldn't be more wrong and wonder they are so dishonest as they peddle problematic cheap underpowered Asian imports.   

 

 Awaiting the new model with hopes they don't ruin an excellent well designed vehicle......my money is waiting. 

 

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Great update and very well appreciated. Glad Dodge stood up and fixed your issue. Another positive when it comes to domestic. Anyway, I'm still thankful of my decision to buy my DJ. Hoping it gets handed down to my daughter who is getting her license soon and I get the new model. :thumbsup:

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