Mind the GAP with auto dealer
December 5, 2011 10:13AM
Updated: December 13, 2011 8:37AM
D ear Fixer: My son paid off his vehicle loan 2½ years early.
We received the title with a pay-off letter from Chase Bank. It stated that since the vehicle was paid off early, we may be entitled to a credit on the GAP insurance we had purchased. It said to contact the dealer.
Since Napleton Ford was no longer in business, we called Napleton Northwestern Chrysler Jeep Dodge. A gentleman there said he would look into it and get back to me.
Several weeks passed. I contacted him again, and he said he was still looking into it. Three times the next month, I left voice mail messages. Finally, I called and asked for a manager.
The man I spoke with said the previous gentleman had a stroke, so now he would handle it. I was instructed to send him a letter requesting to cancel the GAP coverage and get a refund. I also was told to include the letter from Chase, which I did.
Again no response. Two months later, I called, and the finance manager told me the man I had been working with was no longer there. The finance manager was very sympathetic; he apologized and said that with their Ford dealership closing, everything was disorganized. He asked me to send him a copy of the letter from Chase and other documents. I personally went down there and gave him the papers.
By mid-June there was still no resolution. The finance manager said he was still trying to find out which company was used for the GAP insurance. I truly want to believe he is working on it; however, past experience with this dealership has not been positive. I must say everyone I have spoken with, especially this latest representative, has been kind and sympathetic, but we still have no closure to the problem.
Carolyn Palmert, Chicago
It was clear something had to be done to speed up the GAP insurance refund for your son’s paid-off Mustang convertible. So The Fixer dashed off a quick note to the office of the president at Napleton.
The next thing we heard, they had pro-rated the unused insurance and cut a check for you for $303.30. You’ve already picked it up, so we’ll consider this fixed!
Don’t fall for this
The National Consumers League wants to get the word out about a scam targeting first-time sellers on eBay.
Here’s how it works, so you can avoid it: The scammers look for sellers who are new to eBay. They bid on and “win” the auction for an expensive item, such as a designer watch.
Then the seller gets an e-mail that seems to be from PayPal — complete with the PayPal logo — directing him to first mail the item to the buyer, and e-mail the buyer the tracking number in order to get paid. In case the seller is wary — and who wouldn’t be? — the e-mail provides a phone number to contact PayPal with any questions.
When the seller calls the number, they think they’re speaking with a customer service rep from PayPal, but actually they’re just talking to the scammers, who say this is standard procedure for first-time sellers on eBay.
The seller mails the item and, of course, never receives payment — realizing too late that they’ve been scammed.
Can you hear us now?
In past columns, The Fixer has advocated using social media to fix consumer problems, such as posting your complaint on a business’ Facebook page or messaging a company’s PR mavens through their corporate Twitter address.
Consumer Reports’ Money Adviser’s adds corporate blogs and consumer websites to its list of ways to get a company’s attention.
Here are some websites they recommend consumers go to when they want to air a gripe — or a compliment:
Be brief and focus on the facts. Mention the good too so they’ll know you’re a valuable customer who deserves help.