Howard helps a Hyundai owner who leased a lemon Pt. 2

Posted at 9:41 PM, May 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-13 21:41:08-04

39-year-old Mike Nichols of Montville, NJ says he always wanted a Hyundai Genesis coupe.  He leased one in October from Lynnes Hyundai in Bloomfield, NJ.  A couple of months later, his problems began.

The “check engine” light came on. He brought it to a dealer but the computer codes for the problem didn’t get stored.

“We’re not sure what’s wrong with it,” Mike told Howard.  “All I know is it’s not running the way it’s supposed to be running.”

When the light came on again, Mike brought the car to the dealer nearest his workplace, Towne Hyundai in Denville.  Mike gave PIX11 a photo of Towne’s diagnosis.  All it says is “Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold.” There’s no mention of any problem with the vehicle’s computer. And no mention of the aftermarket air intake that Mike says he installed the day before he went to Towne.

Mike says Towne offered to do the work on the car but didn’t have an opening for two weeks. So Mike went back to Lynnes.

Mike brought the car in again for the repair on January 28th. But the problem didn’t crop up on a road test.  Lynnes’ diagnostic summary specifically found “software untampered.”  The dealership advised Mike to put the original intake back on and he did.

When the problems persisted, Mike’s car went back into the Lynnes dealership for two months!  Mike felt he was getting a run-around and contacted Howard.

“The dealer tries to do the best they can to fix the car and nothing seems to work” Mike told Howard.

Howard first did a story a month ago.  At the time, the VP of Lynnes, Steve Tozzo vowed to make things right.

“What I’m gonna do. I’m gonna talk to the factory whatever, I wanna get him a new car! I mean it was not right! I didn’t really know about it. I do other aspects of the dealership. What I’m gonna do…talk to the factory. I’m gonna work it out even if I gotta chip in with the factory! Whatever it is, if it costs me some money, I will definitely help him out.”

But because the car is leased, it still technically belongs to the Hyundai Corporation. And Hyundai corporate wouldn’t agree to give Mike a new vehicle. So, given the corporate position, the Lynnes dealership installed a brand new engine.  Sales Manager Al Albik handed Mike a check to reimburse him for lease payments he made while the car was in the shop.

“The engine is in. The car is 100 percent. We drove it multiple times.  We apologize,” Albik told Mike. “You are a Lynnes customer. Therefore we are going to go ahead and present you with a check for the three payments.  Go out there and enjoy it. We apologize…The car is 100 percent.”

So far, so good.  Mike hasn’t had any problems.

But that doesn’t end the story.

Hyundai corporate was still making allegations about Mike’s purported mishandling of the car, including an alleged computer reset.   Mike acknowledged installing the aftermarket intake from the outset.  But Hyundai has not provided proof of any of the other allegations.  In fact, the diagnosis at the Lynnes dealership contradicts the assertion that Mike had monkeyed with the car’s computer.

So, last Friday, Howard took Mike along and went to the place where the allegations appear to have originated:  the Towne Hyundai dealership.

Unfortunately, when they arrived, neither the service manager nor the technician Mike dealt with was around.  Howard left his name and number and asked for a call to discuss the matter.  But no one from Towne ever got back to him.

So, for now, thanks to the folks at Lynnes, Mike Nichols has a car with a new engine that’s running well.  Howard will keep watching to see if any other issues arise and whether Hyundai ever presents any evidence to back up its allegations.