My guess would be a clueless owner did this, not the dealer, who deals with this every day. But who knows?
Just to give you guys some what of an update I talk to the wife and she confirms that there was no plate of any kind on the back of the vehicle when we test drove it. So I would have noticed 2 shiny drill holes in the back hatch and she would have also
I would have taken it back to the seller and told them to fix it right, like filling the holes with weld metal, sanding it off, and repainting the area. It’s too late for that now, but someone else might come across this and want to repair it themselves. The selling dealer had the opportunity to find the error if it was done before they bought this the car.
@GorehamJ story reminded me an experience where I bargained for an hour with a used car dealer for a very nice Subaru Outback Limited, almost mint shape, but it had a couple of stains from something like a drink on the headliner.
I lowered the price like 25% down and one of the things they said they will do “on the house” was to clean the headliner. BIG MISTAKE.
I’ve got the paperwork done, they “cleaned” it.
At the point I was done with papers and car was standing in front, I found that spills became a deep scratches into the headliner material, essentially ruining it.
I called the deal off, they wrote a note promising to “re-upholster it”… fine… the upholstery shop was in the very next building, so I left car behind to return tomorrow to pick it up.
The next day the salesperson who sold it to me gave me keys and it was fixed, then said he lost all the profit on the deal as it went to the repairs.
I asked why he would not get it blamed on the dealership cleaning crew, and his answer was “well, this guy works here for a minimal wage, he will simply quit, so, forget about it”.
Well that is something I would not do. It is just asking for rust to develop where the holes were welded. Better to just prime, paint, and fill with body sealer since it is hidden anyway. Quite a few years ago my door got bashed in in a parking lot. As was the process then, the body shop drilled holes to pull the dent out and used wire feed to weld the holes up again, grind smooth, fill and paint. It wasn’t a year later that rust was forming around the holes and coming through the paint. I ended up re-doing it myself.
Maybe body filler and paint is a better idea, but I figured it would be primed and painted after filling with metal. My main message is that the dealership should fix it properly.
If there’s a problem with your car after purchase and it’s not your fault, you have more options if you bought from a car dealer. This is because buying from a dealer gives you many more consumer rights than if you buy privately.
- comply with the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), which gives you guarantees for new and used vehicles
- comply with the Fair Trading Act (FTA) and not mislead you — if they sell online, they must tell you they are a car dealer
- be registered and comply with the Motor Vehicle Sales Act (MVSA)
- display an accurate Consumer Information Notice (CIN) on used vehicles.
This applies whether you pay cash, get the car as a gift or buy on lease or on finance. You have these rights no matter if you buy from a car dealer online, from a car yard or at an auction. (Note: a car market operator – sometimes called “a park and sell” operator) is not required to be a registered dealer.
I’d be royally PO’d myself if I found that kind of boneheaded damage. If it was a new Highlander, fixing it right would be me exchanging hatches with one of the other ones on your lot. Cleanest way to get an undamaged, unrepaired hatch. They can deal with it however they want after that.
The issue with welding is they have the potential to do more harm than good. I’d actually prefer a solution like the OP did if circumstances dictated a repair. Metal cleaned on both sides and properly applied RTV with a plug will last the life of the vehicle and unlikely to rust. It would irk me to know it was there. I would certainly want to exact a pound of flesh from the dealership over something like that…
Button head, socket head look the best!
I’ve purchased packs of 4 S.S. tamper-proof license plate screws before.