Fuel Pump Issues on 1998 Oldsmobile Regency - Should I Ask for a Refund?

I have 16-yr old Oldsmobile Regency that was handed down to me by my grandmother a few years back. Because she rarely drove it, it only has 130K miles on it, but it has started to develop some age-related issues - the power antennae stopped working, the ceiling upholstery is drooping, and the HVAC is kinda wonky. Even still, it is a good car AND it is a free car.

About two months ago, I was driving in my neighborhood and the car cut out on me and would not start back up. It would go through the motions of starting (it was much more than the typical ‘click’ of a dead battery) but just wouldn’t roll over. I arranged to have it towed to my mechanic (~$100), but for a number of unfortunate reasons it ended up at a local Ford dealership that I did not choose. Instead of going through the trouble to have it moved to my preferred mechanic, I just left it at the dealer and asked them to diagnose and get it fixed. 10 (extremely frustrating) days later, the dealer diagnosed with a bad fuel pump, attempted a repair, called me and told me to come pick it up. I paid the fee (~$420), take the keys, go out to crank it up - same issue. They check it out and tell me it has a bad battery (the battery was 4-5 years old, wasn’t surprising that it might need replacing). I agree to the battery replacement, they make the repair (~$120), the car cranks up, and I drive away.

I live in a small town and have a very short commute, so after two months I have only racked up two hundred miles since the repair - but, those two hundred miles were trouble free, so I felt confident taking the car on a 600 mile round trip ride to Atlanta and back last week.

Well, I got about 400 miles into my trip (~600 miles since the initial fuel pump repair) and the car shuts down while sitting at a stop sign - exact same symptoms that I experienced previously. I have the car towed to the nearest mechanic ($50) and they explain that my fuel pump is bad due to a grounding issue. They agree to make the repairs ($675) - but it will take a day, so I rent a car ($75), and leave my car to be fixed. I picked it up yesterday and everything seems to be running fine.

Costs related to initial breakdown/repair: ~$640
Costs related to latest breakdown/repair: $800

Total outlay for this mess: ~$1440

My question is this - does the dealer that made the initial repair owe me a refund?

I am feeling like the dealer fixed the symptom (the bad fuel pump) but failed to correct the issue that was causing the bad fuel pump (the grounding problem), and now my expenses related to this problem with the car have doubled because of their poor work.


The trip really complicates things

The Ford dealer probably warrantied their parts and labor for 12 months

Had you gone to them, they might have resolved it at no cost to you

Call the Ford dealer and explain that you would have preferred taking to to them, but it broke down on a trip, far from home.

Then ask them if you submit documents and receipts of the second repair, will they refund you some money?

It is curious to me it was called a bad fuel pump due to grounding issues. I have not heard of a grounding issue causing a fuel pump to fail and need replacement, but some days I learn something new. I was in FL once on vacation and my car would not start, Bad connection on the starter motor was the diagnosis, the mechanic fixed it, and even though I had IL plates and he could figure he would never see me again, free fix, and only the charge for towing picked up by AAA, those were the good old days! Agree with db4960, and doubt there is any recourse.

You won’t know that it’s really been fixed for another 600-1000 miles.

I’d still submit the paperwork and give them a chance. You can’t expect them to absorb the battery though…it was at the end of it’s life.
I’d stress that you would like to keep them for future repairs but this leaves you with doubt unless they can do something for you. Weather or not you ever do ho back is beyond the point.
Maybe they’ll give you the $420 yopu paid for the pump.


Thanks for the advice y’all - I am going to go over to the dealer today.