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Salesman gouged my brand-new car

I bought a new 2012 Prius in March. When the plates arrived in April, the dealership said they’d install them for free, and I took them up on it. The salesman who did it had some trouble, but I didn’t think anything of it until I got the vanity plates in the mail in May. I took off the salesman-installed plates and discovered that he had missed the screw hole by an inch and gouged to the bare metal, and deeper, not just once, but three times.

I contacted the dealer immediately. They said they would make it right, but “making it right” does not include replacing the deck lid. They want to fill the gouges and repaint. I asked why, and the manager I talked to claimed that if he replaced the deck lid, his body shop “might gouge it even worse. It’s too risky.”

I think it might be too risky if he doesn’t trust his body shop people. But I think he just doesn’t want to spend the money. I think the salesman should be the one paying for it, not the dealership.

Am I being unreasonable to want a new deck lid on a car that still has less than 2000 miles?

You mean this cosmetic problem isn’t visible when the plates are installed? If so, that’s not something I’d worry about. Filling any dents and then repainting just the are affected is the even more than I’d recommend to do. But if the dealership is willing, that’s one alternative. Doing more than that is likely to cause you more problems than it solves. You’ll likley end up with parts that don’t fit perfectly, and paint that don’t match exactly. I know it is frustrating, but I agree with the dealer on this. I expect after a couple years you’ll agree with the dealer too, as a little scratched paint under the license plate will be low on the list of your problems.

Since the problem isn’t visible, and the only problem is scratched paint – i.e. the metal isn’t punctured through – if this were my car I’d just touch it up with some wax on my own at home, and stay away from the dealership completely. After all, the dealership are the folks who caused the scratches in the first place. Why turn your car over to them again for such a minor problem?

It’s not just a cosmetic problem. If it’s down to bare metal, then they’ve busted through the e-coat, and it WILL rust there. This is not a big deal if OP lives somewhere like New Mexico or Arizona, where 50 year old cars have no rust on them, but if he lives in a road salt area or near an ocean, he’s going to have problems at some point.

They repair scratches and dings all the time on new cars after delivery from the factory. You just don’t know it. There is no reason for a new deck. Just let them fix it.

Personally though I don’t let anyone else put plates on except me. I didn’t even want them to put the stickers on because I like to make sure they are straight. Sure enough she got them a little crooked.

I don’t think it’s a big deal, as it has been said, this type of thing happens all the time prior to delivery. It even happens before it hits a dealer lot. Since They are willing to make it right, let it go.

Not only do they do repairs at the dealership, but they often have this kind of damage during assembly and they do the same kind of fix before it leaves the factory.

Sounds like you are being unreasonable but a picture might convince me otherwise.

Let them fix it and be done with it. One should get in the habit of installing their own plates and it surprises me that one would waste time and fuel to visit a dealer for such a paltry task.

I agree to let the dealer fix the issue. You also can’t expect the salesperson to have to pay for anything personally. It would be the dealerships fault anyway for thinking the sales rep could handle this simplest of task. Since this is an issue that you won’t see, have them repair it and forget about it. As others have said, so much more happens to these vehicles, before you drive it off the lot, that you will never know about. It’s also a good lesson learned. If you’re able to do the task yourself, do it yourself.

I had to pick up the plates at the dealer anyway. The damage is down to the bare metal, as shown in the picture I’ve attached.

YIKES, that is not what I expected… However you will be fine if they fix it correctly… By this I mean prime paint and protect it… That will 100% rust if left alone, and you dont want issues later in life. A good repair will be fine though !

I use to do that kind of repair all the time when I work at a dealership. Let them repaint it. No worries.

That salesman should just step away from tools. He must have thumbs on the wrong side of his hands to do that kinda of damage.
Have them fix it. No doubt it will look like new when they get done with it.
Maybe see if they can give you some sort of credit towards service, etc for the inconvenience and frustration.

you know, the top of that scar looks pretty deep. I’m not sure I wouldn’t be pushing for a new part. You paid for a new car. You have the right to a new car that isn’t flagrantly damaged by an idiot, which yours was.

I don’t know that I’d trust their repair, especially since the manager seems to think his body shop is so incompetent that they can’t even replace a deck lid right. It wouldn’t surprise me if they slapped Bondo on it and then painted straight on the bondo. It’d look fine for awhile, but eventually pop out. You wouldn’t notice because it’d be behind the plate, and you’d end up getting rust.

If it was just a “scratch,” I’d say have 'em fix it, no decklid, but they drilled damn near through the metal from the looks of things. If they don’t want to go to the expense of replacing deck lids, then maybe they shouldn’t be installing license plates with an auger.

A mountain out of a mole-hill…

Honestly, since it’s hidden by the plate I’d just immediately coat it with touchup paint to prevent rusting, utter a string of expletives to relieve anger, and forget about it. If they repair it they’ll “blend” the paint, and as the sunshine takes its toll over the years there’s a real chance that the area might fade differently.

But, then, I keep my vehicles until they’re totally shot anyway.

The good Lord must love idiots. He made a lot of them.

You have the first dent syndrome. Let me give it a kick so a few hidden scratches won’t seem so bad. It’s a car. It can be fixed, often with paint of better quality then that which came on the car. As long as it’s a fresh nick without rust it can be fixed good as new.

Personally I think you’d be better off with the original deck lid. Many times service parts arrive with dents and scratches that have to be repaired before installation. 30 years ago I worked for a company that molded polyurethane car bumpers and parts that wouldn’t pass for new vehicles would often pass for service parts because the quality didn’t have to be as good. When I bought a new car in '97 it had a couple scratches on it from setting on the dealer lot which they agreed to repair when I purchased the car, they sanded it down and repainted the areas and you could never tell there’d been any damage. Even to this day the repainted area looks as good as the rest of the car.