My 16-yr.-old son's car engine was 'clunking' so he took it to Klein Honda and left it for them to diagnose. They called me and said the engine needed to be rebuilt and quoted me about $1200. They called again and said the crankshaft couldn't be repaired, so the engine would have to be replaced. The estimate was now about $2200. $999 of this was for a used engine with 101,000 miles on it from a junkyard.
After talking to the service rep, I called several used engine companies who could replace the engine for less money and with no more than 30,000 miles on them. After calling Klein Honda back and telling them that I could get a used Japanese engine for less money, the rep told me that the used Japanese engines I had called about were illegal and wouldn't pass emission inspection. He said they were only good for use with off-road vehicles, and that the engines don't fit in American cars. With that, I agreed to the $2200 engine replacement, for which I had to borrow the money from my retirement savings (401K).
Just before picking up the repaired car, I learned from a friend of my son's, that he had a used Japanese engine in his car from a local company. He had no problems with the engine, and had no trouble passing the emmissions test. I called the company he got his engine from and told him my story. He explained the process of purchasing the engines in Japan, why they have so few miles, and how they are installed into American cars, and that they are perfectly legal - otherwise he would have been out of business many years ago.
I went to Klein Honda, very angry at having been lied to. I told them I wanted the new engine removed and the old one replaced. They refused to do so. I paid by check for the repair so my son could take his car, but later stopped payment on the check (however, a collection company in California called me about a week later - Klein Honda doesn't handle their own check returns/stop pmts., etc.).
I paid the company for the check. Within two days of picking the car up, I received an intimidating call from the dealership manager and the service manager by speaker phone. This person acknowledged the lie and accused me of calling the Japanese engine company after the repair was complete and I found out the price of the repairs. He was accusing me of lying and was very abusive, telling me to talk to their attorneys. I was very upset and didn't follow up until now because I wasn't sure if I had any recourse and couldn't afford an attorney. In addition, I feel that because my young son brought the car in alone, and I'm a single mother (and uninformed on cars), that we were viewed as an easy 'target.'
I've since heard other negative incidents from people about the dealership. Also, I was very upset by the managers' phone call, which happened at work - it was very embarassing because upon hanging up, I started crying. I felt helpless about the situation and didn't know if I could do anything about it.