Tatiana Perez started her 2012 Volkswagen EOS at the dealership hours after dropping it off for a routine oil change. The car began to shake. The check engine light turned on. Perez turned the car off and went to the service counter at South Bay Volkswagen in Chula Vista.
Mechanics started the car and the same thing happened.
“It was strange because when I picked up the keys they told me there were no issues, other than I need new tires, but that was all,” Perez told NBC 7 Responds.
They gave Perez a loaner and said they would look under the hood.
They did. Not long after that’s when the single mother of two was told the bad news: the tensioner on her timing chain broke. Replacing the part would set Perez back $2,000.
“I lost it,” said Perez. “I didn’t understand how I took my car in for an oil change and this is what happened. How does this happen?”
Perez, faced with having to borrow the money for repairs, said mechanics at South Bay Volkswagen told her about a class action lawsuit filed against the car maker for the exact same timing chain issue. She said she looked the lawsuit up and found over 450,000 cars were impacted.
She called Volkswagen and asked if her car was included.
It was, however, Perez’ car had surpassed the 100,000 mile mark, which means she no longer qualified for the extended warranty.
But Perez says she needed her car back, to get to and from work and for taking her children to practices and games.
“I said, ‘Fine, let’s do it.’ It was still way over my budget and I needed to borrow the money but I needed me car. I have two kids in two different sports and I need my car,” Perez said.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
Perez said she received an email shortly after from the dealership saying they had found additional problems. In all, the cost to repair her timing chain was $3,300.
Perez said that was her breaking point.
That’s when she called NBC 7 Responds.
“I was sitting there crying and that’s when my uncle and my manager suggested that I contact NBC 7 Responds, and so I did.”
Two days later Volkswagen agreed to pay for a portion of the bill and South Bay Volkswagen agreed to cover the remaining balance.
“I just broke down into tears,” said Perez. “It’s a huge relief, and a huge stress off my shoulders.”
In a statement to NBC 7 Responds, South Bay Volkswagen owner and president Rudy Erm says the timing chain tensioner was bad and would have broken despite the oil change. He said it was no coincidence.
“I am a strong believer in customer satisfaction and I do not want Ms. Perez to feel we are misleading her or trying to cover any wrongdoing, as that is not the case,” writes South Bay Volkswagen owner, Rudy Erm.
“We shared her concern with Volkswagen and managed to obtain one last Good Faith gesture towards the repairs she needed for her Eos. It did not cover the full cost of the repairs, so I agreed to cover the additional expense for her. I hope that this resolution can give her some peace of mind during this Holiday season and restore a little faith in my dealership and the employees who were doing their best to provide good customer service.”