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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Two years ago, we bought a new car.  My wife’s brother’s best friend, Sammy, has a friend, Andrew, who works for the dealer and he got us a good price.  We also got free maintenance for two years.

To sweeten the deal, the friend of my wife’s brother’s best friend offered us a free oil change and lube for life.  How could you turn that deal down?

We bought the car from a dealership that was forty minutes away from our local dealer, but the money we saved was well worth the extra drive.  The two years free maintenance was good at any dealer, so for the last two years we have taken the car to the more convenient dealer.   In order to get the lifetime free oil change, we are required to bring the car into the dealership of the wife’s brother’s best friend’s friend.

Before she brought the car in for this service, Mrs. C called her brother’s best friend’s friend.  It seems he no longer works at the Toyota dealer, but he does work for the Kia dealer which is affiliated with the same auto group.  Mrs. C called the Toyota dealer; they transferred her to the Kia dealer.

Day one, the brother’s best friend’s friend was on vacation.   Day two he was unavailable.  Day three he was snowed in.  Day four he had a family emergency.  On day five she finally got in touch with her brother’s best friend’s friend, Andrew.

“Andrew, this is Karen, the sister of John, who is best friends with your friend Sammy.”

“Sammy?  Oh yeah, how is…Sammy?”

“Ah I don’t really know Sammy, but he is my brother’s best friend.   We bought a Toyota two years ago…you promised a free oil change for life…”

“Oh yeah, I remember.”

“Is the deal still good, I mean you now with Kia and all?”

“Oh sure, I still work for the same company.”

“How do I make an appointment?”

“Just call the Toyota service department, and ask for Ronnie.  Tell them you are a relative of mine, they will take care of everything.”

“Ah…ok, thanks.”

Mrs. Cranky called Toyota four times before she finally reached Ronnie’s answering machine.  Each time she called she had to explain to someone that she was Andrew’s relative.  Each time she felt like she was leaving code for a major drug deal.  

We await a return call from Ronnie.  Mrs. C decided that if asked, she is going to be Andrew’s second cousin…twice removed.

I’m thinking it might just be easier to take the car to the dealer down the street and pay $29.95.


  1. I think Sam Goldwyn was right about verbal contracts. Or was that Yogi Berra?

    If you do get them to do the work this time, ask them to include your information for free ongoing work in their data base so that you might not have to go through the multiple phone calls again.

  2. There's a lot that could go wrong with that stretched chain of command. You might be right, just pay the $30 and be home by dinner.

  3. Yeah that sounds like a hassle!

  4. I think they're somehow counting on making it that much of a challenge that you'll just go away.
    I've always been a firm believer that there's "no free lunch", which also applies to stealerships er, dealerships.
    Good luck.

  5. Sounds rather complicated. I agree that paying thirty bucks is well worth the time and aggravation.

  6. That sounded like way more work than I am used to expending!


  7. I remember when my boss whipped out his slide rule and calculated that, with repair bills, for all the money I saved on gas with my little tin can Japenese car I could have driven a reliable--oh, any thing just short of a BMW.

  8. Sure wish we could pay $30. We just had the oil/lube/filter done on our diesel truck - $105. Thank goodness we don't have to do it all that often. But I'm not sure I could put up with that hassle for too long. Surely there has to be an easier way.

  9. Ha ha, so glad it is you an not me. I don't have the patience. That does seem like a safe kinship to claim.

  10. Oh, come on. Isn't it worth giving up two hours of your time, driving out of your way and then dealing with a clerk and mechanic who have no idea who you are and absolutely no desire to give you a freebee no matter who you are?

  11. Everything related to cars is complicated any more.

    I once had an old Toyota and really was jonesing for a new car, so I quit putting oil in it. It ran for years...dangit.

  12. those freebies seldom work out as an advantage. we tried that twice and both times the hassle, time lost, and gas money wasted ended up costing more than the perks were worth.

  13. I just bought a Toyota from a super creepy sales guy who offered a free oil change. To avoid dealing with
    him, I took it to a jiffy lube type place. $81.00 by the time they were through with dumb blonde me.

  14. $29.95 might be cheaper than the phone bill generated by so many calls to dealerships and Andrew.

  15. Oh my god, that's funny - why do we keep falling for these "just mention my name" deals? We do though!