Fiat 500X Debacle

Many friends have asked me details about my recent purchase of a Fiat 500X. I’ve chronicled events but changed names to protect the guilty. Enjoy!

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I had been in the market for a new car for a few months and had narrowed down the search to 500X and 2 other cars.

I was pleased with my interactions with both Jennifer (salesperson) and Tom (studio manager); thus, I purchased a Fiat 500X. I traded in car and paid balance.


I attempted to drive the car to work but the emergency brake locked and an error message displayed.

As it was Labor Day, out of courtesy I waited until the next day to contact Jennifer.


I contacted Jennifer and she requested that I notify Fiat Roadside Assistance. I did so. I was on hold 30 minutes and was then told that my car would be towed to Hendrick.

The tow service was 90 minutes late (and I had to call twice to find out what was causing the delay). Upon attempting to drag the car from the garage I asked the driver to request a different kind of tow truck. He did, and my car was finally taken to the Hendrick dealership at around 3 pm. I was provided a Chrysler 200 rental car.


Ben from service left a message (the ONLY message that has ever been left by him) saying that a part needed to be ordered and would take 2 days to get there. Note that Ben said the part had been ordered.


Jennifer sent me a text with a picture of the car being serviced. I asked her when I could expect the car and she said within the hour. Three hours passed without any news. Jennifer said that’d I’d need to call Ben.

As Ben had not called me I did indeed call him and he said, in a very patronizing tone of voice, “I don’t know who told you that your car was going to be ready today because it’s not going to be.” When I informed him that I was going out of town for the weekend and would very much like to have my new car to drive he replied, again in a very patronizing tone of voice, “We gave you a rental, didn’t we?” I asked Ben when my car would be repaired and returned and he informed me the following Monday.


My only interactions were with Jennifer, who told me that Ben said that he had tried to call me and he that had left voicemail messages. I have an iPhone that tracks missed calls and messages and there were no missed calls or messages from Ben.

Jennifer told me that she spoke with Ben and he told her the car wouldn’t be ready until the following day (Tuesday).


Jennifer spoke with Frank, the Service Manager, and she informed me that Frank said that my car would definitely be ready that day.

Later she told me to call Ben.

I called Tom and expressed my frustrations with my interactions with Ben. Tom informed me that the part had been ordered and would be shipped overnight. (It is my understanding that this is the part the Ben said he had already ordered the prior week.)


I left a voicemail message with Tom but received no response.

I called Hendrick customer service and they put me in contact with Ben. It was obvious that he did not want to speak with me. I informed him that it was his responsibility to call me and that I should not have to call him for updates. I received no confirmation.

Jennifer informed me that the part did not come in and that it would arrive later that day.


At 1:30 pm I sent a lengthy email to Frank and Tom summarizing the events to date. I stated “At the very least I expect frequent and honest communication. I get the distinct feeling that folks would rather avoid me than share bad news.” I also once again reiterated that if the car was in service for 20 days or more that it could, by NC law, be considered a lemon and that I could request refund or replacement. I patiently waited for a response.

I called Fiat USA at 6 pm and spoke with Bill. Bill called Hendrick and at 6:30 pm I received a call from Frank. I once again stated that I expected communication to come from Hendrick and was disappointed in the poor customer service that I had received. Frank informed me that it was a software issue and that a tech from Fiat would need to visit Cary to attempt to resolve the issue.


I requested a different rental car. Jennifer spoke with Tom and I was provided a Fiat 500X loaner.


I spoke with Frank. He informed me that the Fiat tech rep had to call Fiat in Italy to attempt to resolve the issue but was unable to do so. Frank informed me that it would likely be weeks before the software issue would be resolved.


I sent a message to Frank and Tom asking for an update. Frank informed me that it would likely be a few weeks before the software issue could be resolved. I asked Frank if the issue was with 2015 models as well as 2016 and he informed me that issue was only with 2016 models.

I spoke with Timothy (another studio manager) and requested a 2015 model year replacement car, stating that I’d very much like to continue to own a Fiat. Jeremy said that he’d discuss this with Tom.

Bill from Fiat USA followed up with me on the case. I provided an update and yet again reiterated that I would like a 2015 replacement car. He suggested that I attempt to resolve the issue with Hendrick and not get Fiat USA involved unless necessary. Bill stated that he’d keep the case open until I provided an update.


At 10 am I sent a text to Jennifer asking if there was a word on replacement car. She informed me that she would need to speak with Frank. I followed up with her a noon and she hadn’t yet seen Frank. This was the last communication I received from Jennifer, although I sent texts and email messages requesting her reply.

At 12:30 pm I sent a lengthy and detailed message to Tom, Frank, and Jennifer, requesting an immediate reply. I received no reply nor did anyone from Hendrick Fiat communicate with me.


No communication.


Still no communication.


I received an email message from Tom informing me that he was out of the country and had limited access to email. He stated that he hoped “someone from the team has gotten involved here in my absence.” Tom informed me that he would take care of the matter upon his return to Hendrick on Monday, October 5. I replied to his message stating that no one had contacted me and I expressed my continued dissatisfaction.

I contacted Fiat Customer Support and requested that the matter be escalated and quickly resolved, and that I would be seeking a refund and not a replacement vehicle.

I received the following email from Frank: Good afternoon. as per our convocation on 9/25/2015 we still have not herd back as of when they will have the program installed so that we can further program the abs module, I will email you very day until I here back or when we have the new program.


I received confirmation from Fiat USA that the matter had finally been escalated and that a representative would be contacting me within 3 to 5 business days regarding buyback or replacement.


I sent Tom a message letting him know that I’d like to pick up my personal belongings and return the key to the 500X. No response. I called Hendrick and asked to speak with Tom. I was transferred to his voicemail that didn’t pick up. I called back and asked representative to leave a message for Tom. Once again, I received no response from Tom or anyone from Hendrick.


Spoke with representative at Fiat USA and once again discussed poor customer service at Hendrick. She called Hendrick, I spoke with Lisa, I arranged to pick up personal possessions.

Chrysler called and reviewed terms including replacement vehicle. I stated that I would not accept Fiat replacement and would only accept Jeep.


Representative from Chrysler called and informed me that she incorrectly thought that I was leasing the car. Given that I paid for the car we could begin re-purchasing. I am offered is an equal exchange, i.e., MSRP for MSRP. When I asked her if I would be compensated for my time and the inconvenience she informed me that I would not. I’m getting very tired of Customer Service saying, “I understand why you feel that way” and/or “If I were in your situation I’d feel the same way.”

Salesperson from Westgate Jeep requested that I get a copy of Invoice from Hendrick. I called Hendrick, left message, and — as expected — never received a call back.


Once again called Hendrick. My call was returned and I was informed that I could not request invoice but that this would have to come form Westgate Chrysler.


Received voicemail message from Chrysler Repurchasing and informed that they didn’t have documents needed to process repurchase. I hadn’t, of course, been notified that I would need to provide documents. I was informed that I’d need to fax sales receipt and registration. I did so.


Received call from Repurchasing department notifying me that they did not receive documents, I spoke with representative and he informed me that only 1 of 4 pages had been received. I asked if I could sent pics. I did so, and was finally informed that all documents had been received.


Was finally informed by WestGate Jeep that I could repurchase the Jeep, as a representative from Chrysler had visited the day before and approved. I was told that it would take 30 minutes to an hour to process. I was there almost 4 hours.


I received a call from Kate who left a message stating that I could no purchase the Jeep. I called her back and let her know that I had been driving the Jeep for almost 2 weeks. She informed that she’d need me to sign over the title to the Fiat, and I told her that I’d be more than happy to do so.


Salesperson from Jeep called and asked me to get the Fiat from Hendrick and drive to WestGate. I laughed out loud, and informed him that I would not be visiting Hendrick. Ever. Salesperson spent the remainder of the day retrieving title and Fiat. He informed me that representatives from Hendrick were less than friendly. Imagine that!


I signed over title and completed all remaining paperwork. After more than 2 months the nightmare was over!

As stated on Facebook:

Top 10 things I like about 2015 Jeep Renegade:
10. It’s not a Fiat.
9. Very comfortable ride as well as smooth automatic shifting.
8. Cute front and rear. Like me.
7. Very roomy interior. Jeff no longer complains about not having enough leg room. 
6. Uses regular or ethanol fuel. Filled up the tank with regular whilst traveling through VA and it only cost about $20.
5. Alpine white exterior color. Yes, I also like orange. Almost every automobile that I’ve owned has been white. Why, you ask? Because white doesn’t show dirt. Yup, that’s why.
4. MySky power and pop-out sunroofs. Yes, two sunroofs!
3. Eight-way adjustable power driver’s seat. I feel quite tall sitting so high, and the lumbar support is awesome!
2. The “X” on the taillights matches the “X” on license plate.
1. I can program UConnect to alert me when an artist and/or song plays on SiriusXM. We listened to Adele sing “Hello” many, many times during recent trip to WV. (Jeff would say far too many times.)

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