Top 1 Complaints and Reviews about Global Electric Motorcars

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Consumer Complaints Reviews

Meredith of Mannington, WV on Jan. 13, 2004

On July 10th, 2003, I purchased a Global Electric Motorcar (GEM) from my local Chrysler dealer. GEM is, as they proudly say on their website, A Daimler-Chrysler Company. No Chrysler dealers carry GEM anywhere in West Virginia, but my dealer called other Chrysler dealers and found a dealer in Virginia, over 200 miles away, who had one available.

There was trouble as soon as the car had been ordered from the dealer in Virginia. It turned out to be a 2002, and my husband and I had thought we were getting a 2003. But it was still a new GEM, and it had been a hassle arranging for its purchase, so we went ahead and bought it. It was supposed to have a range of 35 miles.

Although it seemed to be fully charged when we left the dealership, it needed to be recharged twice on the way to our house. The 17-mile trip home took us over five hours, and we had to do the recharging at the businesses of friendly strangers.

Three weeks later came our town’s annual fair. Since it was such an unusual vehicle, I decided to ride in the parade. The parade started five miles from home, at the center of town, and ran for about two miles through town. The car stalled several times just getting me into town and then kept stalling all through the parade route.

In the end it broke down entirely just outside the fairgrounds.

It was towed to my local dealer, after much excitement — the Chrysler Roadside Assistance people said I had to call GEM; GEM said they couldn’t find an authorized repairer closer than New York. I said they could tow it to New York if they liked, but that the warranty said that they would be responsible for all towing charges. They did the math and said that my local dealer could repair it following phoned instructions from one of their techs, and that it would not void the warranty.

We got that in writing.

It turned out that the motor had burned up. It took two weeks for them to ship my dealer a new motor. When the car came back to me, it did not run well at all. It stalled out much more frequently than before.

Moreover, it took to quitting half a mile too soon on trips into town (10 miles round-trip), leaving me to push it home. That got worse. Soon it wouldn’t get me the five miles into town at all.

Finally it wouldn’t even get to the head of the road (half a mile). The maddening thing was that it was inconsistent. It would seem to be running well, and I’d start to take it into town, and then it would just stop.

Twice it got all the way to town and then quit, leaving me to walk home five miles.

I have an artificial collarbone and a bad knee; that’s why I bought an alternative vehicle in the first place. Walking home five miles wasn’t easy for me. The second time it stranded me in town, just before Thanksgiving, I had it towed to the dealer.

On December 9th, it was determined that three of its six Trojan batteries were …. The dealer’s service person, Roger, asked if all six batteries could be replaced, since the others’ reliability was also in question. To his utter astonishment, GEM not only refused to pay for six batteries, they refused to pay for three. They said the batteries were out of warranty. We checked the warranty.

The batteries were warranted for a year from purchase of the vehicle, except that if they had a code date older than 18 months, they would not be under warranty. The batteries’ code date was October 2002. This was December 2003, so they were 14 months old.

I pointed this out to Kathy Jurgenson at GEM. She said that I did not have any sort of warranty at all on my GEM, because I was the owner of a used GEM, not a new GEM. She said that my local Chrysler dealer who bought the GEM (at my specific request) from another Chrysler dealer was the first owner of the GEM in question, and that he had now sold the car to me, so he had no warranty, since he didn’t own the car any more. And she said I had no warranty, and, not incidentally, no recourse under West Virginia’s lemon law, since I had bought a previously owned GEM, not a new GEM.

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She magnanimously offered to sell me a limited, used-GEM warranty on the car for $125 — a warranty that would not include batteries or tires.

I checked the West Virginia Code and found that, at least for the lemon law, the customer is deemed to be the first non-dealer to own the vehicle. I told her this. She said that that wasn’t the way GEM did things. I said I would talk to a lawyer.

She said, Go right ahead. I noticed that the warranty on the battery said that Trojan Battery was responsible for enforcing its provisions. I decided to try talking to Trojan Battery first. Jim Lee at Trojan answered. He explained that even though the warranty said that Trojan would replace batteries within a year of purchase as long as they weren’t eighteen months old, in practice Trojan had an agreement with GEM.

By the terms of that agreement, GEM was supposed to put brand-new Trojan batteries in each brand-new GEM they sold. To encourage GEM to do this, Trojan required GEM to pay for the replacement of any batteries which were less than a year from purchase at time of failure but more than a year old.

I said to Jim Lee, But that’s not what the warranty says you’ll do, and GEM has refused to pay for them. Jim Lee said he would call Kathy at GEM. That was last Wednesday; I haven’t heard back. The batteries were almost certainly bad when we bought the car, and per Trojan’s agreement with GEM, new batteries ought to have been put in the vehicle at sale.

They weren’t. The bad batteries most likely contributed to the failure of the motor three weeks after purchase. I’m much angrier at GEM than I am at Trojan, but, even if Trojan does have an agreement with GEM, how does that affect the written agreement they have with me?

Unless, of course, they agree with GEM that they have no agreement with me.

As for GEM’s stand, if GEM really considers me to be a used-GEM owner with no warranty, why did they pay for my burnt-out motor in August? No word was said of all this then. My dealer, my bank and my insurance agent all thought I was buying a new car when I bought the GEM, though the insurance agent was the one who noticed, halfway through the paperwork, that its VIN meant it had to be a 2002.

Well, I had to walk back from town five miles once (the second time, another kind stranger gave me a ride). My husband had to push the vehicle a half mile several times, and I had to push it a quarter mile myself many times. I also had to walk home shorter distances many times.

And my vehicle caused major problems for others on the day of the parade, since it stopped the parade in its tracks every few minutes. There’s also the cost of the new batteries to be considered, and the fact that I no longer have a warranty on my six-month-old bought-new vehicle.

Meredith should contact the West Virginia Attorney General’s office.

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