Ring Around the Rosy (I mean Nissan customer support)

Below is the email I received from a current Nissan Leaf owner that is trying to get Nissan to help him with his Nissan Leaf battery issues.  Just wanted to share so that you can see what kind of hoops people are willing to jump through in order to get Nissan to listen to them.  He still hasn't received any relief in fixing his issue so I post his story hear in hopes that Nissan will listen.

With the vehicle:  We leased the vehicle on 5/20/2011.  My wife used it to commute to and from work approximately 42-44 miles one way between Enumclaw, WA and Redmond, WA.  The vehicle received a full charge on each end of the trip using a 220 volt charger in each instance. 

The trip is one made on small secondary roads with peak speeds limited to 50 mph and most of the time speed limits are 40 mph and contain numerous stops.  The elevation is between 790 MSL and 350 MSL at the end points with many rises and falls along the way down to as low as 65' MSL.  Please note: she always made the trips on the ECO setting since it appear we’d get an additional tem miles in range and still receive plenty of acceleration is needed. 

The Leaf performed admirably for two and a half years - through the dryer warmth of summer 70-90 degrees and the damp cold of winter 20-35 degrees.  At the end points my wife would have and indicated three to four bars remaining and an in indicated 30 or more miles.   Again I emphasize the vehicle made the trips with ease.

Yet, now following our third software upgrade the vehicle’s performance has declined rapidly.  Immediately following the upgrade, our vehicle indicated a range of 20 miles less than before and has been steadily declining ever since, to the point where the last time my wife made the return trip it indicate she had two miles left and one bar remained.  And, to make matters worse it only gets colder and rainier in these ensuing months.  Thus we opted to shelve the car and seek remedy hoping that since only after two and a half years the vehicle could not do what it had done, if an inspection proved the car to be operating as expected, Nissan would understandably allow us to extricate ourselves from the remainder of the lease agreement.  And, by the way, I also put it out there that we also be more than willing to have them back-off the upgrade to get our old performance (range back).  This last remedy, they said was an impossibility.  This brings me to an explanation of the frustration in seeking a remedy from Nissan.

The remedy:  I was told rather sympathetically by our service department at Rairdon Nissan of Auburn WA that we’d need to call the consumer affairs division of Nissan USA.  They supplied a phone number and for the following two days I tried unsuccessfully to reach someone on the other end of the line.  I was automatically placed on hold for: one hour.  I called the service representative again asking if there might not be some other way and was assured by the service writer that phone number I had was the only option going on to indicate that was the number they used as well. Following that conversation, I tried several more times, being put again on hold for twenty minutes three times and finally eighteen minutes before I contacted the service manager who immediately gave me two other numbers as alternatives to the first.

Using the first of the alternative numbers I did successfully contact someone who seemed genuinely interested in helping, but told me his group was sales oriented but offered to connect my with the group responsible for resolving issues.  He did and I poured my heart out to the next individual who after I basically explained the entire process I’ve written above said, and I paraphrase, “…sorry but I didn’t know you have a Leaf, we handle everything but Leaf issues. I’ll connect you with the group who does..”  He did and I once again tried to explain the situation.  I was cut short by the representative (Paul Smith) who explained he didn’t understand why I would have been directed to his group since a remedy, if any was to be offered, would come from Nissan Acceptance.  That seemed a bit strange to me in that they are basically the finance end of the corporation….but not being in the company how would I know for sure.  Then he acquiesced indicating he did have a newly created issue based on a complaint I’d filed several days before via and online forum Nissan hosts.  I did manage to provide the background to him that I’ve relayed above and he seemed more intent on trying to offer up reasons the loss in –performance (range) was not related to the software upgrade.  Though I did not say it at the time, but what difference does it make?  No matter what reason, it should not be acceptable for a vehicle to go the distance for two and a half years with ease and then over the course of a month or two not be able to continue to do the same.  At that point I became annoyed and told him to connect me to the Nissan Acceptance.  He did and I spoke with Josh who also sounded genuinely interested and sympathetic.  Unsurprisingly, he said a remedy if any were to come would have to come from the group I had just spoken with.  Upon my prompting, he indicated the process called for Paul Smith’s Nissan Leaf Consumer Affairs group to issue a ‘ticket’, as he labeled it, to the Acceptance group basically covering all or part of the remaining customer obligation.

Of course none was proffered and here we sit.

EW & PS (names removed to protect the innocent, but hopefully enough that Nissan can figure out who they are).