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Discussion Starter #1
Dear Canadian Honda Hybrid Owners and Wannabees,

I bought a used/new 2004 Honda Insight CVT from a Seattle area Honda Dealer as a Honda Certified used car. I asked a few questions in Canada about US warranty at various Honda dealers and was led to believe the warranty was seamless. Not true if you are a Canadian driving what American Honda of Torrance CA thinks of as an American Honda. I paid for the vehicle and exported it legally from the USA.

The drive home was nice, beyond that American Honda has turned this into the Hybrid Car from Hell. We had never owned a Honda car before so we are really at a loss on how to deal with these guys at American Honda or Honda Canada. So far what I have discovered is that American Honda considers this to be 'grey market vehicle' and neither Honda in the USA or Honda in Canada will give me a letter stating " there are no outstanding recalls." Further American Honda says they will not honor their warranty because I live in Canada. There warranties aren't worth ******* to Canadians. How about this a car worth nearly $30,000 which is highly complex, not known for being reliable or cheap with no manufacturer's warranty???

Most of the Honda sales people I have since talked to deny any knowledge of "grey /gray market cars" and any restrictions to warranty.
I can't drive the vehicle without insurance and I can't get insurance beyond trip permits until I complete the RIV program. The RIV or Registrar of Imported Vehicles program requires "the no outstanding recalls letter".
The Honda employees I have dealt with have been every bit as arrogant as Mercedes Benz employees. They can't seem to get their heads around the idea "that they are screwing their customers" not their dealers. They don't seem to understand that vehicles travel all over North America thanks to the internet and that they cross the border both south and northbound. What a way to kill the new car experience for a family.
My wife and kids have yet to drive the Insight and the neighbours are curious if the car is going to ever move from the driveway. As one wag put it "what's wrong are the batteries dead already?" Why would they think anyone connected with us would ever buy a Honda product at any time in the future. At present I am still trying to resolve the problem. Any great ideas would be appreciated. Unfortunately I paid for the car in full in cash so I can't just get HFC to repossess it.

Rocky gaining more Insight into small minded companies every day.
 

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Your problems are not Honda's fault, but a result of laws pertaining to imprted vehicles. Vehicles intended for the US market are not subject to the same regulations as vehicles intended for the Canadian market. No government in their right mind would make importing straightforward as doing so would allow any car maker to bypass Canadian regulations. (mandatory daytime running lights, for instance)
 

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Seems like since the *apparent* in your face attitude that exudes from your post(s) hasn't got you what you want, you'd wise up.

If you want someone to go the extra mile and well beyond what their job normally requires then some polite pleading lightly dashed with groveling often has the desired outcome. But if you've already "burned some bridges" then add a _HEAVY_ dose of contrition as the *first* serving.

Alternatively doing some heavy duty research on importing _might_ reveal a sympathetic automotive importer (of another brand) that may be able to give you some good tips. But you'll probebly have to look nationwide (Canada).

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Attitude & Honda & Mercedes Benz

Hey I used to sell aircraft new and used and sold the same parties aircraft on a to & fro basis as many as 9 times and I didn't do it by dumping on the customer. I am not dumping on you John, but you were the messenger, if you hadn't told me the warranty was dead on this car, along with Citrus Smoothie we would be blissfully thinking all we needed was a recall letter.
I realize you are quite a way from the Canadian border, but there is an international agreement in North America called NAFTA, and it has sub parts dealing with trade in automobiles and auto parts. Honda supposedly abides by NAFTA and ships cars built in Canada and USA back and forth across the border without duty. Produce enough cars in North America or have enough North American content and you get all kinds of benefits. Some North American manufacturers such as Winnebago and GM realize the concrete advantages of NAFTA and a continent wide market for new and used vehicles. There are no penalties for exporting vehicles new or used. Others have small minds and impose "no export agreement clauses in their bills of sale" MB Canada is a good example. The no export agreements penalties were supposed to protect Canadian consumers and retailers when the US$$$ was strong. Corvettes and Thunderbirds were being bought in Canada for 10 to 20 grand less than American dealers could buy them from GM or Ford because of low Canadian $$$. American wholesalers were buying up Canadian used cars cheap for the same reason.

When a customer purchases a car from a big name retailer Honda, at a registered dealer, you should not have to skulk around trying to find out if the warranty is voided on some technicality, this particularly applies to a vehicle two model years out and sold as used. Who are you protecting? Actually all you are doing is alienating your customers. If American Honda wants to pick on somebody how about American Honda dealers? If American Honda doesn't want its cars sold to foreigners how about no export clause as a warning to sellers and buyers?

When both Canadian and American Honda dealer service departments tell me the HONDA warranty is seamless, that they just have to call for authorization and get a credit card number, they haven't finished the rest of the story, only if you are driving a US registered vehicle with a US licence. Refusal to generate a letter saying "there are no outstanding recalls on this vehicle" simply generates bad feeling in a customer when they should be the happiest. You are showing nothing but arrogance and contempt for someone who has just shelled out a lot of money for your product. What is a warranty anyways? The best one is the one that isn't used. A warranty is telling a customer you have confidence in what you produced. Why buy new or nearly new if the manufacturer won't stand behind its product. Why did Honda offer huge warranties on its hybrid technology? Because neither they nor the market knew what this car would do in the real world! When you check out the real cost of the special hybrid parts you need some assurance that you aren't going to be hung out to dry because some battery pack failed.

Rocky
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"No government in their right mind..."

Oxymoron alert!

"mandatory daytime running lights, for instance"

Case in point. A government, which I believe has signed on to the Kyoto protocol and so on, which still mandates such a waste of energy.

Maybe it's one of the unappreciated benefits of a rural New England childhood, but I still get a bit of a twinge whenever I see an unused electric light.
 

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Re: Attitude & Honda & Mercedes Benz

While I understand your frustration and even sympathize with it your approach (as displayed in this forum) will only lead you to a dead end. So far you've ignored the valid counterpoints to your arguments that explain _some_ of the reasons for your difficulty. None of which matter at this point anyway.

The law is what it is and you'll have to try some way to work within it if you want to drive your Insight. As far as warranty its still valid in the USA. A big problem for you should you need it, but for major items it would be worth the trip.

You also have a 3rd option of selling it back to the U.S. on eBay. And with gas prices the way they are you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Simply stated you leapt before you looked and had you'd been swimming the outcome could have been much worse :!:

HTH! :)
 

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Re: Attitude & Honda & Mercedes Benz

Insightful Trekker said:
While I understand your frustration and even sympathize with it your approach (as displayed in this forum) will only lead you to a dead end. So far you've ignored the valid counterpoints to your arguments that explain _some_ of the reasons for your difficulty. None of which matter at this point anyway.
i don't think his posts up there are really indicative of anything more than a dude who's really upset about getting some shaft. nothing sucks quite like having to deal with a bunch of people with wrong info, when something nontrivial in your life is at stake.

hindsight is all 20/20 and that, but:
Rocky said:
I asked a few questions in Canada about US warranty at various Honda dealers and was led to believe the warranty was seamless. Not true if you are a Canadian driving what American Honda of Torrance CA thinks of as an American Honda. I paid for the vehicle and exported it legally from the USA.
did you ask/contact the same from dealerships in the US? if so, then you have what feels to me to be a more solid footing for your argument to AHC that you are being screwed. if you didn't, i'd call that a mistake as a customer, but please don't take that as an attack - rather as a hint that perhaps you could use it as a potential "hi, i'm a customer, i was wrong, i admit it freely, now i'm in a crappy situation, could you help me please?" playing-card. in any situation where i've been "behind the counter", if a customer comes up to me and admits to me that they were wrong, i feel personally compelled to go the extra mile for them because they are being different from the normal complaining stock.

have you tried contacting AHC through a means other than dealerships? i haven't been exposed to very many dealerships, but of the ones i have, i have had a genuine positive experience with exactly one of them -- and there's a lot of stigma about car dealerships in general. my wife was a title clerk for a while (not honda), and has told me a lot of horror stories about SNAFUs, so i asked her.

she said to suggest you to get the contact info for the US dealership the car came from. call them. speak with the service manager. ask for the contact info for their "dealer service representative" ( not dealer sales representative ). don't go into excessive detail. the goal is to get youself in contact with the 'dealer service representative' and handle the issue yourself, as that is going to be the quickest way to stop hearing wrong answers and getting the issue situation resolved. if that dealership is a pain in the ***, call another US honda dealer. it really shouldn't matter, and shouldn't have to have anything related to the dealership the car came from, but whatever, might as well start there since its relevant to the context of your issue.

anyway, the dealer service representative is an employee of AHC corporate offices. get in contact with the dealer service representative directly, and tell them your situation. at that point, the wheel is probably firmly in your hands, so do as you will with respect to what you ask/how you ask for it.

if it were me, i would simply try to do something like:
"Hello, my name is <Name>. I purchased a <ModelYear> Insight from <Dealership> on <Date>. My Insight has <VIN>. If possible, please send me a letter stating <whatever RIV wants>. If there is a different party i ought to be requesting this from, please point me in that direction. In the interest of customer service, please understand that i prefer to not deal with <Dealership> directly.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my request,
<Name>
<Address>"

i would not hide from them that you're in canada ( clearly you need to get the return mail <G> ), but in my experience, if you're dealing with the right person you need to deal with, they will either A) do what you're looking for or B) require more details. if they're not the right person you need to deal with, providing any superfluous details whatever tends to increase the chances that you will not have a positive outcome to the interaction; providing only enough detail to ensure they understand what you're requesting is the best. a letter like i templated above might leave the recipient with a curiosity as to why you're requesting the info, but if they are not regulated to require the answer as to why you're requesting it, they'll probably just send it because they're busy and underpaid and this will be an easy one.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Dealing with American Honda Motors

Thanks for the hints. My "pre-sale" questions about Honda Warranties resulted in the same answers from Canadian Honda service managers and the selling dealer's staff who have treated me with nothing but respect and admit with horror the situation sucks. Essentially the selling dealer's staff and the service managers at two local Edmonton Honda Canada dealers gave the same spiel about Honda of America and out of country warranty work. All 4 parties independently said " if a US Honda vehicle needs warranty work in Canada we need to get authorization from "American Honda Motors", we get it, do the work, you sign for it, and American Honda Motors pays for it on their credit card. All of which is true, if the US Honda is driven by a US resident with US state plates. [/i]

As soon as I, (a Canadian resident) put Canadian plates on it, and drive it with a Canadian drivers licence the warranty work is off, and I am denied warranty coverage because American Honda Motors deems the car to be a "grey market vehicle" even though it was sold over the table by a US legitmate Honda dealership for more than list price. Even the option of returning the vehicle to the USA for warranty work is not available. A Canadian Honda service manager told me I being discriminated against on the basis of citiizenship

The selling dealer's staff have treated me with respect before, during, and after delivery. They are trying to find a way through this mess for me. My car is parked, it can't be driven or insured until this mess is sorted out. The fine for driving without registration $2800, the fine for driving without insurance $2800. I have already investigated exporting the car back to the USA, and having it resold to the USA. The principal (owner) of the selling dealer is currently out of town until next week. I have faxed him a letter requesting help and listing American Honda's responses to the situation.
 

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This is not a problem specific to Honda. All car companies have country-specific warranties. Importing a gray market car is a huge hassle; I don't think you have even gotten to the hard part yet.
 

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On an unrelated point, people should be aware that the giant hurricane(s) recently will once again introduce a bunch of flood-damaged cars onto the market.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Honda won't even give "We won't give a no recall lette

The latest in the running battle with American Honda Motor Co. Inc. is that Ralph at AHMC aka "Honda" won't give me in writing "we won't give you a "no recall" letter" and Honda don't want to give me in writing a "we won't honor our warranty on your car letter".

AHMC is starting to make some really shady dealers I have seen in the past look good. Ralph admitted on the phone not all Honda salesmen, sales managers or dealer staff would know about "grey market cars". They also admitted they don't post any information on their websites in the FAQ questions about "grey market" or warranty restrictions.

On my way home last week, with my new to me Insight, I stopped at a BC Canadian Honda dealer who did not even know about the "AHMC grey market policies" and was hoping to refer potential customers to my car for test drives, because they have never had an Insight. Their staff crawled all over it. They wanted to buy the car off me on the spot. Later when I relayed this AHMC hassle to him he was floored. As this Canadian dealer principal /owner said, "Bad feelings are not what we are supposed to be about. These cars are made in Japan for the North American /world market, they don't and shouldn't fall apart just because they cross the US/Canada border", and "How small minded can they be?". He later added to quote Pogo "We have seen the enemy and it is us". As far he is concerned every Honda owner, new or used, is a potential customer for parts, service, and a generator of new business, and he doesn't need or want protection when it alienates customers, as far as he is concened any one who owns a Honda, no matter how acquired or where acquired is a customer". I guess that attitude was how he went from selling cars to owning the business...

If this car ever gets registered in Canada it will be a miracle. I wonder how much this Insight is worth as spare parts on this side of the border.. Closest bid to $27,500 Canadian could buy a complete almost new Navy Blue CVT Insight rolling spare parts inventory with no warranty, any takers???

Rocky
 

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U.S. cars in Canada

Wow! I came very close to owning a Michigan Insight from Ebay. The only reason I didn't get it was that someone else snagged it with the "buy it now" option. I did some research before i tried to get it but for me the problem was finding competent people to answer my queries. I called Canada Customs & the Ministry of Transportation & never once did anyone make it sound like there would be any trouble bringing it into Canada. As far as I knew, the only problem has been pollution control which is not an issue with the insight. Anyway, what Honda & the government are doing to you is crap. Free trade my eye. Only when it works in their favour. Big Brother at his best. Don't give up though. Keep bugging them until you get satisfaction. You haven't done anything wrong in buying that car. I guess if it drags out too long you'll have to consider the prior suggestion about unloading it on Ebay. They sell all the time on there. Then just find a good used one in Canada. I got a great deal on a 2001 in Toronto. Only 50,000 km. Anyway, you have my sympathy. It totall sucks, eh? ( I threw that in there for our American friends who like to hear us say eh)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Importing A Car into Canada is easy!! but not 4 a Honda!

The steps for importing a car into Canada are relatively few.
1. Check the RIV.ca website and make sure the car is eligible for import
2. Check with the border port you will export through. There are only certain port/pairs that handle exports/imports. Get insurance certificate before leaving Canada. Take a valid Canadian plate or get transit permit with you..
3. Call US customs vehicle exports and then fax a copy of the title 72 business hours in advance, along with a copy of the bill of sale.
4. Call US customs to make sure they have documents.
5. Stop at the US customs port and present the title and bill of sale on the appropriate day during vehicle export business hours. They will stamp it exported.
5. Proceed to Canada customs present documents and have VIN checked, pay duty at 6.1% if non NAFTA, 7% GST, $100 Air Conditioning tax, $182 to RIV for import inspection. Orange RIV permit must be in vehicle until provincial certification is complete.
6. Get letter from RIV detailing inspection requirements in mail, if no letter in 7 days call RIV, chances are the photocopy from the border was unreadable. Get "no outstanding recall " letter from manufacturer of vehicle. You will receive a letter and inspection form from RIV you must get these completed within alloted time. If you need a time extension request it.
7. If outstanding recalls get them done.
8. IF vehicle requires modications get them done,. usual requirement is daytime running lights. Not applicable to vehicles more than 15 years old.
9. When modications and "no recall letter" is in your possession take vehicle to Canadian Tire for conformity inspection.
10. If your province requires "out of province" inspection take your RIV paperwork and get forms for out of province, otherwise proceed with current insurance certificate to vehicle registries and they will issue current registration and plate. You can now drive vehicle anywhere.
11. Steps are slightly different if use a shipper or bonded carrier. If you live near a customs station there is no need to use a broker if your vehicle is trucked. The customs paperwork is relatively simple and the agents will help you. If everything is in order you can cross the border in about 30 minutes as long as you have good sales documentation. If the agent thinks you paid too little or stuff looks fishy it can take a long time in Canada.


DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES THROW OUT THE OLD US STATE TITLE, KEEP IT IN CASE THE VEHICLE MUST BE RE EXPORTED TO THE USA.

11. RIV will eventually issue imported properly data placard. This will be installed in vehicle near driver's door. If you are smart you will make 3 copies one for records, one which you can put on headliner by door. and the other you can keep in glove box. If you put it on the door sill, car washes can obliterate it.

This whole process grinds to a standstill "without a NO OUTSTANDING RECALL LETTER". 3 years ago they would accept dealer's letters, RIV has instructed Canadian Tire not to accept them any more. So even though your vehicle is on the list of importable vehicles, the unwillingness of Honda or Toyota to provide these letters causes the whole process to grind to a stop.

As I explained the problems to someone today they suggested maybe I didn't understand the need for bribes to the manufacturer to speed the paperwork along. This fellow was from Italy and said "nothing like what needs to be accomplished here would happen back home without financial incentives to the clerks processing the papers..." Hadn't thought of that, haven't lived in the parts of the world where bribery is a way of life. I have no idea how the Japanese do business, but almost a dozen VW European execs and subcontractors just got nailed big time in bribery and kickback schemes in Europe according to friends posting of articles on a yahoo VW Eurovan list.

IF I CAN'T GET THE VEHICLE THROUGH RIV INSPECTION EVEN WITH TIME EXTENSIONS, THE VEHICLE MUST BE RE-EXPORTED OR BROKEN UP FOR PARTS AND THE VIN PLATE TURNED IN.

Rocky
 

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Discussion Starter #16
US address for a non resident??

I appreciate your thinking about alternatices. That process only works for a short while, and may be feasible if you are single. However if you are insuring more than 1 car and in a 4 driver household then you have all kinds of problems. The other problem these days is banks and security agencies in their never ending quest to protect us are always wanting our driver's licence for ID.

The WA Honda dealer who sold my used Insight to me even wanted my licence when I was buying the car. (no not for a test drive). When I said what if I didn't have a licence, he said no he needed the licence because I was out of country and exempt from WA sales tax based on my Alberta driver's licence and the $30 US I had to pay for a 3 transit permit. I would not have had to pay the transit permit fee if the car had been trucked.


This is one of the reasons I am so ticked at American Honda Motors. A licensed Honda dealer knowingly sells a Honda certifed used car to a known foreigner, with a foreign address, and then American Honda chooses to jerk the customer around.... I didn't buy this car in back alley, or win it in a poker game, or buy it off the net. I bought it from a Honda dealer.

Rocky
 

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Re: US address for a non resident??

Rocky said:
This is one of the reasons I am so ticked at American Honda Motors. A licensed Honda dealer knowingly sells a Honda certifed used car to a known foreigner, with a foreign address, and then American Honda chooses to jerk the customer around.... I didn't buy this car in back alley, or win it in a poker game, or buy it off the net. I bought it from a Honda dealer.
The dealer can reasonably expect that you would have made all necessary arrangements for import. A dealer is not an international exporter. They can't be expected to know everything, or even anything, about import into a foreign country.

I think that because Canada and the US have a more open border you may be assuming that they would know. Really it is no different than if they had sold the car to a person here on a work visa, who then goes on to hassle them endlessly about some paper he needs so he can get the car insured in El Salvador. An American dealer can't be expected to help you import the car to El Salvador, why would they be expected to help you import the car to Canada?
 

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Rocky's between a "rock" and a hard place right now. ;)

He's been given some good advice from fellow members in here in regard to how to "schmooze" to get the needed letter(s). But right now he'd rather rant...sigh. And if he's ranting at the people that he will need to get the job done then I'm not hopeful for a good outcome. But if he gets it off he chest in here maybe he can get the job done IRW (In the Real World).

Hope we'll get a clear and accurate post when the problem resolves.

[Moderator Insert]

9/24/05
Thread locked for consolidation. Please post replies to:

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=3687
 
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