The dealer is Prestige in New Jersey, and they were able to track it well until it hit Port Elizabeth. Then they lost track of it. First it was being prepped, then it was having the recall fan switch work done, then it was just gone. Prestige didn't return calls and ended up with some very frustrated customers who had yet to pay, but had a fat bank check sitting around earning no interest. Then the car popped up, and it had been damaged during shipping, badly enough that the passenger door was replaced and the side of the car was re-sprayed entirely. The car is steel blue metallic, so there could definitely be issues in matching the metallic fleck, that's why they sprayed the whole side.
The QUESTION: What is that worth in terms of dollar value to be taken off the cost of the car? I feel that the extended maintenance ($350) should definitely be thrown in, but after the lack-of-service they suffered through, that should be a given. I also feel that another $500 to a grand should be taken off the top line of the car's cost. Maybe I am estimating high, maybe I am estimating low - what do you all think?
Other issues and possibilities: I told mom to look for the VIN sticker on the door and verify that the panel was really replaced - it should have a DOT-R sticker on it. The dealer WILL be providing them with a letter detailing what happened so that they will have records if they ever decide to sell the car (though the car will only ever get sold to ME!).
They could also tell Prestige to swallow the car and wait for a 2002 model to come in, the only issue there is that my mom already feels a certain bond with this car - it was built on her birthday.
Thanks all - your opinions are valued!