Dear all members, my name is Ashton Wood and I’m the guy who has started the campaign to Destroy My Jeep, that all your friends are probably giving you hell about.
I come here, to your turf, knowing that I am entering the “lions den” of Jeep owners and enthusiasts, so I honestly don’t know how this is going to play out.
I ask that you read the below, before judging, please.
It’s a long read, but I have put quite some time into this to try to clear the air. (if you’re not into reading long-winded letters, please just scroll to the stars at the bottom for my apology.)
I am (was) a Jeep enthusiast, as a kid, the first remote controlled toy I can ever remember getting was little battery operated Jeep that could go anywhere and I have loved them ever since. In 2006 I finally purchased my first new Jeep, it was a silver Jeep Cherokee KJ which cost me around $36,000 and it was one of the best cars I have owned.
We took it to Stradbroke Island, Frazer Island and on 4WD tracks, then just washed it off and it was the perfect daily driver.. it was unbreakable!
One of my mates hated my Jeep, as he had a Nissan Xtrail, and on a trip to Frazer Island with us, his transmission kept overheating on the beach and dropping back to 2WD mode, so we towed him around the island behind our trusty Jeep for much of trip!
When we got off the island and back onto the sealed road, his car was shaking uncontrollably as he had bent his steering rods on the same tracks we had driven on… our car, of course, was perfect!
After 4 years of owning and loving this car, in 2010 we decided to upgrade.
I really liked the 4 door Wrangler for its look and go-anywhere attitude, but my wife really liked the luxury of the Cherokee Limited.
Both cars were around the $50,000 mark at the time so I told my wife I’m the breadwinner so I should get the choice… needless to say that went down really well, and we bought the Cherokee Limited
That’s where my problems started (with my car, not my marriage)
We ordered the car on 19/7/2010 and a week later we went to the show room to pick it up (they had to order in the car and fit the Freedom Pack and electronic rust protection).
We got to the dealers showroom and the car was just outside the showroom on the dealers property near their other cars for sale… it looked awesome!
After a quick chat and getting all the paperwork, we were walked out to the car, where my kids jumped in the back and buckled in, very excited about going home in the new car.
They started the car and were standing outside of the car, getting the instructions on the radio, the steering controls, the electric seats etc.
After about 2 minutes of idling, the car stalled. The salesperson turned to me and said “it’s been idling for a while, it must be a safety feature”.
Suddenly my wife noticed fuel running over her feet, jumped back and started screaming to the kids to get out of the car.
The kids were terrified!
The car had just dropped a fuel line from the engine (that’s why the engine stalled), but the ignition was still on so the fuel pump was pumping all the fuel onto the ground under the car, which was running directly over where we were all standing… that was my first issue.
Anyway, we left that night without the car (they pushed it back into the workshop) and we got the car the next day.
The next 14 months was just as bad, as it experienced 9 more issues and had been towed twice (once due to a Turbo inlet manifold crack… which to my disappointment they KNEW would happen on this model and the second time due to a major coolant leak inside the vehicle)
It also had other minor issues like the bash plate falling off (possibly because it wasn’t re-fitted correctly after they fixed the fuel line issue), rattling in drivers door, intermittent rain sensor, loose mirrors, loss of all climate controls (pretty important in QLD weather), and the clock, the simplest thing of all vehicles wouldn’t keep the correct time (it would just make up its own time, whenever it wanted)
I approached the dealer, but he wanted nothing to do with it, as Jeep Assist had been towing the car to the CLOSEST dealership for repair, not HIS dealership (I had no control over where Jeep assist instruct the tow trucks to tows the car).
So after 14 months of patience, as my car sat in the service centre getting the Coolant leak sorted out, on the 2nd of September 2011, I rang Chrysler Australia in Melbourne, explained all of the issues, and demanded a replacement vehicle or a full refund.
For the next 2 years and 10 months, I have been trying to get them to do the right thing, while still getting issues with my car.
It has since had:
Climate control failure (again),
Ignition (immobiliser?) failure, (none of the key would start the car, so it had to get towed in and the computer reset),
Faulty Seatbelt tentioner
Another (smaller) coolant leak/smell inside vehicle
Intermittent Starter motor (starter motor replaced)
Mirrors loose again
Drivetrain control module error, causing the car to go into “limp mode” while driving in the middle of a storm
Oil leaking from rear right strut
Windscreen wipers coming on when turning corners
Intermittent starter motor issue again.
We certainly tried the “normal” path of escalation to Chrysler Australia. We tried dealing directly with them, we tried using the service of the Office Of Fair Trading and we kept Chrysler Australia informed of our intentions and actions every step of the way.
After the last breakdown in March 2014 I cracked it, I’d had ENOUGH!
I started a facebook page (www.facebook.com/jeepissues
) to try to get the attention of the senior management in Chrysler Australia and it worked, I had contact within a day and the kind lady in customer service even arranged a rentalcar for my wife (I was interstate and my other car was at an airport 100km from home).
For the next week, all Chrysler Australia would tell me is that they are working to get my car back on the road.
I made it very clear that I didn’t want it back and again I demanded a full refund or replacement.
I berated them through my facebook page and demanded a meeting with senior management.
To my surprise, on another business trip to Mebourne, I got off the plane to see that they had agreed to a meeting the next day (in Melbourne) at 4pm.
We had a 2 hour mediation session with their solicitor, director of after sales service and his colleague.
They held the meeting at Maddocks, which as some of you would know, is a very large law firm, so I had no choice but to bring along my solicitor, at a cost of $700
At the mediation session, they offered me, wait for it… a new car battery and one more year warranty.
They later promised to look into this further and provide me with a “buyback price”, which they offered the following Monday ($22,500)
Unsatisfied with their care to resolve this, I raised a case with QCAT and made 3 offers to the CEO of for a private meeting to resolve this matter, informing her that we were taking the matter to QCAT.
We then had the QCAT mediation where I dropped my claim from $49,000 to $39,000 for a resolution, and they increased their offer by $500 from $22,500 to $23,000. I wasn’t willing to accept that (and I’m still not)
The legal system in Australia can get expensive to fight for justice, and if you live in QLD the QCAT can only assist you with claims of up to $25,000… if you want to go higher than that, then you’re now in the Magistrates Court where you’re going head-to-head with the big guys who’s pockets are a lot deeper than yours and mine.
Totally peed off with their lack of care I started this campaign to raise money to publically destroy my car.
I have poured my own money into this for the domain www.destroymyjeep.com
, the website, graphics and Facebook marketing www.facebook.com/destroymyjeep
(don’t tell my wife OK?)
I know that by doing what I’ve done, I can NEVER sell my car, but I couldn’t sleep straight in bed knowing I’d sold my lemon to someone else anyway.
So at the time of writing this (at 7:20pm on Sunday 15th June 2014) I have raised only $1,936 of the required $22,500 so the joke is on me and it looks like I’m going to lose a lot more than just a bad nights sleep.
In summary, I want you all to know that I have the upmost respect for you and your mean machines (in fact I'm a little jealous!)
I am not on a "bashing Jeep" campaign, I just fought for 4 long years to get a resolution and have given up with Chrysler Australia.
This whole campaign is to Destroy My Jeep (thus the name) and is not aimed at any other Jeep owner.
If my campaign is successful, this will actually cause Chrysler Australia to re-think their current strategy on vehicle replacement and refunds and could make it much easier for you to get a resolution if god-forbid something was to happen to your Jeep.
Now I’m not asking for your support (but would love it if you could get involved in this), but just wanted to clear the air on why I’m doing this and hope that some day, some other people will benefit from what I’m doing…
Who knows.. it might be you.
With respect, Ashton Wood
Ps, If you would like to see the video that explains my campaign, please go to www.destroymyjeep.com
and click on the RED button