Dream luxury car purchase turns into a nightmare for Calgary woman

A Calgary woman is warning others after being embroiled in a lengthy two-year battle with luxury automaker Jaguar.

Christa Mikkelsen went in a local Jaguar dealership at the start of 2020 to look at vehicles. She told Global News she didn’t have her heart set on any particular vehicle, until one caught her eye.

“I saw her (Jaguar XE) in the show room and I just fell in love,” she said.

Mikkelsen said she had never bought a luxury vehicle before but wanted to splurge for her 40th birthday. She said the buying experience was “incredible” but shortly after getting it home, that changed.

“The first problem started a month after with speaker issues. Then my 3M was falling off. The undercarriage felt was falling off.”

Calgary woman battles Jaguar over multiple issues with vehicle. Global Calgary

Mikkelsen took her vehicle back to the original dealership, and another one, several times to get these issues fixed. Then she said a major issue cropped up — her car heater stopped working, while she was driving remotely in the dead of winter.

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Once again, she took the vehicle in for repairs even though she said she was told several times there was nothing wrong with it and perhaps it was a “user error”.

“They kept it for a month that time,” she added. “Thought they fixed it. I picked it up, it wasn’t fixed. This went on three or four different times.”

Mikkelsen said other issues started coming up as well, leading to more repairs and resulting in her $80,000 Jaguar to be in the shop almost as much as it had been on the road.

“I’ve just had it just over two years and I would say I had my car for a year — off and on”

Read more: Ongoing shortage of new and used vehicles drives prices up and options down

Global News reached out to Jaguar with Mikkelsen’s concerns. Taylor Hoel, marketing and PR manager at Jaguar Land Rover North America, told us in a statement that the company is aware of the issues Mikkelsen has faced and has “endeavored to accommodate her during the entire repair process”.

“The customer was provided a Jaguar loaner vehicle for the entirety of the repair time and was provided with cash compensation,” the statement said.

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“Additionally, the customer was offered another vehicle to trade her vehicle in for, which she declined.”

But Mikkelsen said she wasn’t offered any cash, instead she was offered a one-time use $2,000 Jaguar gift card to spend on accessories.

“My car is brand new. I don’t need a roof rack. I don’t need other fancy things in my car,” she added.

“For me that was a slap in the face.”

She also told Jaguar she didn’t want a new car, instead she wanted the one she already had — fixed. She also wanted the money that she had already paid for her extended warranty refunded.  She told Global News the response she got from the company was disheartening.

“Ghosting emails, not returning phone calls, ignoring me. Basically telling me they gave me a loaner car and that was sufficient.”

We put those claims back to Jaguar but Hoel told us the company stands by its original statement.

Calgary woman claims her new Jaguar is plagued with problems. Global Calgary

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Disputes between new car owners and auto manufacturers aren’t that common in Canada according to the Canadian Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP).

CAMVAP is a cross-Canada program used to resolve disputes with a manufacturer about defects in a vehicle’s (under four years old) assembly or materials, or how the manufacturer is applying or administering its new vehicle warranty. Disputes are resolved through binding arbitration.

General manager Stephen Moody told Global News out of the millions of new cars sold every year in Canada, only a few hundred result in disputes.

“We handle about 300 cases a year,” he said. “Last year we handled 22 in Alberta.”

Moody said about 70 per cent of the time the resolution goes in the consumer’s favour, but if it goes to arbitration that number is lowered to about 50 per cent.

But he also added consumers don’t have anything to lose by contacting CAMVAP.

“The important thing for the consumer is, it’s all at no cost. There’s no cost to the consumer for coming to the program.”

Mikkelsen hasn’t gone that route yet. She was hoping to reach a deal with Jaguar on her own so she can go back to enjoying her birthday present.

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“It has been, was, such a wonderful experience and it is now a nightmare.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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