A critical part of Jaimin Patel’s Mitsubishi Lancer is corroded. Although he pays for the repair, Mitsubishi ultimately recalls the component. Why won’t the company cover his costs?
My 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer had a corroded front cross member. I contacted Mitsubishi in 2019, and a representative suggested I repair the car myself because there was no recall. But he advised me to keep the documents for reimbursement if there is any recall in the future.
Fast forward to mid-2020, when Mitsubishi issued a recall for the same part.
I submitted all the paperwork in early 2021 and have been waiting for my reimbursement. I have called Mitsubishi almost every month to get my status. In early 2022, a representative said the process was “complete” and that I would hear from a case manager soon. But so far, nothing. Can you get Mitsubishi to pay me the $1,460 it owes me? — Jaimin Patel, Bartlett, Ill.
Mitsubishi should have paid for the repair the first time you brought this to the company’s attention. The cross member is an essential component of your Lancer. It’s bolted to the vehicle’s underside, where it supports the engine and transmission and aids the suspension system by maintaining stability. A rusting cross member can lead to a catastrophic problem with your car.
But wait, wasn’t your car out of warranty? Technically, yes. But if a Mitsubishi rep asked you to keep the repair records in case it recalled the part, it means there were other cross member problems — and a recall was likely.
Auto manufacturers like to conduct recall repairs on their terms instead of getting their owners to do the repairs and sending them the bill. That may have delayed your initial payment. You had gone to an outside repair facility (at the recommendation of Mitsubishi), which meant your claim needed to be reviewed and approved manually. There might have been a pandemic delay, too, since this incident happened between 2019 and 2022. But ultimately, there’s no excuse for making you wait more than two years for a check.
I list the names, numbers and email addresses of key Mitsubishi customer service executives on this site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have jump-started the refund process. Calling Mitsubishi every month was less effective since it doesn’t create a paper trail, and a company can easily ignore any promise made by phone.
I contacted Mitsubishi on your behalf. A claim manager called you with some good news: Mitsubishi finally approved your claim. The car manufacturer didn’t pay out the entire claim, but it covered the recalled item and repair, which you have indicated you’re happy with.