Ok, background on the story. When we put down the deposit on our car, they found one that had everything that we wanted with the exception of xenon headlights.
They said no problem, we'll install them for you when we get the car, the only thing is that they won't be self leveling. Okay by me.
Well, we've had the car 3 weeks, and we made the appointment for this past Wed. to take it by the dealer and get them installed. I was out of town, and my wife took it by to get it done. I talked to her that night and asked her how the new xenons were. She said, they looked okay, but didn't seem as bright as the ones on our TT. I just chalked it up to maybe they were slightly different types or whatever.
I get home tonight about midnight and decide to go see how the new xenons are. The first thing I notice when I turn the car on is that the lights are blue, but there is no visible "flicker" with an increase in brightness as most xenons do when starting (just like on our TT). Strange. I walk around to the front of the car and look at the lights themselves. Looking in at the lights, it just looks like wedge-base halogen bulbs with blue tint (like the replacement ones you buy at Autozone). I open the hood and see no visible signs of a ballast as I believe you should have with xenons.
I think that these schmucks took us for suckers (and a couple hundred of our dollars) and just swapped out our white halogen bulbs for blue tinted halogen bulbs.
I'm so mad right now, I can't even see straight.
So, two things....Can someone help me make sure that, by posting some pics or something, to prove these are not xenons.
If, in fact, these are not xenons, what would you do about it? I obviously have some things in mind, but I want to make sure I cover all my bases and have clear heads giving me some suggestions as well.
Thank you all very much in advance. When it gets light out tomorrow, I will post pics of my headlight assemblies and you can see what I'm talking about.
Blue TooTh Fan
04-15-2006, 12:03 AM
I used to sell both when I had a shop (Xenon and those cheap bulbs) Ask them to make right on their promises. good luck!
04-15-2006, 12:05 AM
It's pretty easy to see if you have xenons or not on the A3. The xenons have a round projector headlamp that can be easily identified from the outside. The halogens just look like your average headlight. Xenons also have a high voltage warning on the housing which is clearly visible when you pop the hood. From your description, it looks like they ****ed you over. I hope you have their promise in writing because otherwise you are in a pretty weak position. You can certainly try the usual suspects (general manager at the dealer, AOA, contact your regional AOA sales representative directly, better business bureau, local news media and your lawyer)
04-15-2006, 02:54 AM
If you can see the bulb at all, they're not the HID option. The HIDs have spherical projector lenses, so you really can't see the bulb (capsule) inside the housing.
To "prove" your case, all you need to do is show your car side-by-side with any other Audi on the lot.
I'm somewhat shocked that an Audi dealer (this is a dealer, right?) would pull something like this. Of course, you probably didn't get it in writing that you actually wanted them to replace the halogen housings with xenon housing?
Clearly this isn't equivalent to the Xenon factory option, but moreover these fake blue xenon/halogen bulbs often put out less light than standard halogens. I wonder what brand they gave you? If they charged you a couple hundred bucks they had better be PIAAs!
Seriously, you should make a fuss with the manager.
04-15-2006, 03:39 AM
but , it looks as tho you've bought cars before, so, you should know what a WEO is; its yellow, IIRC, and if you have one, and it says what you say it should on it, you my friend are now part owner of an Audi dealership. if you don't have a WEO, I'd march the sales guy over to service, cause you know they talked, and, before you do that, look thru the Audi catalog, and pick out a few things; or simply demand Adaptive Bi-Xenons, or to the media "I go".
04-15-2006, 04:35 AM
That sux if the dealer is screwing with customers like that.
I thought there was a problem with the wireing harness and xenons couldn't be installed after market, even by a dealer.
04-15-2006, 04:46 AM
the OEM xenon systems are 35 watt... a normal low beam bulb is 55 watt. The wiring is of sufficient gauge to support lesser wattage at the same voltage.
What doesnt exist and introduces issues is the lack of wiring, sensors, motors and modules for headlamp range control.... which is standard in europe but here in the US is not required unless you've got xenon lamps.
I'm not going to post the part numbers and prices again... I've already provided that info once.
04-15-2006, 04:49 AM
and tellthem ,unless they make it right,that you will contact AOA,and tell them.....make a BIG stink.........s t e a l e r s......
04-15-2006, 04:57 AM
Did you really expect them to do it right?
Its likely 4-6 times as expensive to retrofit the parts at list price... than the $500? option when ordering a car.
I've posted the part numbers and prices for the housings, ballasts and other pieces required to swap things over... its expensive a couple of gran epxensive and I know of no dealer that would toss in a couple of gran worth of parts for free and then the labor to install them too.... on any car.
Did you presume that your dealer was going to borrow the lamps from another A3? Then what, just tell the buyer of the other car Oh yeah um... bs bs bs bs bs... we'll give you a good deal. Maybe trade the scavenged A3 to some other dealer and let it be their problem.
Perhaps they had good intentions but realized that good intentions were not economically feasible and it was just more realistic to shaft you.
Perhaps the salesperson actually thinks that blue bulbs are xenon lamps. Seriously I think that its possible a salesperson could be that ignorant.
04-15-2006, 05:01 AM
better to ask for $$$ off the cost of the car versus getting yourself stuck in a tricky contract
04-15-2006, 05:05 AM
Xenon bulbs are not the same as a OEM xenon system. You should look very carefully at what is written and documented as the request. "Install xenon lights" can mean many things; there are bulbs on that URL above with xenon gas in the bulb, thus they are xenon lights. That is a far cry fromt he OEM systems though.
Like others have said, if you just said 'lights', that's a pretty nebulous definition. Yeah, the dealer is being an asshat about it, but you may have no grounds, really. Sorry.
Here's a picture of a bi-xenon assembly on my car. The low-beam-only Xenons have a halogen high-beam in the inner reflector, mine have a low-wattage DRL there instead:
<a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b250/AudiFourtitude/P1290004.jpg" border="0" alt="Image hosting by Photobucket"></a>
Also, note the appearance when on:
<a href="http://photobucket.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b250/AudiFourtitude/P1290005.jpg" border="0" alt="Image hosting by Photobucket"></a>
You can get the OEM European-spec xenon assemblies, for $800/pair from <a href="http://www.ecstuning.com/stage/edpd/pagebuild_v2.cgi?make=Audi&engine=2.0T&model=A3&submodel=FWD&category=Lighting">ECS Tuning</a>.
Lastly, if you have *real* OEM xenon headlamps installed, the headlamp type needs to be changed in the Central Electronics module, Byte 21. For reference, see <a href="http://oooo.a3.googlepages.com/A3_LongCode_CentralElectronics_Sample_v1.pdf">this PDF</a>.
04-15-2006, 06:01 AM
Do you have anything specifically written up on this? If it refers to "HID" or "Audi's Xenon headlights", or something like that, you have a legal position. If all it says is something like "xenon upgrade", you don't have a legal position since blue halogen bulbs can be labeled xenon, but still an argument to make with the dealer.
On my A6, I pulled out the whole headlight assemblies and replaced them with the HID versions from another car. I assume the A3 is the same way. Easy to swap, but I don't have the self-leveling, so it sounds like that's what the dealer was speaking of in the original discussion.
Since then, maybe cost, or legal obligations (I think it's illegal to install HID without self leveling and cleaning) made them change their minds.
04-15-2006, 06:43 AM
04-15-2006, 07:14 AM
the Quiet sTTorm...
04-15-2006, 07:50 AM
04-15-2006, 08:00 AM
04-15-2006, 08:08 AM
If they have used the term Xenon in your agreement then they owe you a lightsource based on a Xenon arc not a filiment base pressurized Halogen gas bulb. Apples and oranges.
It's all based on how the agreement was written up. Now the possible escape for the dealer would be to get an aftermarket Xenon kit that puts a true Xenon bulb into the existing housing designed by Audi for a Halogen bulb. This is not going to be the same appearance or performance as the genuine Audi Xenon housing.
The link below shows the difference in Halogen and Xenon housings, eventhough these are european spec lights they are fundamentally the same as the US versions.
It all falls back to the original agreement. Try first being nice with the approach that maybe they made an honest mistake. If that fails, it will show you their true position and you can apply more leverage after that. Small claims court (or your local version of it) may be your final solution.
But, seems to be a huge misunderstanding.. As you could have added those cheap BS bulbs yourself and for far less them 200. check your paperwork and head straight for the GMs office. - They said, Xenon, knock off bulbs are not Xenon no matter what the package says..There is no comparison.
Call AOA if you have too, and make them take the car back and get you one with Factory HID..
Sucks.... Xenons were a dealbreaker for me.. Ive had 3 Audis and all have had HID
Kareem of Elise
04-15-2006, 08:17 AM
04-15-2006, 08:30 AM
Pretty much everything hinges on the Due Bill if things escalate to a legal level. It also helps if you have witnesses to that part of the deal and specifics were mentioned. Especially housings, ballast, wiring, etc. If they just said "we'lll install some xenons." as someone else in this thread mentions, bulbs can often be termed as such and many people consider them in the same league even though they aren't.
If the Due Bill says something about converting to HID, you've got them fair and square. Pay a lawyer a nominal fee to draw up a letter showing breach of contract. Make an appointment with the General manager and possibly the dealer principle if they are involved in the day to day running of the dealership. Give them the letter and also have one mailed certified to both those people so there is proof they got it. Bypass the sales manager. Also send the letter certified to AoA.
qfrog has listed parts and prices before, and it's not cheap to convert, so I was a little surprised when in previous posts you said it was part of the deal, but didn't want to enquire too much into the details since that is your business unless you wish to make them public.
04-15-2006, 08:34 AM
04-15-2006, 08:38 AM
Kareem of Elise
04-15-2006, 09:00 AM
04-15-2006, 09:19 AM
04-15-2006, 09:54 AM
websites. Sylvania, Hella, Bosch, etc. Make sure it's bulbs only in the car now and have an independent tech inspect and sign off on that fact.
HID stands for High Intensity Discharge lighting, and and regular light bulbs are not usually considered part of that definition.
Then go see the lawyer about that letter.
Usually I would give both sides the benefit of the doubt, but this is pretty blatant. Rather than work my way up through the chain of command and give the low-lifes down at the bottom time to get their stories straight, I would head straight for the top.
04-15-2006, 09:56 AM
...and not aftermarket xenon-effect bulbs. Hopefully you got it in writing that the dealer was to install OEM HID headlamps on your car. If so, I'd demand that they make good on their promise to install OEM HID headlamps or buy the car back. Obviously, I would file a complaint with AoA and would avoid that dealership like the plague in the future.
04-15-2006, 12:03 PM
They could have given you real Xenon bulbs, but not the tailored reflectors that have to come with it to actually beam the light onto the road without creating glare (and lost light).
Such an installation would probably run a bit more than a hundred bucks.
Then, of course, there are the OEM, projector lens type Xenons, The Real Deal. But those would probably run $2-3K to install.
It bouils down to the question, what did you order, and did they give you what you asked for.
04-15-2006, 12:07 PM
on http://1.8t.org/dealers. We need to let VW/Audi know we won't take this kind of sh*t.<ul><li><a href="http://1.8t.org/dealers/">http://1.8t.org/dealers/</a</li></ul>
If that is all it says you're probably SOL.
For example these are listed as xenon HID http://www.eurodezigns.com/ yet I think everyone who sees them would know rice-mods when they see them vs. a OEM xenon system.
If the dealer wants to be nice about it, and you don't go in acting like an ass, they might just refund the money and call it a wash. Otherwise, they installed what can be technically considered HID.
04-15-2006, 12:43 PM
04-15-2006, 12:57 PM
I've always been under the impression that true xenons or HID look like a round glass ball. At least that's how all of mine have been.
04-15-2006, 01:03 PM
I'd rest assured they think you're a moron.... I'd return the favor fight club style with an excrement catapult.
04-15-2006, 01:08 PM
04-15-2006, 01:20 PM
minus the cost of the bulbs if you decide to keep them.
I don't really think that there would be a judge that would actually make them install a whole new OEM xenon system in your car for the amount that you paid for the upgrade.
Perhaps a D2R upgrade kit might suffice?
04-15-2006, 01:30 PM
04-15-2006, 01:33 PM
or maybe 12k/12mo
04-15-2006, 01:33 PM
Kareem of Elise
04-15-2006, 01:46 PM
"I don't really think that there would be a judge that would actually make them install a whole new OEM xenon system in your car for the amount that you paid for the upgrade."
Not even if that's what they led us to believe we were getting? We paid the same amount as if they would have been added to an ordered car. They were a $500 option. We were led to believe $500 would get us the OEM HID headlamps.
04-15-2006, 02:01 PM
believe they could install an OEM HID for $500 you heard what you wanted to hear.
04-15-2006, 02:05 PM
And he was probably told that because they let another dealer sell the first car he bought out from under him. Leave it to AoA to screw it up twice.
Kareem of Elise
04-15-2006, 02:10 PM
Kareem of Elise
04-15-2006, 02:15 PM
that I would really want to pay $500 for some $26 bulbs? I was told that they were a $500 option on a new car, so that when they got the car, they would install them for the same price. They led us to believe these were going to be OEM HIDs, plain and simple.
04-15-2006, 02:17 PM
This could very well be fraud, in which case they may be liable for court costs, reasonable attorney's fees, treble damages and/or punitive damages.
The dollar amount might not be high enough to get you all that though, as this sounds like a small claims issue.
However, you should be entitled to either receive what you bargained for (OEM HID lights if I understand right, which by necessity includes the housings, bulbs and ballasts). Sounds like they wouldn't be self-leveling nor the 'turning' type that moev with the steering wheel, but, nevertheless, housings, bulbs and ballasts would seem de minimus requisites for an 'OEM' type upgrade. Without the housings, the pattern would not probably pass DOT specs either.
Hope you get it sorted out. I'd be yanking their chains pretty hard... Good luck!
04-15-2006, 02:20 PM
04-15-2006, 02:21 PM
04-15-2006, 02:28 PM
04-15-2006, 02:35 PM
page 3 of the AoA MY2006 maintenance booklet
04-15-2006, 02:37 PM
Not to mention, is it actually "right" to make someone take a 3-4000 loss for $500?
Obviously the notion that they put in bulbs for $500 is insulting, but i don't think that they should be forced to pay out more than they were given.
04-15-2006, 03:02 PM
Car as it was everything you wanted minus the HID.. Im sure they thought the cost of the upgrade being $500 that they could source the parts and install for that price.. As the prices of the parts reflect that is not the case// However we are looking at Retail of these parts.. Im sure the actual cost is 800- 1000,
The dealership made the mistake. I would not accept anything but what you signed for. If they eat the difference say $500, that is the cost for the dealership trying to make a deal that they should not have. Those who made the mistake should pay with their commisions.
Good Luck - im sure you are in for a hell of a fight
04-15-2006, 03:08 PM
to install the promised optional headlights.
04-15-2006, 03:09 PM
and that the dealer still has to pay them.
You're idea of dealer cost is way off. At most I'd say dealer cost is 60% of retail. It really varies from part to part.
04-15-2006, 03:21 PM
or absorb labor costs easier then any other cost.. 2 hour labor to remove bumper- install HID and resinstall bumper... Pay JR tech $40.00
04-15-2006, 03:25 PM
specifying that it has to be OEM HID & no mention of housings/leveling & etc.
04-15-2006, 03:32 PM
there is more there then i thought.
HID - housings, retail about 450 ea
Bulbs- guess, 150 ea
ballasts- 400 EA
that seem right..
yes im aware that cost is about %60 of retail - however the cost differance can be greater on high demand parts.. Stuff is stolen must often and in need of replacement.
I recall a case where the GTI 20 AE front spoiler was 150 dealer retail, until they realized that there was a high demand for older GTis to upgrade and to price skyrocketed to over 400. SO cost is not always black and white.
that all im saying...
What this case deminstates is that cost differance is these upgades can be small when done at the factory, Not the case after the fact
04-15-2006, 03:33 PM
04-15-2006, 03:36 PM
If they wrote "xenons" KOW would be in a much worse situation proving his point... Am i right on this?
04-15-2006, 03:45 PM
a D2R HID bulb & ballast IMO.
04-15-2006, 03:47 PM
Phil (qfrog) posted the p/ns and pricing of the xenon parts. BTW that is retail pricing, not dealer markup pricing too . . . my dealer here marks up about 15% from retail.<ul><li><a href="http://forums.audiworld.com/a3/msgs/28511.phtml">http://forums.audiworld.com/a3/msgs/28511.phtml</a</li></ul>
04-15-2006, 04:58 PM
conventional or blue looking bulb but since they use the original headlight housing, they may not focus the beam as effectively as a good OEM system. But technically they are high intensity discharge lights. I don't see any in your pic, but look for extra wiring, ballasts, etc.<ul><li><a href="http://www.coolbulbs.com/HIDKits_body.asp">case in point</a></li></ul>
04-15-2006, 05:13 PM
Did the salesman explicitly say that he would install xenon headlights but you would not have auto-leveling?
The reason I ask is because selling a new car in the US with HIDs and no auto-leveling feature is <b>NOT</b> DOT legal.
Second thing, can you find out the brand of the halogen bulb they did put it? A lot of blue bulbs sold are not legal for road use because the amount of lumens they put out are below the required minimum DOT limit. An example of a legal bulb would be the Sylvania Silverstar junk-crap bulb.
This is an assumption made off of your digicam pictures but those bulbs looked to be heavily tinted, a lot more than the Sylvania Silverstar. And the silverstar walks on the edge of the legal limit.
Anyway, those are just a couple things you can use when you lodge your complaint with the dealership.
04-15-2006, 05:41 PM
By trying to pass it off as the real thing. I hope. I would hate to think an Audi dealership would consciously try to do that to a costumer. But making a dealership take a loss like that is a little harsh for a costumer to do. But then again, they did try to do it to him.....
I don't know, im just flip-flopping here.
04-15-2006, 05:55 PM
04-15-2006, 07:05 PM
By definition an HID system uses gas capsules, not filament bulbs.
From KoW's picture it sure looks like a run-of-the-mill filament bulbs to me.
04-16-2006, 04:35 AM
04-16-2006, 05:33 AM
from what you've said (I haven't seen a scan of any documentation) there was plenty of room for interpretation. You assumed the highest possible product, they delivered a lower standard. The documentation is vaugue at best, thus if the dealer wants to make good they might, they are not obligated in any way. If you lawyer-up, you'll likely sour the dealer relationship and waste money.
I'd ask to return the car to as originally built, see if they will refund the money, and chalk this up as a life lesson.
Aren't non-OEM HID kits not DOT legal anyway?
04-16-2006, 06:28 AM
If what was installed is not DOT-Legal, he has an excellent lawsuit.
Besides, there is no such thing as wasting an attorney's time...he is paying for it.
In this case, a nice letter from the attorney might facilitate some corrective action on the part of the dealer.
04-16-2006, 11:30 AM
find out, they decided to go with the lowest cost interpretation. I can understand how this came about, but with what has been presented here by Kareem, the honourable thing would be to follow through.
That level of integrity is kind of rare among dealers OR customers, but I know that at least 2 of the managers (out of 4) at my last dealer I worked for would have gone ahead and done what agreed upon regardless of cost - because they had approved the deal and they had given their word. Now if they had said xenon lights, they would have gone the bulb route, but if it was clear what everyone was talking about and the Due Bill said HID, then they would have followed through.
We got burned a few times when we made deals on the weekend after the parts dept had closed and we didn't know what things would cost, but then we also made some money on some other deals. So long as the dealer is allowed to make money most of the time, they can afford to cover costs of mistakes like this.
04-18-2006, 04:51 AM
That is exactly why the courts are flooded with frivilous lawsuits and liability insurance is so high.
Boo-hoo, I didn't know enough to make the request clear, now I'll sue! :rolleyes:
04-18-2006, 07:37 AM
There's no room for interpretation on that. He was told they would be, except they wouldn't have the auto-leveling feature which implies a very thorough understanding of the Audi HID lighting system by the person who made the promise.
The dealer 'told him what he wanted to hear' and then intentionally tried to dupe him by installing fake 'xenon' type blue halogen bulbs like you buy at Pep Boys or Kragen, etc.
That is FRAUD, and it's very clear-cut in this case.
Your statements would indicate that you don't understand what fraud is.
04-18-2006, 11:03 AM
Show me where he has that written and signed by both him and the dealer, otherwise, it's just a story and a laughable fraud claim.
Your statements would indicate you don't understand reality.
Kareem of Elise
04-18-2006, 12:55 PM
Why would I want to pay $500 for cheap, knock off bulbs? I have modded the crap out of my TT, so it really wouldn't be an issue for me to put in these bulbs myself and only pay $26 per pair for them. By putting down the money, I fully expected the OEM items. That's what's listed on my buyer's order and that's what was agreed upon.
How was I to know that the dealer would have to pay a huge sum more for the OEM parts to put them in after the fact? All I know is I was told that they were a $500 option on an ordered car, and they would install them for the same price. Why should I question that? I didn't research before hand what a full HID system costs the dealer....I shouldn't have to.
Furthermore, it seems that this guy was in such a hurry to sell us this car. If I had known all this before hand, I would have just waited and ordered one from the factory, but I was assured I was getting the same product.
I don't mind you voicing your opinion on things, I appreciate it, actually. What I don't appreciate is your insinuation that my wife and I are trying to get something for nothing from this dealer.
04-18-2006, 01:47 PM
04-18-2006, 11:48 PM
Knowing that it will cost thousands to get the xenon's are you going to make the dealer keep his word and install OEM. Or are you just going to get your money back. O, the moral dilemma!
04-19-2006, 12:50 AM
04-19-2006, 01:25 AM
If you take off the parts not needed, you are still over $2,000. Check the link<ul><li><a href="http://forums.audiworld.com/a3/msgs/28511.phtml">Cost of parts.</a></li></ul>
04-19-2006, 05:57 AM
You could argue that there was an oral contract, that was specific enough to require the installation of true xenon units. You would argue that you're entitled to performance, or rescision of the entire purchase transaction.
The dealer would argue that he performed in accordance with the vague understanding. If you end up in court, you'd both spend more on legal fees than the fight is worth. If installing xenons that don't self-level is illegal, then the dealer can claim that your expectation was illegal and therefore not enforceable.
I suggest you make the case (even use a lawyer letter) and then have a constructive meeting with the manager. You might end up with a dealer credit, or perhaps a discount on xenon hardware/installation.
Do I think it was an innocent misunderstanding? No. I think they told you what they had to in order to get the sale closed. But that's why you get things in writing, in detail.
04-19-2006, 10:07 AM
<ul><li><a href="http://forums.audiworld.com/a3/msgs/53906.phtml">see his other post here -</a></li></ul>
04-26-2006, 08:33 AM
You had a contract, and I believe you could make the argument that you purchased this car because you were led to believe that the dealer could install the factory option for the factory option price. Now, to be made whole, you would have to be refunded the difference between what it would NOW cost to have xenon headlights installed and what it would have cost you had you bought a car with them already installed.
What state are you in? Some states, such as Michigan, have consumer protection statutes that you can plead to recover costs and treble damages.