Here is the long story. Our main question: Is it normal for the battery to die after 3 years or did something happen to the car?
We left our Ford Fusion Hybrid at A1 Parking on May 24. The car was in good condition, with the last routine maintenance service on March 21, 2017.
However, when we picked up the vehicle on May 31, the car would not start and the battery was dead. We were surprised to find that the battery died since this was a hybrid car, which we purchased 3 years ago and we were always up to date with routine maintenance. We do not know how A1 Parking operated our vehicle from the time we left it with them on May 24.
What we know is that after we left the car in their parking lot and surrendered our keys that day, A1 Parking employees drove the car to a separate parking lot where it sat for 8 days. We do not know what they did to the car during those days. We do know that an A1 employee was still able to retrieve our car from the parking lot to the parking area adjacent to the A1 office after we called for their shuttle to pick us up from Tampa International Airport around 11:45 pm on May 31. This tells us that the battery was still working that time. However, the car would not respond when we tried to unlock the trunk nor when we tried to start the car. We found that the AC was left on. We asked for assistance from A1 and 2 employees came out to attempt to jump start the battery, like how they would jump-start a non-hybrid vehicle. It was obvious that they did not know the car was a hybrid and they were not familiar with hybrid cars. When we asked who retrieved our car from their parking lot, the employee just gave a nonchalant shrug. We demanded to speak to a manager when it was obvious that the 2 employees did not appear concern about the fact that the battery of the car died after we left it in their care and that it was already past midnight after a customer’s long flight.
A manager came after a few minutes. We told her that the battery died on a hybrid car, which is not expected unless one of their employees did not operate the vehicle properly. We pointed out that the engine will not respond or make a sound in the same manner as a regular vehicle that runs on gas (the hybrid engine remains silent until after driving it for about 30 seconds to a minute). We also pointed out that someone turned the engine off with the AC running.
It did not help that the manager’s first response was to point out that it is not normal for people to switch the AC off prior to turning the engine off. She also tried to tell us that their employees are not at fault and we should call our insurance or AAA to help us because they are not responsible for the car. We did raise our voice at her out of frustration and fear. It was in the middle of the night, we are exhausted after over 12 hours of travel from Utah, and the car that was in good condition after we left it with A1 does not work but we have no clue what happened. We demanded that they do something about it and find someone who can help start the car. The manager and the 2 employees left.
We spent another 15 minutes trying to get in touch with our insurance company. Around this time, someone from A1 and the manager came back. They were able to find a YouTube video on how to jump-start a hybrid car. They were able to jump-start it and we eventually made our way home. We took the car to AutoNation Ford, which is also where we take the car for routine maintenance checks. Everything was in good condition as before, except for the battery test. And so, we had to pay $260 for a new battery.
In hindsight, we decided to use A1 Parking instead of parking at the airport to save $80. That was a $260 mistake!
We would like to know your thoughts on this incident though.
Thank you very much for your time.