I had explained to the woman manager I had made some headway with that since the accident, the gas pedal was low to the floor for some reason and to drive away from the scene, I had to push it all the way to the floor to get it to go even 10mph. She said she'd explain that to the body shop manager and he'd call me. I told her that since I had explained this problem initially and had been very patient during the month they had my car that I expected not to see any sort of diagnostic fee, nor would I pay for any extra labor time, since it was part of the estimate that had already been met. She said that would be fine and he would call me that day.
The afternoon of the following day, John, the body shop manager called and said he spoke with her and he didn't fully understand the problem. I explained again that the bar holding the pedal up was set back and that the pedal iself was dangling on the end (the bar usually props the pedal up so that it sits at an angle, but moves with your foot so that the pedal stays flush with your foot as you press down). I told him I had to press the gas all the way to the floor to get the car to go 30mph, that the response was bad and I wasn't getting any pickup. He still didn't understand, but offered to look at it if I brought it in. I reiterated to him that this was part of the original problem, described during the first estimate, and that I was not going to pay him for diagnosis or labor, but would pay for parts if necessary. He said he hoped it would be something he could just "take care of" for me.
John was there when I dropped the car off that night and I showed him how the pedal was dangling in its place. He tried to tell me that the pedal is in the right place, and said he would check and see if the throttle valve was opening properly among other things, and then showed Evan where the throttle valve is. He said he'd look at it the next day, and compare it to some of the Neons he had on the lot to see what the problem could be.
The next day he called and said he had looked at it and said he didn't see a problem. He said the other Neons had their gas pedals about an inch and a half further back and offered to do something to make it "look" like the pedal is in the right place, but that it's not going to do anything since the throttle valve is opening all the way, it's not going to give me any more power no matter where it sits. I explained yet again that since the pedal is sitting closer to the floor than usual it has limited the amount of pressure I can apply to make it go, and therefore only allowing half the response than if it were in the right place. He said since it's only a 4 cylinder car, I can't expect it go very fast, and I reminded him I've been driving the car for 9 years, know how it feels to drive, and furthermore have gotten it up to 112mph and have been able to accelerate quickly. He peppered his answer with a lot of "honey"s and "kid"s and "miss"es and tried to patronize me into thinking I was making it up. He said I should get a tuneup, and if I really wanted him to make it look like the pedal is in the right place, he could try to figure out something to do that.
I asked when he compared it to the other Neons, if the pedals felt the same when pressing them. He admitted the other Neons he compared mine to don't run. He said he got it up to 60mph on a test drive, and I asked him how fast an acceleration he tried, and he skirted the question. This is about where I lost my cool. I tried to explain the problem to him once again, and once again he ignored everything I said, calling me "kid" and "honey" the whole way. I told him he was not going to shame me into believing a problem didn't exist where I knew it did. He then tried to say it was more of a mechanical issue than body shop people were used to, and I asked if I should take it back to the mechanic department. His answer - get this - was that I could, but they would want to charge me another diagnostic fee. I told him not to do anything, that I'd pick it up and take it to a competent shop, and follow up with him to teach him what he should have known.
Evan and I got the car that night. Driving home, I tested the acceleration wherever I could, and while it was half of what I am used to, I figured I could lump through with it like this until I pay off some of the repair costs and can take it someplace else. When we got back to my apartment, Evan looked at the pedal and noticed that there was a cable leading up the bar that had a few inches of slack on it, popped the hood, and asked me to push the pedal to the floor. Thanks to John showing him where the throttle valve is, he was able to see that it was only opening half way, and if he pulled the loose cable taut, it opened completely.
If any gearheads are reading this and it makes sense to you, please say the word. It seems like the only issue is that cable needs to be readjusted. I've explained it to a few people since then, and they said the impact on the front end could have pushed the engine back an inch or so causing the cable to be off. If that's the case, what sort of cost would I be looking at to have the cable adjusted?
At any rate, it filled me with a lot of hope that there actually may be light at the end of this tunnel. It seems like the final step will be a small one, and that John didn't feel like fixing it since he wasn't going to be able to charge me any more having already met his estimate. I still have not yet received the refund I was promised for the suspicious alarm system malfunction, since they decided to issue me a check rather than refund my credit card, but once I have the check and it clears, all of this will be compiled and sent to the Better Business Bureau, every ratings website I can find, and the NoVa communities on LJ. They had a chance to do it right the first time. They had a chance to fix it when I called them out. Instead, they lied every chance they had, tried to convince me things were broken that weren't, and tried to convince me things weren't broken that were. These fuckers need to be taken down a peg.