12 ON YOUR SIDE: Nissan paint job dispute

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If the paint on your $35,000 car lost its gloss, just when it's almost paid for, what would you do?

Roletha Alston called 12. We checked out her 2008, Nissan Altima Coupe, and found prominent spots and discoloration. The customer believes it's a factory defect. Nissan told her it's a warranty issue, and her car's warranty has expired.

Alston made persistent calls to the local Nissan, Nissan North America, Inc, the BBB and the Attorney General's Office. She got responses, but no results.

She bought her spiffy red car, brand new, nearly five years ago, and believes it took that long for the paint defect to show.

"It looks like glue but it's clear coat coming through," said Alston. "It's here and then it comes all the way over here."

Spotty and cloudy sound more like weather conditions than paint on a relatively new car. Alston first noticed blemishes a few weeks ago.

"The bubbles where you see the little cracks in the paint, that's been maybe a month."

Victory Nissan, the dealership that sold her the car, is out of business, so her husband turned to Sheehy Nissan West Broad for help - and was turned away.

Alston fired off complaints to Nissan consumer affairs and was instructed to get a diagnostic at Sheehy Nissan Mechanicsville. Long story short, she got the same response twice more.

"The guy from Nissan called me a day or two later and said, 'you're outside of your warranty.' Too bad, so sad."

Including a letter from Nissan North America, Inc. - "unable to offer financial assistance" because of the expired warranty.

Alston got repair estimates from four body shops, which bolster her belief her beautiful car had bad paint when she bought it new in 2008.

"They weren't together when they each told me the same thing. It's a product defect that took place at the factory. That has to do with the clear coat and the way the car was painted."

Nissan paint complaints are voluminous online. Many car owners talk about their clear coat washing away.

I called Nissan corporate and sent emails about what appears to be a widespread problem.

A spokesperson did not address any online complaints, only Alston's.

"With further investigation, we determined Nissan should cover the issue. It will be corrected at no cost to her."

"I've watched Diane Walker help other people and I said, 'I'm not going to hear back from her.' But, I emailed her, and when she emailed me back immediately, I was shocked," said Alston.

Alston's car is getting painted now in Mechanicsville. Nissan gave her a rental car to drive.

I'll follow up her in a week or so. The car should be ready then and we'll let you know how this paint job turns out. Meantime, the Attorney General's Office offered dispute mediation services.

No mention of a possible recall.

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