Any - Customer service from Hell - argybargy

I frequent, (or perhaps haunt) another forum concerned with the model that I currently own. Its useful for finding out stuff like how to replace bulbs and to have a moan about automatic gearboxes.

There's a post on there from someone who took their car to a Ford dealer in a very large Southern city for gearbox work.

When they got it back, a nearly new premium tyre had been damaged (possibly a Goodyear or Michelin), the car, which had been washed before delivery to the dealer, was filthy with grass under the wheelarches as if it had been taken off road, the alloys were black with muck and there were scratches on the paintwork that hadn't been there before.

When the person took issue with the dealership about the tyre, and the scratches, and asked them to clean the car their response was to deny they were obliged to clean it as they would only do that after a service, and to fit a budget tyre to replace the damaged Goodyear. A truly dreadful experience and judging by the tone of the post, a traumatic one for the owner.

Prompting me to ask what was your worst experience at a garage--any garage? And perhaps your best, also?

Edited by argybargy on 03/10/2017 at 22:56

Any - Customer service from Hell - focussed

Again a Ford story, but a long time ago.

A Mk1 1.3 Ford Escort, my first company car. Dropped it off in the early am for service at the local Ford main dealer. Picked it up at close of play etc.

Drove off, got half way home on open roads and started thinking this doesn't feel right - steering vibration.

Getting dark so drove home slowly. Looked at it in the morning, both front wheels had the wheel nuts the wrong way round - ie the taper was facing out so the wheel was not located properly and they were loose. Moved it and there was a pool of oil under the car - the sump plug was hanging on by a couple of threads only.

Sorted it out enough to get it into work - complained to the fleet manager who played hell with the dealer, they came and took the car away, I got a brand new one, never saw the old one again!

Never been keen on Fords ever since.

Any - Customer service from Hell - Wackyracer

For me it was the 1 year old Citroen C3 we bought from a main dealer. It was fine for 6 weeks and then wouldn't start due to a failed fuel pump. I rang the dealership to be told that I should take the car to them, they obviously didn't listen as I'd already told them it wouldn't start as the fuel pump isn't working.

I got the car towed to them by the AA who gave them a report of a suspected failed fuel pump and I didn't hear a word from them for 1 week. I called them to be told It would be ready tomorrow, so I ask them if they have found what is wrong with it and the answer is no!

6 weeks later and lots of phone calls from me, the car is ready. I got there and was told it's outside and there is your key. When I looked at it, it has dents in both front wings, the bonnet and scratches down the nearside doors. I opened the bonnet to find half the induction system and airfilter housing are missing. After a bit of a discussion they say they are going to do the body repairs as they can't be sure if they were there or not when it arrived (they most certainly were not).

2 weeks on I get the car back and with a smarmy comment of "we fixed your dents as a good will gesture", 2 hours later it stinks of diesel and has diesel pouring out of the fuel rail.

I won't bore you with all the details but, after a heated discussion with the dealer Principle I ended up selling it back to them for what I'd paid for it, he then had the nerve to say I was barred from their showrooms (as if I'd be foolish enough to want that hassle all again).

Any - Customer service from Hell - veloceman
I bought a 1 year Citroen C5 estate from Citroen dealer (multiple).
After 2 months the Clutch gave up.
They said as I towed a caravan it was likely to be my fault.
I ended up paying half each to sort it.
Since I got the car the steering had always pulled to the side. Got fed up with the supplying dealer so went to another (independent Citroen Dealer) and paid for the tracking.
When on the ramps they found that the bolts that hold the subframe on were only finger tight sticking out by nearly an inch. After new clutch fitted. Fortunately I took pictures.
The car was taken away, I got a refund for the full purchase price, the clutch and also for the tow bar I had fitted.
The indie was also dead chuffed as he landed the multiple in the sxxt.
Any - Customer service from Hell - Bilboman

And now a happy ending from another Citroën dealer! Many years ago while driving my then girlfriend home to meet my parents, the thermostat gasket blew on my cheap summer car (I'd paid £150 for a tappety, mostly hand-painted 11 year old Talbot Horizon that went like the clappers, and sold it for half that two months later. It cost me all of £65 for 3 months' insurance IIRC: those were the days, eh?) I managed to limp as far as the Peugeot-Citroën´-Talbot main dealer, where a wonderful, semi-retired old-school mechanic, who used to put a few hours in on Saturday mornings, took a quick look and sent me to buy a new gasket for a princely 26p from the parts store. Once the engine had cooled down, he fitted it for me for a tenner and half an hour later, I was up and running.
("But tell young people that today and they'd never believe you...", etc.)

Any - Customer service from Hell - NARU

I put my mini (old style) into a local garage to have a track rod end changed.

It all seemed fine, until I got to a roundabout, and didn't have enough steering lock to get round! But I did have a super great turning circle for left hand bends - almost the proverbial 'turns on a sixpence'

They'd not clamped the steering wheel, and it was out by a full turn.

Any - Customer service from Hell - Steveieb
Common theme here about problems with French car dealers but could the problem lie in the fact that the product isn't up to the mark in the first place.
My partners Peugeot 207 needed she thought a new rear stop bulb. Quote was £10 to fit. Call from the dealer later to say the wiring harness had failed , the bill rising to £190. Then they could not guarantee the problem had been fixed so they needed to fit a complete new light assembly , cost up to £400.

Then I read about the common earth problem on most Peugeot s which an auto electrician can fix for £20. And raised it with Peugeot who eventually agreed that it was a design fault and refunded the cost after a six month battle.

But to receive a text from the dealer asking whether you are completely satisfied with their service the reply was "French Electrics Rubbish".
Any - Customer service from Hell - daveyjp

After a service my Audi dealer must have set the trainee to wash the car with course grade sandpaper.

The bonnet was covered in scratches which required a full bodyship job to remove.

Any - Customer service from Hell - badbusdriver

Not quite in the same league as other posts here (good and bad), but I was very impressed with the Honda dealer we got our new jazz from.

In context, my wife gets a motability car, and while I'm not sure the ins and outs of exactly what the dealer gets from motability, I would expect there not to be much, if any, profit, given motability is a charity.

So bearing that in mind, on the day we had to collect the car, the dealer principal introduced himself personally to us. Assured us that if there was any problems with the car, to contact the garage and it would be dealt with promptly. My wife was then presented with a fairly large, expensive looking, bouquet of flowers, we were both somewhat taken aback by this time. Then (of more interest to me, being a canny Scot!) we got in the car to leave, and I discovered we had a full tank of fuel.

This is the 6th motability car that my wife has got during the time we've been together, and the 1st time we have received anything other than the keys and, at most, a quarter tank of fuel (not that I'm complaining about that, after all, as I said, it is a charity).

Any - Customers from Hell - oldroverboy.

Excuse changing the heading...

I worked for a week in A Volvo dealers many years ago, It was supposed to be a permanent job, but on the friday, i invoiced a customer for some work, and he wasn't very happy, and stormed off with his keys and without paying.

I went out after him and he drove his car through me forcing me up ontp the bonnet, and rolled over onto the ground.

He returned sheepishly after a few minutes. Out of Pique, i completely cancelled his invoice and on the monday morning went in to show my face and said I was leaving.

Edited by oldroverboy. on 04/10/2017 at 10:03

Any - Customers from Hell - argybargy

Terrific stuff, thanks.

I've had one or two, additional to the customary one and only encounter with that fast fit franchise that includes the letters K and F. It was very easy to take me for a ride in my early motoring days, and boy, did some sellers make the most of that vulnerability.

There was the indy garage on the Wirral, advertising a Rover 820 Fastback. I'd been after one for weeks and at last spotted an example in blue at a price I could afford. The alarm bells should have rung when I turned up and the battery was on charge: they didn't. The salesman had spray on hair, and the worst thing about his day, he said, was that his girlfriend had borrowed his Porsche and he was sick with fear that she might damage it. The car was an absolute dog, covered, as I later discovered, with thinly disguised rust, clocked and with a leaking gearbox which had to be replaced out of warranty at the local Rover dealer because the indy treated it as a blown head gasket when it was something else entirely. Cost me a grand to get that done, and I sold it not long afterwards at a significant loss. Taught me a lesson that I didn't entirely profit from.

Then there was the chap in Southport who lived in a pristine flat with white carpets in the posh part of town, and who sold me my prized Rover 216 in gold. One entire side of the car began to shed its wonderful gold paint a few weeks later: my phone call to complain prompted a lack of concern that reflected the casual nature of the purchase and absence of any warranty; although I suspect he was a dealer and not a private seller. I traded that one in for the above car, so two money pits on the trot. Thank Heaven that my next car was a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Edited by argybargy on 04/10/2017 at 10:31

Any - Customers from Hell - RobJP

Thank Heaven that my next car was a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Not often you see that said !

Any - Customers from Hell - RT

Thank Heaven that my next car was a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Not often you see that said !

Mine were all good ones - an '85 1.8 SRi driven hard at 95mph almost everywhere including a rpm limiter run in top on the M1 to see what she'll really do (134mph on the speedo!) covering 90,000 miles and a mistake to sell it - but it was replaced with a '89 2.0 GLi company car which did 80,000 miles but needed a new ECU every year - a '92 2.0 CD until I got made redundant and an '84 1.6 L while "in-between jobs" - following on with a used '89 2.0 GLi which did 80,000 and finally a '95 2.0 CDX which wrecked it's cylinder head when the belt snapped at 50,000 miles but Vauxhall paid for out of warranty as they didn't notify existing owners the belt change had altered from 80,000 to 40,000 - another mistake to sell that one but it was replaced by a '00 Astra 1.8 CDX which did 98,000 miles without missing a beat.

I gave up on Vauxhall after that as I needed 4wd and all they had was the ghastly Antara - but did get my son into a '06 1.9 CDTi Vectra-C Estate which he thrashed mercilessly to 120,000 but it did suffer ALL the issues the Fiat diesel is known for.

I've never been an easy customer - I can accept mistakes occur and it's not an issue if they're accepted and fixed rather than deny the mistake or blame the customer.

For both my current VW and my previous Hyundai I have have frequent meetings with the Service Manager but as both are either on my side, or give the impression they are, then it makes the issues bearable and does result in some special treatments!

Any - Customer Service from hell - Snakey

My worst customer service was with a second hand Jag X type from a well known (and still around) main dealer.

Within weeks the clutch was faulty and after some persuasion they agreed to replace it. The the day after I picked it up the front suspension collapsed and the OSF wheel detached from the car, grounding me at a fortunately low speed.

Turns out they hadn't done the steering knuckle joint up correctly allowing the arm to seperate. They fixed it after a month of faffing about. The kicker for me was I was offered a 'free' service (worth £350, if you're mug enough to pay that!) as compensation - I'd already decided I wasn't keen on them touching the car again so asked them to donate the £350 to two local charities, to which they refused, in a rather rude and arrogant way.

So apart from their crappy mechanics and poor quality control their attitude stunk and I wish them nothing but misery and bankrupcy!

Edited by Snakey on 04/10/2017 at 13:39

Any - Customer Service from hell - SteVee

A ford main dealer fo me was the worst.
I took my Capri Mk 1 (a long time ago) in for a service , collected it and drove about 4 miles up the road and the air filter fell off the engine. I phoned up to winge and the reply was - do you know your head gasket is blown ? (why didn't they tell me when I picked the car up?). I returned the car for the head gasket.
When I picked the car up and drove to work (about 25 miles), it sounded like the tappets had opened up to several inches and the engine would bounce from wing to wing on idle. I took it to a local dealer who refused to touch it. It needed a new engine. I winged some more and their service manager responded - what else do you expect from a ford with 50k miles ?

I've not bought a ford since.

Any - Customer Service from hell - madf

I possess a Ring Led light and an adjustable spanner left in my car by various garages after service. I never returned as they obviously were just incompetent..

Any - Customers from Hell - SLO76

Thank Heaven that my next car was a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Not often you see that said !

I'm a fan. Flogged loads of Mk III's and not a moments bother was had. You always knew it would sell no matter how basic it was, even the 1.4's went out the door quickly and in 2-3yrs time there was a good chance you'd be able to sell them something else because nothing would go wrong with it. The Isuzu 1.7 turbo diesel had a waiting list of willing local taxi drivers who often ran them well beyond 500k.
Any - Customers from Hell - argybargy

Thank Heaven that my next car was a Vauxhall Cavalier.

Not often you see that said !

One of the best cars I've ever had, Rob. It was a 1989 GLi 2.0 in blue, and generally speaking it never missed a beat. It had a thing which was apparently peculiar to that engine, where at very low speeds and even with some pressure on the clutch it would start to "kangaroo", but that was cured by the fitting of an upgraded ECU.

There was also a tendency for the pads to stick to the rear discs in damp weather when the car was parked in our garage. After the engine was started and the handbrake released, I would sit there for a few seconds wondering why the car wasn't moving, whereupon it would suddenly lurch forward with a loud "bang" as the pads came off. Similar thing used to happen to our Focus in frosty weather.

Other than those issues, and nearly electrocuting myself whilst handling the plug leads whilst the engine was running, I couldn't fault it.

Any - Customers from Hell - nellyjak

Ah..the much maligned Cavalier....

But I confess I had several as company cars in the 1980's and all of them performed well and never let me down...and was doing 30k+ miles p.a.

As for French cars...well, I'm not a fan...BUT my wife had a Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet (a 2 year old '54 plate at time of purchase) for 7/8 years and it never put a foot wrong (not even an ignition coil pack...unbelievable for these motors)...sold it because the roof seals started to leak and that's when she (and me) became Toyota fans.

We never, ever used a Renault dealer.!

We've had nowt else but Toyotas since.

Edited by nellyjak on 04/10/2017 at 16:22

Any - Customers from Hell - Steveieb
Back to my previous post and comment that dealers can only be generally as good as the products they sell and service.
An Alfa dealer must essentially have the top salesman to sell them in the first place in view of their reliabilty issues and the best technicians to fix the numerous faults that will inevitably occur.
Whereas a Honda dealers job is so much easier with reliable cars and a manufacturer who practices a culture of supporting a customer if things go wrong.
The most interesting statistics would be the number of cars replaced under warranty and a figure I heard was that one marque was replacing more cars in a month than another did in a year. I expect you can guess who they were!
Any - Customer service from Hell - Manatee

I have to trot out again the story of a Ford dealer in Leeds who serviced my company Orion c. 1988. A day or two before the booked service, it developed a frame-shaking knock when setting off. Naturally I got them to add this to the worksheet.

When I went to collect it, it wasn't mentioned, so I asked whether they had sorted it. "Er...no, you'll have to book it in again. It was too wet to test drive it".

I took the keys and set off gently. "Clonk". It was impossible to miss. They insisted it be booked in again.

I called at my brother's on the way home. He opened the bonnet, leaned on the engine (which went back and touched the bulkhead). "Broken engine mount". Closed bonnet.

Whoever is to blame, it's ultimately a management failure. A fish rots from the head.

I nearly bought a car from a particular dealer a couple of weeks ago. A service car was being washed by two lads in the valeting bay. They were removing the rinse water with squeegees. These things are notorious for causing scratches; the old saying "I wouldn't employ him to wash my car" came to mind.

Any - Customer service from Hell - gordonbennet

This will probably sound untrue but i can't recall a really bad garage, but then i've done the vast majority of my own servicing and repairs all my life, as a kerbside cowboy my work was usually well commented on at MOT time so kept a small bunch of regular satisfied clients.

Can't recall any spectacular garages either to be fair, my MB indy does good work but ultimately Mercs have been rather an overrated disappointment IMHO and i shall probably end my days driving, as now, older Toyotas or Subarus which are the standard for durable and reliable that others have to match.

Any - Customer service from Hell - bathtub tom

Had an old Austin Princess 1800. It started to knock alarmingly on start up after I'd given it a service. Local dealer said "yeah, that'll be your bottom end, bring it in and we'll replace it all". I'd noticed it only happened after it had been parked for a while, and started to suspect a non-return valve in the oil system. Removed the oil filter (inverted) one day and nothing came out. Turned out the filter spec had been changed from a 'suspended' to an 'inverted' at some time, but the independant suppliers weren't aware of this. A call to the technical department of a national oil fiter manufacturer quickly gave me the part number of a suitable filter with the necessary non-return valve fitted. I understand this cost the 'well known' supplier of car parts a considerable sum for their incorrrect listing of oil filters for BMC 'B' series engines.

Took a Focus with a suspension knock to the main dealer. The workshop 'foreman' diagnosed it as a worn anti-roll bar balljoint. "Don't know why they fit anti-roll bars, as they're not necessary" he said. I replaced the part myself.

Any - Customer service from Hell - MGspannerman

I had an R reg (ie 1977) Cortina 1600 estate as my first ever company car, the type fitted with an engine that simply refused to start when cold. I lived on a hill and hoped and prayed that I would be able to get it going before finding myself with a flat battery at the bottom of the hill.

This was a well known fault with the engine but Ford and my local dealer refused to acknowledge any problem. So in frustration late one evening I parked it awkwardly across their forecourt and dropped the key in an envelope thorugh the letterbox with a message asking them if they now found any problem?

I suffered a number of other Fords as company cars before getting promoted, and getting a Rover SD1. There are not enough words and hours to describe how terrible this car was. I have never had a Ford or Rover since, but have had I think seven or eight Toyotas, which says something.

Any - Customer service from Hell - madf

company cars before getting promoted, and getting a Rover SD1. There are not enough words and hours to describe how terrible this car was. I have never had a Ford or Rover since, but have had I think seven or eight Toyotas, which says something.

I had a series of Rover 800s as company cars - no choice.. The liany of woes from those I drove for more than 3 weeks was astounding from electric window switches failing multiple times to head gaskers, failed clutches, overheating, turbo hoses self detaching, corroded exhausts (2 years old) etc etc.

My Audi A4 TDI I bought with full Audi sh was nearly as bad.

Any - Customer service from Hell - Avant

23 posts, but all from regulars so not a single name-and-shame. Thanks, everyone.

Interesting to see some fond memories of the Cavalier. That was the only Vauxhall that I ever found enjoyable to drive: I might have had one but it wasn't quite big enough for our growing family. The 1.6 felt much brisker than the equivalent Sierra and the 2-litre went like a bomb.

Any - Customer service from Hell - Bilboman

Not exactly "customer service from Hell" - quite the opposite in fact - but a couple of wonderful stories from years ago, of which I have, inevitably, long since mislaid the source.
Story 1. A customer insists that her car (a VW Beetle) is "running lumpy." Several checks and test drives later, no obvious cause is found and the customer is still fuming (think Mrs Richards from Fawlty Towers). Junior customer service technician takes customer out for a test drive and asks her to drive. "Mrs. Richards" sits down, pulls the choke out to maximum and hangs her handbag on it and drives off in an enormous cloud of smoke.
Story 2. Customer leaves car with garage on Monday morning with cryptic note about "knocking sound from engine area". Several checks and a long test drive later, the mechanic identifies the cause and leaves a note for the driver who collects the car that afternoon.
"Knocking sound traced to hard boiled egg inside glovebox, believed to have escaped from customer's lunchbox. No charge."

Edited by Bilboman on 05/10/2017 at 00:37

Any - Customer service from Hell - ED731PDH

Not so much customer service, but more spares from hell.

Many years ago, as travelling from the south coast to London, bought a Rover 200TD from a well known south coast chain. Collected it on the saturday, got it home to find oil on the drive. Phoned them up and was told bring it back immediately.

Up on the ramp, looks of total perplexion, no oil leak visible. Only when they started the engine did the oil start leaking from around the filter area. Turned out the U*$£^rt filter hadn't had it's can welded correctly to the threaded section and it was only the paint job that was holding it together. Another one found, that leaked. Whole batch was faulty.

Ended up being given back my old car for the weekend until they could get fresh in.

Any - Customer service from Hell - SLO76

23 posts, but all from regulars so not a single name-and-shame. Thanks, everyone.

Interesting to see some fond memories of the Cavalier. That was the only Vauxhall that I ever found enjoyable to drive: I might have had one but it wasn't quite big enough for our growing family. The 1.6 felt much brisker than the equivalent Sierra and the 2-litre went like a bomb.

They were all quite lively for their size, (except the non-turbo 1.7 diesel) even the 1.4 would nip along ok and could outsprint a 1600 Sierra. The 1.6 was a sweet wee engine and due to the lower gearing was actually no slower on the road than the 1.8 which only had 8bhp more in carb form. One of the things that saved them was the fact they were (except the 16v models) all non-interference motors so when a timing belt failed you just slapped on a new one, reset the timing and off you went. If only more modern cars could be so robust and straightforward. The 2.0 130 in the SRi and 2.0i L 4x4 was the pick along with the excellent turbo diesel. I loved em.
Any - Customer service from Hell - Gordon17

Not really customer service from hell as they dealt with it well enough, but...

Around 1990 I took my company Scirocco into the local VW dealer for a service. Picked it up at about 5.00 pm on a Friday and drove it back to the office - about 1 mile - during which I noticed that the back end was bouncing uncontrollably. I rang the dealer and spoke to the service receptionist who asked me to bring it straight back, When I got there he was waiting for me rather sheepishly and told me that he knew what was wrong - they were changing the rear shock absorbers and he had been to the bay where my car had been, and found both the old ones and the replacements lying at the side of the bay. All the mechanics had gone home, so he lent me a Golf for the weekend.

Any - Customer service from Hell - Andrew-T

<< They were all quite lively for their size, (except the non-turbo 1.7 diesel) even the 1.4 would nip along ok and could outsprint a 1600 Sierra. The 1.6 was a sweet wee engine and due to the lower gearing was actually no slower on the road than the 1.8 which only had 8bhp more in carb form. >>

I bought an 83-reg Cavalier estate with the 1.6 engine - at 9 months old it had done 23K as a rep's car with a company that went bust. Kept it for 4 years, almost 70K on the clock; it went on continental camping hols with teenage kids. No trouble that I can recall except leaky stem seals. Only minus was the colour - chocolate brown ...

Any - Customer service from Hell - RT

<< They were all quite lively for their size, (except the non-turbo 1.7 diesel) even the 1.4 would nip along ok and could outsprint a 1600 Sierra. The 1.6 was a sweet wee engine and due to the lower gearing was actually no slower on the road than the 1.8 which only had 8bhp more in carb form. >>

I bought an 83-reg Cavalier estate with the 1.6 engine - at 9 months old it had done 23K as a rep's car with a company that went bust. Kept it for 4 years, almost 70K on the clock; it went on continental camping hols with teenage kids. No trouble that I can recall except leaky stem seals. Only minus was the colour - chocolate brown ...

The Holden Camira was GM-Australia's version of GM's global J-body cars, as was the Ascona/Cavalier, but Opel/Vauxhall had no estate version so Vauxhall imported the Camira rear panels to create the Vauxhall Cavalier estate - but sadly no engines bigger than 1.6 in the estate so never got the 1.8/2.0 injected engines - surprising as those engines were built in Australia!

Any - Customer service from Hell - primus 1

We had an 09 plate Toyota yaris, lovely car bought from the main dealer one previous owner history, ect, after about 8months or so we noticed 1st and second gear was sometimes difficult to engage, it was booked in at the dealer to have a look at and we were told it was the car mats, ( remember the big issue with car mats in toyotas in the us) anyway, we knew it wasnt the mats as id tried the gears without the mats and the problem was still there, and after several trips back and forth to the garage it all ended by us ( well my wife, ) having a stand up argument in the showroom, with the service manager who insisted iit was our driving style, ( the final straw), we ended up taking our car to another toyota dealer 25 miles away, and they diagnosed that the nylon bushes under the lever were dry ( i think) it was much better after that and we ended up taking out a service plan with them, ( cheaper than the 1st garage,) the whole experience soured what was a lovely car, and put us off toyotas somewhat

Any - Customer service from Hell - argybargy

23 posts, but all from regulars so not a single name-and-shame. Thanks, everyone.

Interesting to see some fond memories of the Cavalier. That was the only Vauxhall that I ever found enjoyable to drive: I might have had one but it wasn't quite big enough for our growing family. The 1.6 felt much brisker than the equivalent Sierra and the 2-litre went like a bomb.

It certainly did, and it was probably the quickest and most gutsy car in terms of pure BHP (120, if I remember rightly) that I've ever had. Given the significantly more powerful cars available nowadays, that perhaps says something about the stately progress that I tend to look for in my cars.

Like many who were still in the first flushes of driving enthusiasm I occasionally fancied the idea of being seen in an SRi, but I doubt whether it would have been significantly quicker than the 2.0 GLi whilst certainly being much more attractive to thieves at a time when car security was fragile, to say the least.

As the OP I'd echo your thanks, Avant, about the absence of naming and shaming. Witty, interesting and entertaining posts, and not a single court case pending at the end of it all.

Edited by argybargy on 06/10/2017 at 10:59

Any - Customer service from Hell - RT

At one point, the Cavalier SRi had a 130PS engine and close-ratio box while the GLi/CDi had a 115PS engine with wide-ratio box so there would have been a difference but when the 140PS 16v engine was introduced the SRi simply became a trim level - identical mechanically.

Originally the SRi got genuine Recaro seats but soon replaced by cheaper versions - firm side bolsters too close together for my ample frame, it felt like I was perched on the two sides but they soon adapted to my shape and were exceedingly comfortable over long-distances.

I've always classed myself as a petrol-head who knows a lot about the few cars I've had - my '85 Cavalier SRi was a company car and offered to me at book price when I was made redundant - I bought it and eventually sold it at 4 years old having clocked the mileage down from 90,000 to 50,000 - I advertised it and three lads and their dad turned up, claiming to know everything about Cavaliers, gave it a thorough inspection a\nd test drive, gave me the asking price in cash and took it away.

Now, I'm prepared to question anyone regardless of how good their credentials!

Any - Customer service from Hell - argybargy

So it probably was significantly quicker. Still glad I didn't go for the SRi option, as they they must have featured in the top half of the "most stolen model" league table for much of their lifespan. Plus the fact that insurance costs in the relatively sedate part of Merseyside where I used to live were linked to the central Liverpool postcodes, which made insurance for such a car very dear indeed.

Not sure whether to view your admission of clocking as admirable honesty or unfortunate braggadocio, but best move on and avoid repetition of recent contributor friction.

Any - Customer service from Hell - RT

So it probably was significantly quicker. Still glad I didn't go for the SRi option, as they they must have featured in the top half of the "most stolen model" league table for much of their lifespan. Plus the fact that insurance costs in the relatively sedate part of Merseyside where I used to live were linked to the central Liverpool postcodes, which made insurance for such a car very dear indeed.

Not sure whether to view your admission of clocking as admirable honesty or unfortunate braggadocio, but best move on and avoid repetition of recent contributor friction.

That was 30 years ago - attitudes were different then - but it did demostrate to me that a clocked high mileage but well cared for car was virtually impossible to detect

Any - Customer service from Hell - argybargy

So it probably was significantly quicker. Still glad I didn't go for the SRi option, as they they must have featured in the top half of the "most stolen model" league table for much of their lifespan. Plus the fact that insurance costs in the relatively sedate part of Merseyside where I used to live were linked to the central Liverpool postcodes, which made insurance for such a car very dear indeed.

Not sure whether to view your admission of clocking as admirable honesty or unfortunate braggadocio, but best move on and avoid repetition of recent contributor friction.

That was 30 years ago - attitudes were different then - but it did demostrate to me that a clocked high mileage but well cared for car was virtually impossible to detect

Point taken.

I'd hate to see anyone unconditionally defending the practice of clocking, because by any other name it's theft.

Any - Customer service from Hell - RT

So it probably was significantly quicker. Still glad I didn't go for the SRi option, as they they must have featured in the top half of the "most stolen model" league table for much of their lifespan. Plus the fact that insurance costs in the relatively sedate part of Merseyside where I used to live were linked to the central Liverpool postcodes, which made insurance for such a car very dear indeed.

Not sure whether to view your admission of clocking as admirable honesty or unfortunate braggadocio, but best move on and avoid repetition of recent contributor friction.

That was 30 years ago - attitudes were different then - but it did demostrate to me that a clocked high mileage but well cared for car was virtually impossible to detect

Point taken.

I'd hate to see anyone unconditionally defending the practice of clocking, because by any other name it's theft.

I'm not going to defend it even conditionally, I was just being honest.

In a perverse way, it emphasised the quality of the mk2 Cavalier by not showing signs wear even over high mileages.

Any - Customer service from Hell - SteVee

The early SRis were terrific - mine was a 1984 model before the close-ratio box. The engine was extremely tight on delivery and I thrashed it (it was my first company car). At the first service they said it was the fastest SRI they'd seen :-) It had no cut out and would rev cleanly all the way through the red sector. Everyone who drove it said 'I just need to overtake this car, and this one and...'

Handling was exceptional - the car just didn't care what the weather did, even snow didn't trouble it. When it came off lease I had a 2.0 GLi, which was slower and didn't handle nearly so well. A neighbour bought it off the lease co. and continued to thrash it for years. It never, ever went wrong.

I was quite glad to see the back of it, and calm down a bit !

Later on, I got a 1988 Carlton as a co. car. That was also a great machine.

Any - Customer service from Hell - Engineer Andy

The early SRis were terrific - mine was a 1984 model before the close-ratio box. The engine was extremely tight on delivery and I thrashed it (it was my first company car). At the first service they said it was the fastest SRI they'd seen :-) It had no cut out and would rev cleanly all the way through the red sector. Everyone who drove it said 'I just need to overtake this car, and this one and...'

Handling was exceptional - the car just didn't care what the weather did, even snow didn't trouble it. When it came off lease I had a 2.0 GLi, which was slower and didn't handle nearly so well. A neighbour bought it off the lease co. and continued to thrash it for years. It never, ever went wrong.

I was quite glad to see the back of it, and calm down a bit !

Later on, I got a 1988 Carlton as a co. car. That was also a great machine.

A friend of mine's dad had a Carlton, in auto form with a sport button. That was one swift (and comfortable) car - I was very impressed at the time.

Any - Customer service from Hell - argybargy

Early days yet, but a positive customer service story.

Took my B-Max to a Ford dealer on the Wirral, Tuesday just gone, to have the gearbox checked and, if the Powershift "judder" was replicated whilst in their tender care, fixed under warranty.

Got it back today with a new clutch pack, which is apparently the clutch assembly plus seals and things: must be a fair few bob's worth. Didn't cost me anything, no questions asked about the car's service history, only bad news story being a few pasty crumbs on the back seat, quickly hoovered away.

This is the second Ford dealer I'd approached with this issue; the first one would only do software updates and/or replace the transmission control module, and anything beyond that would incur a £50 diagnostic fee plus the cost of the job if I left the car with them.

Just shows the value of shopping around, even when under warranty.

Edited by argybargy on 07/10/2017 at 00:52

Any - Customer service from Hell - RT

My perception is that franchised dealers have got better over the years/decades - although going right back it would have been almost impossible to get worse.

My Ford loyalty lasted from '71 to '84 but the short warranty of those days meant a quick switch to DIY maintenance - my Vauxhall spell from '85 to '06 with each dealer in turn being found to be incompetent - my short experience of Subaru from '07 to '10 was tainted by their switch from their original dealers to the glass palaces who knew little about the cars.

My Hyundai experiences from '11 to '15 suggested that dealer attitudes were changing - my Santa Fe had a whole raft of issues, including a rebuilt engine, spending more time "off-road" being repaired under warranty than all my previous cars put together - but all done without any issues by the selling dealer, seemingly helped by the Service Manager getting involved and providing what looks like personal service but may be extended to many others.

It's been strange with VW - the selling dealer treating me like an ijiot once the money was in their bank, delivering the car with grime under the fitted mats and plenty of dirt externally - I vowed never to take the car back there - my local VW dealer have been more than happy to take on my servicing and warranty work and is party to an extended warranty arrangement on the sunroof which has proved particularly troublesome.

Ironically, when I was looking at premium SUVs before I bought my Touareg, both the BMW and Mercedes-Benz dealers instantly dismissed my serious intentions, probably due to my "casual disdain of fashion" - Lexus and Range Rover simply ignored me!

Any - Customer service from Hell - joegrundy

I hesitate to add this to the mix, having banged on about it in my 'Fracked in France' thread, but I think it's worth mentioming.

Recovered from A10 autoroute near Orleans by 'approved contractor', 'diagnosed' (at my cost) of €67) as injector failure (new injector would cost €1500), 'Bosch' diagnosis report at €67 to confirm.

When I asked for second opinion, rescue firm found that 1. Ford garage would not touch, 2. Jaguar garage quoted 2-3 weeks before diagnosis could start.

Car recovered back to UK at who knows what cost. Found to be (as I had suggested to Pierre the Pirate Mechanic) a detached turbo pipe. Could have been fixed roadside at zero cost. My indie charged 1.5 hours labour for diagnosis, fix, and extensive road test. (£85).

I think I can claim the prize for the s***iest customer service - but also the best from a rescue service.

PS: I haven't told the rescue service the outcome - should I?

Any - Customer service from Hell - argybargy

I've had little experience of main dealers, having never bought a car from one of their forecourts. Nor till this July did I ever own a car with balance of manufacturer warranty still outstanding, Having visited the premises of two main dealers since buying this B Max, I've had a flavour of how different the experience can be from one company to another. Even the indy where I bought the car said that if they need main dealer work done on a customer's Ford, the attitude they get from the same dealer from one week to another can differ significantly, depending on who picks up the phone.

My son had a 59 plate Fiesta which was bought from a Ford main dealer in Cheshire, and, they managed to destroy the air filter box with their clumsy handling during a service. Fortunately an easy and cheap fix with parts from Teabay.

Edited by argybargy on 07/10/2017 at 15:16

Any - Customer service from Hell - Avant

Any business is onty as good as the human beings who run it and work for it, no matter how many customer services policies and guidelines they may have.

In my experience there is a far better chance of good service - not just in the case of garages/dealers - from a family-owned business than from a a large chain. As an example for all the 20 years that I had Renaults, they were looked after by Cross Roads Garage in Oxfordshire, run by the Cliff family who inspired loyalty to the extent at for all those years the same key managers were there.

 

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