Help needed - natashas daddy
I know i must be mad and i dont know what came over me but earlier this year i bought a new (although it was imported and not that new afterall) alfa gtv from [company name].

I am the first registered owner and finding out any history via [company name] is a non starter.

Earlier this week the car ground to a halt and smoke started to emit from behind the dash board.The electrics went completely and so i guess it was a small electrical fire.The RAC couldnt fix it and were bemused as to why a new car should have an electrical fire.They even said it could be that serious that the car may be written off! \"A burnt out loom/lume\"?

It was towed to the local alfa dealer to be fixed (hopefully) under warranty ([company name] arent interested once you leve their forecourt!)

The local dealers are busy and cant check it until 24 july. In the meantime they cant let me have a courtesy car as they dont have one available until 30 july. Alfas head office were next to useless and simply took down my details and said they would get back to me,but told me to expect to wait 14 days.

i bought the car as new and with a manaufacturers warranty to give peace of mind,as i use a car for business.

This isnt the first issue i have had with it and frankly [company name] are useless and downright awkward. For example there are missing parts,no guide books,service books etc.Even the tow bracket was missing which meant a 2 and a half hour wait for RAC and not being able to tow the car without the equipment on their bigger vans.

I would appreciate any help or feedback as to what i can do,if anything. As it stands i dont have a clue what is wrong with the car and how long i will be with out it. The RAC painted a very gloomy picture on this,which was poo poo`d by alfa reception,but its all i have got to go on at present.

am i entitled to demand a replacement vehicle from alfa, [company name] or the dealer? Is there anything else i should be doing re complaining?

thanks in advance.
Help needed - Mattster
Not sure I can help much but I can offer some suggestions. I can also offer my sympathy - I bought an Alfa 156 a year ago (not new, but it seemed OK when I bought it!) and recently sold it with my wallet significantly lighter after hefty depreciation and countless trips to the garage and it still had just as many faults unrectified when I sold it! I found the dealers incompetent and uncaring - they probably needed to be. I will never buy another Alfa.

Firstly, have you established that the warranty is valid, i.e. the car has been registered with Alfa UK and it is still within the warranty period? If so, at least you can be fairly sure it will be paid for by someone else.

Another possibility to consider may be rejecting the car back to [company name], though I\'m not sure what the time period is for this - it may only be a week or so. If there is a problem with the warranty which [company name] should have known about, maybe you could hassle [company name] - if they\'re not interested, the Small Claims Court or Trading Standards?

Assuming the warranty is OK, how about trying alternative dealers (though you\'d have to persuade someone to tow you there - you might struggle to get that paid for under the warranty) or a non-Alfa garage, e.g. an auto-electrician, if the warranty allows. There ought to be a \"reasonable\" time period in which you can expect warranty repairs to be carried out. If you can find this out, Alfa may become more helpful suddenly. If they don\'t then consider hiring a car and sending them the bill.

Well these are just ideas off the top of my head and I\'m no expert, but good luck anyway - let us know how it pans out.
Help needed - teabelly
First thing to do is talk to your local trading standards office. They will have plenty of advice. If you bought it after the beginnng of April of this year then you have many more rights and basically the supplier is completely liable for fixing the car as it has gone wrong so soon. The onus is on the supplier to make sure that the car is fit for it's purpose ie driving it. Alfa may be being especially useless as it is an import. The dealer you took it too isn't really at fault so badgering them about a replacement car won't bring you much in the way of good will. Telling them you will return your gtv to the supplier and maybe buy another one from them if they do a good repair job (this of course may be a complete white lie) may grease their wheels a bit.

If you need a car for you business then you should be able to insist that the supplier pays the cost of the hire car or provides you with alternative transport. You have a duty to mitigate your losses though. If the car can be repaired and your other costs are less than £5k then the small claims court is a possibility if the supplier doesn't play ball. Alfa UK or the dealer you took it too aren't really liable as it is up to your supplier to replace/pay for repair of the vehicle so it becomes of satisfactory quality. Your supplier can then go and give their supplier a hard time for essentially supplying a faulty vehicle.

All dealings with your supplier should be conducted in writing and preferably sent by recorded delivery as this is the method that trading standards recommends.

Help needed - sean
Firstly, you have bought a Fiat Group product. If you have read any of the articles in the Archive you will see that they are the most unreliable sheds available.

Secondly, by buying, you entered into a contract with [company name]. The car has to be fit for purpose. Depending on how long you\'ve owned it, the problem could well be theirs, in which case I\'d transport it to them and go into legal mode.

Thirdly, if you bought from April 3rd this year, the law presumes that any faults appearing within the next 6 months were there at time of sale. Definitely [company name]\'s problem, unless THEY can prove it\'s not.

Fourthly, have you messed with the wiring? New CD player? That sort of thing.

Are you an RAC member? Sounds like you are from what you wrote.
What do their legal team say? They are normally very good.
Help needed - hootie
I\'m just about to set off for a local dealer, armed with internet quotes for a new Yaris, and [company name] is one of the firms I looked at. Reading your cautionary tale has strengthened my gut instinct to buy locally where at least I can create a huge fuss if anything serious goes wrong.

Imports and long distance bargains often look the best buy at first glance, but when something like this happens it seems all too easy for major buck passing. I\'d not be at all happy about missing bits and bobs either.

What a mess - you have my sympathy.

If it were me, I would rely heavily on the advice of the legal team via the RAC or your motor insurance policy if you took legal cover (if you have both, ask both) also consult your local Trading Standards, and see if you can find out the Trading Standards office which is local to the [company name] head office (just a thought - they might have some specific dealings with the firm?)

It sounds as though the car is just not up to standard, and therefore you *should* have recourse to the supplier I would have thought, or indeed the manufacturer. Not having given the local dealer your business though, it\'s no surprise they\'re not too keen on helping you out.

Best of luck.
Help needed - natashas daddy
Thanks for the advice.

Sadly i bought in March from [company name] and have had a long running battle since,i would never use them again,nor would i recommend them.I am taking legal advice re the way they sold and mis-represented the car and the poor state of it,plus missing parts,guides etc,which i clearly hold them responsible for.

i will try trading standards and will pursue alfa romeo. I havent done any work to the car whatsoever eg cd player etc,but i did pay extra for [company name] to install an alarm system!

I will also try the legal department of the RAC,although as i have found out doing anything through legal channels takes ages. I am also pretty sure that [company name] have a lot of experience at dealing with unsatisfied customers and are adept at dragging things out as much as possible. I would definately recommend buying local,the extra cost is worth the peace of mind i would say.

I will see what alfa have to say,but to be fair to them when you have rogue traders like [company name] selling cars manaufactured 2 years ago as new,when they have obviously been sitting in forecourts and fields during the interim,there is no surprise things go wrong.[company name] attitude has been its up to manufacturer to sort out once you have driven it away.Hopefully this new law will change things on that front.

i have learned my lesson re imports,although the same could happen to a uk model,ie sold as new when built ages ago. i think its a big motortrade and probably car supermarket rip off!

i will report back if and when anything develops.
Help needed - Mark (RLBS)

As long as you were just complaining about [company name] I was prepared to try and give some leeway. However, as soon as it moved into accusations of illegal behaviour it had to go.

I took the time to go through and edit out [company name] rather than delete the whole thread. Any attempts to bring [company name] back into this thread, or identify them, will result in the thread being deleted.

Help needed - PR {P}
As long as the car is registered with Alfa UK your main dealer should sort it out. My last Alfa was an import but my local dealer was only too happy to help out with some warranty work I needed (I suspect they do rather well out of it!)
Alfa UK has an obligation to sort the car out as long as it has been registered, however, you have to remember that by importing you effectively didnt buy your car off them. The car makers dont really like that! (VW were fined 100million Euros for uncompetitive practices). I suggest you wait for the main dealer, they MUST sort it.
Help needed - teabelly
I think the car was built two years ago so there may be some doubt over whether any alfa uk warranty is still in existence. This shouldn't matter as the vehicle is clearly not of satisfactory quality so the SOGA route is the one to pursue.

If any of the balance or the full deposit for the car was paid by either a finance agreement or on a credit card then they can be held jointly liable with the supplying dealer so it may be worth dropping them a letter so they can chivy the supplying dealer too.

Help needed - natashas daddy

sorry if i have unknowingly/unwittingly broken the rules on this.

I have reviewed my comments and cannot see where i have made accusations of illegal behaviour? The fact is that i think it is wrong for a car supermarket,or any dealer for that matter, to sell as new a car that was manufactured 2 years ago.

For what its worth,the car supermarket company in question have just sent what it believes is acceptance of this practice,by quoting 2 legal cases,one from 1959,the other from 1972!

I wish i had read a thread similar to this before i spent my £18K on what i expected to be,feel and smell like a new car,it would have forewarned me of the issues to look out for.

I also wish i knew about the way in which parts and guides which are missing are dealt with by this firm and had some feed back on their aftersales service.

I doubt you will re-insert the name of the company and will leave it to you todecide if others should be aware of this practice?
Help needed - teabelly
I think those cases have been quoted before by them to justify selling a 2 year old car as new. Technically if no one has owned it before you and it has delivery miles then it is classed as new. I think there is also some mention of how long the model can be out of production (if at all) to also be classed as new under this definition. I think the new/not new argument is less important and you should lean on them on the satisfactory quality angle which you can win more easily. You could try asking on newsgroup if there are any later precedents that define what exactly a 'new' car is.

You could also email watchdog as I think they have done an article on this.

What do trading standards in regards to a car being new or not when manufactured two years ago?

You mentioned taking legal action/legal advice which is why the mods removed the company name as if there is a chance it could end up in court discussion on here could prejudice the outcome in some way. It may not get that far but they have to cover themselves.
Help needed - natashas daddy
Thanks teabelly,what is newsgroup? and how do i ask them?]

I will let you know what trading standards say when i am able to speak to someone their,at the moment i am getting a message machine only. watchdog is a last resort,but one i it looks like i will have to consider,sadly!

i agree re the quality issues aswell,plus missing parts,second registered owner and poor finish (rust,blemishes and marks) may help my argument on that front.
Help needed - volvoman
Get rid of this excuse for a car and kick up as much fuss as you can as soon as you can. Get on to Watchdog and anyone else you can and tell the supplier and manufacturer all about it too so they can contemplate just how much bad publicity they're gonna get unless it's sorted PDQ.

Agree with Sean on the other thread - don't accept any repair on this car, fortunately it sounds like this is gonna be uneconomic anyway !

As another option, try calling Mike Rutherford on TalkSport (1053-1089 am). He has a motoring show on Friday mornings from 12.00 am IIRC and loves to hear about such things. I've heard him promise to take up the causes of several very disgruntled owners in the past and he also seems to have very good relationships with senior managers/executives within the manufacturing fraternity. For more info try the website: IIRC. Good luck ND !!
Help needed - Mark (RLBS)
Natashas daddy,


>>cannot see where i have made accusations of illegal behaviour?

"....and mis-represented the car..."

is one example.

I have sympathy with your point of view and can understand why it is useful for everyone to know. That's the reason I left the thread for as long as you were talking about bad service and the like.

However, it is an oft-repeated issue that "naming and shaming" is more risky than we are prepared to deal with. Anything more than "company x is not recommended" can give us cause for worry.

And even more so when it appears that legal action may be involved.

Help needed - T Lucas
When Alfas come off the production line are they driven to nice temperature controlled cellars to mature like fine wine?There does seem to be so many that are sold as 'new'but were built 2 years ago.Perhaps this brings the 'character'out.
Help needed - eMBe {P}
The lesson for us petrolheads is that when buying a new car, ask the dealer to confirm on the invoice the date when the car was manufactured.

Even when buying used, again the lesson is to go equipped with the vin-checker codes (see HJ's FAQ) so that you know when & where the car was manufactured.

In my view, this advice should really be an essential part of any "how-to-buy-a-car" page, whether in print or on the web.
Help needed - hootie
I fully understand why the name of the company in question here has had to be removed, but thanks for leaving the thread.

I am transferring my further comments to a new thread, as they are more general than in specific reply to this problem here.
Help needed - Ben03

teabelly wrote:
> I think the car was built two years ago so there may be some
> doubt over whether any alfa uk warranty is still in existence.

is this really the case?

surely it couldn't be sold "as new" (even allowing for the technicalities mentioned above) if the warranty was already part expired?

after all, it's not unusual for a car to have been sitting around for, say, 3 months, but that doesn't turn a 36 month warranty into a 33 month one, does it?


Help needed - natashas daddy
I think the warranty has started from the day it was first registered,although i have nothing in writing.

T Lucas,v funny-not!

Mark,OK i take your point,thanks for letting the thread continue even if names are gone.However,how come you are ok for alfa romeo to take a verbal battering,but not the car supermarket?
Help needed - Mark (RLBS)
Because you didn't accuse the car or Alfa Romeo of doing something naughty.
Help needed - hootie
Presumably you can say that a car is rubbish, because you could verify that beyond dispute. You could also say that it's your experience that any company has given you bad service and you'd caution other potential customers, but you have to be very careful about going further than that incase of dire consequences.

I'm a member of another message board, there is an automatic filter on bad words (you can't even say something like swanky, cos the filter takes it out) and even stuff which is reported in the press gets taken off if it's even *slightly* controversial!

All in all, I think the BR is very tolerant

(just my HO of course)
Help needed - volvoman
Hi Hootie (care to explain the nickname ?)

You'll find there's a very odd swear filter here too but all in all this is a nicer place because of it.
Help needed - hootie
LOL Volvoman - if I had £1 for every time I've been asked that.

OK - first off when I started using Message Boards I wanted a nick that didn't attract too much girlie attention if you see what I mean?

Nearly everything I tried registering seemed to have been taken already.

We have a bit of a joke going at home because I love my sleep and had been constantly woken during the night by an owl "hooting" - I developed a bit of a thing about it (and then got over it) At the same time my other half charmingly informs me that in MY sleep I make little noises sometimes, but instead of snoring I sort of hoot.

I MUST POINT OUT THAT THESE NOISES COME FROM THE MOUTH OK? (just incase anyone gets clever with me here!!!) :-D
and he reckons he finds it "very sweet" - you hve to take his word for it!

I must be bored now, sharing all of that with you lot LOL (am on the net searching for insurance still)
Help needed - volvoman
Well I'm glad my wife hasn't nicknamed me after the noises I make in the night !!
Help needed - Colin M
With VW Audi, the warranty starts the day the PDI (pre delivery inspection) was carried out. In your case, because the car was imported, it is likely the supplying dealer carried out the PDI ages ago. Yes, the warranty period is dimished by the amount of time the car sits around post PDI regardless of whether it has been driven or registered etc.

Help needed - Baskerville
I might have missed this in someone else's posting, but could this:

>I havent
>done any work to the car whatsoever eg cd player etc,but i did pay >extra for [company name] to install an alarm system!

be a problem? Might it have caused the problem in the first place, and might it have invalidated the Alfa warranty?
Help needed - natashas daddy
ChrisR, i really hope not,as i have far greater chance being compensated by alfa,than the car supermarket i bought it from.

I wont know until it is inspected by the alfa dealer,next week i am promised,11 working days after it turned up on their forecourt!

If it is as a result of work being carried out by car supermarket,i will have an extra gripe (a big one mind) to add to the many and given my experience with them to date,i would be very worried at getting redress.
Help needed - teabelly
If alfa uk would put it in writing that the failure of the wiring was due to the supplier fitting an alarm then it would be relatively easy to take the supplier to court ( I doubt if they would let it go that far) and claim for the full cost of a replacement vehicle and actual cash losses. If the report does say that it was negligence which caused an electrical fire it could also be worth talking to your insurance company. They may replace the car then pursue the dealer for the full cost as it was their fault that it went up in smoke.

If alfa uk won't put it in writing then the RAC might. Have you contacted their legal department yet? They could probably do an inspection within a couple of days too, they also may be considered more independent than alfa uk.

On reflection the newsgroup, if you are not familiar with newsgroups, may not be the best place to post. Official bodies like trading standards (when they answer the phone!) and possibly the office of fair trading may be better places to get definitive answers.

Help needed - natashas daddy
Out of the blue, i received a call from the alfa garage my car was towed to last week (it may have something to do with the fact that i spoke to the sales dep`t earlier and asked them to consider a part ex,my gtv for a new 156!).

Much to my surprise i was told the car is fixed! Apparently it was supplied to me with the wrong battery! They said the battery was not one that comes with a new alfa and was too small for the box/bracket it sits in. As a result it has fallen over and touched metal and caused a short,which itself has blown all the fuses!

I havent seen it yet and i am slightly dubious,because as the RAC man said,you dont normally expect to see smoke emissions from a blown fuse! Not that i would know to be honest.

Sadly it would appear this is yet another example of my problems encountered in buying this car,which dont forget is supposed to be new and thus should have an alfa factory fitted battery. This has caused obvious aggro and costs (the work and new battery arent covered by warranty). So it is yet another thing that i have to go back to the car supermarket which can no longer be named and complain about/seek redress.

Thanks for advice,guidance and help to all. It appears alfa dealer and alfa uk are not at fault,simply a supermarket selling cars as new which are clearly not,or should`nt be described as.
Help needed - hootie
Well, at least it's fixed, that's one thing, and before they said they'd have time to look at it.

Could you get the garage to put their findings in writing? This should help you to pursue your grievances with TCSWCNLBN(amed)
Certainly I would imagine that Trading Standards would take this up, if a car sold as 'new' was supplied with non standard parts?

Other than that, put it down to experience and never stray from a traditional type garage again (preferrably local too) It just strikes me that it's worth paying that bit extra (if you need to) for the peace of mind, if you're not all that 'up' on cars, and are wary of what some might call "sharp practice"
Help needed - natashas daddy
Yes hootie,thankfully they say they will include details of it in their invoice. in a strange way i think it will help my cause against the not to be named car supermarket.I believe they are responsible for checking the car before selling it,this could have been far worse.

i will be taking it further,ie trading standards,legal advice etc.

i agree,buying local is probably going to cost more,but it has to be worth it if my experiences are anything to go by.

Value my car