Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Bergerac, France
Adding a reply to this hot topic, purely because I think learning about each others experiences with dealers and specialists is worthwhile and could save people agrovation time and money.
Out of the Three main dealers that I have dealt with, only one has shown any sign of competance.
Follets of Mayfair - Needed a new fog light, ordered it over the phone, picked it up a couple of days later, correct light for the correct side of the car. Not a hard task, and they completed it admirably in a resonable amount of time. Well done Follets.
Italia - Balham - 84k service on a 155 8v TS. An every day task you would have thought. Dropped car off first thing day 1. Returned that evening, sorry sir we haven't had time to do it, and we couldn't be bothered to call you and let you know. We have managed to wash it though (smile) Well that makes it all ok then.
Car finally gets serviced day 2. Week later low oil light comes on, and handbrake stops working. Get no joy when talking to dealer. Take car to Gonnella bros in Catford. where they diagnose, incorrect pads fitted all round resulting in glazed brake disks, and incorrectly fitted rear calipers, resulting in them being damaged, and the handbrake not working.
I think the phrase 'I wouldn't give them the steam of my ****' springs to mind there.
Ancaster of Welling as it is now known. Could not even find the correct battery clamp for my Q4 on the parts CD. You think I'm really gonna take any car there to be sorted! Oh and they even lied that the parts dept would be open on a Saturday morning.
As far as it goes with me, Main dealers will only ever be used to get parts from, And now because of the specialist I use, not even that. Ican get them through the specialist cheaper and faster.
Gonnella bros - Specialist who knows what they are on about, good service, decent prices. Used them loads, and never had any complaints.
Evolution Eng - Integrale specialist used for my Q4, used loads and never had any complaints at all, offered to loan me a car when they knew mine wouldn't be ready on time, and Barry even let me have a go in his own Integrale. Free tuition at trackdays, and free advice.
But Alfa dealers don't even seem to be that bothered about selling the cars, my Father went in to enquire about a 156 V6, salesman seemed disinterested and couldn't even be bothered to find out the external dimensions of the car for my father. Result, one lost sale.
At the other end of the scale, I know a few people who are completely loopy about Lancia's and have to go abroad to buy them. A dealer in Holland went as far as supplying a car cover, Lancia mugs, and arranging overnight accomodation for the guy when he came to pick the car up. If you are spending big money on a car, things like that cost a relatively small amount and make the customer feel alot better about the dealer.
Basically, I think the majority of car dealers in this country need to lean about customer service. British people just haven't complained enough in the past (Yes I'm guilty of that too)and people who supply services have exploited it.