Hi Pete, I hope you are not referring to us! I know was not there when you collected your cars yesterday, please talk to me if there is an issue
No Ned! definately not, you're place actually helped me get a grip on what was needed to sort my car out when the other garages just kept telling me everything was fine. Ive already passed on recommendations and some business is coming your way
No, this place is in northampton, and if it were someone asking me where NOT to go this place would be my first place to avoid. The couple of times Ive had to deal with this place Ive managed to generate a little story of negatives. (Im actually building a list of bad places, there are loads in the area!). By bad I dont just mean the reception was arsey or the like, i mean things like putting tyres on, not balancing the wheels, charging me £500 for £200 work because the AA dragged me there and im stuffed, then two days later something else goes for £500 and its a damn coincidence.... but those garages are off the hook as it were, as theyre generic garages, I have no real proof, I just wont go there again nor recommend them, thats all I can do.
This garage in northants however is blatantly not right, the guy has admitted to lying to customers and his practise is shameful. Talking to others who've been there they also picked up on some 'fishy' goings on.
Tell me if this is right and ask yourself if you could recommend them! If you like a story, read on, if you want the bullet points just skip to the summary:
Firstly my mate takes his 159 there for a blown bulb. He gets the car back and the old bulb is knocking around in the light cluster. After much huffing and puffing, the mechanic finally puts it right but he was willing to leave it there and made my mate feel like he was being put out for asking! He got the cambelt done, 650 quid for the basics.
I laugh it off with my mate and hope its just a one off, but its on the way to my workplace so ideal really for quick work and apparently he has a loan car for free use, and appears to have been ok for my mate whos been going there for a while, great I thought.
I drop the 147 in for a pre-check and MOT, asking him to look over it before hand to see if its worth it and we discussed cambelts and how I was concerned it needed doing ASAP – he went “yeah well, if it came in with a snapped cambelt, it would be 1500 quid to fix, see if you can find a car like this for 1500, you can't” - So.. dont worry yeah? Hmm. And 1500 quid? Sounds steep.
He gives me the keys to the loan car... His golf clubs are in the back as hes got to shoot off after work – yeah, this isnt a loan car this is HIS car! Not a deal breaker, ive got a car for work I guess...but not exactly professional, no idea where the insurance lies.. ive not signed anything either.
The car passed the MOT with flying colours, by his buddy he sends all the cars to, literally over the trading park.
I go back to get the car, we talk about my 156 and how I need it looking over and a clutch fitting at some point - “You got the bits? then its £250ish – you got the flywheel though yeah?” No. “Oh I wont even touch it without getting the flywheel done, you need to get it done or you'll get ALL sorts of problems” Oh.. so how much, “700 extra for a flywheel”. He told my mate with the 159 the same thing - £1500 all in :/ MotorVogue, official Alfa dealer quoted £800 for a clutch change. I later find out the flywheel is not required and its a £500 job from autoLusso.
I drop the 156 in for a wishbone, potential 2 hour job he says due to corrosion
. I say my brakes are ****.. he comments “yeah well Alfa dont think about actually stopping the car, brakes are always ****” - again, ill just leave it then? I drive away in the other loan car, the posh MiTO because the loan car need some work doing to it (?? I cant see it anywhere – its an alfa garage, I presume HE would be fixing it??) Turns out the MiTO is a CUSTOMERS CAR, and the reason he wanted it back by lunch is because he's told the customer the cars not ready yet (fobbed her off) and she'd be coming to collect it later!!! CUSTOMERS CAR!
My mates now thinking his 159 has been driven around in and if the cambelts been done at all! What if Id crashed it?? Insurance?? Been spotted BY the customer out in THEIR car? Just wrong. But it didnt matter because and I quote “Some advertising woman owns it, its not really her car anyway as its her work one and she uses another one in the meantime” It shouldnt matter. He'd had the mito 2 weeks as well, all for a wheel bearing change.
I get mine back, theres 8 miles on the car and its covered in mud – where the hell has mine been?? all for an upper wishbone?? The whole park is tarmac, where's the mud come from?
I pay up and walk away, feeling very uneasy – so I get the cars in to autolusso for a checkup and a cambelt on the 147 and a going over of the 156 the week before.
So heres the bit where I really get pee'd off,
I get to Autolusso, Ned tests the brake fluid – its completely shot and full of water, it needs changing now. (alfa brakes are all crap right?!
) Its supposed to have been changed and mr northampton didnt want to know.
I wont go into the rest of the 156 troubles but it had a full list anyway all of which I could see with my own eyes and none of it advised or cared about by any other garage, so thanks to Ned on that.
Secondly, Ned calls me, Ive got to come see the 147 to believe it – so we do. The cambelt went ok, but the rear suspension arms are is completely bent and ones cracked! Its obviously been like that for a while but its on its last few mm, I could bend it with no trouble – the penny drops when the girlfriend sees the damage – she'd reversed into a boulder
. Fair enough, accidents happen but this had PASSED an MOT days before!
She could see it, I could see it, ANYONE would have seen it. It was point blank dangerous – again, not spotted at the alfa place, not spotted on MOT (really??). The tyre now bald on the inside shouldnt have passed anyway!
We've had kids in the car, various journeys with it like this, its just makes me angry to think about.
Ned also shows me the water pump bearing, its got loads of play in it.. .£1500 just waiting to roll in for matey boy in northampton! Pfft.
To summarise then:
147 passed the MOT with a dangerous cracked rear suspension arm and worn tyre – not spotted at MOT or precheck.
Customers cars loaned out to other customers and then lied to about timescales. - If he lies to them he must lie to me too surely.
Unexplained mileage on my car.
Over quoting for work and giving expensive advice (cambelt snap repairs £1500 instead of £850, £1500 clutch change advice, £900 at dealer network, £500 at lusso)
Low standards of work (leaving old bulbs in the light cluster, laughing off my brake concerns, golf clubs in the loan car)
How can I possibly recommend them?? Ive advised my mate gets the 159 clutch done at AutoLusso, hes going there soon.
You can probably guess the garage name by googling, its not exactly the most inventive of names, its in northampton and the do alfas :/