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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody,

I am very happy to join what seems to be a genuine open-minded community of great Italian cars' lovers.

I introduce myself:

My name is Fabrice, I am a French person, living in the UK (for the past 6 years).

I work in the Automotive Industry as a Project Manager (currently developing exterior plastic parts for Ford Premium brands: Land-Rover, Jag & Volvo).

I am obviously addicted to everything involving cars and a great Fan of Alfa-Romeo.

To give substance to this passion, I am the owner of a 147 120 TS (a "Rosso" one, of course) and as far as the style and driving experience are concerned, I love this car to bits.

Unfortunately their is a big dark cloud in this bright blue sky:

I must admit I had lots of reliability issues with my car (some serious ones involving the car safety).

More worrying, I also had lots of severe problems with both Dealership and Alfa Customer Services when I tried to deal with these issues that should have been covered by the 3-year warranty of my vehicle.

I must admit that Dealership and Alfa Customer Services both are, at best useless and at worse complete con-artists.
In my opinion, they represent the Very Dark Side of Alfa Romeo in this country.

If anybody has also experienced troubles dealing with them, I may have some questions to ask (particularly how to deal with a very blurry / not-so-legal 3rd year Dealership warranty). Any contacts would be deeply appreciated, as I would like to find inexpensive solutions to solve my problems and start to only enjoy the car...

Anyway enjoy the Beautiful Alfa Drive without limits!!!

Cheers
 

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Welcome :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Phil 155,

I always try to be on my best behaviour (despite I may be little be passionate when I drive, but is it really a sin?)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Probusterrace,

Actually my Gearbox was one of the technical issue (that nearly ended up in an accident on a roundabout). Bush problem apparently.

By the way do you have a manual or a selespedd gearbox on your 147.

I am asking the question, because mine is maunal and from the beginning their is a huge freeplay in the stick. From memory it is worse than my old K-Reg Renault Clio, after 10 years. Do you think that it is normal? I unfortunately did not have the opportuntity to check on another 147 so far.

Fabrice
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi Ben,

I have discovered this web site surfing on Internet and with the goal to give maximum feed-back on my multiples troubles with Customer Services and Dealership.

here is a little foretate (Comment I left on Ciao.co.uk - Sorry it is long like my problem list!!!!)

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I bought my Alfa 147 1.6 Lusso in Nov. 04 in second-hand (manufactured in Jan. 04). I loved it for at least a year, until serious problems started to occur:

In my first year of ownership I experienced some minor annoying problems like fan noises, window rubber sealing adrift, defective airbag sensor, but the car was under manufacturer's warranty (2 years) and this issues were temporarily fixed.

When this warranty expired and was replaced by the 3rd year Dealership warranty, things became suddently much more difficult:
My car was definitely not reliable and soon I experienced problems with the manual gear box (defective bush that prevented changing from 2nd to 3rd gear), fan motor (Again!) and Climate control broken.

For the gear box, my car was stuck in my Alfa-Romeo Garage in Leicester for 3 weeks - mainly because they did not get round to looking at it for at least 2 weeks.

Not an issue when you have a replacement car....

...But Alfacare scheme only provides you a replacement car free of charge for 48h!!!!
Then you must pray that the dealership is willing to let you borrow one of their courtesy cars. Most of the time they don't, as they prefer to book their courtesy car for less urgent but more profitable matters (like customers requesting a very dear yearly service at up to £250).

For the fan and the climate control issue, Alfa Dealer warranty reps argued that electrical items, harnesses, pipes, hoses are not covered by the 3rd year dealer warranty. Hence 70% of the car components are not covered!!

Bear in mind that when you visit the Alfa-Romeo UK Website, when it comes to the 3rd year dealer warranty, these restrictions are not mentioned at all - the servicebooklet and the site both boast 'The third year warranty is as comprehensive as the first!' : see attached links:

http://www.alfaromeo.co.uk/cgi-bin/pbrand.dll/ALFAROMEO_UK/services/[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@&BV_EngineID=cccgaddigehkldjcefecejgdfiidgnl.0&categoryOID=-1073762934&contentOID=1073899171

AND

http://www.alfaromeo.co.uk/cgi-bin/pbrand.dll/ALFAROMEO_UK/services/[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@&BV_EngineID=cccgaddigehkldjcefecejgdfiidgnl.0&categoryOID=-1073762934&contentOID=1073899171&page=2

So I have now reached the conclusion that the legal information in the official Alfa-Romeo UK website are illegal.

This fact did not seem to bother either AlfaCare (managed by the AA, responsible for the 3rd year warranty) or Alfa-Romeo UK Customer services department...

In any case it cost me £300 to fix everything, 3 weeks without a car, at least 20h on the phone, lots of frustration and on the top: My car has been damaged twice while at the dealership:

-Puncture in the tyre discovered afterwards: Unlucky for me, another £100
-A dent in the body that I discovered in the dealership, despite they mentioned that they inspected the car before handing me back the key.

Also, cherry on the cake, when I informed them about the puncture, they called me "a French ****". (At least that's half true as I am French.)

When I reported the racist insults to Alfa Central customer services, they were horrified and promised to act. After 2 months they've done nothing. I havent even had a letter of apology and I am left disgusted by the thought of returning to my local garage.

So, that's my experience with Alfa-Romeo UK:
-Unreliable cars and the worst customer services ever experienced (even worse than my broadband supplier Tiscali!)

And you could think that things would go better in the future, when you listen to Mr. Jeff Culkin (Marketing Director for Alfa Romeo UK ). I quote him:

"We are moving the Alfa Romeo image from where it is today back to a premium brand with premium products and with our dealers trained to give a premium level of customer care"...

But don't be fooled by this, this declaration was made early 2005 before all my problems started.

He also said that with the new models "We now build better cars and we now have to deal with customer service issues".

I had the privilege to drive a new Alfa 159 as a hired car. Great style, superb drive, but...

The driver's door sticks on opening as both front and rear doors were not correctly fitted: You need both hands on the handle and a great yank to get the door open from the ouside and a good bash with your shoulder from the inside.

Also both rear electric windows opened whilst parked overnight and I couldnt get them closed again. I might not have minded if it hadnt been pouring with rain during my 200 miles back to the rental agency.

Mr. Culkin: Is it the type of Quality improvement you expect to compete in the premium market?

My Alfa experience has left me determined not to buy an Alfa again (at least until they've solved the problems with service...).

I must admit that I will miss the great feeling of driving these cars (when the damn thing is working) but I also will feel a sense of freedom from the tyrany of the Alfa dealership - as you know the next problem (and battle to get them to fix it) is never far away...
 

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I have to say that when I told the guys at work I was planing to buy an Alfa, a number of people actually said "are you seious, have you heard about all the problems Fabrice has had"!

I had in fact heard a brief summary of the events on the company grapevine (for those AO members wondering, I work for the same company as Fabrice) but for me it was simply another reason to ensure I went into the experience with my eyes open and expecting the worst! Anything better than this would be a bonus and a pleasant surprise. :)

Have you found a good Independant garage for your servicing yet? There is bound to be one near you with good recommendations from someone in the forum. You are likely to get much better service and at a better price. Perhaps that might even encourage you to extend your Alfa experience beyond the current car!

If would be a shame to let a bad run-in with what is undoubtedly recognised as being the weakest part of owning an Alfa in the UK, i.e. the Dealer network, cloud your whole Alfa experience. Particularly as it can be so rewarding in almost every other way.
 

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TheFrenchTifosi said:
By the way do you have a manual or a selespedd gearbox on your 147.

I am asking the question, because mine is maunal and from the beginning their is a huge freeplay in the stick. From memory it is worse than my old K-Reg Renault Clio, after 10 years. Do you think that it is normal? I unfortunately did not have the opportuntity to check on another 147 so far. Fabrice
It's a manual '51 reg.

I've also driven an '05 reg Multijet with the 6 speed manual box.

The Multijet gear stick was very stiff whereas the stick on my 2.0 TS is very sloppy. No problem finding gear, just a lot of lateral play. Having read a number of other posts on the subject, this appears to be fairly normal for this model.
 

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Bonjour Fabrice and welcome to AO :)
 
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