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Discussion Starter #1
A word of warning - I've had an astonishing experience with the local dealer - who I bought my 156TS from last year. Essentially, they have tried to charge me £800 to have the brakes (discs, pads, the lot) replaced on all wheels, six weeks and 1500 miles after a 24,000 service.

I took the car to SGT for a second opinion and discovered, as I suspected, that all I had was one binding brake (due to build up of road crap). Result - problem fixed by ten minutes cleaning and one new set of pads.

I attach correspondence between myself and the director of the dealer. Judge for yourselves...

Dear X,

I'm sorry to have to write to you in unhappy circumstances.

I have an Alfa Romeo 156 TS (X689 SBW) which I bought from you a year ago - it was previously your demo model. I have a history of driving Alfas, and am a member of the owners club.

Since buying the car I have had it maintained exclusively by yourselves. This has not been a satisfactory experience at all, but events that took place today are absolutely astonishing.

First of all some history. The car had a major (24,000 mile) service with yourselves recently. When I booked it in I asked for the CD/radio to be attended to, as it wasn't functioning properly. This wasn't done. When I collected the car I was told that there was no oil in it. I know for a fact that this is untrue - I check the oil religiously every week and had checked it days before the service - at which point it was at the optimum level. Since the service, the oil level hasn't moved a millimetre.

I booked the car in for today after complaining that the brakes weren't functioning properly, and asked for the radio to be attended to. First of all, I was surprised that nobody even took a cursory look at the car when I booked it in almost two weeks ago. Surely if a customer complains of a braking problem, this should be treated as a priority matter and a mechanic should have inspected the vehicle before allowing it to leave?

I dropped the car off this morning, and then was called back by your service manager a couple of hours later, who informed me that all the brake discs and pads would need replacing, at a total cost of approximately £800. I was immediately suspicious - a major service was undertaken just six weeks ago - if such major work was required, surely it would have been picked up at this point? The car has only done approximately 27,000 miles.

I decided to seek a second opinion and took the car to SGT. They took the wheels off and found that all the discs are in perfect condition, and that the only problem was a slightly binding pad on the rear offside wheel. They rectified this on the spot for a total cost of £145.

I telephoned your service manager back to inform him of this and he hung up the phone on me. As you can imagine, this really infuriated me. As a consequence I have now informed Alfa Romeo customer care, Buckinghamshire Trading Standards and the Bucks Free Press of events. Buckinghamshire Trading Standards informed me that this is not the first similar complaint they have received about your workshop in recent weeks - In all probability you probably aren't even aware of this.

Alfa Romeo have promised to investigate and will be taking statements from you and from SGT.

I would be very interested to hear your comments about this chain of events. I believe that (your company) should take on responsibility for the £145 bill - if the service had been carried out satisfactorily, this cost would not have been incurred. I also believe I deserve, at the very least, an apology for the shoddy treatment I have endured and the rudeness of your service manager.

I have copied this letter to my legal advisor. If none of these things are forthcoming, I shall be making a formal claim, not just for the £145, but also for the time I have wasted today due to your company's shortcomings. As a journalist, I would also feel it my responsibility to inform other likely customers of this chain of events.

I am sure that you will understand that, whatever the outcome, I shall not be using your company again in the future. I have no confidence in your service levels whatsoever and am very concerned that the recent major service may not have been carried out satisfactorily at all. I will be having the car inspected by SGT next week to see if, in their opinion, other work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard.

Yours sincerely


Malcolm Cupis
Managing Director
Shipham Communications Ltd

Dear Mr Cupis
>
> Further to your email of yesterday's date to X and our
> conversation today I am just writing to conclude the matter.
>
> As we agreed, the decision to change the brakes was in our opinion the
> right one but it was your decision, and you elected not to do so and had
> pads fitted at Messrs SGT.
>
> I am sure you will keep an eye on the brake disc wear until the next
> service and I trust everything will be satisfactory then.
>
> I am sorry you had cause to complain in the first place but I am sure now
> you understand our logic.
>
> Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
>
> Yours sincerely
>
>
> X
> General Manager
 
K

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Discussion Starter #3
Absolutely disgusting behaviour!!

Which dealer was it....Perry's?

As an aside, I've always had my car serviced at SGT and they have been very good. When I had my Sprint I *never* went to a main dealer but to an Alfa specialist (Ken Bell in Fleet).

Anyway good luck with your dispute, don't give up!!

Cheers,
Kenny
 
B

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Discussion Starter #4
> I am sorry you had cause to complain in the first place but I am sure now
> you understand our logic.
So.... what 'logic' would that be then? Am I missing something?
 

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logic??

hmmm... ok then i see quite clearly the logic... think of a random part... tell you everything needs replaced and charge loadsa money... everyone else's opinion is wrong.

I can understand it quite clearly.

J
 
M

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Discussion Starter #7
I should add that there was a short phone conversation between the two communications. The man phoned me and defended his staff, suggesting that I may now be driving an unsafe car. No apology, not even a hint of co-operation. Totally brazen. So, I'm carrying out my threatened course of action. I'll post the name of the dealer and the person involved after it appears in the Bucks Free Press at the end of this week.
 

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The biggest issue here is why it wasn't spotted during the service. Also I'd like to see a breakdown of where they planned to spend £800 on rear brakes.

I'm mean I did a service on a 146 which inclued all brakes, fluid, oil change & flush, new filter's etc everything except rear disc's and the cost came to €300 It took 2 people 3 hour to do.

This is why I stay away from dealer's when I can.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Three wheels weren't spottedduring the service. The binding brake wasn't spotted because the service clearly wasn't properly carried out. The £800 was for complete new brakes on all four wheels. Unfortunately, whilst the car is still under guarantee I'm obliged to use a dealer. The really positive thing that has come out of this is that I've discovered SGT - they booked me in at zero notice, put a cup of coffee in my hand and took very good care of me. And my car. I know where I'll be going in the future...
 

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Dealers like this need exposing. Good luck with your case.
Wonder if the service manager was on comission based pay ? some fast-fit centres do this.Thats why when you take your car in for a new tyre they will appear from the workshop looking concerned

" your brake disc's and pads are worn and the rear shocks are shot. We can do a special deal for you today ...."
I bet you can
 
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Discussion Starter #11
hmmmmm,not good is it?

fwiw,I've taken my car to cleveland after Autodelta recommended them and so far the service has been fine,even after i messed them about cancelling the first service early.It was also good to see a car lot stuffed with 147s!I will post my opinion when i pick the car up
 
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Discussion Starter #12
How much should a 40K service cost anyway? My car has been serviced at 7k & 20K, what will need doing?

Sijaro
 
C

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Discussion Starter #13
Originally posted by Kenny_C:[QB]Absolutely disgusting behaviour!!

Which dealer was it....Perry's?

As an aside, I've always had my car serviced at SGT and they have been very good. When I had my Sprint I *never* went to a main dealer but to an Alfa specialist (Ken Bell in Fleet).

Anyway good luck with your dispute, don't give up!!

Cheers,
Kenny[/QB]
Kenny,Have you had a bad experience at Perrys?I just had my car serviced at the Amersham site,which they seemed to have carried out fine.If they are crap I need to know!
 
K

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Discussion Starter #14
Catherine...no I haven't had my car serviced at Perry's, I was just making a guess at who the culprits were based on them being in Bucks.

Somebody is bound to have a bad experience at any garage at some point or other, I guess some are just worse than others....

Cheers,
Kenny
 

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I bought my 146 from Perry's in Aylesbury and while the saleswoman wasn't too pushy and the car has been very good over the past year there was one "little" problem with the purchase.

When I took the car for a test drive it had a CD player installed but on picking it up a few days later it had somehow turned into a cassette.. I only noticed on trying to insert a CD disc in the dark the next day. Perry's said the old CD player was broken and they didn't think it odd to fit a cassette in its place.

I know that in all probability that it did work because I had the phone number of the previous owner and checked with him and insisted they replace the unit with a CD, which they did without complaint.

Even so, this sort of sharp practice does make you think that they would pull all manner of stunts that are not quite so obvious..

Derek
 

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Right, these people are in for it, you are right, these are known to the trading standards, for people that dont know, I have been building an area for you all to add these sort of comments in, This will be ready as soon as possible.

Keep us informed - I have my car going into Montroe Motors in chigwell/buckhurst hill which is in east London on tuesday after the bank holiday for a 840 pound service.....wow

I will be kicking it off with, have you done this ... have you done that. What about the .....

I am going to stand there and make myself known. This is a 6.2 hour service and for sure i am going to make sure that they have spent that amount of time! I will expect the clutch to be bled of dirty oil for that money. In fact every single fluid on the car should be changed, although I will lety them off of the washers fluid!....

I will keep you all informed.

Ciao
 
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Discussion Starter #17
are AutoItalia running out of money or Alfas? Their brance in Epsom hasn't had a new Alfa in for a while and I haven't seen a second hand 147 there either.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
sounds good to me...then nobody will buy one and have to suffer all of the hell of owning one.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Sorry to hear you are having a bad experience Niel.I have had mine for 13k and 6 months with only 2 niggles picked up at the service and fixed under warranty,so I'm happy.But what in particular have you had problems with?

btw I can recommend Cleveland Cars near Aldershot if you need a good dealer
 
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Discussion Starter #20
AO

£840 quid!!!!! I'd want a new engine for that.

6 hours labour will be about £300+vat so whats the rest going on?

Isnt Autoitalia the garage that was exposed on telly? No wonder they've got no trade


Naming and shaming works!

wrinx
 
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