In recent months at home we have been having quite a lot of work done to make the house more pleasant. This has involved dealing with various tradesmen and retailers. I like to think that I choose both carefully, but as experience has shown using the ‘market leader’ isn’t always the best approach…
I have established a relationship with an excellent plumber, a small builder and a kitchen installer. All 3 are great to deal with and do a first rate job – they are also sole traders.
I am not sure why but we decided to use John Lewis (JL) for flooring, curtains and blinds, the flooring has been done in 2 stages; Stage one was the kitchen, it wasn’t totally pain free but the job was completed well (more down to the self employed fitters). But I did have issues with J L and they paid me compensation – enough said.
This week my living room floor should have been laid – it’s timber and needs a fitter to install it. Initially we were told fitting would be 4 weeks from order, but then when we accepted the quote it became 8 weeks! That was also after they found the flooring they had sold us wasn’t actually made any more…A conversation with JL got fitting down to a more acceptable 5 weeks, which was up this week. All should therefore be fine – except it isn’t.
The flooring has been delivered but the fitter couldn’t actually lay the floor as it needs a levelling screed – something that JL should have checked (but didn’t) when they quoted. The fitter was great about it and we are now being fitted in a couple of weeks. But, JL initially wanted me to pay for the screed that they missed – suffice to say after a ‘conversation’, they are now paying for it!
This isn’t our only issue with JL in recent weeks though, we have also had problems with the curtain and blind orders. The process has dragged on for at least a month longer than it should have done due to initial sample requests not being processed and then the order papers not being sent through to the booking office from the shop. Again not what you expect from JL.
So all in all a fairly poor performance from JL, not according to them what they aim for in customer care, but as they say – three strikes and you are out. They won’t be getting any big orders from me in future, I will use local traders and retailers who are recommended to me.
My Mercedes has finally made it into Mercedes Nottingham for the next 2 to 3 day’s. I have been shown the list of checks to be made on the car whilst at the dealers and it is about 10 pages long! It is nice to know that this is being done, but the results then have to go to Germany and then I assume we wait…..
While I am on the subject of waiting (which you tend to do a lot of at certain car dealerships) I would love someone to explain to me why the ‘premium’ car brands believe that greeting you and then sitting you down to wait for ages before you get dealt with is ‘good service’? Previous experience at ‘lesser’ dealerships was far quicker and less stressful – Marshalls Volvo being a classic example, quick, friendly and efficient.
Yesterday it took 40 minutes for me to drop off my car and collect a courtesy car – the dealership wasn’t busy, so what was going on behind those closed doors while I was waiting?
I am a big fan of free WIFI, it is something that is becoming increasingly common (especially in the USA) and is slowly appearing in UK shops and restaurants. However there a certain environments where a charge is still made – basically if you are ‘captive’. An example of this is when on a train, in this example an East Midlands train from London to Nottingham.
The mobile phone signal on this rail line is legendary for it poor signal which drops out or is very slow in many areas. So a wireless connection would be an excellent idea, and one that the operator has embraced. As expected it is a charged for service unless you are travelling in First Class…..
I haven’t tried it previously as I normally travel ‘coach’ but this last weekend I travelled First for the slow journey back from London – I was looking forwards to the free wifi to help pass the time and get some work done.
But once I logged on the novelty was short lived – the speed was no better than a GPRS connection on a mobile phone (and that is prehistoric in terms of speed). But even worse was that it didn’t even show any connection much of the time. So as usual I tethered my iPad to my iPhone and used that connection, not ideal and it dropped out regularly – but at least it worked.
If I had paid for the wifi however I would not have been impressed, it may only be a few quid for 3 hours, but it is the principle. If you are going to offer a service it should at least work, and this just doesn’t. So perhaps instead of offering free breakfast on morning trains to first class passengers East Midland Trains aught to perhaps look at providing a wifi service that actually works?
I blogged just before Christmas about my ‘fun’ at the local Mercedes dealership, suffice to say there was a ‘bit of a cock up’, but things were arranged to sort the mistake out. There was also an assumption that the part that we had been waiting for (for over a month) would have solved my problem with the trip computer.
Sadly I have to report that it hasn’t – so when the car goes back in a few days time to have the correct colour display installed I will have to tell them that the problem still exists. To be honest I can’t wait as this is getting to be a good game!
Something also tells me that this problem isn’t going to be solved anytime soon – but at least my car will be getting plenty of ‘washes’ and ‘hoover outs’ while it goes in for them to ‘sort the problem’.
There is always a silver lining……
This has nothing to do with religious beliefs (you will be pleased to hear), but my personal belief that all car dealership service departments are generally as bad as each other. I have found over the last 25 years that when I get a new car I have to spend some time ‘educating’ the service department so that they come up to my expectations (which I don’t believe are excessive).
Over the years I have dealt with the local dealers for the following brands – Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, VW, Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Mercedes. Only two have actually provided from the start what I consider to be good service – Volvo and Alfa Romeo.
I now have a Mercedes and although the service department are keen to ‘fawn’ over you and try to have an appointment system for clients (which doesn’t work) they have just confirmed to me that they are no better than any other dealer.
They have had a part on back order for the last month for my car – I blogged previously about it – (it’s the central display between the speedo and rev counter). The part arrived last week and I was contacted to get it fitted, it could be done within a few days and therefore prior to Christmas, so that sounded good. However, having now had it fitted it is actually the wrong part!
Yes it fits, and yes it provides the correct information. But my old clear and quality looking full colour display has been replaced with something akin to the sort of display seen in 1990’s cars (or on a Tamagotchi for those who remember them). Black and white and very poor quality – frankly rubbish!
According to the dealership representative getting the wrong part was “a genuine mistake” and is not considered a major issue “as it works”. The car is now booked in (again) for the correct part to be fitted when it appears in the New Year (they have checked the part number apparently).
Well, strangely I’m not impressed, amused or likely to recommend the brand or dealership to anyone on this performance – but it has confirmed my belief that all car service departments are the same – which in a bizarre way pleases me!
This year has been rather busy at work and at home, consequently something had to give, and it was my blog….
Well I am intending to address that and fully intend to ‘get back on the blogging wagon’ for 2014 – and as a first step I think it’s time for a redesign to something more contemporary…..