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 have been a bit busy recently , hence the lack of activity on this blog. I was also intending to try to ‘positive blog’ rather than complain – sadly my first blog for a while is a complaint….
I have blogged previously about the elusive issue on my Mercedes – Inchcape Nottingham have had it in to try and rectify the issue now more times than I care to remember – it’s not 12 months old yet but knows the dealership very well. To date they have failed to solve the problem despite input from Germany. I have unfortunately had to chase them a few times to get things moving – not something I feel I should have to do, especially as this is supposed to be a ‘quality car’.
Today however they have excelled themselves……
My car was booked in for a 3 day visit, the ‘German connection’ had deemed this necessary to deal with the problem (although I have no idea what they are proposing to do). This was all arranged a couple of weeks ago and a courtesy car was to be provided. I rang yesterday to check on things and was told that I would get a call later that day to sort things out for today…… no call was forthcoming.
I put the lack of a call down to the way the garage generally do things – slowly – and thought no more of it. Last night I cleared out my car, found my licence and made sure I was ready to drop the car off at 8.15. Then at 7.47 I got the text above (names removed to protect the ‘innocent’) – I wasn’t impressed!
If the engineer is off all week one assumes he is on holiday and that was known when I booked my car in? Also why couldn’t I be told this earlier in the week or as a minimum the day before when I rang? And a text? What ever happened to the telephone – or are they hiding?
Bottom line – really very unimpressed.
Regular readers may be aware of my ongoing issue with my Mercedes – it has an intermittent fault with the trip computer, it’s not life threatening, but it is annoying and it should be right! The car has now been in the garage for 6 days since its delivery at the start of October – an amount of time that I am sure Mercedes themselves wouldn’t expect on a car this young (in fact if you assume an annual visit it shouldn’t happen until its sixth birthday).
After the cars last visit the matter was raised directly with Mercedes in Germany, I was told that this might even involve a visit from a German engineer! However the first act of the German connection was to send a bespoke software download for my car (and only my car). It would apparently sort out my issue once and for all…..
Sadly this was not the case, some issues were apparently had installing it and it failed as I was leaving the dealership. So we are now back in the hands of the German engineers. Perhaps I will get a visit from Germany after all!
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!
I like cars and am lucky enough to get a new one every three years through work – that gives me the ability to choose what I want (within reason), so there have been a number of makes driven over the years. I have also come to realise that in terms of reliability there isn’t much to choose between makes nowadays – French, German, Italian, they are all much of a muchness these days….
I can hear you all shouting “NO – Germany make the best cars” – well not in my experience. Yes, they are more solidly built (although my Volvo was the most solid), but in terms of reliability there is nothing to choose between them. Let me explain. . .
The most reliable car I have driven? An Alfa Romeo, it was faultless for three years and had no ‘niggling’ issues.
Second best? A Volvo – one minor issue with the air-conditioning ‘that went away’ – otherwise a great car.
The mid range – Citroen, Renault, Peugeot and VW – all had a number of minor faults but never let me down.
The worst based on the number of visits to the dealership for an ‘untraceable issue’ over the first few months of ownership? Mercedes!
None of the above have ever let me down, but most have had annoying faults – especially the Mercedes – so as I say, all cars are equal now – some may be more solidly built – but the quality of components and the chance of ‘minor’ faults is about the same.
The question is whether this is a good thing or are we still being sold underdeveloped and poorly quality controlled cars?
And for the record my Merc is now just over two months old and has had its 4th visit to the garage – and I am still waiting for a call to resolve the problem promised to me two weeks ago………
Any one who follows my blog will be aware of the ‘pleasures’ I have been enjoying recently due to a lack of service from the Royal Mail, I have now come to the conclusion that the package that so nearly made it to me is lost (the manager at the sorting office as good as confirmed it to me).
I am now in the process of trying to get some form of compensation from the Royal Mail and have spoken to their customer services (complaints) department to progress this. To be fair the man I spoke to was very good at his job (plenty of practice?) and handled me like a pro – however his basic line was that it was the sending companies issue….
What I wasn’t 100% clear on until last week was exactly what the parcel they lost was, however a few emails have confirmed that it was an item forwarded to me from New York by the lady we rented an apartment from in the city a few weeks ago. So I have a receipt of postage and know what the parcel contained.
But, and this is what is really annoying me – because the parcel was sent through the United States Postal Service (USPC) as far as our wonderful Royal Mail are concerned I should make my claim against the USPC – not the Royal Mail who actually lost it! Apparently it is all part of an agreement between postal services across the World. In my view it is wrong – the parcel travels 5000 miles, gets to my letter box but is then lost somewhere in the 3 mile triangle between my house, Beeston and Nottingham – sorry but I can’t see that as the United States Postal Services fault!!
I am going to take this as far as it can go until I get an apology and compensation from the Royal Mail – watch this space……..