Smart Car not smart enough for this Cow! Gaining redress for faulty new car)

Mooooooooving on

Last year this mob annoyed me. Why? Because they annoyed my mother. You know how it is, it’s bad enough when someone annoys you but when they start on your family, well that’s it isn’t it really? So, after listening to my mother moan about it for ten minutes (so therefore two minutes too long, you know how it is) I told her to give me the details in an email and I would deal with it. I knew this was going to be a hard one. Cars are a difficult one, it’s very hard to prove faults and well, it’s hard! But I’m The Complaining Cow, so I complained.

Earlier that year she had bought a Smart car. A couple of months later my brother noticed that the front near side tyre was flat. (The car hadn’t been driven for a while because my father had been seriously ill). She therefore called Smart Assistance who sent someone out for recovery. A garage repaired what appeared to have been a slow puncture. The repair had cost £12.00.

A couple of months later my mother went to drive the car and the battery (original battery) was flat. Again, she telephoned Smart Assistance. The battery was put on charge and she was told that everything was fine and to leave the engine running for 20 minutes. She then went out in the car to a local garden centre. She went back to her parked car after three quarters of an hour to find the battery flat. She ‘phoned Smart Assistance once again who again sent out a recovery vehicle. The man said luckily he had a smart battery that was suitable in the van. So he replaced the battery and charged her £53.00. (I know, disgraceful huh?) She then telephoned Mercedes Taunton and explained what had happened and asked if it was under the warranty I don’t much care much for warranties. I prefer the Law. My mother was entitled to a full refund as the car was sold as satisfactory and in good running order. It was not. I believed that Mercedes was therefore in breach of the Sale of Goods Act 1994 again so a full refund is what she would get! Now you would need to quote The Consumer Rights Act 2015 for purchases made prior to 01 October 2015.

Later they phoned back to say that Head Office, as a goodwill gesture would give her back half of the amount, they refunded £26.50.

Since then the car had been running well until a month later. My mother drove the car 6 days previously, but then the battery was flat. She ‘phoned Smart Assistance yet again. (Oh poo, only just realised that I should have been claiming for ‘phone calls!) He found the battery to be faulty. He tested everything including the alternator etc. He said she would have to take the car back to Exeter which was ridiculous. (It’s about an hour away from Taunton). He then drove her to Mercedes Taunton after charging the battery. She spoke to someone and they said they’d call the following day. They didn’t and she had to ‘phone them. I know, dreadful! Anyway, she was told that there had been a problem and that the battery was not only faulty but their suppliers had sent a wrong battery to replace it, and could she should ‘phone the following day.

My mother was told that they hoped the right battery would be in by Monday 21st and that it would cost her £147.00 and she could come and pick the car up.No smart customer service at Smart car!

It was at this point I stuck my hooves in….

So I complained. A lot. I didn’t want her to:

  1. have to go and get the car,
  2. pay for the puncture repair,
  3. pay for the faulty battery,

pay for the new battery and I wanted her to be refunded fully for the first one, oh and something for the inconvenience of course!

We wanted to return the vehicle for a full refund. I knew this was never going to happen, but here’s a tip, always always go for more than you want. That way they can come down thinking they have won something and you get what you want!

The Manager offered to return the car when the battery was done at just the cost she had had refunded! i.e. she would still have to pay the full cost of the battery! So she would, in effect have a new battery which I didn’t think she should have needed and be out of pocket by £53.00. I thought this wasn’t good enough personally.

So, off went an email to the MD pointing out a few legal facts, quotes from their publicity and the like. Few more emails backwards and forwards. He seemed to think that we had no grounds for returning the car and couldn’t prove anything regarding the car being faulty at time of purchase. However, I am pleased to say that my powers of persuasion convinced him to pay:

£12 puncture repair refund
£53.00 battery refund
£100 goodwill gesture (I do so love these goodwill gestures)
(She had the £26.50 on top of this already paid by the other people!)

Evaluation

It took a while but I refuse to accept the first response if I don’t like it! I was particularly pleased that garages in Taunton were impressed saying that Mercedez are notoriously bad with their customer service!

Customer Service 4 out of 10
MD 7 out of 10
Prize £191.50 plus a battery

Rating – Churned out ok eventually

If you find yourself in a similar situation and need some help. See Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively 
Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

For masses of information, consumer rights, tips and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

 

Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy

And a few years on we have Dave Lewis as the new group CEO and Matt Davies as the UK CEO being interviewed by me! (Although Tesco had full editorial control):

For links to lots more recent stories about Tesco and me including taking them to court and winning see Complaining Cow history with Tesco.

For the whole story so far see Case study: Tesco and a consumer champion

Tesco UK CEO email address

Tesco Group CEO email address

The post below is from 2012.

I had a right beef with Tesco! 

Tesco Service Omnishambles!

Diabolical! It was my latest dealings with Tesco Customer Service that gave me the final nudge to get this Blog started!

Update January 2015– I have realised that when you put “Tesco Complaints” into Google that this post comes up. Hilarious really. Since writing this post I have had more dealings with Tesco, including taking them to Court. Please see links to all these posts here.

Also people will insist on assuming that they can complain to me as if I were a Tesco employee. Rather foolish and obviously shows that they haven’t even read this post! Also, gives some indication perhaps as to why their complaint is being ignored by Tesco if they  don’t actually read things or are simply rude!

Tesco contacts for complaints
I also keep being asked for contact details for Tesco so here you are:

Tesco contact details:
email for customer services: customer.services@tesco.co.uk
email for CEO here
All Tesco departments contact details here. ‘phone numbers and addresses.

If you are looking for how to complain to Tesco, see the links are above and you might also be interested in using the book How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy

Years ago I complained to Tesco when Tesco was doing well and when Sir Terry Leahy was CEO there. I got a personal response that was signed by him. One can assume that as the new incumbent Phillip Clarke  ignored several emails from me and the customer service is shambolic, that contempt for the customer is creeping in, perhaps a very good reason why Tesco has slipped from its top position.

Summary (all correspondence available on request!):

4th June took items ordered from Tesco Clothing online back to the store for refund. Had used double up vouchers. Customer Services representative did not know what to do and had to telephone Tesco. I was told that he needed to “…give [me] a few pennies and that somewhere between £5 and £10 will be credited to [my] account.” Told him not acceptable! More confusion and went back after shopping and was given misinformation and nothing in writing although I requested it.
4th June wrote to Clubcard no reply
12th June forwarded email to Customer Services requesting something done, pointing out that doubling up vouchers offer ended on the 13th June and £5 was still in the Clothing website account incorrectly, it should be on the Clubcard or £10 in Clothing otherwise it was a credit note and not a full refund
13th June forwarded email to Phillip Clarke Tesco CEO requesting something done
14th June Tweeted to Tesco and after several Tweets sent details on
15th June and got a reply that did not relate to the complaint but a previous one and made no sense!
15th June Tweeted as such to Tesco and emailed back. Told back in touch as soon as possible
15th June – received email stating that she was unable to work out what complaint to respond to (despite the actual email being in the body of the email and nothing else in the original email!) Offered £20
17th June – wrote back attaching the relevant email again and pointing out that I had now missed website offers due to their delay in responding
18th June – still no response
19th June in the evening – Tweeted that still not had response
19th June – Tesco told me email was in the queue. Reminded them that my original email was dated 4th June! Told that the manager could ‘phone but couldn’t email! Asked for that bizarre state of affairs to be added to the list of complaints! (Was never explained why she could ‘phone but not email!)
19th June – told would get a response by email soon as possible
21st June – still no response. Told would get that one that morning
21st June PM – got an email from the Executive team offered £40 Tesco Moneycard apologised but did not address all complaints, I emailed back as did he no further forward.
26th June – received an email from the Customer Relations Manager at Tesco apologising and saying that the CEO office had responded. I emailed back pointing out the 2 issues regarding not being able to take advantage of offers on the website due to the delay in responding had not been addressed
28th June – received email from Executive Office stating surprise that I had said 2 issues were not addressed and I had copied and pasted a paragraph from previous email which did not address them!
3rd July  – sent a clarification email, I also asked if he would like a link when my Blog was up and running!
6th July – agreed in part with what I said (he had no choice, I was left with money in my Clothing account against their own policy!) that’s the end of this matter at last. Would have been at the £40 but he went and wrote to me suggesting I was wrong and he certainly wasn’t going to get away with THAT!

I asked if they would like to pay me for my knowledge and experience of customer service and how they could improve. They declined my offer! How very silly!

Evaluation

This was a sorry state of customer service. So many people wasting so much of my time! So many not given the right tools. It reflects badly on Tesco too when you think this is how the CEO of Sainsbury’s responds to a complaint. A different league in CEOs from a customer’s point of view I’m sure you’ll agree?!

As you can see, it wasn’t about gaining money it was about the principle of the thing. Annoyingly I went to Tesco to use the Moneycard so I could then take my custom in future to Sainsbury’s and forgot to use the card! Dozy cow! But the next time I went I bought just over £40 of shopping had a £4 off voucher used a £10 Tesco gift card (I have forgotten what I complained about to get that!!) and the £40 card. £13 left. £40 worth of shopping and get £13 change! Amooooosed me!

Seriously though, in May of this year Which? published a Customer Service survey of 11,000 people. Tesco came 4th worst!  A change in focus from the new CEO at Apple from customer to revenue (remember Steve Jobs’ legacy Good enough is not good enough) is not helping their profits either!

Customer Service 2 out of 10
CEO 0 out of 10
Executive Office 6 out of 10
Prize £40

Update to this post. Do have a look at the other Tesco posts some are more amusing 🙂