Audi / bad service - 5 weeks no car
To whom it may concern:
I hope that this experience is not a common one, but if it is, something seriously needs to be done to change it.
I took my car in to the audi a4 1.8t (2004 model) garage in claremont on the 30th of march 2010, for them to assess a vibrating noise that I started to notice when I was changing gears. I noticed the noise more in the lower gears and also when I drove over speed humps, when I was driving slower.
The consultant said that he suspected the described noise sounded like it was the flywheel and they would have to take the whole engine apart to #, but that they would not charge me anything for labor if the flywheel was not the problem. We arranged that he would contact my father with feedback on the car and what the problem was, as I know nothing about cars. (hence the decision to take the car to a proper audi service centre - more costly, but better service.) he did call back late that afternoon to say that they would need to keep the car overnight, as it took some time to take the engine apart etc. Might I add that they were also trying to liaise with the insurance company from their side to try and claim something back from this costly service.
The next day came and since no one bothered to call back, I had my father call them a few times before he got hold of the consultant. They said that they would indeed need to replace the flywheel and that the car should be ready before the weekend. (a couple of days). After that no call, again. My dad spoke to the consultant late on friday and he said that the car would not be ready before the weekend as he did not want to rush the mechanic through this complicated procedure. Fair enough, but also a huge shock that I would have to spend the whole easter (long weekend) without a car. So the next week, after another few days, we tried to get a hold of someone to give us answers on when the car would be ready, since no one ever bothered to call and let us know that they were working on the problem and when they suspected it would be sorted out. Finally after numerous phone calls and messages, we got hold of the consultant and he said that the flywheel was fitted and that they took the car for a drive and found something else wrong (the drive shaft/cylinder or something like that). Bad news, they had to wait for the part from germany as there was no stock in south africa. More bad news was that the insurance company refused to pay for anything as they said that it was normal wear and tear??
In the mean time, what was I supposed to do? No car for weeks, no apology for not having a car, not even a phone call to say "we are sorry for the inconvenience and we will try our best to fix your car - as soon as we possibly can." that would honestly have made me feel just a little better. Arranging with my sister to drop me and pick me up from work, every single day, between the southern suburbs and the waterfront. The hassle of sitting in traffic, spending a lot of money on petrol and causing my sister to be late for work, on numerous occasions. What a bad experience!
After sitting and waiting for another 2 weeks and no phone calls from audi, we frantically tried to get hold of them again, since this was getting ridiculous! Finally the consultant said that the part had just arrived and promised us that the mechanic would work on the car as a priority and that it would be ready on saturday the 24th of april, at the latest monday the 26th of april. Saturday came and no call, again. Monday we all tried to call the landlines and cell phone numbers that we had. Nothing, no response and they did not even answer their phones the whole day! How conveniently that I had to sit another public holiday without a car. (tuesday 27th april)
Wednesday the 28th of april I had my sister go to the service centre during her lunch hour directly, as a last resort, since still no phone calls and we were just fed up. Well, she saw my car, outside, parked with all the windows down and rain clouds brewing. What a joke! Another big problem was that the front passenger window was making a noise (which they did have on record) and I never put down the window, specifically because of that sound.
Of course everyone jumped as she walked in and the consultant was a bit shocked to see her. She spoke to the consultant and even the service manager and they both assured her that they would get the car done asap (as some seal that was supposed to come with the part from germany did not arrive and that they had to make the seal?? - does that even make sense?) the service manager assured her that he would personally call her back in the afternoon to let her know when the car would be ready for pick up.
That was not the case yet again and he to, did not call back. I think this is so unprofessional, coming from a proper audi service centre and service manager? So after more phone calls, the car was finally ready for pick up on the 30th of april (friday). Driving the car on that weekend I noticed that the noise that I took it in for originally was still there? Was this a joke or some cruel dream?? I could not believe this horrific experience and to still have the same noise and having spent over r20 000 alone on the car, not to mention the petrol and phone costs during this whole ordeal?
Back we went again on monday. I went to speak to the service manager who was not really interested in dealing with the situation and passed me on to the foreman. Took the car for a drive with a foreman and established that the noise was in fact a vibrating noise that the car made when the gears were under pressure, or something like that. He said that the clutch was probably raised and that he would sort it out, even though he did not work on the car or know the whole situation. He also told me that it was a mistake from the service centre's side that no one took us for a drive to identify the noise that we complained about when we first took it in. He also said that a lot has changed and that people responsible for the problems were phased out and changes were made. Did this really help me in my situation? No.
Finally got my car back on monday the 3rd of may and the foreman took me for a drive again and explained to me what was wrong and how they fixed it. I was just relieved to not hear to noise... And to hopefully have the ordeal over after 5 full weeks!!
I went to the dealer principle to tell my story, since I wanted to make sure that it was not covered up. He was very apologetic and told me that he would look into the situation and that this is not how audi treats their customers at all. He came to look at the old parts that they replaced and explained to me that the flywheel had some cracks and probably need to be replaced etc.
Later that day a lady called me back to say that they were investigating the situation, that the service manager was not there, but he would get back to me the next day. I did get a call the next day from the service manager and he apologized after I told him what I was unhappy about. He told me that they had already given us some discount (hardly anything) and that they were not able to discount any further. He told also assured me that he would deal with his staff accordingly. This was hardly the outcome that I had hoped for as I feel that he was very weak in his whole approach to the situation. I am appalled to even think about this whole ordeal. I will never go to that service centre again and I will make sure to tell everyone I know not to go there either. I am definitely very shocked and disappointed in audi in general because of this. Now my window is also conveniently stuck closed as the motor must have broken during the 5 weeks that they had my car. What a shocking way to spend a lot of money, with nothing but "bad luck" in return.
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