Claremont Vw / pathetic service
I signed an offer to purchase a new VW Polo from Claremont VW on 04 Feb 2011 and indicated that I would like to take delivery on 12 Feb 2011 as this would be the most convenient time for me. I paid a deposit of R20 000 into their bank account on 08 Feb 2011, in good faith that the vehicle would arrive in Cape Town on Mon 07 Feb as indicated bythe salesman. On receipt of the deposit on 08 Feb, the salesman confirmed that all was in order.
No other communication was received until 11 Feb when the salesman informed me that the vehicle would not be ready for collection as promised on 12 Feb, since it was only going to be dispatched from Uitenhage on 12 Feb. I expressed my dissatisfaction at this delay and inconvenience to the salesman involved and the dealer principle via email on 11 Feb. The salesman contacted me on Monday with a rude, abrupt and disrespectful attitude, now wanting to rush the delivery to that same day (on which I was not available) and not wanting to entertain any conversation. All because I had complained that my expectation of delivery had not been met.
I felt that this rudeness was uncalled for, and escalated my unhappiness with the salesman's attitude and service to the dealer principal as well as to the salesman himself (via email), and have yet had no response (either via email or telephonically). I then requested that my order be cancelled and my deposit be returned as I did not wish to conclude the transaction with a dealership that had such an utmost disrespect for their customers. I requested this via email to the dealer principal. I have had no response from the dealer principal to date. (either telephonically or via email)
I contacted VW South Africa on Tuesday 15 Feb and escalated my complaint to them. They were also unable to contact the dealer principal. Today (17 Feb) the consultant informed me that the sales manager did not want to refund my deposit because I had requested smash-and-grab to be added. I indicated to VW SA that if the dealership sold the vehicle (which has yet not left their showroom floor) the cost of smash and grab would most likely be included in the purchase price, so why should I pay for something that I have had no use of/ will not be using. The consultant said VW could not do anything since the Claremont dealershipThe VW SA person was unable provide any more assistance and said that she would request her supervisor to contact me. I have still not heard from the supervisor.
I signed an application for Wesbank Finance, and contacted them on 17 Feb in an attempt to cancel my finance application. The consultant advised me that since I have not signed a finance agreement I am not bound to Wesbank, and that I need to contact the dealership directly as they need to refund my deposit. The consultant provided me with the phone number of Wesbank account manager for Claremont VW who might be able to assist me. I phoned and left voicemail messages, but have not yet had a response from him either.
I phoned the dealership again to speak to the dealer principal, but was unable to contact him. VWSA has also been unable to contact the dealer principal.
I eventually spoke to the sales manager telephonically and requested a refund of my deposit as a result of the pathetic service that I was receiving from the dealership. Compounded by the fact that the dealer principal has made no effort to contact me. The sales manager refused my request for a refund and instead proceeded to ask why I had contacted the dealer principal to escalate this matter and not him.
I contacted the Motor Industry Ombudsman, but their website indicates that they may not have any influence over dealerships that have not been contracted to them. As my luck would have it, Claremont VW is not listed as a dealership that has been contracted to the MI Ombudsman. So they may not even be able to assist me.
I emailed VW in Germany, who advised they are unable to do anything due to the distance, but have escalated to VW SA. VW SA advised me today (02 March) that although they received the complaint from VW Germany and understand the reason for my request to cancel the order with Claremont VW, their position still remains unchanged since Claremont is an independent dealership.
I have not taken delivery or signed any final paperwork to accept the car. I have deposited R20 000 on 8 Feb, and am as a result currently out of pocket (for almost a month), given that they do not want to return my full deposit and the car has not left their premises.
All I want is to get my deposit back so that I can buy my polo from another dealer who actually values providing good service to their customers.
The thing that frustrates me the most is that I seem to have no recourse to the bad attitude and service I have received from the entire VW Claremont dealership. All VW SA have said is "sorry for the bad experience but there's unfortunately nothing we can do".
Is it possible that Claremont VW cannot be held accountable by anyone for such poor service? VW SA, VW Germany, VW Factory in Uitenhage, Wesbank, the National Consumer Forum, and possibly even the Ombudsman himself does not seem to be have any authority over this "rogue" dealership. There must be some recourse that I have to cancel this order. Are customers like myself totally vulnerable to and at the mercy of unscrupulous dealerships such as Claremont VW.
What use is the new Consumer Protection Act if consumers like myself are still so disadvantaged? Surely as a consumer I have the right to not want to go through with the deal if I feel dissatisfied with the service experience I am getting?
I have contacted so many avenues over the past few weeks and keep reaching dead ends.No one seems to be able to help me because "it is an independently owned dealership". Is legal action going to be the answer?
All I want is to get my full deposit back and buy my car from a different VW dealership that is not independent and actually cares about and offers customer service, where I wont be bullied or be rude to. I am desperate and frustrated and dont know what more to do.
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