W M Couper Ltd. (St. Albans) - Hyundai / terrible customer service & managing director with serious attitude problems
If you are thinking of buying from or dealing with w m couper ltd. (coupers), st. albans... just don't!!! here's my sorry experience to share with you all. i'm sorry it is a long read but I thought posting the full details here may help others stay away from this dealership from hell. stay away from coupers!!!
Below is the letter I wrote to hyundai uk customer service on 02/03/2010 with regard to the appalling customer service my wife and I received when trying to buy a new hyundai i30 from the w m couper ltd. hyundai dealership in st. albans, uk. not only did the sales people not honour their agreed deal but the managing director (mr paul kendall) loves the sound of his own voice and thinks he can bully and lecture people into buying from them. my new car was waiting outside to be collected just minutes away when mr paul kendall decided to open his big mouth and show me how he could shove both his feet into it! stupid idiot lost out big time.
In conclusion, I kindly remind people to please always remember that you are the customer and you can choose which people or dealership has treated you well enough to deserve your hard-earned money and business. stay away from coupers!!!
My letter of complaint to hyundai uk customer services (in full):
Dear ms moore,
Thank you for your support and understanding during our phone conversation earlier this afternoon with regard to the dreadful customer service I and my wife have experienced at the w. m. couper ltd. hyundai dealer in st. albans. I appreciate you giving me your contact details and so I would like to make a formal complaint about what my wife and I have been put through by the salesman (gavin hunt) and managing director (paul kendall) at coupers ltd. I would be grateful if you would allow me a moment of your time in reading this email about our experience in trying to purchase one of your hyundai cars.
I was looking into purchasing a new car for my wife, either an i10 or i30 through the government scrappage scheme for our trusty little vauxhallcorsa which has served our family incredibly well from new with barely a hick-up for over more than 16 years of wonderful reliable service. I test drove the i10 and at a later date my wife and I test drove the i30. at no time during both these test drives did the salesmen (gavin hunt or paul kendall) at coupers genuinely try to tell us about the cars many good features. instead they pretty much just sat looking bored in the car while we drove, making the situation for my wife and I very awkward in such quiet 'gloom' company when we were there excited (at first) to be purchasing a new car. I have no doubt you and hyundai will agree with me that buying a new car should be a much more enjoyable and fun experience for your customers. I dread to think what hyundai hq will think of our experience after putting such effort and spending millions and millions of pounds on their marketing and advertising to promote a positive image of hyundai cars, when you have 'gloomy & bored-looking' salemen like some of those at coupers to showcase their product to us your customers. if our poor experience ended with these test drives, I would not be writing this email to you as I imagine any salesman can have a bad day or two and maybe we were just unlucky. my wife was not pleased with the poor customer service as you can imagine and refused to have anything more to do with this dealership.
I decided to give coupers the benefit of doubt and eventually agreed with gavin hunt to purchase an i30 comfort 1.4 petrol 5dr in metallic blue, my wife's favourite colour. I paid the £500 deposit and negotiated and agreed with gavin that on delivery I could pay upto a further £2000 with my credit card to spread the payment due to the slightly tight financial circumstances we were in at the time and the remainder as cash/debit card. the car was to be delivered on 1st march 2010.
On monday 22 february I sent an email to gavin hunt asking him to confirm the documentation I needed to bring down to the dealership when collecting the car and also highlighted that the car had very rusty brake discs and asked whether those could be checked/cleaned up before I collected the car. I have received no reply to my email to this date. concerned that the car may not be ready for me on monday 1st march, I phoned coupers on saturday 27 february only to to told gavin was not in over the weekend and they couldn't give me a status on the car but would check. I waited almost to the days end without a call from them and so called back and spoke to paul kendall. he said he had checked and the car could be collected on monday morning. I then tried to confirm with him my agreement with gavin, to make sure all was still as agreed. mr kendall suddenly refused point blank the credit card payment part of my agreement with gavin and insisted all the remaining money be paid in cash/debit means. this came as a total surprise and shock to me and I kindly asked him to discuss this with his salesman gavin as it was not as we agreed. he plainly said 'I know my salesmen don't and wouldn't say that' and refused my request for him to consult with his colleague to confirm what his salesman agreed with me the customer. I stated my surprise and told mr kendall the difficult situation his salesman and he now left me in, on a saturday evening with the banks being closed already, sunday the next day and me needing to 'find' another £2000 cash in my account for monday morning to ensure I could collect the car without any further issues. mr kendall said that was not his problem and shockingly lost his temper and threatened to not sell me the car as I apparently did not meet his high expectations as a customer and could not see a good relationship with him. mr kendall should learn to contain his emotions and realise I was only trying to buy a car, not enter into any form of lifelong civil partnership of the automotive kind.
This morning tuesday 2nd march 2010, I went to coupers. I was asked into mr kendall's office, whereupon mr kendall openly declared how my wife and I had mistreated his salesman and himself and how much effort they had gone into preparing the car for us and how little money they got out of the deal (stating something like £480 of which some £180 or so would go to registering the vehicle) how they cleaned the car and how I should be thankful they even gave us free mats, and how we should be grateful for all the kindness and effort they had done for us. his demeanour was as though I was a vagrant and had trespassed on his turf and was begging for bread. I was totally appalled at his total disrespect for a genuinely quiet and collected series of discussions my wife and I have tried to have with them both. however, when he criticised my wife for having mistreated gavin it was beyond any tasteless joke by any measure. it was utterly ridiculous and insulting. the mere fact that my wife is chinese and about half the size of gavin may give you some light to the truth of the matter here and the absurdity and shameless direction of it all. there was absolutely no grounds or reason for a personal attack, for what should in all respects simply be about a purchase of a new car and nothing more. there is no way I am going to let anyone bring either my name or my wife into disrepute, especially mr kendall with virtually all of his points being incorrect or inaccurately skewed in perspective to how things actually proceeded in reality. here are the reasons why.
Mr kendall's argument falls apart completely if even a child is asked the question about expecting a clean car when you buy a new car. why should I be grateful to get a clean car when I am buying a brand new one from a dealer? surely, the whole point of a customer buying a new car is that it is clean and new! it is of course the reason why people pay new car prices, for the few times in their lives they get ownership of a brand new car, to be the first to drive it and enjoy it. if I wanted a dirty car maybe smelling of damp or animals, I would have asked! an unbelievable and utterly stupid remark from mr kendall.
As regard another point, I calmly stated I have no idea of how much he and the dealership make on selling a car, and nor was it my job to know such figures. ms moore, I ask of you to ask anyone on the street to tell me if they know how much a salesman makes on a car sale. all my wife and I asked were simple clear questions about the car price to try and get a deal we were happy with, all of which undertaken in calm and collected discussions, with not a single raised voice of any kind at any time. you, hyundai hq and the coupers dealership may freely review the cctv recordings at coupers and if you or they find any evidence to support their line of argument in any way what-so-ever then I will openly offer my sincere apology.
Mr kendall's view that I should be happy and satisfied that they were giving me free mats was an absurd misinterpretation on his and his staff's side. during an early phone conversation I said that another hyundai dealership (slightly further away) was offering to include free mats in a deal with me. I asked another salesman (ian mann, as gavin was unavailable that day) if coupers could match the offer to secure my business but was refused outright. so the phone conversation ended and I was about to pursue the deal with the other dealership, when not 20 seconds later the same salesman from coupers called me back at home having suddenly realised he lost out on a deal over basic mats. mr kendall is free to check his company's phone records for two conversations with me within a space of seconds if he has doubts on the facts I present to you ms moore.
Grateful for the kindness and effort they have gone to for me? they are in the business of selling cars and we asked to buy a car. what unusual thing did we ask for, a singsong dance? a meal at the ritz? a further ridiculous remark. obviously mr kendall and some of his team are bored of selling hyundai cars and it clearly shows which is one small reason for me unfortunately writing to you as a potential customer. ms moore, if I were at hyundai hq I would be very welcome to hear how poorly coupers are portraying hyundai cars to the public. the millions and millions of pounds spent by hyundai hq on marketing and advertising deserves much better sales people to show their product in the best light and ensure the customer not only is excited to buy a hyundai car but hopefully returns to buy more in the furture and recommends the brand positively to friends and family. there is only one way I will be spreading the word of my experience at coupers, and i'm sure you know that already unfortunately.
Ms moore, I am sure you will be aware of the following, but I write it in the slight chance that mr kendall and those at coupers will take a minute to read this email. mcdonald's has a policy that if a customer complains about the food in any way, they take the customer seriously and often it is the restaurant manager who comes and offers the customer either a complete replacement of the product or refund - no questions asked even if the chubby kid has taken twenty bites out of the burger already! a professional management approach like this is one of the reasons why mcdonald's is a world famous seriously professional organisation of franchises. mcdonald's knows that if you keep a customer happy, they will return again and again, but if you disrespect them or lie to them even just once, then you will not only lose them forever, but you will lose their family too and their children also years down the line. as for coupers, I have no-doubt mr kendall as md could learn a lesson or two about customer etiquette and respect, because he has shown little to no such respect to customers such as me and my wife, and has single-handedly done a great job battering the image of coupers and much more importantly for you and hyundai hq continues to seriously damage the well-respected image and name of hyundai, who should be concerned at what is going on at coupers.
Ms moore, it should not come as any surprise to you that I was not going to accept such shocking and appalling behaviour from any person, especially not from mr kendall who apparently is the md at coupers and who was completely out of line to accuse and disrespect my wife personally for no reason other than his totally incorrect and misinformed version of the events. I had no wish to pursue the matter any further and requested a complete cancellation of my contract with coupers and immediate refund of my deposit. if anything, this process was relatively pain-free to my surprise and I can only assume this was so maybe because coupers are more familiar with customers cancelling and walking out on them than driving out happily excited.
I cannot bare to imagine what the future 'relations' might have had in store for me and my wife with coupers if this is how we have been treated when we were customers ready to pay our good hard-earned money to buy a new car. imagine if something went wrong with the car later and what then would have been in store for us talking about getting repairs done?! if willingly paying big money was this painful and horrendous, then it beggers belief what damage coupers is doing to the image of hyundai. mr kendall and some of his sales staff with poor memories (i. e. gavin) of what they agreed with their customers might want to take note that customers like myself and my wife do have a choice!
Mr paul kendall's lack of even the very basic standards of professionalism or the reasons for his hostile language were shocking to say the least. as for mr kendall's comments and ill accusations towards my wife these were and remain completely unforgiveable and which I write this email to you ms moore to try and seek action on. I ask you ms moore if you would be gracious enough to discuss with your colleagues at hyundai hq the conduct of mr kendall towards me and my wife. at the very least, I expect a full and sincere written and verbal apology from mr kendall.
Ms moore, I will draw this email to a close with some good news. before I could leave coupers, by far and away the most dreadful dealership I have ever experienced from any car dealers, I had to reinstate my car insurance back to our lovely little red reliable corsa which was happily waiting for me outside. additionally, I phoned mr spencer summers at all electric garages in kidderminster (another hyundai dealership, and I have copied this email to mr summers also) and told him briefly of my experience at coupers. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you that mr summers has been nothing but well spoken, considerate and helpful to me in the various conversations I have had with him recently and it pleases me greatly to let you know that I placed my order for a new i30 with him this afternoon while I was still in the dealership from hell.
Ms moore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for your understanding during our phone conversation earlier this afternoon and for taking your time in reading this email. I apologise if it has been a long read, but I wished you to hear the full details and the seriousness of the matter so that you may draw your conclusions openly. if you require any further details or copies of any documents which may be helpful to you, then please do feel free to let me know. I would be grateful to hear your thoughts and those of your colleagues at hyundai hq regarding this matter and especially that of the conduct of mr kendall.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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