Join Date: Sep 2013
| | My Polo Travails and Experience with Shirani Automobiles Bhopal
This is really a shocking news for volkswagen owners especially POLO including me.
This is happened recently in North India. Pasting the same from my blog;
The customer service is pro-actively following up to on their deadlines (Thanks to Mr. Sadashiv from the customer service team). The car is awaited tomorrow. Would update the status again once I receive the car and get more details.
Progress till now -
1. The dealership has reduced the cost of repair to 40,000 INR.
2. The car would be sent to my residence in Noida.
3. My stay in Bhopal would be reimbursed by the company for the trouble caused - which would cover up the repair cost.
4. If the turbocharger need to change, they would be covered by the company post inspection of Volkswagen representatives in Pune.
5. All the repairs done in the engine and the turbocharger would be under replacement warranty.
Don't let this Diwali be a dreadful experience. For people who have a notion that German engineering is the only aspect to consider while buying a Volkswagen car, think again!
My car proved to be a toy within three months, encountering constant problems and pathetic after sales experience. And I'm not the only one here. The internet is filled with cases where people had similar experiences. In my case, a small bump on the road and some minor manufacturing defects led to a small bill of Rs. 4,00,000 not covered under warranty or insurance for a car costing Rs. 5,98,000 and that's for replacing the complete engine in 3 months (no body defects).
And the sad part is, it wasn't my mistake at all, no driving issues, no accidents! I have owned cars from Nissan, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, but this experience is something worth narrating. Also be aware that I don't represent any brand, I'm a Senior Product Manager in a software company. If you don't want to get duped, read on.
About four months back, I had to move to New Delhi. Looking for a nice A+ hatchback, I zeroed in on a Polo, took a test drive and booked it the same day in Noida. Pretty excited to buy a diesel car, just out of curiosity, I wanted to test the mileage of the car, especially since I lived closed to a highway (expressway) which has a speed limit of 100 kmph. To my surprise, the car was running between 13-14 kms per litre (the company claimed 22.7).
I got the car checked and there was a defect in fuel injection, which they corrected, didn't make any service receipts since the car was new (and probably they didn't want to document this) and things seemed fine now.
Three days later, the car charging point fuse was discovered off, again the same trouble of going to the service station, got it corrected, all good, no receipts, no charges.
In about two - three months, because of some uncertain changes in my life, I had to move to Bangalore. Because I had the experience of driving from Pune to Delhi, I thought I should take this car as well (I do love the driving experience of the car though, I won't deny that). Little did I know, I was in for an experience of my life.
The first five hundred kilometers went quite smooth, but then, my car touched a small bump on the road and after a kilometer or two it stopped. Being extra cautious about a new car, I thought I would call up the Road Side Assistance that was a part of my first year's warranty to help me know what the problem is and tow the car to the nearest dealership for any repairs. To my surprise, they were unaware of the nearest service station and said it would take them 14 hours to arrange help! And it was 8 in the morning on a Friday - when everyone's working. These guys were so lazy, I must have made at least 20 calls to follow up and get assistance. First I was connected to the Bangalore office of their outsourced company AXA Assistance, then their Delhi office. People were out for lunch when I tried to follow up. No towing truck could be arranged for the nearest service station in the capital city of a state, Bhopal (they were guiding me to Indore and Gwalior which were hundreds of kilometers away). After about 8 hours or so, they offered to take the car to a local repair shop nearby, which was totally unacceptable since I didn't want a new car to be touched by a non VW employee / dealership since it was under warranty and I did not want that to be void in any circumstances.
The car carefully dragged away from the road.
Standing next to a jungle at 11 PM and an alien village by the highway, with my parents, I finally managed to arrange a cab and a towing van on my own so that the car could be taken to the nearest dealer for inspection. The whole day had gone in struggling to find contacts there and I had realized that their Road Side Assistance is just another inefficient outsourced company that wouldn't even care if something happens to me or my parents in the middle of the highway.
The next morning, we gave the car for knowing what the problem is. It was discovered that the chamber under the car was touched and the engine oil had leaked. Apparently, the engine oil indicator was faulty as well! Not taking the trouble to following up with the company on such defects, their service folks immediately called the insurance company for inspection. By now, there was no job card made and no inspection done by the service engineers to tell the insurance company. I was too surprised, but was recovering from an eventful day by the highway. The service head gave me a verbal estimate cost of repair as 20,000 INR saying that half of it would be taken care by the insurance company and no job card was provided. He did not even specify how much time it would take and said he'd give me a call.
I decided to book a hotel room and book flights for my parents back as it didn't make sense for them to wait for the service people. Till now, if you're thinking that it was only the Road Side Assistance who had tortured me, you'd want to read further.
The same evening, one of the representatives at VW Bhopal gave me a call saying that the car is damaged and it would take about 50,000 INR to repair the car and these were "wear and tear" parts not covered by insurance or warranty. Interesting to know that the parts of a 3 months old car engine were damaged by "wear and tear" and not covered by warranty even. No one talked about the faulty oil indicator and all damages had to be borne by me. Amazing! I still didn't know that this was a confirmed written estimate from them and they said they would inspect further and If I didn't want the car to break down on my way, I should keep it with them.
Apparently, the same day, a guy calls me from VW, not willing to disclose his name and says that he could privately repair the car for 20,000 INR without involving Volkswagen and there would be no impact on the warranty. I refused saying that I cannot trust him and wanted the repairs to happen through the company itself.
Day 3 in Bhopal was a Sunday and I had to be back at work tomorrow. I had already wasted two days sitting in a hotel room waiting to know how much time it would take and how much money I had to spend to get my car back. I had already spent about 80,000 INR in flights, hotel and towing. Sunday evening, I'm told that it should take them 3 more days to get the car back to normal and they would call me to tell me the exact estimate. They ask me to sign a paper permitting them to open up the engine. I was pretty surprised how a bump on the road could lead to so much damage that they're not willing to tell me the estimate cost of repairing. I smelt something fishy. Either the car is too delicate or the dealership is trying to trick me since I was not a local.
About 7 days later I am told that the turbochargers might need to change as well, they're not damaged but they might be faulty. The new estimate now is about Rs 1,20,000 (that's 20-25% of my car cost). Interesting! I ask them to give this to me in an email to which they refused. I send a local friend to check with the dealership and a lady at the dealership informed him that the service head has threatened them to keep their mouth shut, the cost of repair was not more than 50,000 INR out of which some of it could be covered in insurance / warranty. I am surprised yet again!
About 10 days later, I am told that the complete engine needs replacement and it would cost me Rs 4,00,000 (Rs 2,00,000 more and I could buy the same car again!). Yet Again! nothing covered in warranty or insurance. Is the company liable for what they sell or not! I googled about similar stories and I found interesting references of similar things happening frequently all across India.
Clueless, I asked my father to contact anyone in the ministry or court in Bhopal and help settle this situation. I felt cheated. After 15 days, the first written estimate came, after my father's friend, a high court judge in Bhopal called the owner of the dealership to his office. The cost of repairs had suddenly reduced to Rs 116,000 (still 20% of my car cost though).
I also emailed the VW Germany dialog center and customer care in India and narrated the whole experience. I also told them, the feedback calls are just a waste and no action is taken in favor of the customer. I had wasted enough time and money. Leave apart the mental pressure of dealing with a bunch of idiots who think they could get away with anything they want because I was not in their city.
Well, that did not help either, at the end of the day, VW Germany relayed the request to the India customer care (who were cc'ed in all my 18 - 20 emails I sent over the next 10 days) and then India customer care seemed to be a third party who forwarded the emails directly to the same Bhopal Service Center guy who was giving verbal estimates. I understood that the whole mechanism of after sales and sales was faulty and that's the reason why people were stopping me from buying a VW car.
I had no clue about the level of problems I had to face. And this is just a glimpse of it. The car dealership guy was adamant about doing phone calls and insisted on not giving estimates on emails. He finally gave me some stuff in writing when I marked the VW Germany dialog center but no one did anything about it. I do have a strong case to file in consumer court and I would probably do that.
To save himself, this guy emailed me that the car repairs are done and tested, and the cost of repairs is around 60,000 INR (not replacing the turbochargers - but it's strongly recommended since they have failed, but not damaged). Now he's asking for my permission to increase the invoice to 1,20,000 INR again stating that car would not be fully functional otherwise. I have consistently emailed the customer care about not dealing with this thief and escalate the issue about a damaged car being sold to me and the whole after sales experience. No one from their after sales team or customer care responded except for an auto reply! Even that is inconsistent!
My emails have just fallen into deaf ears and hence this initiative to tell the public about how Volkswagen works in India. This article is purely aimed to educate the public on the shortcomings they could face after buying a Volkswagen car. Don't let this happen to you! I would make sure that this article is also published in newspapers and I would pay to advertise the whole experience if I have to including sponsored posts on social networks to spread awareness about such a company.
Details about the car:
Car purchased from - Viraj Automobiles, Noida, UP, India - 30th June 2013
Given for repairs to - Shirani Automobiles (authorized VW service center), Bhopal, MP, India - on 5th Oct 2013 (Reported RSA on 4th Morning - 8:45 AM)
Registration Number - UP16AP6602
Current Status - At VW Bhopal Service Center (Shirani Automobiles): I am of a firm opinion, that they might be stealing original parts FROM MY CAR and doing private work for other clients, as they offered on the very first day (5th October, 2013).
Last edited by Sam Dinkar; 9th November 2013 at 02:45 PM.
Reason: Text formatted and URL removed. Thanks for sharing.