Monday, 7 April 2014

Modern Customer Service

I like old cars - none of the modern electronic stuff (except ABS) interests me. I particularly loathe air-bags. So it should come as no surprise that my daily-driver is 25 years old. With no salt needed on the roads to clear ice here, and reasonable corrosion protection on a decent base, rust is not an issue, and I can get a lot more car for a lot less money, without a car repayment.

Of course that brings problems. Even regular maintenance can sometimes require parts that are hard to obtain, and they are sometimes exorbitantly priced even when available. Still, I'll stick to my older cars while I can.

Not so recently, I stuffed up, and collided with another car while trying to turn into a major road. The idiocy of reducing six lanes to four during peak traffic to allow buses to run on time is not discussed. Repairs were necessary to both cars, but what the heck, that's what insurance is FOR, right?

Off to the assessor, thence to a repairer, reputed to be THE premier repairer for that make. It takes SIX MONTHS before I get my car back. I check the stuff that I can, and force them to repair the problem items that I find (lights not working mostly) before I accept the car. Stupid me, I assume that the repairer has done the job right in the areas that I can't see. Well, I did until I had the chance to check it on a hoist.

What did I find? It's more a case of what did I NOT find. There were parts missing. Parts that needed to be removed to repair or replace the damaged parts, but that were not themselves damaged. They were simply not re-installed.

Missing were:
1) Engine under trays
2) Fender liners
3) Under-body moldings
4) Headlight washer hoses
5) External air temperature sensor and alternator cooling hose
6) Under bonnet warning stickers (I knew about these)
7) Headlight motor limit switches
8) Air-conditioning condensor

I complained to the repairer - no joy.

I complained to the insurer - no joy.

I complained to the Insurance Ombudsman - that got some results.

I just happened to have photographs of the car from all angles, including the underside, from before the collision, and from before it was transported to the assessor. When I presented these to the Ombudsman, along with current photographs of the "repaired" car, it was a slam dunk. The repairer was ordered to finish the repair, and the insurer was ordered to make any necessary provision to expedite the work.

Today marks three months that I have been waiting for the repairs to be  completed. It also triggers the penalty phase of the Ombudsman's orders. The repairer was NOT happy when I rang this morning to remind them. The insurer's drone-on-the-phone was too thick to comprehend the situation, so I insisted on going up the chain. The supervisor was NOT happy - with me. Apparently it's MY fault that the whole saga has not been resolved.

The supervisor's supervisor however was VERY unhappy, and apparently concerned about a negative finding from the Ombudsman, as he is falling all over himself to encourage me not to report the issue, but accept some largesse from the company instead.

I just want someone to commit to fixing my car, and let me get back to driving what I choose to drive rather than this shit-box hire car.

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