Skoda – We manufacture happy drivers, but do your dealers ?

Maybe so but the main issue is that Skoda after building the car, then go and put their trust in their dealer network to stay true to the brand.

In April of 2009 I purchased a November registered 2006 Octavia vRS from Mervyn Stewart (MS) / Skoda in Belfast.  I love(ed) it, I had been searching for a car for work, parenting and scouting for some time and it ticked all the boxes, whilst not being too common and still a bit cool.  One of my biggest concerns with buying a used or ‘pre enjoyed’ car (in particular a Skoda), was the warranty as my father had had serious problems a number of years ago with the computer on his Octavia.

The dealer ‘ Richard’, in fact the ‘Manager’ said, “The warranty is up on that car in Nov 2009 and we will extend it by 2 further years” . Happy days !  Or so I thought until Saturday 9th January.  When I was driving down the motorway, all power was lost and the car came to a stop and would not re start.

The following timeline then occured

Sat 9th Jan :

Car looses all power on the motorway.  I call Skoda assist who tell me, ‘this car is out of warranty, call someone else’  After some explaining to them that the dealer extended the warranty they sent out the RAC who pulled in the computer which showed there was a fuel injector fault.  He could not fix it so he suggested he would tow me into Skoda Belfast (Mervyn Stewart or MS as we will now call them).

When I got to MS they booked the car in for repair and advised me they had no courtesy car for me (hassle much ?) However the nice RAC man told me to get back on the phone to Skoda UK who had to provide me with a car.

Mon 11th Jan :

My courtesy car arrived from Skoda UK, a rent a car none the less which was fine as at least I had wheels.  I phoned MS who informed me that the fault looked more complicated than the RAC man thought and asked was I happy to authorize a repair bill to be run up.  I said that the car was covered under warranty.  The service guys wondered where I had bought the car or warranty as he had nothing to state this on the computer – I explained that ‘Richard’ the ‘Manager” had sold me the car and included the warranty.  OK he said, he would look into it.

Tue 12th Jan : It does in fact have a warranty and it looks like the wiring loom but they are unsure

Wed 13th Jan : Still no idea what the problem is

Thur 14th Jan : Skoda UK want their rent a car back, MS provide me with a 1.2 punto; also we now know what the issue is and here it comes.

The car does have a warranty BUT its not with Skoda, its actually an engine insurance policy with Lumley and AXA (???? first I’d of this) AND the fault is as follows:

1.  There is a leak in the tandem (?) pump which has

2  Damaged 1 fuel injector beyond repair and damaged fuel injectors 2, 3 and 4 within repair.

However !  A tandem pump is not covered under the Lumley (?) warranty and as this broke first, neither are the fuel injectors so we are looking at around a £1700 repair bill.  However MS advised they would speak with Skoda UK to see if they would contribute.

Mon 18th Jan : I received a call from the service department saying that they had done their best for me.  This is what they had come up with:

1.  Lumley (?) would cover the cost of the fuel injector and repair kits and all associated labour

2. Skoda UK would cover 30% of the tandem pump and associated labour

3. I would have to contribute the balance of £697 to complete the car

Oh and by the way, the tandem pump is not broken but leaking, if it where broken then it would be covered under the Lumley (?) policy but as it is just leaking, its not covered – that said it still needs to be replaced ! (What !?)

I went to see the ‘Manager’ ‘Richard’ this afternoon to speak of my annoyance and aggravation that not only had they miss sold me the warranty, as I had been led to believe that it was a Skoda extended warranty and not a Lumley/AXA (?) insurance product.  But also the fact that if it were in fact an insurance product, I would not have bought the car.

I explained that I was not happy to pay £697 for a repair to a non serviceable part in a car that was only just over 3 years old and that I had only owned for 9 months.  His response to this was that he should have maintained the cost of repair at £2000 and let me talk him down to £697.  In this way he stated that I would have thought I was getting a good deal!!

He stated that he was satisfied that by providing me with a courtesy vehicle whilst my vehicle was in with them for repair and by negotiating prices with Skoda, he had done all he could for me.  However had they complied with their duty to inform me of the nature of the extended warranty in the first instance then his efforts to negotiate on my behalf would not have been required, as I would not have bought the vehicle from him.

He went on to comment that given the annual mileage I undertake that perhaps a high performance vehicle such as a vRS was not the right car for me.  If a Volkswagen PD 2.0 TDI engine is not suitable for someone who does 20,000 miles per year then I would question what is?

He reduced the bill to £600 and stated that was all he could do !  I have not paid the bill yet and I’m not sure I want to.

What should I do, what are my rights here ?

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36 Comments on “Skoda – We manufacture happy drivers, but do your dealers ?”

  1. Steven Law says:

    Surely they have accepted there was a fault by paying for part of it?
    I would issue a small claims court action and see what happens. No public facing companies want to risk an action going against them. If they decide to rough it out, my defence would be that they have accepted liabilty but won’t pay for it?

  2. We got a Punto from MS a number of years back. I managed to drive into the back of someone and when it was looked at by the repair place it turned out it had been in a shunt previously and one side of the engine bay was mostly made of filler. Since it hadn’t been an insurance write-off in this first crash (though it was in mine because the existing damage made what should have been a minor bump into proper damage) they weren’t interested. Would never go near them again (which is unfortunate, because I plan to have an Alfa at some stage.

  3. Paul says:

    Speak to a solicitor about a mis-sold product (the entire car deal) and tell MS you will are considering recovering the initial cost of the car and leaving him with the repair bill for his own car.

    Don’t argue about the repair, argue about the initial sale and how he conned you.

    Tell him you want the facts heard in a claims court for the public and papers hear of how he did business with you.

    Maybe then he will look at his options and cut his losses.

  4. nikki says:

    were the details of the warranty provided to you in writing at the time of sale? If so, you dont have a leg to stand on. If not, you should report this to trading standards and the relevant ombudsman. You would have a case to take this up with a solicitor

  5. Paul Anthony says:

    First thing I would do, is check the warranty documentation with a fine tooth comb.

    I think the fact that a fault has developed in your tandem pump – technically it is broken. If it needs to be replaced (and is a safety hazard without it) – then its defunct..Maybe not snapped in two, but failed significantly to the point of danger = broken in my book.

    Not sure on the legalities – have a word with citizens advice to see what they make of it.

  6. rob says:

    Maaaan. Sounds like a whole world of pain. Legal advice is the way forward though I think. And I know nothing on that front. Best of luck on some resolution.

    And the worst thing – I know from your blogging and twitter how much you love the car :( *sigh*

  7. rolfje says:

    I think a warranty on a new/used car should cover EVERYTHING, because that’s what you expect from the nice white-teeth salesman smile. He should have clearly stated that the warranty extension only covers some parts of the car, in a specific state.

    Leaking or defective, if the pump needs to be replaced he could easily mark it as “defective” which would mean it comes out of the insurance companies pocket instead of yours.

    This is always the same %^$&@ hassle with insurances. They give you a false sense of security, and when push comes to shove, they find al kinds of sleasy ways and unexpected backdoors to let you down.

    Insurance companies actually insure CAUSE not EFFECT. But that’s never what they state to the customer, who logically focusses on the effect. The effect is your car breaks down. But the insurance only covers certain very specific causes, and they are being a tight ass about it.

    Judging from this post, I’d go find your legal insurance policy and see if you’re covered for a lawyer to send MS a nice little letter, and maybe more. I would certainly hold out on paying the 600, but I’m not sure how that works in the UK.

    btw Him commenting on you not getting the right car has NOTHING to do with it breaking down. It shows the incompetence of this car dealer, trying to talk you into another car. How can this guy sleep at night?

    This blogpost was a good move, I hope a lot of people read this. It’s time people learn to do business honestly, where a man’s word counts. Like the old days.

  8. Alex French says:

    If you were told actually that the “warranty” was “extended” then you have the expectation of a full Skoda warranty. The problem is, it sounds like you don’t have that in writing.

    What is the current state of play? Where is your car? Do you still have the rental?

    First thing is to ask for a copy of the warranty/insurance thingy policy in full and in writing.

    If you have the loaner car, or have your car back but have not paid the bill, you should take your time reviewing the policy (2-3 days at least). Then tell them you need time to have your solicitor review it. The longer it goes on the more pressure they will be under to settle with you.

    I suspect you will have to end up paying them something, the question is how much?

  9. Arlene says:

    I can totally sympathise with you here. In my ten years of driving and buying cars I’ve only ever bought one brand new one, and the mistake I made was buying it from Mervyn Stewart. I took my £6000 odd pounds six years ago and bought a brand new Punto. From the day and hour I drove it away it gave me bother. Conking out at roundabouts, and even more dangerous ON roundabouts. And the rattle behind the dashboard? Well it wasn’t something you could ignore, put it that way. I took it back immediately and the Salesman (his name escapes me now) who had been so quick to prise the cash from my hand was “with another customer”… “on the phone”… “out to lunch”
    Eventually I got them to investigate it, which meant driving it around Boucher Crescent… the reply was that there was nothing wrong with it. I felt embarrassed but helpless. It continued to conk out on me. It was dangerous and unpredicatable and I asked for a refund of full exchange to a Punto of the same spec (a Sport). I was point blank refused. There was nothing wrong with my car apparently. I was left with no option (having a toddler passenger to consider) but to try and sell the car 3 WEEKS after getting it. Isaac Agnew on Ladas Drive were the ones to step up to the plate and offer fab customer service. They took the Punto knowing it needed work, and gave me a brand new Seat Ibiza TDi which I loved. I’ve continued to buy from them since.
    I would NEVER buy or suggest anyone buy from Mervyn Stewart ever. They took the joy out of owning a new car from me, by selling me a Dud and then acting like it was my fault.
    Take them to court, you’ve been mis-sold from the off!

  10. Paul says:

    I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR THE OUTCOME OF THIS.

    I am buying two new cars in March and Mervyn Stewart was my first viewing option.

    I know these problems happen but I need to know they can resolve this properly before I consider them again.

  11. iwsayers says:

    This is one for the solicitors – were details of the warranty were provided to you in writing at the time of sale? Did it say what was covered or not covered and if it was an insurance cover or warranty? Either way you should report this to trading standards and the relevant ombudsman. Mention to MS that you want this heard in the small claims court for others to see. You have enough of a following within social media / business that this will reach a lot of people very quickly – no threats just plain business sense, or you think it is…. either way it sounds like they are admitting liability by offering some of it, so solicitor would be the best bet. Talk to Craig – his wife is a solicitor and a really good one !

  12. Rob says:

    This is completly shocking, although from the sound of the other comments not entirely surprising behaviour for Mervin Stewart. I agree with the other commenters, get yourself some legal advice and take them down!

  13. Morning all,

    Thank you for your comments, one of the main things you are asking me is what paper work I received regarding the warranty, the answer in none. As vRS’s are like hens teeth and very hard to come by the deal was done without even seeing the car as it had still to come in on the promise that it was in good order. When I received the car there was a large score on the drivers door which they fixed after I hounded them. I actually sent and received the following emails at the time.

    They also promised me a vRS keyring and later said none were ever produced by Skoda…….. I bought one online from a VW dealer a week later which came in a Skoda branded box.

    Email sent to the dealer on 19th May 2009
    Eddie,

    Can you respond to the following questions today please.

    1. What is happening with fixing the door ?
    2. The car appears to be leaking Oil, Can you look at this please ?
    3. Since getting the new tyres fitted, the tyre pressure sensor is going mental, does this need to be reset somehow ?
    4. Do you get me a vRS keyring yet ?

    Regards
    Russell

    —–

    Eddie,

    Please get back to me today on this before I have to speak with Richard again.

    Also, maybe you can explain to me, why the compliance sheet sent out to me from your dealership says ‘ no additional warranty required ‘ when both you and Richard said you would throw in 2 years additional warranty

    Regards
    Russell

    —–

    Response from dealer on 21st May 2009

    Russell

    WE have no slot with the painter yet

    If There is an oil leak you can have service look at it anytime you are passing

    There is a reset button on under the climate control just push it to reset

    No vrs key rings

    You can buy more than 2 years warranty if you wish

    As soon as I have a slot for painting + a loan car I will let you know

    Eddie

    —–

    My Response

    Eddie

    Thank you for coming back to me,

    Can you confirm, what Warranty I actually have, as I cannot find it in the paper work.

    Regards
    Russell

    —–

    Mervyn Stewart still have my Skoda, it will be ready for collection and payment this afternoon, I currently have their loaner car which I intend to keep until this matter is sorted and won’t be collecting my car either.

    I spoke with a Proton dealer principle last night who has told me to fight the corner of ‘not fit for the purpose intended’ He suggested I speak with Skoda UK as they will not be happy I have been mistreated and also to Blackhorse the finance company who are most at risk here, after all they do not want a loan secured on a dodgy car.

    I like Paul’s idea about letting them keep the car and recovering the cost, I may look into this further as I no longer have faith in the vehicle or the warranty and given the fact that the car takes me to my clients it IS my business and my mobile office, without it I have no job !

    More later guys thanks
    Russell McQuillan

  14. Andy Boal says:

    Yes, I agree. Call your solicitor, and check out your rights under the Sale of Goods Act and the Supply of Goods and Services Act. Solicitors and Trading Standards may well scare MS into submission…

  15. Brian says:

    Hi Russel,

    I take it you have posted a link to Skoda UK / Further up the chain if you can?

    My suggestion is find the highest person in Skoda you can and send them a link to this blog – after you’ve generated some more attention.

    My brother has a Fabia which had some serious engine problems while still under warranty and they arsed about for a good year trying to sort it out – he ended up buying a new engine himself anyway. Joke.

    Generate as much negative publicity as you can – perhaps if they have any sense they will realise that in order to promote a brand and sell cars – they need to sort their lives out.

    Anyway – all the best.

  16. Russell,

    I am expereincing similar issues with a 2004 VW Golf GT TDI (140). The car only has 44,000 on the clock.

    Car conking out at junctions, juddering when accellerating, misfiring etc.

    It has been with Isaac Agnew VW Bouchar Road Belfast since 5th January and still hasn’t been fixed.

    They have so far replaced the fuel filter, swapped out the EGR valve, replaced the seals on all four injectors and have spent some 15 hours at £80 per hour on it but the fault still persists.

    Looking at the various VAG forums this seems to be an inherent fault with the engine and has occured in Golfs, Passats, Octavias, Audi A4s as far as I can see. Volkswagen don’t want to know as it is out of warranty and as I bought it second hand it’s between me and the dealer. I have mentioned to the dealer their requirements under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended). This states that you have up to 6 years after purchase to claim damages for faulty goods. This covers used cars though there is an expectation that used cars may have some faults not expected in a new car. If the fault presents itself six months after you bought it it is your responsibility to prove that the fault was there when you baought it which would involve you commissioning an independent expert to prove that. Your rights in the Act always override whatever warranty terms are in place.

    I have asked the dealer if it is the Tandem pump and they say it isn’t. No fault codes are being registered on the computer so they say there is nothing they can do.

    Currently working with the dealer to come to amicable resolution all round.

  17. I have just been sent this from Skoda’s very own website

    http://www.skoda.co.uk/usedcars/approvedskodabenefits.aspx

    Comprehensive parts and labour warranty
    If you’re buying a car that’s less than six years of age with less than 60,000 miles on the clock you’ll automatically receive a 12 month warranty. Older cars come with a minimum of 3 months’ warranty. Warranties will either be the remainder of Manufacturer’s warranty, a Škoda Approved warranty or a combination of the two.

    You can also extend the warranty period at the time of buying, giving you even more worry-free driving time.

    A year’s free RAC Roadside Assistance
    Again, if your car has yet to reach its sixth birthday and has covered less than 60,000 miles, you’ll benefit from 12 months’ Škoda Roadside Assistance. If your car breaks down, one phone call will get you back on the move. Cover operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Terms and conditions apply. Please ask your Retailer for full details.

    I did indeed purchase a used car with less that 60,000 on the clock and I have had it for less than 12 months, to me comprehensive means just that !

    Russell

  18. bill says:

    http://www.skoda.co.uk/usedcars/approvedskodabenefits.aspx
    Our approved used vehicle programme includes the following:

    Comprehensive parts and labour warranty
    If you’re buying a car that’s less than six years of age with less than 60,000 miles on the clock you’ll automatically receive a 12 month warranty. Older cars come with a minimum of 3 months’ warranty. Warranties will either be the remainder of Manufacturer’s warranty, a Škoda Approved warranty or a combination of the two.

    You can also extend the warranty period at the time of buying, giving you even more worry-free driving time.

  19. UPDATE

    I just received a call from BBC’s on your behalf program which are going to interview me on Thursday morning at 11am. I think the show goes out on Saturday.

    In the meantime they are going to research everything and speak with the dealer

    Russell

  20. Be really interested to hear how they get on. Will they be contacting VAG or just the dealer? Will they clarify rights under SOGA re up to 6 months and after?

    I wonder if there are any “Class Action” type laws here in the UK like the ones in the US. After a bit more research this morning it looks like the 2.0 TDi VAG engine might well be a duff one. I wonder at what point are manufacturuers required to recognise the fact and issue a recall?

  21. rwdkai says:

    I don’t really have much constructive to say except that I am involved in the motor trade and have heard of many many cases of problems with these later common rail diesel engines particulary that of the VAG (including skoda) and for the most part dealers have tried every angle to worm out of the extrelmey costly repairs which often exceeds the cost of most of my previous vehicles! Thankfully for me the most complex thing in my car is the cassette player…

  22. Another interesting development.

    I just received a phone call from Stephen Stewart the owner of the dealership who was concerned that my issue had gotten this far without him hearing about……….

    He wants some time to gather the full facts from his sales department and also the service department.

    He has scheduled a meeting with me tomorrow night to try and bring a resolution to the issue.

    We shall see

    Russell

  23. sammm says:

    What – were you supposed to ring him before now? Hopefully the threat of bad publicity will overcome cr*ppy customer service/dodgy practices. Be great to see a good result but it’s still shocking behaviour by MS.

  24. Alex French says:

    Just remember that even if they offer to do this repair free as a goodwill gesture, you need to sort out the overall warranty issue with them in case you have another issue in a few months. Make sure to get it all in writing!!

  25. Dawn says:

    I’d recommend ringin your insurance people and asking for the number of your (probably included free on your insurance) Legal Expenses cover people to ask for:

    – Advice.
    – Can they cover any associated legal costs?

    Citizen’s Advice is great on this stuff too.

  26. Rose Rima says:

    hi going back to 05 bought a brand new Fabia Comfort ( had a 03 Octavia which i found great) was always back in garage with mostly steering faults, they always said no problem and when only 9months old had a crash & wrote it off ( when i had 3 passengers & 1 a lady of almost 90 years) husband of my niece who had been in car, when they went back to Devon UK, Mike found a site with hundreds and hundreds of same type of fault for Fabia cars, and i did not think of small claims court now have a 05 Toyota Corolla

  27. Chris says:

    Russell,

    Looks like you are getting somewhere, it’s the same story as usual – people in the UK are not taught how to deal with problems in terms of customer service.

    I know a good solicitor regarding customer service and products.

    It’s a pity that a respected dealer, has given you such bad service – my wife would love a Breara but I have serious doubts about purchasing from MS at this point.

    Chris

  28. Hey

    I also have a VRS which has been great. Funny -I had a strange problem with warranty too. My clutch was causing minor issues – I had it fixed at John Mullholland Motors and was told it was a warranty job. They then rang up 3months later looking payment because Skoda had rejected the warranty claim.

    I rang ConsumerLine who informed me I wasn’t liable – so I didnt pay. So maybe you should also try consumerLine. MS may be crap – but let me tell you John Mulholland are no better. My next Skoda will be from MS as its much closer than Randalstown..

    Thanks
    Peter

  29. A result !

    After much complaining to Skoda, the dealership and even getting the BBC involved. We came to an arrangement whereby

    1. I paid for a service as the car was due one anyway
    2. The dealership, axa and skoda worked out some arrangement whereby I didnt have to pay.
    3. My car needed new brakes, which the dealership provided and fitted FOC as a gesture of good will

    All in all a good result and I am happily driving again, that said I should not have had to jump through the hoops that I did to get this result, a lesser man would have just paid the cash and moved on. The industry is wrong and often corrupt and this needs to change, shame really as I love cars !

  30. James says:

    Good to hear you finally got a satisfactory result. I was going to view a Skoda Octavia Estate this weekend, but now I’m having serious doubts. I know things happen with cars, but based on your experience I have no desire to spend that much time on it.

    To be honest I had heard from a Czech colleague the 2.0 TDI was much more prone to issues than the old and less powerful 1.9tdi. He saws the Czech guys swear by that engine and hate the 2.0. That’s why they keep the 1.9’s – it’s old but well proven. Shame it doesn’t come in a VRS though.

  31. emma grace says:

    At last this is what i was looking for. There is some useful infomation here keep up the good work. I can’t contribute a decent comment as i’m abit out of my deph I will be checking back here periodically for your new updates. london insurance 30 St Mary Axe, london, EC3A 8EP 020 7193 4776

  32. Jenny Rice says:

    SHAME I WAS TOLD THAT YOUR £300 CHEQUE BOUNCED.

    SO, NOW MS WILL TAKE YOU TO COURT!

    WOW, YOU ARE AS DUMB AS A BAG OF SPANNERS. GOOD LUCK.

    P.S. READ WHAT YOU SIGN.

  33. Jenny Rice says:

    OH YEAH, THE REST OF THE INTELLIGENCE (I’VE WORKED FOR VW FOR 27 YEARS)..DO YOU THINK ISAAC AGNEW ARE ANY DIFFERENT. RULES ARE RULES. IF YOU DON’T READ THEM, MORE FOOL YOU. BUY A NEW CAR IF U WANT A NEW CAR WARRANTY!

  34. Warren says:

    you ok there jenny ? you might wanna sit this one out

  35. I take it you work for MS Jenny ? Must forward your message to Stephen Stewart, I am sure he would love to know what his staff are writing on the Internet.

    And for the record, you might want to have a word with your accounts department as the cheque for the service has cleared.

    Enjoy your day !

    Regards
    Russell

  36. garth says:

    Hi Russel
    I am very interested in your dealings with MS – I am currently involved in court action against them for a vehicle I purchased. I am curious as to how your issues have been resolved or otherwise?


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