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How we had our car ruined!


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We initially had our exhaust replaced by a well known high street repair centre who fitted the wrong system. This has resulted in over 3 years of wrangling and arguing for repairs needed to our car as a direct result of their poor workmanship.

 

The final straw happened this year when the engine fault light came back on again, the dealer insists it is a catalyst problem and it needs replacing, needless to say the high street chain refute this and insist it is the lambda sensors and agreed to replace them after we had had a holiday. When we came back from the holiday, the technician failed to turn up and all our calls and letters have been ignored.

 

I am asking for some advice on how to go through with our promise of court action for the repairs needed and loss of earnings incurred over the last 3 years or so. I know a little about the small claims process but, the certain high street chain has it's head office in Scotland, does this affect how we file the claim?

 

Any help or advice would be very much appreciated!

 

Oh and there is a lot more to this story but I didn't want to bore everyone or to post finer details in an open forum, for obvious reasons!

Mr & Mrs Ananya's story so far -

Welcome Finance - account closed - no CCA - 02/07 - £1500

NatWest - settled in full 09/06 - £600

NatWest - settled in full 06/07 - £72

Verso - Settled in full 07/08 - £2002

C.K. Edrupt/Provident - account closed - no CCA - 04/07 - £640

Littlewoods/Shop Direct - 2 accounts closed - Statute Barred - 04/10 - £800

D.C.A.s who've given up so far -10

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Oh and there is a lot more to this story but I didn't want to bore everyone or to post finer details in an open forum, for obvious reasons!

 

I think you are going to have to tell the full story ananya. Without it it's difficult to know what to say. So take us from the start and include what car etc. It's pretty obvious who the repairer is so no need to mention them.

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There really is reams to this story and it's not really practical to post it all.

 

The car is a Citroen Xsara Picasso, 7 years old and in otherwise good condition. In approximately summer 2007, the exhaust failed and we had it replaced, apart from the catalyst which was fine. However, the system grounded out on the slightest of humps in the road and was blowing badly, so we returned it to the centre who fitted it and we discovered that they'd fitted a system for a different model, which was why it was grounding out and blowing. Also, because of their mistake, the catalyst had been ripped and we needed a new one, which they made us pay for! However, after much complaining, they agreed to refund the cost. But, because of the wrong exhaust, the tail pipe had been touching the bumper and had melted part of it, again after much wrangling, they paid for replacing it.

 

Over the next 6 months, we ended up having another 4 or 5 non-original systems fitted as the engine warning light kept coming on and the car returning to limp mode. We also had to have a new set of lambda sensors, plugs and a coil, as the lambdas had caused a rich mixture, resulting in massive fuel consumption and fouled plugs. We were advised by Citroen that the none Citroen systems and lambdas were not up to the job and failed easily. The RAC also confirmed that the catalyst they had fitted, the none Citroen one, had failed and was running under the threshold.

 

So, in February last year, when the car was once again misfiring and running like a bag of spanners and after many calls to the area manager, they agreed to replace the catalyst, plugs and lambdas with Citroen ones, which they did, apparently. At the time, we had a company vehicle and only used our car now and again. Although 15 months had passed since they replaced the bits and pieces, we had the engine warning light come back on. Oh, they also had to refit the whole system too and we'd actually only done 5,000 miles in it since they'd had their hands on it. After a trip to Citroen, they confirmed they catalyst had deteriorated which was causing the warning light. So because we had the cat changed only last eyar and they have a 2 year unlimited mileage guarantee, we took it back. Surprise surprise, because they had fitted authentic parts, they said their guarantee was null and void and didn't apply. However, I managed to get to speak to the area manager and got his number, who sent a technician to look at the car. He insisted it was the lambdas and agreed to change them, as a gesture of goodwill (!) at the end of September, when we returned from our pre-booked holiday.

 

Well, we went away and promptly broke down on the way, on the motorway, with this and another fault with the wiring. I did phone the manager from the side of the motorway who promised to get back to me, after he'd spoke to the technician who'd seen us. That was the last we heard from them. He didn't ring me back and has ignored several calls and messages since. Also, no sign of the technician on the agreed date and time, when the lambdas were supposed to be changed.

 

We've written, recorded delivery, giving them 14 days to resolve the issues. They've ignored that letter too.

 

Our car is poorly, the idle is becoming rough again, if the lambdas aren't done soon, the car will start misfiring again and will need new plugs too. We are also consuming vast amounts of fuel as the lambdas are damaged and giving the wrong readings to the ECU.

 

Also, showing the caring side of this well known chain, I'm disabled and they are quite happy to leave us like this.

Mr & Mrs Ananya's story so far -

Welcome Finance - account closed - no CCA - 02/07 - £1500

NatWest - settled in full 09/06 - £600

NatWest - settled in full 06/07 - £72

Verso - Settled in full 07/08 - £2002

C.K. Edrupt/Provident - account closed - no CCA - 04/07 - £640

Littlewoods/Shop Direct - 2 accounts closed - Statute Barred - 04/10 - £800

D.C.A.s who've given up so far -10

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Well that is quite a tale of woe ananya and can fully understand your frustrations. The problem I have at the moment is that I believe you and the garages involved are too focussed on what has happened before, which is far from acceptable admitadly, however, neither garage seems to be looking at the root cause of the issue.Both of them are blaming each other. Citroen dealers, and all other manufactuers dealers will always blame aftermarket parts which is absolute rubbish. I could go into chapter and verse on this but we have had previous discussions on this forum about this and the reality is that there is no real data to support either the claim that aftermarket parts are any less good than original and vice versa. You need also to remember that Citroen are well versed in denying responsibility.

 

What I would suggest is that you don't go back to these establishments and go for the third opinion. If I was a betting man, and on the assumption you have a petrol car then I have to say I'd be looking at the coil pack as this will cause all the issues you mention apart from the obvious incorrect fitment.

 

Frequently dealership technicians get misled by fault codes, then read the history and jump to conclussions. I see it day in and out.

 

With regards to a legal address, the only thing I can see is you seeking recompense for incompetence which is a very difficult thing to prove.

 

There might be others who might have a different opinion though.

 

I hope this helps and if you need further help in getting it fixed properly pm me. The legals you should post here as I try to steer clear of that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Heliosuk is right as usual, and i can confirm that Citroën are a complete waste of time.

However, as a last resort, have you tried writing to Tom Farmer direct? If you explain your story, he may consider it more appropriate to settle with you rather than risk bad publicity.

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Yes, he did indeed Dennis---sold it to Ford as i recal, fast forward a few years and he bought it back again.

IMO, give a very wide berth to any Scottish "Sir" associated with the motor trade.

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