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Hintermann

Feel cheated by garage

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We own a 2004 registered Saab 9-3 Vector Convertible that we have maintained with loving care for the last 15 years.

We don't mind admitting that we are rather emotionally attached to the car.

We bought it off a then Saab specialist dealer based in Pewsham, Chippenham, Wiltshire and had it properly maintained and regularly serviced to date.

 

Initially, the service provided, while nothing to write home about, was at least adequate but in the past 5 or 6 years deteriorated rapidly.

I can understand difficulties to get parts etc since Saab have stopped production but that's no excuse for the increasingly surly and unhelpful attitude of the staff, both office and workshop.

 

3 weeks ago, the electrically operated hood stopped halfway to closure while parked safely and leaked hydraulic fluid all over the place.

We had to call in the AA man who managed to mechanically close the hood using the instructions in the car's manual and the toolkit provided.

He recognised it as a hydraulic problem and advised that we should take it to Saab for repairs.

 

We booked it in with the same garage, who seemed somewhat reluctant to accept the job and very offhand in their manner.

It took them almost a week to diagnose that the problem was a split hydraulic line (the pump itself was fine) and another week to get the part and fix it.

 

They charged us £516 for the job but upon receipt of the car and paying up we discovered that the roof was still not working.

When asked about this, the engineer was extremely rude and said that he had done his job of replacing the fuel line and it was not his fault that the roof was not working.

 

He said that it could be an electrical sensor fault and the car had to be rebooked for further work and charges.

We were understandably not happy with this and complained to the office staff member in charge but he was equally unhelpful and made us feel that it was somehow our fault that the repair had not worked. There was not even a hint of an apology, just extreme indifference.

 

Since my wife is a doctor and needed the car to commute, we had to take it home.

We are reluctant to book it back with them because the only Saab engineer left in the garage appears to have no clue and in any case they have made it clear that they will have to charge for any further work.

 

We feel cheated and robbed of our money, not to mention nearly £100 that my wife spent on taxis while the garage had her car.

We both agree that we want to take strongest possible action against the garage but not sure how to proceed.

 

I would be grateful for any advice.

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Can you clarify a point for me?

 

You say that the AA man who attended 'recognised it as a hydraulic problem', yet you then say that the engineer 'said that he had done his job of replacing the fuel line and it was not his fault that the roof was not working.'

 

Is it possible that the workshop raised the wrong job sheet and the problem with the roof was in fact not touched?

Edited by Gick
grammar
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My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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Thanks Gick.

The honest answer is that I don't know.

I am a doctor (GP) and not very knowledgeable with cars, I am ashamed to say.

The AA man seemed sincere and as I have had nothing short of excellent service from the AA in 32 years as their member, I believe their engineer. I could see that there was what looked like hydraulic fluid splashed on the roof operating mechanical parts and the back seat of the car.

 

The garage in Pewsham, named after a white heavy precious metal and now mainly dealing in Hyundai, have been treating us badly (and other Saab owners, as we found out) for the past few years. But this particular incident was the last straw; the way we see it, the car was given to them ONLY because the electric roof mechanism was not working.

 

They claimed that they had to order parts and spent several hours on labour and kept the car for over a week.

The charged us £516 but after less than a mile of driving out the garage, we stopped at a layby to check if the roof was working.

 

Not only was it NOT working, but the same error message was showing on the dashboard.

We went back immediately and were fobbed off and made to feel as though it was our fault.

The engineer shrugged and said that "there was probably another fault" and we had to rebook the car for him to look at it.

They charge £108 per hour labour.

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I would look for a small Saab specialist. You could try through a Saab forum to get a recommendation 

just google UK Saab forum and you should find something. 

On a side note it would be a hydraulic line that failed which was replaced, but I can only suspect you just sadly paid them about half the car is worth. i certainly would not be going back with an open cheque book

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Craig McK, we are not thinking of selling the car any time in the next few years as it is very low mileage and my wife is very attached to it.

 

As for another dealer. we have found one called Saab Master in Torquay who is an independent self-trained Saab specialist. Coincidentally, we are moving to Torquay in December 2019. I spoke to this guy and e-mailed the issue and he is pretty certain he can solve the problem. As the car itself is perfectly fine otherwise, waiting to get the soft-top repaired is not our problem per se.

 

What I want is some advice on is how to get back against the Pewsham garage who have treated us so badly in the past few years and now literally stolen £516 for NOT doing the job in the slightest and are now demanding more money even to look at it again.

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What is stated on your invoice for the £516 job?

 

It should be simple to determine if a hydraulic line or a fuel line was changed, both by the description on the worksheet and a physical examination of the replaced component. This could be carried out by any competent mechanic at no or little cost.

 

If it is a fuel line that has been replaced, you will have a fairly simple claim against the Pewsham garage, provided that your instruction to them was specific with regard to it being a fault with the operation of the roof.

 

It is a pity that you did not check the operation of the roof before leaving the garage premises, but I guess that if you were uncomfortable with their attitude, that you wanted to get away?

 

As we do not know your location, the relative convenience of the Torquay Saab compared to Platinum at Chippenham cannot be assessed, but they are a long way apart, so I would initially visit any local repair workshop to fulfil my second paragraph above, then come back with the results for further advice. At the moment we are trying to do an NHS 111 with symptoms but no tests.  

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My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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Unfortunately I don’t believe you will have any recompense for the previous service since you returned multiple times. That suggests you were somewhat satisfied. 

The last repair is a different matter, they did not repair the fault, but as above what did the repair sheet say?

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Thanks people. It was a Saturday when we went to collect the car. We were not in any particular hurry but at the desk the office guy, who has attended to us numerous times in the past, said that the work was all done and the roof was working perfectly. We took his word in good faith and started home, with my wife now following me in the Saab. Less than a mile from the garage, she flashed her headlights to attract my attention and we both pulled over into a layby. She told me that the same "manual operation only" error message had appeared on the screen even though she had not touched the electrical switch to operate the roof. As this had happened before the "repair", we tried to operate the roof open with the car in the layby but engine running. It did not work and so we turned around and went back to the garage. We first spoke to the office man, who seemed surprised and defensive, claiming that it had worked when they tested it. He then called the engineer, who tried to operate the electric roof; this time, it started to open but jammed halfway. It would not then open or close electrically and when he tried this the error message came up. The engineer off handedly commented that "it must be an electrical or sensor fault", to which my wife replied that the car was handed in for repair of the roof and this had not been done. At this pont the engineer became outright rude, saying that he had fixed the split hydraulic line and it was not his fault if there was another fault. We then went to the office guy, who seemed very defensive and offered us a courtesy car if we would leave the Saab to be checked further. When we asked if they would charge us for this additional work, he conformed that it would be £108 per hour labour plus any further part. The engineer chipped in that as there were 35 sensors and they had to check them all, he was not able to say how much work was involved. 

My wife had been spending a small fortune on taxis to commute to work and so we agreed to go back with the car. We told the garage that we were not happy about what had happened and would raise a complaint.

 

I have attached the repair invoice.

 

A friend (also a policeman!) advised me to take the following course of action:

  • Write a formal complaint letter to the garage, demanding refund for the repair NOT done and asking for a response within 2 weeks. (I would like to copy this letter with the repair invoice to Saab UK but do they exist any more?)
  • If no response was received or if it was not satisfactory. he told me to appeal to the Motor Ombudsman

Saab Roof 1.pdf

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Bodgers alert!

They don't know how to fix the roof and have attempted a repair which has failed.

The "engineer" is not an "engineer" but a "technician", here in uk many unqualified people claim of being engineers after a weekend course in how to service a car.

My advise is to go on a Saab forum and ask advice there.

Surely there's someone in the country who's good at fixing these roofs and there is where you should go.

Then bill the garage accordingly.

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Great, I just love a Technician vs an Engineer argument.

 

I can advise, that my advice, would be to take it to a Saab independent.

 

Usually the better ones used to be Saab Dealers.

 

Edited by Hammy1962

40 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

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Autocorrection on a mobile phone plays dirty tricks.

At least it doesn't change dirty words like duck, or count, or even tanker.

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