However, if you cross my path, give me shit service, or worse still give me a shit product that does not meet up to the specifications on the packaging, as this is the minimum I would expect.
So, where to start.
Game stores - a large local retailer, selling almost anything. LIU! So, every week, as an insert in the local newspaper, they have a couple of pages of their "Week specials". Usually limited numbers available, for this weekend only, blah, blah, blah.
Usually, I just page through, not really needing anything, but you never know. Maye I spot something I'd like to have, and if it's priced right, I'll buy it. So this time they have a special on a Electric Circular hand held saw.
Shweeeeet, I reply, by now I've memorized his name on his "Store Manager" name tag. I'll have a chat to your bosses. And I leave. Now I am livid.
Back at the office, a quick Google of the company, and link to "Contact us" and email. then, phone, fuck the email, takes too long. A quick chat to "complaints" who pass me onto Customer Relations, and a promise for a swift call back. An hour later I get the call. Please provide us with a delivery address. I do, my work one. 3 Hours later, a very sheepish, and now more disgruntled than ever "Store Manager" is standing in the lobby of my place of work, with the saw (in it's box) and a verbal apology - No cost to me! Free saw, delivered to my address! Nice. Thanx - next time *P035* show some respect!
The saw still works fine.
So, a few years later, at Xmas time, Makro (another one of the MassStore group) has a special on pool tables. The kids really want one, and pool their Xmas money for one. I go down to the store and ask for one. Sorry sir, all sold out. Now I have no problem with that. It's Xmas, the tables are on special, everybody's kids wants one. But, "Can you see if there is one in another branch?" "No, I'm too busy!" "WHAT?"" Are you fucking kidding me?" "MAAANNNNAAAGGGEEERRRRRRR!!!!!!" (At this point I open a can of petrol, pour it over the nearest combustible items, take 3 steps back, and light up my Zippo). One quickly comes across to me.
I explain that I really want one of the Pool tables, and just want them to check availability. And I tell him about the savage who's too busy. Not only does said savage get a thorough bollocking, but I get confirmation that these are no tables to be had in any Makro store, but I also get a voucher to say that when the next batch arrive, irrespective of the cost, I can get one at the "Xmas Spacial Price". And I did, near end of January, but who cares! By then, the new batch on the floor were up 20% on the original floor price! Thanx Makro!
I drove a Renault Espace for a while, or at least, the Princess did. A magnificent piece of work, but, build By Pierre and Jean-Marc in France, it could never have been properly maintained By Piet and Sipho in South Africa. And that was the problem.
So, when it did give shit, it came with massive headaches with regards actually identifying the point / cause of failure, and then the remedy thereof. However, one way or the other, we always did. But, what did get to me was the cost of parts and spares for this thing. One day, I'm at the garage, we know it needs a water pump.... So whilst the mechanic and foreman are discussing the computer printout, I walk over to the spares guy, and ask him to check availability of the part. He calls it up, and I can see the screen. Yup, they can help me. I also see the price - ZAR 1250.00 on the screen. Not sure if it's the Shelf Price / retail or trade price - BUT, I see this price. So, I walk over to the Service Manager, and confirm "They have the part". He goes over to the parts desk, chats to the same guy I did, and then comes back, with a printed quote for the supply and fit of the water pump.
Never mind the labour cost - Parts - ZAR7500.00!!!!! What the FFFFFFFFFFFF!!??!?!?!?!?!?
That's when I take him on, ask for the Dealer Principle, and the number for Renault South Africa - all in the same sentence! And, we get into a discussion of note. Needless to say, I eventually had the pump fitted at a TOTAL cost to me of ZAR2500.00, including labour.
The reality was, if they had not met me at my price, I would have escalated the issue to whatever level required. I would have written to every Car / Motoring magazine / Newspaper / Insert / On-line discussion board I could find. I would have trashed Renault South Africa till they threatened to sue me if necessary!!! But, I didn't have to - that time!!!
A similar problem raised it's head when I was owner and driver of a 1999 Mazda 2.5TD Double Cab.
|Similar to this one.....|
Anyway, I really enjoyed the vehicle, and didn't have any problems. Towing was good, we took them on the beach ofter (From Richards Bay traveling North, before some moron decided to ban beach driving), and they were reasonably light on fuel.
At 120000km (or thereabouts) my brothers car developed a serious problem with the head. So, after getting a frightening quote from Ford for the replacement thereof, decided to get a second hand one, had it fitted, and sold the vehicle.
Then, a few months later, when my bakkie was around 120000km, it developed the same problem. I can't recall the exact symptoms, but the garage confirmed I needed a new head). Interesting. So I enquired as to the cause of the problem, and it was something to do with (according to them) the fact that I had only had it serviced every 15000km, and not every 10000km as per the recommendations in the service manual. HOWEVER, I had it in writing that the dealer, when I bought the vehicle, had aid that it only required a service every 15000km!!!
So, I made it their problem. Next, I did extensive research on the Internet. By contacting various motor engineering companies, I managed to build up a docket proving that many / most of the 2.5TD bakkies manufactured between 1997 and 1999 had suffered similar problems at around 120000km. Interesting.
Then I contacted the Mazda / Ford company. Playing the "promising customer" part, I said, to whomever I was taking to, that I was keen to buy a new (then 2003/4) 2.5TD bakkie, but was concerned that information I had heard was that they had an inherent manufacturing or design problem with the head. He confirmed to me that they had had design and manufacturing problems with the head of the 1997 - 99 models, but this flaw had been designed out by 2000, and all the newer bakkies manufactured since then had the new head on!!!! BINGO!!! Had them by the balls!!!!
Then I went back to the dealer, and had them set up a meeting with the Mazda / Ford area Technical rep. where I proceeded to present my findings, as well as the details given to me by the moron at their head-office, and offered to take the information to the press. That way, thousands of Mazda / Ford 2.5TD bakkiie owners could put a claim in for their losses!!!!
Needless to say, they fitted a "new generation" head to the vehicle, at no cost to me. All I paid for was the parts needed for the normal 120000km service.!!
I drove the bakkie for a while longer, till we needed something else in the family. I have, however, always wanted another double cab, but will look at a petrol version next time!
So, that's my experiences as a Good Consumer / Customer from hell.
I'm sure, after giving it some thought, I will remember a few more such incidents, and will then post another write up here.