Car servicing woes

My MOT expires on Thursday. In addition the dashboard is saying it is time for a service so I rang my dealer last week to book it in. I was passed to the booking team who took my details and gave me a slot for tmrw - Wednesday - which was ideal for me.
Yesterday evening I received an email from another dealer - 40 miles away - informing me that they were looking forward to servicing my car as planned :flushed: :flushed:

Turns out that the franchise (Audi) dealer now use a centralised booking team (in Nottingham), and they had inadvertently booked my car into the wrong location.

I rang my dealer explaining that I needed it doing before Thursday but it took some persuading before they agreed to take it - for just the MOT - and I’ll need to book the service separately in the next week or so which means more inconvenience.

Good job I spotted the email was from the wrong garage but it’s still a pain in the a*se…

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Time to change dealers or have a real moan and get some money off the service, or maybe MOT for free as its their screw up!

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Similar issues for me with Audi Canterbury -central booking - trying to get through to someone in servicing to answer a simple question - rather than having the person in central booking trying to a answer the question and not having a clue what they are talking about.

The dealership rang me this morning asking me if they could spend some time tmrw trying to make me an offer to trade my car in. I guess there’s a shortage of good second hand cars for them to make money on. I’d consider it except I haven’t a clue what I’d get to replace it and generally run my cars until they become a liability. Depreciation on cars always struck me as a good way to throw money away…

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s/h cars are making silly money at the moment as they are in short supply. this is partly because people eschewed public transport during the pandemic but also because the supply ogf new cars has been badly hit by supply and other issues. You’ll never get a better trade-in, but make sure what you want is in stock to replace it!


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My dealer did the same. Got an excellent deal with money off and three years servicing. The downside was it is only cars in stock to choose from, but I’ve got a very nice Fist 500X special edition. I would have picked red, but for a particularly good deal, I have black. Thirteenth car from the same dealer, a customer since 1996.

I’ve been getting a weekly email and/or (more annoyingly) a phone call from my dealership " there’s never been a better time to change your car than now" and “p/x prices are at an all time high”.
I tried being nice and explained that due to Covid cutting off the supply of work and pretty much enforcing early retirement my 2 year old car had less than 5k on the clock so was to all intents and purposes still pretty much new. Ultimately I had to resort to being terse and tell them “Yes I know, you’re telling me nearly every day. Please stop or I guarantee my next car purchase won’t be from you”.
Two weeks now …

The problem lies in the words 'dealer and ‘dealership’… :thinking:

My local Independent VAG specialist cannot make mistakes like this …

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I work at a main dealer and the f@&k ups from the central booking office are laughable at times.
Best always to get your dealers direct number.
Even the independents can make get things wrong. Last place I worked the receptionist was useless she’d book cars in on the wrong day constantly, overbook or forget to order parts.

It’s always very much worth taking the time to find a reputable independent garage who employs mechanics and who will look after you. Get personal recommendations, and develop a relationship like we do with our hifi dealers.

I’ve had my fill of main dealers. I have only met incompetence and cannot see any justification for their sky high prices. I won’t buy a vehicle from them, nor will I take a vehicle to them.

Traded in my Mini, spent ages telling them what was wrong with it. Offered me silly money , an ex demo Suzuki sits on drive now

Phoned my local VW dealership today to ask for some advice on my wife’s I.D.3 electric car’s software. I was told there’s no one available to give advice and if I needed to take it in they could book me in on 19th Jan!!!

I said I’d take it elsewhere.

Perusing my local Audi dealer’s website, as you do, it seems quite bizarre that the online approximate trade-in value of my, far from young, A5 is climbing steadily each week. :thinking: :roll_eyes:

Oh dear … … …

Well, our 2003 vintage A6 passed its MOT today!

Hooray, nowt to do for another year of little or no use coz of “lock-downs”….2000 miles per year for the last two years.

And the TT has done even less!

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Living well away from civilisation (Cornwall), since 1986 does have its advantages.

I have used my local BMW dealer (only one in the county) since 1992 & would give them 9.5 out of 10, so far.

Only on my 5th new car from them, current car is 8 years old & last one was 13. All 5 have been very reliable. I know several owners who refused to pay main dealer service prices & who have then had numerous issues with local ‘specialists’ who clearly don’t have the equipment or knowledge to deal with serious problems. Directed them to main dealer for subsequent cars &, surprise surprise, the majority of issues have disappeared. I’m not saying the main dealer always get it right & covers themselves with glory, but they succeed a lot more than they fail.

Cost is rather more modest here in Cornwall that it appears to be in the big conurbations. A few years ago Top Gear ran a detailed feature comparing BMW servicing costs on a 5 series between Central London & my dealer in Falmouth. At the time you could drive from London to Cornwall, book into a reasonable hotel for a long weekend, get the car serviced & then drive back to London for slightly less than the cost of the London service.

I don’t know how costs compare today but I suspect there may still be a reasonable differential.

Lucky perhaps, but this is why I am not at all anti main dealer. May feel different if I lived elsewhere.

If you have found a good main dealer and you are happy with the prices, I’d say stick with them, they’re a rare thing.

I’ve had two BMW’s and they were brilliant cars. I wasn’t too bothered by their prices, but I did object to their rip off tactics and their appalling interpersonal skills. I won’t be buying any more though.

Very happy Vauxhall Vivaro driver who avoids Vauxhall dealerships like the plague.

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Sounds like a typical example of bookkeepers running the shop rather than people who want to serve clients. Central booking is aimed at maximising internal efficiency rather than maximising customer experience and satisfaction.

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I had my Renault Megane serviced late summer.

As the car is now 5 years old when booking the service with the main dealer I enquired if it needed a cam belt change. I was informed that the service interval for the cam belt was 6 years on newer models, not 5. When I asked how much it would be they said they would arrange fo a call back.

This they did the next day and informed me of the price which was around £650.

I had cause to speak to a local well respected independent mechanic on another matter and asked for a comparison price. He went away and checked only to inform me that there would be no cost as the car doesn’t have a cam belt but a timing chain, something I’ve verified myself since!

I think we’re going to switch our servicing to the independent dealer!


Cooper BMW Reading is now like a massive modern cathedral.You never see a mechanic just have to sit with a service advisor who tells you the exhorbitant cost they want to charge you. Far better is the established independent Grosvenor . Prices cheaper a better explanation of the bad news and there are 2 nice dogs around. Cars cost but I’d rather pay them!

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I stopped using main dealerships many years ago, they always made me feel like the sh%£ on their shoe. Like being a parcel processed in an Amazon warehouse but with ill defined costs. They always seem annoyed when I asked, “how much will that cost?”

I overheard one such dealer customer service manager say “since we introduced the new models, our younger customers are much more troublesome” I get it, their well healed older customers used to just hand over their gold cards, no questions asked.

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