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  1. #1

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    Default Used Car Gallery, Car City - MY BAD EXPERIENCE

    Caveat emptor - Let the buyer beware!

    G'day,

    Just realllllly need to vent...

    28 June 2014 we bought a Holden Zafira from Dave at The Used Car Gallery, Car City, Ringwood VIC. It was sold to us as having a working air-conditioner. That was stated on the piece of paper in the window of the car, and whilst I was doing a test drive, Dave turned it to cold, said - see, it's blowing cold air - then turned it to hot, and left it on hot - Fair enough - the ambient temperature was only about 13C.

    The car is a 2002 model - no statutory warranty in VIC as it's over 10 years old. But it came with a "free" Sentinel Warranty from the National Warranty Company instead.

    A few weeks later, on a warmer day, we discovered that the car did NOT blow cold air. I called Dave, and he said it was probably a fuse... I checked them out, and all worked ok. Dave then said - well, the warranty will cover mechanical, but if it's just a re-gas, that's on me. Ok, I say - that's fair enough.

    Meanwhile, I had to save up and get my other car fixed - blown head gasket...

    So, on Tuesday this week, I finally got the Zafira in to my mechanic for a service, and to check the A/C. The result - it doesn't work because the compressor's clutch is MISSING. Not broken - it's missing. And, "Doesn't look like it's worked in a while". Quote to repair - $1,117.

    The "free" Warranty only covers up to $350.

    I call Dave again... and he says my mechanic is raping me, (his words), and go get the Warranty people to suggest a repairer, cos they'll do it for half the cost. I happily comply, and book the car in with their mechanic, who advises me at the time of booking - If I don't get the repair done with him, he will have to charge an inspection fee. That's ok, I figure - cos no doubt they do lots of repair work for these Warranty people, and they'll do it "cheap", like Dave has suggested.

    No, they quoted $1,359, after taking the compressor off, confirming it's buggered, and also finding a few other bits and pieces need fixing too.

    Again, Dave says no way, they're both trying to rip me off... Leave it with me, he says. Ok, I said, for the last time...

    Today he called me, and said he priced a compressor for $150 from a wrecker. Ok, I say - but what warranty does that have? What if it fails in 6 months? "It is a second hand car, so you get second hand parts". Ok, I say - so even if we go with a wrecker part, the quote still will be around $500 over the $350 that the Warranty covers - and I don't feel I should pay for this repair as the car was sold to me as having air-con. He then says that's the labour quote, which "his guy" would charge 1/3 the price for. I tell him - 2 different mechanics are quoting me approx $400 labour... What am I supposed to think? That they are ripping me off, or his mechanic has it wrong?

    As soon as I then started quoting parts of the Australian Consumer Law 2012 at him, he yells at me, "If that's the game you want to play, then I SWEAR to GOD you wont get any more help from me!" and hung up.

    I'm going to write to the owner of the business, and advise that I want them to pay the balance of the repair, to be done by the 2nd mechanic (as that's who the Warranty people suggested), or I'll take them to VCAT. And, I want the reconditioned compressor quoted, not one from a wrecker, as both mechanics agree that using one from a wrecker just increases the chance of either getting a dud part, or having it fail within a few months, then having to do more labour and re-gassing to swap it out again.

    I've been googling, and have found a site with numerous negative reviews about this particular car yard, citing similar experiences...

    SO frustrated...


    cheers
    cosmic
    Last edited by cosmichobo; 2nd March 2017 at 12:59 AM.
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  2. #2
    Byrd's Avatar Byrd is offline Moderator

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    I'd formally complain in writing to the car dealership first (CCed to other managers, and give them a deadline of ~ 7 days to respond or you will take it to Consumer Affairs). If the car was not sold with A/C as stated, not fit for its intended purpose, and missing parts (get an independant report from the mechanic), surely you'd have it in the bag. I wouldn't deal with "Dave" over the phone any more.

    Unfortunately - Astras are expensive to repair too, and a bit naff in general

    Good luck

    JB

  3. #3

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    Thanks Byrd

    Yes, I'm going to write to the owner, who I presume is now aware of my intentions RE wanting them to pay, advising if they don't pay for the repairs, I'm going to take them to VCAT, which was what Consumer Affairs ultimately suggested.

    They are a "VACC" member (Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce), so I've also emailed them, asking about making a complain against one of their members.

    Interestingly, looking around, it appears Dave isn't their only aggressive staff member. Must be part of their in house training.

    Have to admit we were a bit concerned RE the Zafira after purchase, because of the Astra/Zafira engine issue (clogged nozzle leading to dry drive chains snapping and destroying the engine), but our mechanic checked that out, and said it looked in great condition. So what we were worried about turned out ok... And what we thought was going to be a $200 repair, turned out to be 7 times that much...
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  4. #4

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    Hi

    Sorry to hear mate. Unfortunately this is most likely representation of the entire car yard/dealership you purchased the car from. Sounds as this type of attitude runs across all or most of the staff there

    It's strange actually they behave this way in this day and age where competition is strong and customer service and after sales support is paramount these days...I guess they must be a dying breed of such type of car dealers. Are they part of a bigger dealership, as in are they only second hand dealer or are they associated with a new car dealership?

    I currently own a 2004 Holden (Opel) Astra, which probably have the same engine/mechanics as your Zafira...
    I don't drive it much, it has only done just under 100,000km and I service it according to the book plus on top of that engine oil and filter change every 5,000km...so far so good, only had to replace the radiator but I did that as part of the engine chain/belt and water pump device as the radiator was staring to show signs of cracks.

    Again, sorry to hear but you just be the bigger men and use the consumer law to your advantage...good luck.

    Marcin

  5. #5
    Oldmacs's Avatar Oldmacs is offline MacTalk Writer

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    That sounds like at terrible experience, I really hope it works out for you in the end.

    Its a shame with the Astra issues because they are really nice cars in other respects. I have 3 friends who have been burned by massive Astra issues, even though their cars were well cared for. I think its a luck of the draw thing sadly. I think the last model of Holden branded Astras was much better mechanically.
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  6. #6
    imacattack's Avatar imacattack is offline It's Hard To Get A Whippet Out Of Bed.

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    Did you get a RACV Inspection done I did when I brought mine early this year and that would have cover most of the repair I think via RACV approved repairer. I can't stand going around Car City bunch of rude pricks amazed there still around today.
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  7. #7

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    No... We thought about getting an inspection, but last time we did (via RACQ back in Brissie) all that they did was visit the car lot, and look at the car... No test drive... no taking it to their workshop... Not sure if RACV do things differently, but really wasn't impressed on that occasion.

    I must say, for every "nice" car dealer we met at Car City, we met another who was rude/arrogant/treated my wife like an idiot. The guy we bought the car from actually got a big tick at the time from my wife, cos he did talk to her, didn't dismiss her... (Her opinion has changed now...)
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  8. #8
    imacattack's Avatar imacattack is offline It's Hard To Get A Whippet Out Of Bed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmichobo View Post
    No... We thought about getting an inspection, but last time we did (via RACQ back in Brissie) all that they did was visit the car lot, and look at the car... No test drive... no taking it to their workshop... Not sure if RACV do things differently, but really wasn't impressed on that occasion.

    I must say, for every "nice" car dealer we met at Car City, we met another who was rude/arrogant/treated my wife like an idiot. The guy we bought the car from actually got a big tick at the time from my wife, cos he did talk to her, didn't dismiss her... (Her opinion has changed now...)
    Yeah they like doing that as well some of them ignore the sibling or husband talk straight to the wife or sister etc. RACV is better the RACQ My car was from a dealer as well the car was taken out the lot for inspection and the dealer was RACV Approved as well.

    Seems to be getting worse these days .
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  9. #9
    nibbles's Avatar nibbles is offline Holding the fort

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    Sometimes playing the ACCC card is all you can do but even then it may not help straight away.

    I bought a 2010 VW Golf earlier this year and the afternoon I picked it up I realised the AUX in didn't work to an acceptable quality and the CD player didn't work at all. I took it back to the dealer the next day who said that the quality was 'normal' and there was nothing he could do, I hassled about the CD player knowing the whole thing had to be replaced and he said he'd get a quote for a replacement.

    After that calls rang out because I had to go through the receptionist to get to him and presumably she told him who I was and he just ignored me. Emails weren't responded to at all. In the end after lodging a complaint the ACCC called them and they told the ACCC that it was in that day to be fixed, it wasn't, good thing the ACCC called me to confirm this.

    A few days and a very direct letter to the service manger stating costs that I had incurred and a deadline later they called me to say they had a replacement, well the replacement looked like it had been in a car that'd driven across Australia on dirt roads with the windows down. Luckily it didn't even work. It looked like I was back at square one but a direct call the the service manager and I had a new one put in.

    I'd like to know what happened between them and the ACCC afterwards because they blatantly lied to them.

    Good luck with it, keep pressuring them and the ACCC to get an appropriate outcome.

  10. #10

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    Well, after speaking to a lawyer, there are at least 4 points of Consumer Law that I can argue over with regards to the faulty air-con, so I have now emailed my letter of demand, and will post a paper copy registered mail to them tomorrow - just in case "Dave" tries to intervene.

    Am hoping perhaps the owner isn't representative of the employees... The licence owner is in fact a Japanese multi-national transport company. Not sure what their culture is like RE consumer rights... Am hoping they'll accept that they're unlikely to win at VCAT and pay for the repairs. If not, I'm more than happy to put my case!
    Last edited by cosmichobo; 24th October 2014 at 03:17 PM.
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  11. #11

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    Sorry to revive an old thread - but I've recently had some luck here. I'm trying to share the info around.

    I recently received a full refund from National Warranty Company for the dud policy I was sold. I used a template letter from demandarefund.com.au, sent it to Presidian (the company that owns NWC) and within two weeks had a refund. I couldn't believe it, as I (unintentionally) bought the policy back in 2013. The page is run by a group of lawyers from the Consumer Action group, who were available to follow up on my behalf if need be. Hit them up if you've EVER taken out a dud warranty!

  12. #12

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    As a coda...

    I recently was in the market for another used car, which obviously reminded me of this bad experience at Car City / Used Car Gallery.

    So, I emailed Car City themselves, asking if they had a code of practice for their sellers, and explained my situation. Initially I received a fairly receptive response, however that soon went cold.
    Last edited by cosmichobo; 2nd August 2017 at 08:19 PM.
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  13. #13

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    Maybe Car City don't care about the people who come to their premises to buy a used car...?
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