Customer service... you're having a laugh

NJones59

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When I first contacted Ian Dronsfield at Dronsfield Mercedes in connection with a requirement for an igniton module for my son's '95 C200, I mentioned that I was a member of this forum. His response was that he only ever got 'bad press' on here. That should have set the alarm bells ringing, I guess. But anyway, Ian, I hate to break a trend, so here goes.

When my son's '95 C200 stopped firing on two cylinders back on the 13th March and the problem was diagnosed to a fault on the ignition module, we feared the worst, that being the repair not being worth it. Mercedes quoted £1500 for a new unit :shock:

I tried one of the online breaker search websites and that identified a number of breakers with the part in stock. OK, I should have known better but, as they say: yo can take the boy out of Yokshire but not the Yorkshire out of the boy. So, rather than take the parts on offer from Prestige All Parts and Dronsfields (around the £400 mark) I ordered the £35 one from another scrapper.

After 4 weeks and no show on the part I swallowed my pride and rang Dronsfields on a Sunday morning. My luck was in, not only did they have the part in stock but I was speaking to Ian Dronsfield, who assured me that the part would be fully tested and shipped the next day for delivery by the Wednesday.

So, once Wednesday had passed I contacted Dronsfields 'customer services' to query when the part would be delivered. They would call me back in two minutes was the response. Two hours later, no call back, so I call them again. To receive a promise of delivery Friday. OK not that big a problem as I was confident that it would be the correct part.

So, Friday comes and goes, no part. More calls, this time directly to Ian. "Very sorry, don't know what has happened, I will get back to you in two minutes (I think this is an in joke). No call back, again, so further phone calls only to be told it is being dealt with. Eventually, after several more phone calls (Ian is soon starting to recognise my number when it pops up on his phone), he advises me that the new boy has made a mistake and my part has been sent to Glasgow, not Kent where I live. I am advised not to worry as the part would be recalled and shipped to me (Funny that if the shipments had been shipped, I never received the one that should have gone to the customer in Glasgow).

A few more days pass and still no part, so more phone calls to Ian. Eventually, nearly two weeks after placing an order for a part that was in stock a parcel arrived. The smile on my son's face when he realised he would have his car back on the road was heart warming. Quickly unwrapping the parcel his smile disappeared, as the incorrect part had been shipped! A quick phone call to Ian and I get the 'don't worry, it will be fine' line. OK, he's the Mercedes specialist so the following morining the part was duly fitted, ignition key turned ...... nothing, not even the two cylinders that worked before. So, another phone call.

'It should work... try swapping a few wires on top of the inlet manifold and that will confuse the unit' was the response from Ian. 'b****cks was the response from the mechanic and auto electrician who were helping me.

So, come Monday morning another phone call to Ian, yet more promises of 'I'll call you back in two minutes'. After yet more calls from me I was advised that miraculously, they had another part matching my requirements 'on the shelf' and this would be sent to me immediately and the wrong part would be collected at the same time. So, another week and more phone calls, still no part. Ian eventually admitted that the part was not on the shelf but 'on the car and the car was not being broken yet so I couldn't have my bit!

Enough was enough, After speaking to my credt card company, who reassured me that I could reclaim the money if I wanted to, I instructed Dronsfield to collect the part at their expense and refund my card in full. At the same time I pointed out that this was to be collected from my office address and not my home to ensure somebody would be their to meet the driver. I think you may be ahead of me here but yes, the courier turned up at my home address to collect. So, after four weeks of frustration with Dronsfields my son is still without his part (the original faulty part is now with BBA Reman to assess whether it can be repaired or not). My credit card has been refunded, my faith in customer service has been destroyed. You really should listen to the message when on hold at Dronsfields (I would be embarrassed if it was me), and Dronsfields will never get any business from me again.

In summary:

My view is that the part I ordered was sold twice, I was the unlucky one. This is confirmed in my mind by the fact that the paperwork stated the correct part number even though an 'alternative' was supplied. Giving Dronsfileds some benefit, I think I was mislead, at worst I was lied to. Note to Dronsfields, If you have cocked up simply admit it, don't compound the matter with further fantasy.

At no point have I received any form of apology from Ian (who I assume is part of the family business), or customer service. The only person that appeared to have any sympathy was the lady in the accounts department.


Sorry about the rant, particularly after my saga with the DVLA but I feel better for it:lol:
 
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NJones59

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Why am I unable to edit my original post? Any suggestions?
 

mikestrivens

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You can only edit for a hour or two after posting.
 
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NJones59

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So, I cannot add or delete anything from the original post? Can the moderators delete it. I only ask as, with hindsight, it does seem like a bit of a rant too far.
 

Juddian

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I don't see it as a rant, but as a fair account of service you've received or not as it appears.

In my opinion its well written and consice account and i see nothing wrong with it.

The parts people concerned are free to answer the post if they feel its unfair, I for one would be interested to hear their reply.
 
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roadhog

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As above, as far as rants go that was quite restrained and you said yourself that you felt better after. If you edit it you'll only feel bad again. :D
 

television

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I agree, its fine as it is, and you have posted all of the facts
 
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PanzerMcGrory

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Rant???
All you have done is state facts about some muppet dishing out the usual british customer service.
 
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NJones59

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It's better than paying for therapy on here :lol:

Thanks.
 

ALFIEBEARD

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Rant Rant!!! thats not a rant read MY thread about crap dealerships,now that was a RANT I am with you on this one mate, these so called Dealerships require shooting with a ball of their own 5hite,:mad::rolleyes:.

Alfie B
 

OlafMaxwell

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A very good post and there should be more like it. Its well based on clear facts and there were lots of places they could have redeemed themselves and failed to do so.
 
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teddycatkin

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In my opinion this is a very important part of the forum--we need to know and learn from these experiences---In Dronsfields defence as they have expanded over the years
typically taking on "employees" --you do not get the personal family service of old ?
 

Alex M Grieve

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In my opinion this is a very important part of the forum--we need to know and learn from these experiences---In Dronsfields defence as they have expanded over the years
typically taking on "employees" --you do not get the personal family service of old ?

This is an excellent point and one which all Indies would do well to note. Once the volume of business increases it is tempting to take on more work and to do that, to hire staff. If you are very busy working it is then easy to underestimate the need to organize the staff, supervise the work and check the results. Then you end up with the quality problems that drove people out of the Dealerships in the first place.

The priority in that case should go to managing the work - so the most skilled person technically should decide what is to be done, advise the others who are doing the work and check the outcomes.

So there comes a point of decision in any expanding business - do you want to expand (and tackle these problems), or would you prefer to set a realistic limit on the work you know you can do effectively yourself, and price it accordingly? "Not the cheapest, but the best" might be more expensive than some Indies, but less than the dealerships - the important distinction from both would be the superior personal service and quality of work.
 
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NJones59

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---In Dronsfields defence as they have expanded over the years typically taking on "employees" --you do not get the personal family service of old ?


As most of my dealings were with Ian Dronsfield I don't think I can offer this as a defence on this occasion.
 

Top Cat

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This is an excellent point and one which all Indies would do well to note. Once the volume of business increases it is tempting to take on more work and to do that, to hire staff

Then you end up with the quality problems


Some very valid points there Alex.

I once ran my own small family business, and the points you make were ones I adhered to, for the simple reason that I knew that I could not trust an employee to feel the same passion, commitment and to make the same decisions as I would have. This is not to put down any employee (as I am one myself these days), but a simple note to oneself that as a business owner/indy/self employed whatever, your reputation is in your own hands and nobody elses - start to put such a valuable commodity into the hands of someone rather less enthusiastic and commited than you would be and you are surely courting the kind of customer service fiasco as detailed by the OP.
 

robertjrt

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Some very valid points there Alex.

I once ran my own small family business, and the points you make were ones I adhered to, for the simple reason that I knew that I could not trust an employee to feel the same passion, commitment and to make the same decisions as I would have. This is not to put down any employee (as I am one myself these days), but a simple note to oneself that as a business owner/indy/self employed whatever, your reputation is in your own hands and nobody elses - start to put such a valuable commodity into the hands of someone rather less enthusiastic and commited than you would be and you are surely courting the kind of customer service fiasco as detailed by the OP.

I too owned and operated a family business which is now owned by my daughter, it does turn over a fortune, but, is profitable and has been these past 18 years. Other similar business's that expanded during the boom years
have found the downturn very difficult to manage.

Very few employees will have the same interest in the business as the owners. It the law of diminishing return! When you are dealing with a principle of a business you are talking to somebody who can make decisions which are best for the company.

The local garage who looks after my nephews car is a traditional small garage
who offers a good personal service, reasonable prices and you always need to book!
 


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