Tag: volvo doves croydon

Sunday Column (69)

What a week lays behind us. Dentist is all I say. A new filling, luckily no root canal, and a bit of pain on Monday. My wife says I moan to much so I don’t even mention my cold that really got to me on Thursday/Friday. And the weekend, I still didn’t feel right, but no sympathy, no.

So I don’t share my illnesses, maybe something else I could share, something I am allowed to moan about.

As you know we got a new (used) car in February. Recently the “service is due” lamp came on and I was a bit surprised why that was. After only 4 months! I decided to go to an independent garage, e.g. Kwik Fit. I remember from the start of when I bought the car I was wondering that the brakes almost felt a bit stuck but didn’t worry about. Could I not trust a Volvo authorized dealer that allegedly did a check on the vehicle? You can read all about my previous bad experience of Volvo Doves Croydon in my earlier blog post.

I really trust the guys at Kwik Fit and should have seen them much earlier. To be honest, I wouldn’t have gone if the service light hadn’t come up. So they discovered that there was something wrong with my brakes. Hurray. Two new brake discs, new pads and potentially I need a new caliper that caused the brakes getting stuck. So the new brakes, new battery, two new tyres that according to Volvo Doves Croydon will last for a very long time (they did last another 1,000 miles) mounted up to a hefty bill. Ouch! We now just hope that the caliper was fixed and we don’t need to replace that one too.

Ok, there could always go something wrong, and they are “wear and tear” parts. However, I know the problem was there from the beginning, and I know we bought the car with the failure. But of course when I called Volvo Doves Croydon, they wouldn’t take that on at all, and the 12 months insurance would not cover wear and tear parts. Surely, they would not see me again at their garage. What a really poor service, and disappointing experience from an authorised Volvo car dealer. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for things to be ok for the next year or so, MOT is not due until December. I guess the prejudice for used car dealerships, independent or authorised, come true for some. Not a nice experience and I am really contemplating of writing to Volvo about it. I don’t want to start with the brand experience again, but honestly, I would get involved if I was Volvo.

Anyway, back to the rest of the week: work really dominated this week. We have been busy, very very busy. But, we shouldn’t complain about that. mexad is striving and growing and we have our second person starting next week. We are very excited! Onward and upwards.

My parents arrived this weekend. So despite the cold and my wife not feeling 100% :-), we still managed to have a fantastic family weekend. We also visited one of Colin’s pals for his first birthday, and have more first birthdays coming up in the next few weeks.

Next week looks busy again, a very busy work schedule but I really enjoy it!

Have a good one until next week,

Volvo Doves Croydon

Now, as you know we recently bought a new car, a Volvo XC90. However, it turned out to be a few things wrong with the dealership Volvo Doves Croydon which sold me the car. They, above all, lied to me. Whilst I could expect that from a second hand sales person for any cars, and you almost think car sales people are dubious, it just doesn’t match with a Volvo car dealer, particularly as Volvo Doves Croydon came highly recommended from a friend. My dad drives Volvos for a long time, and I thought by me entering the Volvo market by buying an XC90 with 33, they would appreciate my custom somewhat. Far from it.

Below is the story told in a letter which at the end, since Doves Croydon resolved the issue, I never sent to the Head of Customer Services Volvo UK, or to the dealership.

Maybe I just didn’t send it because just typing it and putting it on my blog was enough for me to get rid off it in my system. Maybe that was all I needed. Maybe silly, but it just gives you another point of view for customer service and brand understanding.

Letter I never sent:

Dear Mr. Keaney,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Volker Ballueder, currently 33 years old, and I grew up with my father driving Volvos since I was about 15 years old. And, honestly, I never thought I would or would even consider driving one myself.

Things changed and with a good offer from your dealership Volvo Doves Croydon, I recently purchased a used Volvo XC90. We reserved the car on a Wednesday, test drove it on a Saturday and were allowed to pick it up on the Thursday as it had to be checked out, cleaned and the MOT had to be done.

So on Friday, 12th of February, I picked up the Volvo. However, the first thing I noticed was that the MOT was from the 20th of January, and that the car inside hadn’t been cleaned. There weren’t any foot mats either which surprised me.

However, maybe I was spoiled from my previous experiences of buying used Volvos with my dad? I didn’t give it too much thought as I just purchased a lovely car. I didn’t want to argue about three weeks MOT, and buying own foot mats and giving it a proper clean myself shouldn’t bother me either.

There was little communication during the buying process from the side of the dealer. Sales person Jeff from Volvo Doves Croydon didn’t return calls or wasn’t available on agreed times when I went to the garage. Again, I didn’t give it much thought.

When I grew up, the Volvo car dealer my father used to buy Volvos from, always offered excellent customer service. Working in customer service and sales myself, I got a good idea on how to please customers by watching the Volvo dealer. They gave my dad Christmas presents, a bottle of champagne for buying a (used) car, helped when he needed a second car for a weekend, and just did these little favours for him whenever he had a question about his car. Cleaning a used car or adding new foot mats were small but nice little treats I learned to expect from a valued car dealer. That is what I associate with Volvo, a brand that represents good quality and safe cars for me, associated with outstanding customer service.

Now, you probably wonder where this is leading to? Exactly, whilst buying the Volvo XC 90 at Doves Croydon I was told I get a 12 months warranty and a 12 months RAC membership with the car. Instead I got a letter saying “as I didn’t purchase the vehicle, my warranty is cancelled”.

It took a few phone calls and it was explained to me that the car comes with a 3 months warranty, which after negotiation turned into a 12 month dealership warranty with break down cover. So, overall, nothing to complain about the car dealership anymore. Sales Manager Gerry of Doves Croydon was very helpful and arranged things for me.

So what is my concern then?

My disappointment doesn’t come from not having the warranty, and or the RAC membership set up. No, I was LIED to. The brand, and Volvo Doves Croydon represents the brand Volvo for me, has lied to me in the sales process about:

– MOT they had to do
– Warranty I would get
– Breakdown cover I would get

Now, I hope they didn’t lie about the car itself. Will my Volvo last as long as I think it will? Is the quality of the car as good as they said it would be? Can I trust them? Can I trust Volvo? These are the questions that come to my mind, as trust and brand image have been compromised if not destroyed by them. Any unfamiliar noise in the car is now a question of “did it get checked out properly?”, “is it working ok?”, “is there anything wrong with it?”.

I don’t need to tell a VP of Marketing and Sales what it means for a lifetime value of a customer at 33 to purchase his first Volvo. If I am a happy customer there is a chance, similar to my dad, that I become a brand advocate and buy Volvo cars for the next 40 years. Every 8 years, assuming an average price of £20,000, Volvo Doves Croydon is currently in the process of ruining £100,000 value for Volvo cars.

Mr. Keaney, having written this all, I am more than confident that you not only understand my issue, but will make sure that your dealerships will reflect the high standard I would assume a Volvo brand reserves.

My issues have been dealt with by Volvo Doves Croydon in a highly professional manner, so I don’t look for any more compensation or gifts. I just, as a Volvo advocate, needed to bring that to your attention.

Yours sincerely,
Volker Ballueder