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Old 23-01-2007   #31
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

Thanks for the comments guys - appreciated and no offence taken. Here's my response (DISCLAIMER - in no way am I being sarcastic, or smartarse, offensive etc - just want to be nice and calm about this )

No doubt it was a harsh letter, but again, its a case where you'll have to physically be there to understand what my partner and I went through.

Yes I made the mistake of not being pushy enough when the light first appeared. But you have to understand that the dealer asked us to go away (in a nice way) because he can't replicate the problem - "come back when it comes on again" was the verbatim. What else was I suppose to do?

Does that mean I'm not suppose to drive my car more than say, 2km from home in case it breaks down again so its a walkable distance home? I've paid the car off in one payment - I don't expect it to be a lemon. Its a mechanical thing, so sure I expect to have a few problems here and there. But when it leads to something so inconvenient, then that's a completely different issue.

Them not responding clearly demonstrates one thing - they just don't care. If they have any customer satisfaction policies in place, the very least they could have done was to acknowledge my letter. As I mentioned, I'm not looking for an compensation in the form of money, or an apology for the matter. All I want is for them to answer the three questions I have (see above), which I think as a customer I have every right to ask.

The mechanic that came - you have to see him to know what I mean. He looked like he had just woken up from a deep sleep and drove this about-to-die van from the 70s with absolutely no equipment whatsoever. I knew he had no idea what he was doing when he lifted the bonnet up and said "She's a beauty isn't she?", implying he's never seen a GP before. And this is suppose to be Fiat AU's Roadside Assistance?

Regarding the handbook, the dealer at Wollongong said due to copyright issues, Fiat AU had not issued any of the dealers with the Dualogic manual, so its not the dealer's fault. This just doesn't make sense - if I can have the car's (general) manual, then what's so secretive/sensitive about the Dualogic manual? This is definitely an issue with Fiat AU.

No doubt the timing was bad - I don't deny that. But if this was to happen all the way on the other side of the country, was my partner and I suppose to fly ourselves home, and fly back to collect the car at our own expense? Surely this can't be right?!

Sure, I'm just a small potatoe, just one dissatisfied customer and most probably not going to make much of a difference. But with consumer power becoming an issue here in AU, and with sites such as http://www.notgoodenough.org/, I'll be doing my bit as a consumer to warn others of potential problems. As the simple marketing principle goes, bad words spread ten times faster than good ones. And with an attitude like that, they've taught me that once the warranty runs out, I'll be embracing another manufacturer.

(I still love my GP though)
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Old 23-01-2007   #32
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

I'll fill in the responses in blue to try and keep it all together....
Quote Originally Posted by luvduvs View Post
Thanks for the comments guys - appreciated and no offence taken. Here's my response (DISCLAIMER - in no way am I being sarcastic, or smartase, offensive etc - just want to be nice and calm about this )

No doubt it was a harsh letter, but again, its a case where you'll have to physically be there to understand what my partner and I went through.

Yes I made the mistake of not being pushy enough when the light first appeared. But you have to understand that the dealer asked us to go away (in a nice way) because he can't replicate the problem - "come back when it comes on again" was the verbatim. What else was I suppose to do?

Does that mean I'm not suppose to drive my car more than say, 2km from home in case it breaks down again so its a walkable distance home? I've paid the car off in one payment - I don't expect it to be a lemon. Its a mechanical thing, so sure I expect to have a few problems here and there. But when it leads to something so inconvenient, then that's a completely different issue.

Them not responding clearly demonstrates one thing - they just don't care. If they have any customer satisfaction policies in place, the very least they could have done was to acknowledge my letter. As I mentioned, I'm not looking for an compensation in the form of money, or an apology for the matter. All I want is for them to answer the three questions I have (see above), which I think as a customer I have every right to ask.

I had a similar situation with Emirates Airlines a few weeks ago, they have not responded, i have written 2 letters and an email. so far nothing back. yes it is very annoying but been a big company they more than likely have thrown it away. Keep trying

The mechanic that came - you have to see him to know what I mean. He looked like he had just woken up from a deep sleep and drove this about-to-die van from the 70s with absolutely no equipment whatsoever. I knew he had no idea what he was doing when he lifted the bonnet up and said "She's a beauty isn't she?", implying he's never seen a GP before. And this is suppose to be Fiat AU's Roadside Assistance?
The breakdown cover calls the nearest person to you to try and rectify the fault if possible. imagine if they had made you wait until a fully qualified Fiat technician was free.... you'd be fried by the time they got to you!

Regarding the handbook, the dealer at Wollongong said due to copyright issues, Fiat AU had not issued any of the dealers with the Dualogic manual, so its not the dealer's fault. This just doesn't make sense - if I can have the car's (general) manual, then what's so secretive/sensitive about the Dualogic manual? This is definitely an issue with Fiat AU.

Oz spec cars are different to European, this also means that the handboks are different. in the rush to get the cars out to us they didnt produce enough books. In NZ we only got the Dualogic books about 3 weeks ago. the cost to send a few at a time is silly so we had to wiat. either that or hold the cars back 2 months until enough were printed. which do you think seems the most viable option for Fiat?!

No doubt the timing was bad - I don't deny that. But if this was to happen all the way on the other side of the country, was my partner and I suppose to fly ourselves home, and fly back to collect the car at our own expense? Surely this can't be right?!

Sure, I'm just a small potatoe, just one dissatisfied customer and most probably not going to make much of a difference. But with consumer power becoming an issue here in AU, and with sites such as http://www.notgoodenough.org/, I'll be doing my bit as a consumer to warn others of potential problems. As the simple marketing principle goes, bad words spread ten times faster than good ones. And with an attitude like that, they've taught me that once the warranty runs out, I'll be embracing another manufacturer.

(I still love my GP though)
I can see all your points and yes in the same situation i think i would probably feel the same, however i know a different side to the bits you know. As a dealer it is sometimes hard to put across things in the right context when you have a customer who is fuming about their broken car. Also the fact there are no full fiat dealers doesnt help.
I hope i have helped clear some bits up for you!
Good luck with your car in future!
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Old 23-01-2007   #33
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

I understand its a bit hard to send a Fiat-qualified mechanic at such a short notice, but my point is they should at least have sent someone who is a bit more qualified than the one they sent. Having said that though, I am appreciative of the fact that he at least showed up and did whatever he could.

About the Dualogic manual, its more about the fact that dealer's can't get their hands on them (because Fiat AU/Ateco won't give it to them), not because there aren't enough printed. Someone from this forum went out of his way to type out the important bits from his manual - again greatly appreciated!

As far as I'm concern, this is pretty much case-closed from my perspective. There's really no point in sending another letter if its obvious that they won't respond, right?

So let's all continue to enjoy our Fiats
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Old 23-01-2007   #34
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

I have to say LuvDuvs you do seem to look at things from both points of view which is really reall good, i wish i had customers like you!

The manual for the Dualogic i dont understand why they wont give you them, if you are really stuck i shall scan in and mail them to you if you want! i cant spare a whole one else the boss will ask what the cost is for it! haha
Kiwi cars are Oz spec too and it is only about 8 pages long.... let me know buddy!

on a lighter note.....
did you come across to the South Island then? or is that this month?
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Old 23-01-2007   #35
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

"Oz spec cars are different to European, this also means that the handboks are different."

Rubbish....our uk right hand drive cars are exactly the same as yours -
NO difference.....period.

A Dualogic book is a Dualogic book...they are not OZ specific.

Fiat, Italy and Ateco could have Fed-Ex'd 1000 overnight from Italy to Australia for $80 - there are not 'copyright' issues - It's total disorganisational bull****.

Basically I agree with the spirit of what young 'Sledge' wrote to you...how you word the letter and who you write it to are the key and most of the time it's only a Solicitor/Attorney who knows how to do it.....I say basically because I do think you highlight a few very valid points.

The book we've covered - the mechanic thing - you're not gonna get very far there.....as you know all these modern cars are SO advanced now the whole thing relys on friggin computers, processing information telling it what to do and loads of parts that are not repairable only replacable....so if the car stops working you basically have to run with the fact that the f***er has got to be towed to a Fiat dealership with the famous god like 'Examiner' computer, a specific proper trained Fiat technician and a small warehouse full of new parts.....sorry kiddo but that's just the way it is, they ain't gonna be sending out a Fiat trained technician, costs way yo much.
You buy a BMW for that.

Now the whole towing thing is interesting because it highlights the whole towing and retreval process, a major difference that Australia and the USA have to us folks in Europe.

As you know we're all crammed together up here, no room whatsoever.
Relatively speaking we've got loads more dealers and garages than you guys....and much less further to travel.
As you say it's a bloody nightmare if you've got to fly from Sydney to Cairns just to pick up your newly fixed car!
Of course Ateco are very well aware of this - they just don't want to pay for it.
Ateco should be more specific and you should have not been quite so naive - sorry....but that's the way I feel.

Here in Europe if we decide to drive to Italy/France/Germany etc we take out AA/AAA cover which offers a 'Relay' service that pays for motel accomodation and brings our car back to the UK to a dealer of our choosing....I suggest you sign up and pay for this service.

You know Ateco are only interested in bringing in all these foreign cars to shift them and make a profit - relatively speaking new cars have never been so cheap - manufacturers are always in trouble, loosing money - the competition is fierce - there's very little profit per unit sold - they're now a 'high fashion' item, what's hot one year is out the next and NO ONE is loyal to a brand anymore - bad mouthing doesn't work..period - oh and good mouthing doesn't really work either.
Overall I am saying buy what really does it for you and then just get on with it, get real and try and cover every eventuality.....or else buy a Toyota
......but I know you wouldn't ever do that eh?!
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Old 23-01-2007   #36
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

Quote Originally Posted by Superboy View Post
"Oz spec cars are different to European, this also means that the handboks are different."

Rubbish....our uk right hand drive cars are exactly the same as yours -
NO difference.....period.

A Dualogic book is a Dualogic book...they are not OZ specific.
Superboy, please, before quoting me in such an arrogant way feel free to check out what you are saying before you put it.
Oz/NZ cars are a different spec to euro cars, this i know as i sell in NZ and have previously sold them in Europe. I did not say the dualogic book was different to euro bookos, i said this "may" be a reason for the delay. i didnt know 100% but thought it may be a reason.

As luvduvs has pointed out earlier in the post he is happy that he has put his point across and the matter is now closed.

In future please think before shouting out like you have in this post. You have come across very arrogant and mouthy, which you may not be in person. again, my feelings, not officially!

All the best Luvduvs, fingers crossed you are now sorted and feel happy with your Grande. If you do require the Dualogic book let me know, i'll happily gte you a scanned copy!
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Old 23-01-2007   #37
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

Quote Originally Posted by Superboy View Post

You know Ateco are only interested in bringing in all these foreign cars to shift them and make a profit - relatively speaking new cars have never been so cheap - manufacturers are always in trouble, loosing money - the competition is fierce - there's very little profit per unit sold - they're now a 'high fashion' item, what's hot one year is out the next and NO ONE is loyal to a brand anymore - bad mouthing doesn't work..period - oh and good mouthing doesn't really work either.
Overall I am saying buy what really does it for you and then just get on with it, get real and try and cover every eventuality.....or else buy a Toyota
......but I know you wouldn't ever do that eh?!
Without trying to add fuel to this debate on whether I had done the right thing by sending them the letter (and the way I wrote it), I just want to touch on your point about bad mouthing and that it doesn't work. Sure, I'm no socialite, nor do I have much of an influence in other people's car purchasing decision. But if I can convince one person, just one, not to buy a Fiat and instead buy one from a competitor, then I've done damage to Fiat, even though its just one car - correct or not? In addition, from a psychological POV, bad impressions do spread faster and stick in people's mind a lot longer/harder than good ones.

(Believe me, I wouldn't have graduated with a MCom in Marketing if I couldn't grasp these basic concepts )

The key idea in starting this thread was to share my experience with the people on this forum. I don't want to be labeled a barking mad dog - I just wanted to exercise my rights as a full paying customer and if Fiat AU/Ateco aren't interested, that's completely fine with me.

Quote Originally Posted by fiatdownunder View Post
All the best Luvduvs, fingers crossed you are now sorted and feel happy with your Grande. If you do require the Dualogic book let me know, i'll happily gte you a scanned copy!
You have a pretty good memory mate! My flight is tomorrow afternoon and just finished packing! I really appreciate your comments and offer to scan/post a copy of the manual to me, though I really don't want to trouble you too much. But thank you regardless, and you being such a helpful dealer I hope business goes well for you
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Old 23-01-2007   #38
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

The crux of the matter is, and you cannot escape from the fact that you took the car on a long journey knowing it could fail again at any moment. In law thats termed culpability, in effect you are bringing about and contributing to the circumstances yourself but trying to blame others for the outcome......case dissmissed M`Lud. Fiat are quite within their right to ask why you took this decision and could even argue that they were under NO obligation to provide assistance because if you knew the car was faulty you were not acting in the best interests of all concerned.

If Fiat were to ask you in writing why you took the journey several things would happen. Just being drawn in and corresponding in writing suggests concern and therefore liablity on their behalf. Asking the question would further enrage you and not improve relations. It would not be in their best interests, if the letter was to fall into the wrong hands Fiats reputation in AU could be tarnished.

Sometimes silence is the best option.

The best you can expect is a standard customer care letter, weak excuses and very appologetic but carefully worded so as not to admit any liability on Fiats behalf. However given the tone of your original letter I would be surprised if they even bothered as they are under no obligation too.

Take it on the chin or take it to a Solicitor. If it can be proved, and I emphasise the word proved they broke the terms of the warranty agreement or contravened local consumer/trading laws you have a case against them. Personaly from what I have read its my view that Fiat did everything they were obliged to do in the circumstances, your issue is that it just wasnt to your satisfaction.
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Old 23-01-2007   #39
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

Quote Originally Posted by sledge View Post
The crux of the matter is, and you cannot escape from the fact that you took the car on a long journey knowing it could fail again at any moment. In law thats termed culpability, in effect you are bringing about and contributing to the circumstances yourself but trying to blame others for the outcome......case dissmissed M`Lud. Fiat are quite within their right to ask why you took this decision and could even argue that they were under NO obligation to provide assistance because if you knew the car was faulty you were not acting in the best interests of all concerned.

If Fiat were to ask you in writing why you took the journey several things would happen. Just being drawn in and corresponding in writing suggests concern and therefore liablity on their behalf. Asking the question would further enrage you and not improve relations. It would not be in their best interests, if the letter was to fall into the wrong hands Fiats reputation in AU could be tarnished.

Sometimes silence is the best option.

The best you can expect is a standard customer care letter, weak excuses and very appologetic but carefully worded so as not to admit any liability on Fiats behalf. However given the tone of your original letter I would be surprised if they even bothered as they are under no obligation too.

Take it on the chin or take it to a Solicitor. If it can be proved, and I emphasise the word proved they broke the terms of the warranty agreement or contravened local consumer/trading laws you have a case against them. Personaly from what I have read its my view that Fiat did everything they were obliged to do in the circumstances, your issue is that it just wasnt to your satisfaction.
Sure, I knew the car was faulty - but I took appropriate action by immediately taking it back (the first time it happened) to the dealer where I was told to 'go away' in a nice way. What the hell was I suppose to do? Hold a knife to the guy's throat and threaten to kill his entire freaking family if he didn't fix the problem on the spot?

And as I said, so I'm suppose to drive the car only a couple of kilometers from where I live so in the event that the car broke down again I could at least walk home? And BTW, in my letter I mentioned that my car went through checks at the dealer the previous day I went on the long journey and given the ALL CLEAR by the dealer. So would it come as a surprise that it broke down on the following day?

In this case, silence is an avoidance, head-in-the-sand stance. If they at least acknowledge my concerns instead of dead silence, I would have been more satisfied than I am now. Sure, we all make mistakes. Mechanics and computer/electronics fail. Running away with hands over eyes and ears is definitely not an smart commercial strategy - it spells D-O-O-M. Brand equity, if you follow, is an intangible asset that many companies simply don't understand.

Sure, they have no obligation to reply, or even read my letter. That just clearly shows how much they give a crap about customer relations, and with a strategy like that, I wish them good luck with their return to AU after 18 dormant years. And I've already taken it on the chin, sure, my bad luck. Happy now?

Anyway, I've been nice and calm long enough. I hate to be rude, but if anyone wants to continue with this debate, which I've already indicated that I wanted to drop, then BRING IT ON.

And my girlfriend, who was also part of this ordeal, would like to add her two cents:

************************************************

Thanks for your reply Sledge. Let me reiterate my point that the first time the warning light sounded. The dealer dismissed us, and made it sound as if there was nothing wrong. In law, this can be classified as “negligence” (I studied law in university). The dealer has breached their “duty of care” (legal term in Australia) by dismissing us when we advised them of the problem. They also breached their duty of care when their mechanic did not bother to run the appropriate tests to ensure the car is fine before giving the "all clear". What happens if we drove out late at night, got stuck the same way and the unthinkable had happened. Would that not mean that the dealer is somewhat responsible?

To any reasonable person (in the legal sense), if a dealer states that the car is all tested and all clear, means that the car can be safely driven, and that means that the car can be driven more than 2 kilometers!

Obviously, if we had known/expected the warning light to sound again, we would not have driven the car so far. On the other hand, the manufacturer has a duty to ensure their car can be safely driven and can cover any distance the consumer wishes to travel. However, according to you, the response we should receive is as follows:

Dear Customer,

We apologize for the delayed response, however we are unable to assist you. As you mentioned in your letter, you have noticed the problem on a previous occasion but failed to have the dealer rectify it. Further to that, you drove the car somewhere outside the 2km vicinity of your home. Hence we are not accountable for any inconveniences you have experienced. Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to NOT contact us again.

Warmest Regards,
????

I don’t know whether it is just my warped point of view, or whether it is ludicrous that one should refrain from driving under the above circumstances.

Thanks very much for the pointers though. Please don’t take any offence from what I’ve previously mentioned, I am merely trying to convey my opinion and in no way am I implying that my opinion is correct.

However, we would very much appreciate some sort of acknowledgment that the complaint letter was received. Perhaps they should have a generic response similar to the following:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for writing to us. Due to high volumes, we are unable to respond at this time.

Warmest Regards.


Also, I must agree with what my partner said about Brand Equity, the brand is one of the most valuable assets of any company. A brand should be associated with integrity and a good reputation. In any industry, reputation is everything, a tarnish on a reputation has high opportunity costs (economic term).

************************************************
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Old 23-01-2007   #40
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

As stated earlier you need help from a profesional if you want any sort of recompense. Ranting and raving in here will get you nowhere and the only thing you will achieve is giving the other contributors a good laugh. My views and opinions on the subject are just that.......views and opinions, based on my experience dealing with customer complaints and warranty issues and the legal aspects of project-engineering and contract mangagement in the everyday line of my work. I have never indicated any statement made by myself to be fact.
However and based on my experience.....I will say this:

HOW TO COMPLAIN. Lesson #1

When you write to express complaint to an individual or organisation you have to ask yourself 2 questions. What do I want from them, and what do I need to put in the letter to get what it is I want from them?.....Does that make sense?
Take that tip on board and next time you might just get a result.

I am very sympathetic to your case as I am sure others are, but you need to cool down and come at the issue from a different angle with professional help. Just because you may consider yourself to be fair and just, dont assume everyone else is, it doesnt work like that in business, particularly when money is concerned. I suggest you write another letter to them, this time make it polite but at the same time firm, and include an appology for the first letter, you have nothing to loose and someone might just recognise and appreciate the gesture and get back to you.

Finaly.....disputing my views and opinions, which incidently you invited, and trying to justify your actions, motives and reasoning to me are pointless.........you simply wont do it.

Enough said.
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Old 23-01-2007   #41
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Re: Our 5.5 hour ordeal with two month old GP Dualogic

A flat tyre,driving over a rock or down a hole damaging a 'vital component' could also cause the same inconvience....which I feel is what this thread is really about? I have recently myself been inconvienced...waiting 3 weeks for engineer to come out to fix my heating in mid-winter & I have insurance! It's all a part of lifes ups & down without which we would have no stories to tell and be rather boring.

All business has to constantly strive against bad feedback,some cover it up (Rolls royce/Mercedes etc) some like Fiat just take it 'on the chin' and although I have many grievences with many companies/businesses at the end of the day I try to remember its the good honest worker that gets the sack when profits drop therefore I try to be 'constructive' in my critism.
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Old 01-02-2007   #42
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I know this post has been closed..

https://www.fiatforum.com/grande-pun...-dualogic.html

But just thought I'll give you all an update. And please, no war-of-words this time - I have no intention to argue/justify/defend anything - this is merely an update On the way to the airport I got a voicemail from Fiat AU wanting to discuss the points I raised in my letter. Obviously wasn't a good time to discuss as I was about to hop on a plane, so returned his call just to let him know I'll call him when I get back. So it'll be interesting to see how the conversation will go tomorrow when I call him back..
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Old 01-02-2007   #43
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Re: I know this post has been closed..

Let us know how you get on.
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Old 02-02-2007   #44
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Re: I know this post has been closed..

Just spoke with Fiat AU, very calm/polite, no swearing/yelling etc. Basically we both established that it was an unfortunate incident that happened at an unfortunate location at an unfortunate time. Both parties had done the best they could have and had taken the most appropriate course of action. As I said in my previous post, I wasn't seeking any kind of compensation from them - the fact that they took the time to read my letter and to respond shows that they care and I'm satisfied at that. So, as I previously stated, its cased-closed now
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Old 02-02-2007   #45
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Re: I know this post has been closed..

i knew they would respond eventually!
Thank-you Ateco for keeping face!
and thank-you LuvDuvs for posting a good and pleasant outcome!

Nice to hear people posting positive reponses when they come thru
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