Letter of complaint to Fiat

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Letter of complaint to Fiat

Carbontm

Stilo 2.4 Abarth
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
38
Location
Southampton
Hi,

This is an edited copy of a letter that I am poised to send to Fiat. I would be interested in hearing your views...



MY ADDRESS

10th July 2007

Fiat Group Automobiles UK Ltd
Customer Services Department
240 Bath Road
Slough
SL1 4DX

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’m writing to you because I feel that I have been unnecessarily charged for work carried out on my Fiat Stilo 2.4 Abarth 3 door Selespeed and have been unable to resolve the issue with NAME OF MAIN DEALER.

On Tuesday 19th June I explained to both the service reception staff and the technician that my car was slipping out of third gear whilst under load. Additionally I informed them that because the fault only happened after the engine had warmed up and that three independent companies (Angel Tuning, MIJ Performance and Kwik-Fit) had advised me that I had a slight oil leak from the engine and a small amount of oil weeping from the gearbox, if I were them I would check the oil levels in engine and gearbox first as it seemed to be the logical first step. I even proffered a theory that the fault had something to do with the gearbox oil pressure and that in third gear the input and output rpm were similar causing a drop in pressure which was being exasperated by low oil levels, this was then causing the gearbox to go into a redundant fail-safe mode and selecting neutral to allow towing.

The technician took a short test drive and experienced the fault himself after which I was advised that they couldn’t find the cause and they would refer the matter to Fiat Technical and contact me later that day to advise. When I asked if they had checked the oil levels as I had asked I was told that it was completely unrelated to the fault.

Unfortunately they failed to call me back so one week later I contacted them and was asked to bring the car back for Wednesday 4th July. It would seem that this delay was rather fortunate as it allowed time to gather further evidence to support my theory about the oil levels.

On this next visit I decided to take control of the situation and told the service reception staff that instead of investigating further I wanted them to do as I had asked and check the oil levels in the engine and gearbox and to top up as necessary. This request was met with sceptical looks so I explained that since my last visit the fault had become worse with the gearbox slipping out of third gear at lower rpm, gear changes taking longer, there was now a patch of oil on the road where I park my car and that all of the evidence was pointing toward the gearbox oil level being the cause of the fault.

Reluctantly the staff conceded and agreed to carry out my wishes although I was told that “checking the gearbox oil level was like adjusting the internal mirror to fix an engine”.

After finally doing as I had been suggesting all the time the gearbox faults vanished and the issue was resolved. There was no offer of an apology and instead I was charged £183.59 labour for their wild goose chase which I feel is unreasonable, especially considering that the cause of the issue could have been diagnosed by simply topping up the gearbox oil as I had repeatedly stated.

For this reason I have enclosed a copy of this receipt which I respectfully ask to be refunded.

I would also like to take this opportunity to raise a few other concerns. After finally agreeing to check and top up the gearbox and engine oil I was invited to look under my car where the technician pointed out that the oil leaks were coming from the gearbox driveshaft and a broken engine oil sensor and that these need to be dealt with first. I asked him if he would check the levels and top up so that we can rule out the oil leaks as the cause of the gearbox first, he refused stating that he considered the car to be too dangerous to test drive due to potentially low engine oil levels. I told him that if he didn’t want to test drive the car then I would as the issue (and presumably the leaks) had been experienced for at least one month and the oil levels would then be topped up prior to driving.

Again I was pressured to have the sensor and driveshaft seal replaced first and that if I wanted to drive my car I would have to sign a disclaimer. Frustrated, I agreed to the work being carried out at an estimated cost of around £160. I was then informed afterwards that I had only been charged an additional £58.60 for the oil sensor as the technician had discovered that the gearbox leak was not due to the driveshaft seal as reported and that he “thinks” it might be due to some internal seals which would cost £422.14, I told them that I was not prepared to spend that much money on a hunch and as the gearbox leak was very slow it could be lived with. I was also informed that my engine and gearbox covers had broken and would cost an additional £208.14 to replace as they were not prepared to put them back on even though there had been no problems with them in the past, so I now have an exposed engine and gearbox just waiting for a stone to get trapped in the drive belt.

On another occasion I discovered that my air conditioning was not working correctly and was unable to cool the air. I was charged £86.95 to charge the system with a dye to determine where the leak was occurring only later to discover that every Stilo that has had this problem was due to a known fault with a connecting pipe which breaks due to the engine moving on its mounts under load. In fact the issue is so well known that I found out about it after just three months of ownership and that Fiat subsequently redesigned the part in question. This of course begs the question why didn’t the technicians (who must know about this fault) check this first before charging me for an unnecessary investigation?

I have only been a Fiat owner and a customer of NAME OF MAIN DEALER since January of this year and during this time I have spent £1,063.37 with them. I feel that on this occasion they have let Fiat and me down and I trust that you will do your best to restore my faith in your cars and main dealers.


Yours faithfully







MY NAME


P.S. After typing this letter I decided to check the engine oil level (I’d love to check the gearbox too but the dipstick is on top of the gearbox underneath the car) and to my horror it wasn’t even registering on the dipstick and needed two litres of oil which makes me think that they didn’t bother to check the level either before or after replacing the cracked sensor and stopping the leak. Also, what was a very slow gearbox oil weep has now become a full blown leak but I am unable to determine whether this is due to bad luck or the technician’s efforts!
 

jug

blessed are the apostates
Joined
Nov 28, 2005
Messages
27,935
Location
Durham
your letter does not make clear what your complaint is. it simply describes your experience, which to be honest sounds like a very normal dealer experience. i cant see anything in your letter that would justify a complaint.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Carbontm

Carbontm

Stilo 2.4 Abarth
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
38
Location
Southampton
Hi Jug,

I guess the short version would be...

I tell the garage the gearbox is faulty and that all clues point toward low oil level, they disregard this info and decide to spend three hours investigating ECUs and linkages etc.

This is what they charged me for.

Next visit I force them to check oil levels and it fixes the problem.

Should I have to pay for the initial three hours?

It's a bit like jumping in a taxi and telling the driver you want to go to point A but instead he takes you well out of your way to point B then only takes you to point A when you insist but still charges you for the trip to point B.

Does that make it clearer?

Carbon
 

jug

blessed are the apostates
Joined
Nov 28, 2005
Messages
27,935
Location
Durham
right, i see your point.

i've had a VERY similar problem with reg vardy fiat in stockton last year.

i booked an appointment to have the remote on my GF's mk2 punto reprogrammed. they said they would get the remote code in advance by email and then let me know when they had it so i could bring the car down.

i got the phone call from them a week later so i took the car down. they made me wait 4 hours and then said they couldnt do it because its an import and they cant get the code. this shows they lied about having the code just to get me there, fully knowing in advance they couldnt do the job i asked them too.

they carried out a diagnostic while i waited even though there was nothing wrong with the car (and without asking me first) and then wanted to charge me £65 for the privledge.

i refused to pay so they refused to give me the car back. after a heated argument i ended up paying because i didnt want the inconvenience of getting home without the car and then seeking legal advice. i later found out that by paying i had in effect agreed to it and it was too late to do anything about it. lesson learnt!

i would revise your complaint to make it more specific and only deal with the real issue here, which is the dealer charging you for work that you did not agree to. if you waffle on about everything it dilutes what you're really trying to say. the person reading your letter only really wants to know 1 thing, exactly what the problem is.

good luck (y)

if you dont get any joy with your complaint i suggest you get a supersoaker full of brake fluid and go mental one night on the dealer forecourt, it feels very good.
 
Last edited:

oilrag

New member
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
557
Carbon,
Suggest you make an upfront statement of the problem in the first paragraph.
*Then follow it up in more detail bullet pointing it.*

The whole letter needs to be as brief as possible.
Seperate fact from opinion.


Good luck:)
 
Last edited:

Emm

Fiat Addict
Joined
Nov 26, 2003
Messages
3,548
Location
in,on,or lookin at a Fiat
I had a simalar prob with the local Fiat dealership, when i had a fault with the Seicento, situation was never resolved, and i only succeded in being banned from said dealership :mad: as i kinda kicked off at the main desk :eek: The whole lot of them are Muppets imo.
I found out from an ex employee that at this dealership they dont employ any trained staff they train them on the job, said employee was the only trained mechanic and they laid him off!!
 
OP
OP
Carbontm

Carbontm

Stilo 2.4 Abarth
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
38
Location
Southampton
Thanks for your comments guys...

Right now (and possibly due to the technician) the slight gearbox oil weep has become a full blown Niagara Falls so my first priority is to get that sorted.

I have booked it in to another Fiat Service dealer who have agreed to diagnose and quote for free! and their Fiat guy owns a Stilo 2.4 Abarth Selespeed.

I'm going to hold fire on the letter until after the fix because I may have to go back to the original dealer and I don't want to burn my bridges.

Carbon
 

Donalds Alfa Romeo

Addicted to boost
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Messages
153
Location
Peterborough, lincoln
The garage i work for do a check sheet and note down any faults and automaticly top up the oil as part of the servce or even at request becase it would all be written on the jobcard.

as for the dealer you went to :O how crap is that!
Sounds terrible and you shoulc go open a can of whoopass on them lol :D
 

Mooks

New member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
65
Sorry, just a job at the delaer here....

What ever happend to customer service, they are IN a SERVICE related industry and role...... If the customer requests for something to be done on there car they should do it instead of arrguing the point....disgusting attitude if you ask me. There was nothing wrong in just saying OK WELL DO THAT FIRST, however I dont think it will make a difference THEN we can explore other avenues.

I tell you, this is why people goto smaller independant specialists....they care about your custom. Scrap the dealer off and find a garage that has a good rep and specialise in your make of car - Dont know where you are but "Turin Motors" in Leeds, West Yorkshire... look them up they might be able to help you find someone in your area. Good Luck
 
OP
OP
Carbontm

Carbontm

Stilo 2.4 Abarth
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
38
Location
Southampton
Hi Guys,

I tried to edit the letter down in size and yes, I could have made it a single sheet of A4 if I'd just mentioned that they charged me £183 to diagnose the problem but didn't actually diagnose anything, but I wanted to get the other stuff off my chest (and to increase my chance of a refund) and there has been an interesting development.

So here in all it's glory is the version I sent...

Fiat Group Automobiles UK Ltd
Customer Services Department
240 Bath Road
Slough
SL1 4DX

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’m writing to you because I feel that I have been unnecessarily charged for work carried out on my Fiat Stilo 2.4 Abarth 3 door Selespeed and have been unable to resolve the issue with SGM of 118 Bridge Road, Sarisbury, Southampton.

On Tuesday 19th June I explained to both the service reception staff and the technician that my car was slipping out of third gear whilst under load. Additionally I informed them that because the fault only happened after the engine had warmed up and that three independent companies (Angel Tuning, MIJ Performance and Kwik-Fit) had advised me that I had a very slight oil leak from the engine and a small amount of oil weeping from the gearbox, if I were them I would check the oil levels in engine and gearbox first as it seemed to be the logical first step. I even proffered a theory that the fault had something to do with the gearbox oil pressure and that in third gear the input and output rpm were similar causing a drop in pressure which was being exasperated by low oil levels, this was then causing the gearbox to go into a redundant fail-safe mode and selecting neutral to allow towing.

The technician took a short test drive and experienced the fault himself after which I was advised that they couldn’t find the cause and they would refer the matter to Fiat Technical and contact me later that day to advise. When I asked if they had checked the oil levels as I had asked I was told that it was completely unrelated to the fault.

Unfortunately they failed to call me back so one week later I contacted them and was asked to bring the car back for Wednesday 4th July. It would seem that this delay was rather fortunate as it allowed time to gather further evidence to support my theory about the oil levels.

On this next visit I decided to take control of the situation and told the service reception staff that instead of investigating further I wanted them to do as I had asked and check the oil levels in the engine and gearbox and to top up as necessary. This request was met with sceptical looks so I explained that since my last visit the fault had become worse with the gearbox slipping out of third gear at lower rpm, gear changes taking longer and that all of the evidence was pointing toward the gearbox oil level being the cause of the fault.

Reluctantly the staff conceded and agreed to carry out my wishes although I was told that “checking the gearbox oil level was like adjusting the internal mirror to fix an engine”.

After finally doing as I had been suggesting all the time the gearbox faults vanished and the issue was resolved. There was no offer of an apology and instead I was charged £183.59 labour for their wild goose chase which I feel is unreasonable, especially considering that the cause of the issue could have been diagnosed by simply topping up the gearbox oil as I had repeatedly stated.

For this reason I have enclosed a copy of this receipt which I respectfully ask to be refunded.

I would also like to take this opportunity to raise a few other concerns. After finally agreeing to check and top up the gearbox and engine oil, half an hour later I was invited to look under my car where the technician pointed out that the oil leaks were coming from the gearbox driveshaft and a broken engine oil sensor and that these need to be dealt with first. Mysteriously, the very slight engine oil leak (which would have taken over a year to drain) had become a continuous drip that would have drained the engine in a matter of hours. I asked him if he would check the levels and top up so that we can rule out the oil leaks as the cause of the gearbox first, he refused stating that he considered the car to be too dangerous to test drive due to potentially low engine oil levels. I told him that if he didn’t want to test drive the car then I would as the issue (and presumably the leaks) had been experienced for at least two months and the oil levels would be topped up prior to the test drive.

Again I was pressured to have the sensor and driveshaft seal replaced first and that if I wanted to drive my car I would have to sign a disclaimer. Frustrated, I agreed to the work being carried out at an estimated cost of around £160. I was then informed afterwards that I had only been charged an additional £58.60 for the oil sensor as the technician had discovered after fitting a replacement driveshaft seal that the gearbox leak was not due to this and that he “thinks” it might be due to some internal seals which would cost £422.14, I told them that I was not prepared to spend that much money on a hunch and as the gearbox leak was extremely slow it could be lived with. I was also informed that my engine and gearbox covers had broken and would cost an additional £208.14 to replace as they were not prepared to put them back on even though there had been no problems with them in the past, so I now have an exposed engine and gearbox just waiting for a stone to get trapped in the drive belt.

On another occasion I discovered that my air conditioning was not working correctly and was unable to cool the air. I was charged £86.95 to charge the system with a dye to determine where the leak was occurring only later to discover that every Stilo that has had this problem was due to a known fault with a connecting pipe which breaks due to the engine moving on its mounts under load. In fact the issue is so well known that I found out about it after just three months of ownership and that Fiat subsequently redesigned the part in question. This of course begs the question why didn’t the technicians (who must know about this fault) check this first before charging me for an unnecessary investigation?

I have only been a Fiat owner and a customer of SGM since January of this year and during this time I have spent £1,063.37 with them. I feel that on this occasion they have let Fiat and me down and I trust that you will do your best to restore my faith in your cars and main dealers.


Yours faithfully







Andrew Bailey


P.S. After typing this letter I decided to check the engine oil level (I’d love to check the gearbox too but the dipstick is on top of the gearbox underneath the car) and to my horror it wasn’t even registering on the dipstick and needed two litres of oil which makes me think that they didn’t bother to check the level either before or after replacing the cracked sensor and stopping the leak. Also, what was an extremely slow gearbox oil weep has now become a full blown leak but I am unable to determine whether this is due to bad luck or the technician’s efforts!

P.P.S. This letter was due to be sent on the 10th of July but I decided to wait until the gearbox oil leak which had suddenly become a torrent was investigated by another authorised Fiat service centre (Westover of Lymington Road, New Milton) as I had lost faith in SGM and to my further horror they confirmed that despite SGM replacing the gearbox driveshaft seal they had left out the oil O-rings which are part of the seal kit and this was why the weep had become a major leak!!!

So to sum up, these are the issues I have experienced with SGM…

• Charged me £183.59 to diagnose a gearbox fault which they did NOT diagnose, I did.
• Turned a very slight engine oil leak into an oil haemorrhage.
• Removed a gearbox oil O-ring turning a very slight weep into another major oil leak.
• Refused to replace engine and gearbox covers so I had to replace them (£106.04 ex’ labour).
• Charged me £89.95 to diagnose a know issue with an air-conditioning gas pipe.
• Tried to charge me £422.14 because they forgot an O-ring causing them to misdiagnose.
• Failed to check and top up engine oil.

… I would like a refund of £183.59 which is for three hours labour.

On a positive note I would like to say that I am now more than pleased with the service and expertise I received at Westover and in particular with Nick their Fiat specialist who knew instantly that the initial gearbox fault would have been caused by low oil levels, repaired the oil leak caused by SGM forgetting to replace the gearbox oil o-rings and replaced the covers that SGM kept.
 

cojones

New member
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
295
Location
Oxfordshire
That is way too long mate, I would put your conclussion on the top and a much much briefer explanation after that. With such a long letter chances of it ending up on the rubbish bin before it is read are quite big...
 
OP
OP
Carbontm

Carbontm

Stilo 2.4 Abarth
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
38
Location
Southampton
Hi guys,

Maybe it's too long, maybe it isn't... I guess the proof of the pudding will be if I get a reply but your assumption that a Customer Service department doesn't read letters over a certain length is way off the mark in my opinion.

Andy
 

luvduvs

SNAP!
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
4,462
Location
Sydney
You'll need like 10 Panadols after reading that..

Is it possible to arrange a meeting with Fiat customer service (if it exist) to discuss your complaint?
 

french bean

Bye Stilo, Hello Doblo
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
573
Location
Neustadt Weinstrasse
here's a brief over view of how I would write a letter:

dear Sir

I am writing to inform you of the poor level of service provided by a Fiat authorised dealer that has failed to succesfully diagnose a fault, failed to repair said fault in accordance with standard engineering practices and failed to provide adequate customer service that Fiat is working so hard to achieve.

Sort of told them they have a problem with their dealer and that it doesn't look good for Fiat.

My vehicle , A Fiat.... reg ... had developed a fault Explain fault

Having arranged to have the vehicle inspected by the dealer the following happened

List the events in bullet points

Then add a conclusion of what they did wrong and total cost to you as a previously satisfied Fiat customer. Tell them you feel it was a totally unjustified because the problem was exacerbated by the poor standard of workmanship provided and that you expect some form of recompense.


Just a thought, have you taken it up with the MD of the dealership? Might be better to go through them first, exhaust all channels before going to Fiat. Don't threaten to get the local press involved because the dealership spend in advertising is worth far more than a piccy of a disgruntled customer in front of the place. You could point out that you are a member of the Forum with access to many thousands of Fiat owners:D
 

twincamms

Italian Stallion
Joined
Oct 25, 2003
Messages
8,913
Location
Metropolis
Hi

You are wasting your time, I have made six complaints to FIAT in three years, I backed them up with multiple letters, multiple emails and logged al telephone calls after my first experience with them.

Six complaints, two responses. On one I got a £50 voucher to spend at the garage I complained about. The second one was not concluded, just left open. Four others totally ignored.

Fiat UK are scandalous, pathetic and do not give a hoot about the customer.

They should count their lucky stars that the Punto sells in high volume, otherwise they'd be like Lancia, out of this country and dead and buried in the UK.
 

T14086

Forum Moderator
Joined
Sep 12, 2004
Messages
39,858
Location
Preston
Why doesn't anyone speak to the dealerships DET:confused:

He is the only one that can liason with technical & warranty and are now trained in customer care issues.

If you have the DET on your side backing you up (with pictures/tech data etc of your fault) you have a much more improved chance of success.
 
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