Volkswagen service… really?


Poor service

I think we have all had similar situations where during the sales process you are treated like royalty and then once the money has gone through you revert back to being just a regular Joe. The polite conversation stops; the sincerity disappears almost immediately and they make you feel as though you are wasting their time when you dare to ask any questions. I would love to ask every service provider where they think the loyalty factor comes in to play? I always wanted a Volkswagen, because the resale value is fantastic and they are just pretty cars (in my opinion). As much as I love VW I have to say that the dealership I have had to deal with since I purchased my vehicle has put me off ever wanting another VW again.

This is not some back alley dealership either it is a proper VW service center. Every time I have taken my vehicle in for a service I have had issues, issues, issues. They are useless at communicating and they do not follow through on requests. I requested the invoice be emailed to me about seven times in one day and still never received anything. When I eventually arrived at their service department I requested the invoice print out and the buggers wanted to charge me for wiper blades that I told them I did not want because I had replaced my wiper blades not even a year ago at their dealership. I wonder what other “wear and tear” parts I just paid to have replaced that were actually worn or if they just bullshitted me about the rest as well?? It’s safe to say I do not trust them anymore. They offered me a courtesy car with the fuel light on and then gave me a fuel requisition slip and made the problem mine. If I sound bitter and pissed off; I am. Surely, they realize that these are all still touch-points of their business????

This is the best part; after every service they call me wanting to know how the service was, because they run these constant surveys to monitor service levels and customer satisfaction, but because the service has not improved an ounce in 2 years they can take their surveys and F*** right off. Maybe the majority of their customers are happy with the service, but I don’t see why I should help their research if in the bigger picture they actually don’t give a rats ass. Has anyone else had similar service related issues?


11 responses »

  1. Jip, feel the same about their service and the big bill they gave you afterwards. Well, it’s a big bill because of the high labor charges, so I prefer using the private guys. Of course you don’t have a choice if you have a motor plan 🙂

  2. My Fiance had a VW… And we had endless issues!! And the service bills where ridiculous!

    I swear they see a female drive in for a service, and they just see money! What female is going to question a service adviser who says he brakes need replacing, or there is a worn wheel bearing, or a ball joint? You going to believe them and say yes to their recommendation to replace it under the pretense of safety…

    Now.. let me tell you some of my fiance’s experiences with VW in Durban…

    1. Every single time she took her car in for a service they changed her windscreen wiper blades!! Every time!! On the grounds of they were worn… Shit, it doesn’t rain all that much in Durban and wiper blades last at least a year!

    2. They told her she needed new brake pads after her car had done 40 000km’s so she replaced them. got an invoice for R3000 for the replacement of break pads! She asked for the old ones back, which at first they could not present to her, then eventually they presented a set which came from a Golf and her car was a Polo!

    3. After the very first service, the car came back with this annoying squeak in the clutch pedal, which they just could not get rid of! They even tried to charge her for a clutch master cylinder as they said that was the problem, but refused to acknowledge it was a warrantee claim. Much later after the service plan expired, I climbed into the car one day and vowed to find the squeak… To my amazement it was so simple! when they serviced the clutch adjustment there is this bolt that you need to loosen to take up the pedal slack then tighten again and they over tightened it so it rubbed against the clutch shaft each time the pedal was depressed!

    4. 60 000km service… she needs a new Cam belt, a new tensioner pulley, new brake pads front and rear, and apparently the ball joint on the front right suspension arm is worn, and they want to replace it all because its a safety risk… and they add in for good measure that because they have identified these “safety issues” if they were refused replacement it would void the vehicles 3 yr warrantee… So she asks if i would mind going into the service centre and having a look at what they want to replace. No problem off I go, knowing a fair amount about vehicles and also being an engineer I can tell when a mechanical part is and is not worn past its safety tolerances.

    I get met by the service consultant who doesn’t know who I am for a start, and then is totally caught off guard that I wish to see the parts they wanting to replace. You could see he thought that he could talk his way around this. He didn’t want me to see the car, and tried to explain the car working to me in the waiting area, I cut him very short explaining I know how a car works and I wish to the see the tolerance sheet and be given a vernier and a service breakdown manual. He tried to tell me i was not allowed to as it is against company policy to allow anyone into the service area, to which i demanded to see the dealer principle and explained that it is my vehicle in there and I have every right to inspect and agree or disagree to what they wanted to replace.

    This is what I found…
    1. The break pads – as new have 11mm or “meat” on them and the wear limit is 1.5mm before requiring replacement. they had 6mm on them still. which equates to roughly 20 000km!
    2. The cam belt according the service manual only needed to be replaced at 95 000km and not 60 000km! and the tensioner pulley was to be inspected and tightened, and replaced at 155 000km if signs of excessive wear were visible!
    3. The ball joint they said was worn was in fact perfect! It measured exactly the correct amount of torque on a torque wrench when pulled, and showed not a single marking on it… I suspect they were never going to replace it but would still charge for it!

    That car was serviced, minus all the above mentioned items, driven out the service bay and onto the second hand car lot that very same day and she walked across the road and purchased a brand new Renault Clio…

    I will never buy a VW, or even so much as walk into their show rooms again!

    • I hope that VW reads this and that they understand the risk to their brand name. I don’t think I will EVER trust a VW dealership again. You are very right to say that they take advantage of female drivers and I have lost my temper there enough. I will show them what their bad service amounts to and see how the deal with the backlash of ripping people off. This service is going to cost me R10 000! What do I know about brake pads, etc… I am furious to say the least and the funny thing is that my car was running fine. I just took it in because it told me it was service time.

      • Whats the mileage on your car?
        Brake pads very rarely need replacement at short intervals. To give you an idea, I have replaced my front brake pads three times and never replaced my rear ones in 200 000km!
        And i drive my car hard, using it a response vehicle for rescue call outs, it gets thrashed a bit, hard breaking and hard acceleration. So under normal driving from a normal person you should get 60 000km plus out of a set of pads easily…

        R10 000 for a service is just down right ridiculous!! What are they doing to your car? sprinkling it in gold dust?

        Have a look at what they charge you for oil as well… They charge like R75 a litre for the oil they put into your car and they put in 3.5 litres or there abouts. A 5 litre drum in a spares dealership costs you R145 – R210 depending on what grade you buy…

        Then they whack you on labour!! As an engineer, with a masters degree, I CANNOT charge a per hour rate of more than R400… and here a car dealership charged R450 an hour or part thereof to flipping change parts and diddle a few keys on a laptop to reset the service indicator…

        They really do pull the piss out of the situation, and to make it worse they really don’t give a continental rats ass!

      • I think if they just went about the process better and explained things in a way that a person who does not understand cars can understand then it would be ok. Go to the effort to make me understand why all of a sudden all these things need to be replaced. I bought car second hand and it isn’t on 180 000km’s yet even! But I’ve checked the service history and all I can say is that it doesn’t make any sense.

        But it’s done and from now on I will get a second and third opinion.

      • If your vehicle is not under factory warrantee anymore, then do yourself a favour and take it to a service centre rather than a VW agent… make a note of everything replaced this time, so that in the future as things come up for “replacement” you have record and can then argue it.

  3. I had vmuch the same experience from Barons, from new, we cannot close the front window without having to move the glass around by hand. It went back 6 times and i was finnally told that the factory mould is so old that this is how it works now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have driven VW for the past 25 years, but will never buy anouther one. BTW, had the Jaguar servise by Jag in Cape Town, only came to R8000 with major parts replaced

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