I got a car. My first car. And it was quite an experience getting it. As the days went by, the experience turned sour around every turn. I was tempted to blog about it but I had vowed to myself that I would not write anything in public till I get the car.
Like any serious shopping decision made, after more than a year of research, contemplation and personal budget analysis, I (we) decided that we cannot do without a vehicle of our own anymore. And part of that research was to find the right car at the right price. Ford India had released the Figo more than a year back and it seemed a perfect fit for our requirements.
We went on July 20 and booked our car at MPL Ford (Taramani branch), one of the dealers for Ford in Chennai. We were told that the average waiting period for the Figo is 20/22 days. August 10 was set as our delivery date.
I don’t want to write about all that happened separately. I captured it all in an email I sent to the Managing Director of Ford India, Michael Boneham
on August 23.
I booked my car (Ford Figo – Colorado Red/Diesel) on July 20 and was told I would get my car in 20/22 days. Then I was told the delivery would happen on Aug 10.
Expecting a call in the first week of August, I waited and called the sales guy at MPL Taramani and was told the new date is Aug 15. (Please note: He did not bother to call and inform me.)
Again waiting for the next call, I called again and was told the car is delayed to Aug 20 and that I can make the payment soon. I was asked to remit payment on Aug 16, which I faithfully did on Aug 17. The sales guy mentioned that the car had arrived at MPL Ford’s yard. And as soon as the checks are cleared, the vehicle will be invoiced and the car will be in my possession soon.
Also, when I called back the next day, the sales guy tells me that since I did not bring the check by Aug 16, there would be a delay of one day to the whole process (that means, instead of Aug 20, it would be pushed to Aug 22).
I hear nothing from the sales guy on Monday (Aug 22). So I called the MPL Taramani branch and spoke to the team leader and the branch manager. And he tells me a completely different story – that my car never came to the yard, that Ford plant was having trouble with some color pigmentation issue and they were doing QA on each car, and that there would be an allotment this Thursday (Aug 25) and I would definitely have my car in that allotment. He also said that he has raised my case as critical and has asked Ford to release a car the next day (Aug 23). He said that he is not 100% sure about that but he would call and confirm the same tomm. (Aug 23).
I wait all day and receive no calls from the branch manager today. So I called him this evening. And he has a brand new excuse for me. He says the allotment will happen only on Monday (Aug 29).
It seems that, as an organization, you breed liars and people who give lame excuses. Do you have a policy that says “LIE TO THE CUSTOMER AS LONG AS WE CAN GET HIS MONEY”?
This is absolutely unacceptable, where you think you can take your customers for a ride. I have doubts whether the car that was originally allotted to me was given to someone else. Or you are simply playing games with me.
(I DO NOT WANT A REPLY FROM YOUR CUSTOMER RELATIONS THAT GIVES SOME CANNED REPLIES.)
I WANT MY CAR. AND I WANT IT THIS WEEK. I am not going to wait another week for your inefficiencies and lies.
For somebody who seems to have turned Ford India around, you seem to have customer service way below your priority list. And I have half the mind to take my money back and go book another vehicle – because you have totally ruined my first car purchase and made me not want to associate with you or your brand in any way possible. (makes me sick!)”
Dear Asish, thanks for your email.I’m concerned about the issues you raise with regard to the purchase of your new Figo.I have asked Mr.Raja our V.P Sales to personally investigate and respond to you directly to resolve this matter to your satisfaction, regards,Michael
Lot of people from Ford got involved after this. N. Raja, VP – Sales, Bindhu Vinod, Customer Relations and Arup Sengupta, (I didn’t get his title). It also included a conference call with Bindhu Vinod and the General Manager of MPL Ford (where I learnt that there really was no color pigmentation problem).
I got my car on August 26, 2011. In the effort of making up to me, MPL Ford threw in 3M sun screens on my car windows.
But I have to admit, once I got the car, it took the sting out of my anger and resentment. (The reason why I wanted to wait till I get the car to write this post.) There is no doubt about the quality of the product. And as I wrote in the customer feedback form, “If only you guys (Ford India) would take customer service seriously, you could take over the market.”
Enjoying the ride!