My Journey From Hell. Copy sent to bbc watchdog
Dear Sir or Madam, my name is Colin Jenkins, age 66,I live at Bon Aire 6, 2a, Es Castell, Menorca, Spain, Tel 0034 971 35 17 42. As an admirer of your program, when I lived in England, I was wondering if you could help me, as I have nowhere left to turn to.
My horror story started on 9th May this year on my return journey from England to Spain! My car broke down in France, the car an Opel Zafira 2 litre turbo diesel, although first registered in 2002; had only 60,000 kilometres on the clock. Having had the car transported to the nearest Opel dealership, I was told by the garage that it required a replacement part engine,
(This was a shock, considering the low mileage) and I was quoted 700 euros, and would take 3 weeks to repair, this was on the 9th May, I continued my journey to Spain by public transport. On arrival at Barcelona en route to Menorca I had my wallet picked from my pocket, and lost all my credit cards, money, driving license, and important documents, even my identity, I thought my luck couldnÃ¢ÂÂt get any worse, but unfortunately it did.
On 22nd May I returned to Newcastle by air to spend a week with my sister.
On 27th May I decided to ÃÂ´phone the garage as it was getting close to the 3 weeks completion date, and inquire how they were progressing with the repair. I decided to forfeit my return flight to Menorca, book a flight to Paris, collect my car, and continue my journey home. On phoning the garage I found that they could not, or would not speak English, and as I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt speak French, all they said was Ã¢ÂÂgoodbyeÃ¢ÂÂ. I started to get worried, and didnÃ¢ÂÂt know what to do next, I was given the telephone number of General Motors in Luton by a local garage, and ÃÂ´phoned their Customer Care dept, they gave me the Customer Care telephone number in France, I Ã¢ÂÂphoned them, (this is where my problems really started).
They told me they would have to open a case, contact the garage in France to see what the position was, and Ã¢ÂÂphone me back, on returning my call five days later, I found out that no work had been started on the car, and because the car was registered in Spain I would have to contact Customer Care in Spain, because they would have to open a case. I contacted Customer Care in Spain, and was told that they would liaise with the French team to reach a satisfactory conclusion. One week later I hadnÃ¢ÂÂt heard anything from France or Spain, I tried to reach the persons concerned with the case, and every time I was told that they were busy, and that they would get back to me. I heard nothing for another week. Eventually, I was informed that the garage didnÃ¢ÂÂt think it was the engine, and needed a fax from me to give them permission to open the gearbox, as they thought the problem could be there, and the cost would be 450 euros, I heard nothing from anyone for another two weeks, despite numerous Ã¢ÂÂphone calls. Then I received an estimate via email, the estimate was in French, which I didnÃ¢ÂÂt understand, but noticed that the cost for repairs had escalated from seven hundred, to two thousand eight hundred euros, and the garage requested a fax from me accepting the estimate before they would continue, I felt that I was being exploited, as I later found out that part of the estimate was for doing some work on the CD player. Later I phoned Customer Care in Spain to ask when the car would be ready, I had spoken in English with this person before, she said she preferred to speak in Spanish, although I can speak a little Spanish, her English is far superior to my Spanish, and she refused to continue the conversation in English, I was so upset, that I decided to contact Customer Care service in Luton England, told them the problem with everything, and they decided to open a case as well, They were annoyed with the treatment I had received from the Spanish dept. and said they would speak to them. Finally on the 4th July after more than two months had passed, I got a telephone call from the Spanish dept. saying the case was nearly closed, and my car should be ready by the end of the week, on the strength of this information I booked a flight from Newcastle to Paris for the 6th July and then a train to the garage to enable me to collect my car, and thought that this could be the end of my problems, but it was not so. On 5th July I received a phone call from Customer Care in England to say that the garage was still waiting for a part for the car (a flywheel), that they said they were trying to obtain from a small Island with a time difference of 5 hours, and if they were unsuccessful it would be 21st September before the garage received their back order of this part, I could not believe what I was hearing, that would mean that the garage would have had my car for 18 weeks. On the 6th July I received a call from England Customer Care to say that they had found one in Italy, and would arrange to have it delivered to France, I told them I was booked on a flight to Paris that same day, but it would be the 10th July before I would arrive at the garage, and hoped to collect my car then. They couldnÃ¢ÂÂt understand why the Spanish customer care hadnÃ¢ÂÂt informed me of the change of circumstances; it seemed to me that the right hand didnÃ¢ÂÂt know what the left hand was doing. When I arrived at the garage, my car was in pieces; they said they were still waiting for the part, and couldnÃ¢ÂÂt tell me when the car would be ready. After waiting 12 weeks, and being back to square one I decided to go back home to Menorca. While writing this, I am still waiting to hear from someone. I have spent over 150 pounds on telephone calls and more than 500 pounds on travel regarding the car. Also an estimated 200 pounds more when I do collect the car. The treatment I have received from General Motors Customer Care has left me deflated and empty. Please can you help me? Yours Sincerely. Colin Jenkins.