Getting a bad reception
Getting a bad reception

For decades car salesmen have been regarded as the least trustworthy of all professions and trades.

It is a stigma that manufacturers and dealerships are working hard to change and the introduction of capped-price servicing is another step towards making the industry more open and accountable.

While many car owners will know the price of a service before taking their car to a dealership, complaints about extra costs or pressure to have extra work done are still common.

Last week, WestWHEELS was contacted by a reader who said he had snapped the aerial off the roof of his Ford Escape SUV.

He took it back to the Ford dealership in the northern suburbs where he had been getting the car serviced to arrange to have the aerial replaced.

He was told that a new aerial would cost $50 but to fit it the interior roof lining would have to be removed and the labour cost would be $350, making it a $400 fix.

Because of the high cost he decided to also get a scratch in the rear tail gate - which happened in the same incident - repaired via an insurance claim. While getting a quote from a panelbeater, he told him how complicated it was to replace the aerial.

The panelbeater got a screwdriver, opened the sunglasses holder between the sun visors in the front of the car, removed two small screws and exposed the aerial fitting and removed it. The whole process took about two minutes.

The reader returned to the dealership and asked for an explanation. The service manager shrugged his shoulders and said: "What do you want me to do?"

The reader bought a new aerial and fitted it himself, saying it took five minutes, and has vowed never to have the car serviced at the dealership again.

If dealerships want more customers to come back to them to get their car serviced, they are going to need to do more than offer capped-price servicing, something that their off-site competitors have done for many years.

First, they need to ensure incidents like this don't continue to happen.

Steve Lague, WestWHEELS Editor

The West Australian

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