On Wednesday 7th November I visited Chester Le Street branch as I was booked in for an MOT and full service. I have used this branch in the past and haven't had reason to complain before. I was greeted by 'Danny' and left the car (mk 1 Focus) with him. During the day he phoned twice detailing the various problems including front and back brakes and pads, fault code on engine, tracking,scoff on rear wheel bearings and a host of others. I was told it would cost about £680 - money I didn't have. In the end I settled on a new headlamp cover and wiper blade. All that was needed for an MOT pass. The headlamp cover cost me £180 and I know from my own experience that these cost about £40. The job also only involves the removal of 3 screws, about 15 minutes work at most. That means that mark up and labour costs were £140 (or £560 per hour) far too high! I was told that he would ring around 5pm to pick the car up. At 5:45 I hadn't received a call and phoned them to say I was on my way.
When I picked the car up there was a grease stain on the passenger seat and a fuse box cover was left in the footwell. Also the leather bag under the handbrake was left loose. The official MOT form only listed a rear tyre near legal limit, a suspension arm with a deteriorated rubber bush and an anti roll bar linkage as advisory items. Not the 17 items on the handwritten service report...
When I drove home, the car was surging and juddering and lacking power when accelerating. It was virtually un-drivable and kept threatening to stall, this persisted.
I returned to the branch at 8:30 the next morning and was greeted by a man who I assumed to be the Operations Manager unlocking the shutters. I was annoyed and stressed but polite when I told him about the engine problem (I chose not to worry about the other trivial matters which I had put right myself) he argued with me and spoke over me and told me excuses, including "it was like that when it arrived" "it's due to low fuel when you brought the car in" "it's a problem with the head gasket" in the end, after a test drive, he agreed to look at the car. It was concluded that one of the spark plug leads had been damaged in the service. He said he would change those and ring me in an hour. Two hours later, after hearing nothing, I phoned him and he said he was about to take it out for a road test and would call in ten minutes. He didn't ring and I made my way to the branch. The car was ready and the fault had been a lead damaged by the mechanic and a faulty spark plug which was put in. No apology was offered.
I found myself totally disgusted with the whole experience. Shoddy service, including me having to make the phone calls. Being told I was wrong repeatedly (I know that the car was okay when I drove it in) Ridiculous prices. Attempts made by staff to pay for more work, which probably isn't necessary and an overall lack of care and respect.
I won't be using the service again...
Darryl Quested found this review useful
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