I had a steering rack fitted to my car for the last MOT.
Obviously it is acceptable to expect a steering rack to last many thousands of miles, 80,000+ in fact.
However, after 3,200 miles it failed.
The guarantee was 2 weeks out of date, but I didn't think that would be a problem, as I have been a customer of the Torquay branch for many years, spending thousands of Pounds there.
I took the car to them, and explained the issue to the manager, who then asked me to leave the car with them, and he would have it looked at.
A few hours later, I telephoned for an update.
The manager informed me that the Steering Rack had indeed failed internally, and needed replacing.
He said he had phoned around, and it would be a few days before he could get the parts in, but as the car was dangerous to drive, he suggested I leave the car with him, which I agreed to.
I then asked about the work being done under warranty.
This is where the fun begins.
The manager told me that the guarantee was out, so I would have to pay full price.
I argued that the guarantee was only 2 weeks out, plus the steering rack had failed at only 3200 miles, which in my mind meant it had to have been manufactured faulty when it was first installed onto the car, which in my mind made the part unfit for purpose, as it is quite reasonable to expect a steering rack to last many miles more than this one did.
The manager disagreed strongly.
I asked him if he felt it was reasonable for it to fail so early, and he said it wasn't ideal, but these things happen!
I then told him that by his reckoning, it is reasonable for an average car based on annual millage to have a new steering rack fitted every 3 months, again the manager shrugged it off.
He offered me a £40 discount, and said that as I was given a good price originally, I should be great full for that!
I had no choice but agree for him to fix my car, so he said he would get it done.
I was far from happy, so I called the Halfords HeadOffice, and got through to gentleman on customer service.
I explained the above, and said I wasn't happy with £40 discount on a part and labour that cost hundreds.
The 'customer service' rep said he would look into it and call me back within the hour.
The next day I still was waiting for the call, so I rang head office again.
The same person answered, I asked why hedidn't call me back, and he replied 'The Torquay Manager was right, so there was nothing to tell you'. (Great customer service)
I then said I was far from happy, and asked to speak to a manager so I could make a complaint.
He refused, and said there were no managers in the building.
I said I found it very hard to believe that a company the size of Halfords had no managers on duty at their head office.
He then said the manager was busy.
'To busy to speak to a customer'? I asked.
He replied Yes.
So I said I would hold until the manager was not busy.
He put me on hold... for 35 minutes, just to come back to me and say the Manager would call me back.
I told him I expected the called within the hour or I would call back, and hung up.
20 minutes later my phone rang, a mobile number flashed up.
The person calling identified himself as Darren Stone, the regional manager for Halfords.
His first words were 'What do you want'?
I began to calmly and politely explain from the beginning, when Darren butted in, and told me I was being incredibly unreasonable, and that a guarantee is a guarantee, and they will not offer ANY discount at all.
I asked him if he felt he was offering good customer service, he replied ' Yes the best, just not to an idiot like you'.
I then asked him to confirm his name, when he began to slowly and deliberately spell it out, in a condescending fashion.
U told him I was perfectly capable of spelling Darren for myself, when he then replied that in his opinion I was a 'Moron' that needed all the help he could muster.
I then told him that his attitude stinks, and that I would never use Halfords again.
I then told him I would make an official complaint about him.
'Guess what, the manager at Torquay has fixed your car early after getting a part else where, he was going to charge less than he quoted, but now you can whistle, I will phone him and tell him to put the old part on and take your car to your address, and you are now banned from all Halfords across the country'.
I was simply dumbfounded. What on earth could I say to a man like that?
I hung up.
The Torquay manager then called me, and said his boss had told him to put the old part back on the car, because he thought I wouldn't pay.
He said he called me because he was confused because he thought I wanted him to fix the car.
I told him this was the most bizarre, stupid, and childish behavior I had ever known
and that quite obviously I wanted my car fixed, and that I did not say once that I would refuse to pay.
I told him I would get a taxi a pick my car up.
The manager then told me he couldn't let me have my own car back until his boss okay-ed it! (I kid you not)
As it was nearly closing time, and I was sick of it all, I told him to do what he liked.
A few minutes later he called me back again, and said the car would be fixed and ready for collection in the morning.
He then stated that even though a new part was on the car, that they wanted me to sign a letter to waive my right to a guarantee, as I was getting it for a special price as a good will gesture!
Well, what can I say?
I will never used that company again, I will do my best to ensure people know what kind of company Halfords are, and I will keep pushing my complaint until I am happy it has been dealt with properly.
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