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Old 10th April 2013, 11:18   #1
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Default Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

I first started contacting Methods more than 6 months back, enquiring for Koni HT Offroad dampers for my Gypsy. The so called manager Mr. Suraj never had the courtesy to respond to my enquiry for price. It was always I'll check and get back to you and then silence for weeks. 8 months passed and I grew tired of my ride quality on the stock Monroe gas shocks with CFLs. So one day in Feb, I called again and persisted until I got a quote. Went over to see the material- To my surprise I was shown the part numbers for Jimny (8040-1300 and 8040-1301) and not for Samurai (26-1168 and 26-1369). This inspite of clearly asking for the material quote by part number. When I asked about it, I was told confidently that this is what the off-roading community in India has always purchased and used without problems. Thinking it was ok, paid by NEFT on the 18th and got them home delivered that week.

More than a month went by and I did not find the time to travel all the way to Surakshaa from Banaswadi to actually fix them due to my schedule. Finally around the 22nd of March I made time to travel the 25kms to the Garage and fit them.

The whole experience was a disappointment. When I started adjusting the shocks, none of the pairs would adjust to maximum softness with equal release rates. For both front and rear, one shock at the softest setting was always two to three seconds faster in rebound than the other. I had a mechanic press-hold-release together to time them from max compression to full extension repeatedly for more than an hour on each pair until my arms got tired. Finally I got the faster shock from the front pair adjusted to medium setting to slow down its compression and rebound rate to match the slower one - within a time of 1.5 secs variation between them. It was getting really late and I had my annual performance review meeting that day

We fit the front and abandoned fitting the rear as they were too far apart in their setting to match even closely if not exactly. Moreover we found the nut welded on the chassis to screw in the shock at the top had a sleeve of 15mm o.d to be put around it (to protect the threading) while the eyelet of the rear shock had a roughly 12mm i.d. So I was in a hurry to reach office and did not actually try to see if the shock eyelet would fit the nut directly without the sleeve, but I suspect the measurements are close enough to be tapped in gently with a few light hammer strokes. At least the nut measures 12mm in my screw gauge.

Now I wrote to Methods and insisted somebody visit me home as I am too busy to run to the heart of the city in the head straining traffic ( where their office is located, and which meant half day office gone) It has already cost me a delay of 4 weeks before I found the time to fit the shocks and 90m+ 3h (garage) + 45m travel time to fit the shocks and return to office. And so I was told Mr. Suraj would visit me. The manager came a few days later and agreed the shocks would not adjust and took them back for a replacement. Now two weeks passed with pin drop silence with not even an acknowledgement email that the shocks had been returned and the progress on finding a new one. He also promised to check the fitment on another Gypsy for me physically.

So yesterday I called him for an update and I am told they were checking with Koni Denmark and waiting for a response (for TWO weeks! ) and if Koni agreed to replace, it would be another 4 weeks to deliver. I enquired about their stock in hand and I get the response "Sir you got the lassst piece... we don’t have any more in the country". Moreover "India is the only country that makes a vehicle that uses this shock so it will take time".

Now I really smell a rat. In the age of the Internet and phone lines they wait two weeks for a response and are not sure if they are going to ship new shocks after all this delay? I really beginning to doubt if they have any real rapport with anyone at Koni HQ at all.

And the lesson for people who blindly believe in Warranty offered - if your shocks pack up, be prepared to wait more than 4 weeks for a replacement from Indian dealers!! And I have to wait another 4 weeks or more after that while he takes my front shocks back and replaces them?!! Because he wants to remove the front and check they have the same problem first. (The stock Monroe gas shocks were all totally gone case! Packed up within 10K kms on CFLs! My Gypsy is now on 28K on the odometer). So I can't remove the Koni's right now.

So much for the premium we pay for goods with lifetime warranty! And I found out when at the Methods office, nobody knew how to adjust Koni HTs. They were searching for a spanner or nut to adjust then a quick read of the manual told them it wasn't that way. It was a similar story when I enquired about Bilstein B6 offroad shocks with some one else more than a year back - both the distributor in Kerala and the local dealer shop in Bangalore kept feigning ignorance of the part numbers to use on a Gypsy, saying there is only One part! Then after persistent interrogative dialogue I discovered they were trying to palm off the non-offroad street version of B6 to me as an off-road shock. I was quiet disgusted and never looked at Bilsteins again after that. Like computer vendors these people are just into trading a different kind of onions and potatoes. They couldn't care less and dont have much knowledge about the expensive products they sell. I had to remind Mr. Suraj, that the Jimny part numbers he had supplied me were for coil spring version and that the Samurai shocks were made for a leaf setup. And unlike his promise of personally checking fitment on another Gypsy, he switched back to verbal assurance that he had checked with a local expert fitter and the shocks would fit. Then came the ghastly response Indian traders always give when you go for returns - "Only you have a problem... you are the first person... so many people are buying, nobody else has seen a problem"!! As if I was a nut case who was wasting his time and he had better things to do!

Now I am stuck after spending so much money I don’t see a satisfactory end to this within a reasonable time frame. I am sorely disappointed with Methods and their manager who never believes in calling and reaching out to customers and doesn’t know a thing about handling customer relations. Add to that my almost 1 year waiting period for a decent customer friendly responsive attitude for my queries - which I gave up on finally. Its now more than year since I decided to afford to spend on Koni's and I am still experiencing a bad ride. Have money to spend, still no solace, that is Indian consumer satisfaction for you.

Folks who are looking at Koni HT shocks please beware. You are not going to get anything in the name of service and responsiveness or quality products that perform as promised out of the box with the premium that you pay for. Nobody I met had any real expertise on the product. Even the MASS had never seen Koni's and they didn’t know it could be adjusted. It was me all the way - exercising my biceps for two hours in adjusting the shocks (compress-turn-1,2,3-release... Sigh! N more times c'mon ... compress-turn-1,2,3-release...), with sweaty greasy palms in office attire, and running late on office time ( the mechanics were so exasperated, I had to keep them motivated to continue with me).

--Rahul

Last edited by Ragul : 10th April 2013 at 11:47.
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Old 11th May 2013, 11:50   #2
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Default Re: Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

Hey Folks,

Things have now gone from bad to worse! The manager Mr. Suraj stayed silent for the last many weeks. so this week I called him and he made some feeble excuse that he is not in office since many weeks as he had an accident. He seemed to be searching for excuses and did not answer many of the calls I made to him. Then finally he said he would get someone from his office to call me immediately. Nothing happened .. after 3 hours I called again .. same promise. Nothing again.

Then I called the next day and he started telling me the shocks were damaged by the MASS during adjustment. He had given the shocks to the authorized Koni contact in India and according to them here is some aluminum clip that got bent inside while turning it with too much force. I reiterated that a pair of shocks meant to withstand high speed shocks of a 1 tonne vehicle can't be so delicate that a it will get damaged by a person using his arms to compress and adjust the shocks. He said no you have used some machinery or force to compress and twist it. . And then he claimed that the shocks were delivered to me in a sealed package. I reminded him that one pair of shocks were in an open cardboard box and the other only had a common cello tape. Then he claimed you should have checked it before taking, and I said none of your staff knew how to adjust a Koni. He said he wasn't there at the time so he can't be blamed for it. I said he is talking trash and he needs to refund my money. At this point he called the typical Indian modus-operandi into play - "watch your tone..." and he got aggressive with me. (as if once it is emotional then all irrationality and lack of ethics can be excused!). I laughed and reminded him that I was recording the conversation since I sensed something wouldn't be right about the dealings. I said he can't win and I would drag him to consumer court and see to it that he pays for this. I reminded him that I was told I could have them replaced any time under warranty if they turned out to be defective. He challenged me to show me where it is written on the bill and said send me mail I will forward it to HQ, then we will see. He then said "You have used the product - who asked you to fit it?" in a very rude tone. I reminded him that its not even possible to fit the rear shocks in my car because the inner diameter of the top eyelet is too small for the chassis bolt. I then emailed the only office contact I knew in his colleagues name, no response since two days.

A really pathetic individual spoiling the name of his company. The entire tone of his conversation was really shitty! I am not sure they realize the amount of negative publicity I can bring to the whole Internet and how much it will damage their goodwill for Methods Automotive as a business. Already this thread is in the top of search results for " Koni ht adjust" on google.

Guy's I will need your support to prove in court that the shocks cannot be damaged by hand like this. If any of you is a consumer lawyer and also a knowledgeable automotive fan it would be good. Originally I only wanted a refund for the rear shocks, as I find the fronts acceptable even with the slight mis-match in rebound release rate. But now considering his attitude towards warranty, I don’t want to keep this product in my car, I want to return all and sue for a a full refund.

You know never to buy a Koni product when ...

-Rahul

Last edited by Ragul : 11th May 2013 at 12:00.
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Old 11th May 2013, 20:19   #3
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Default Re: Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

Can you escalate this beyond the dealer ?

Assuming this dealership is a total rip-off, can you get Koni to take note?
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Old 11th May 2013, 21:08   #4
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Default Re: Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

Quote:
Originally Posted by lugnut View Post
Can you escalate this beyond the dealer ?
Methods Automotive used to be Koni importer once upon a time. I'm not sure if this still holds good.
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Old 15th May 2013, 13:14   #5
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Default Re: Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikram_d View Post
Methods Automotive used to be Koni importer once upon a time. I'm not sure if this still holds good.
Well if they are not then they have mis-represented and this is fraud.

-R
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Old 16th May 2013, 06:11   #6
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Default Re: Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

Hi Ragul,

Why not escalate the matter via internet/email to Koni direct?
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Old 18th May 2013, 14:45   #7
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Default Re: Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

What will koni do?

This looks like it is going the legal way. They are not responding to my emails and maintaining pin drop silence - the local office, the manager and some kumar at HQ. I am going to send them a legal notice once I am back from travel. This is seriously crooked behavior.

--R
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Old 20th May 2013, 14:04   #8
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Default Re: Bad experience with Methods Automotive and Koni HT

Since the dump has hit the roof and out in the open, before going legal, what money are we talking here? Cost of the deal?

Ps, for other Gypsy owners - didnt Ironman have anything for you? or CFLs?
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