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Old 12th July 2013, 22:34   #1
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Angry Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

Note: Dear fellow TBHPians this is my first thread on TBHP and this is my story against a popular used car brand from India. While this is purely based on my personal experience, the intention of posting this thread here to educate & caution the future used car buyers against a malpractice. I don't endorse any other brand in particular over this article.
This article is my story around the purchase experience cum the story of being cheated. This is my first thread so please excuse me if the article wasnt upto your expectations.

Story of my 3 mistakes: Mahindra First Choice Yes it was a big mistake

It was the year 2008 and almost 2.5 years since I started working. It was the era of economic boom, middle class purchase power was rising and I too decide to buy my own car. Since I didn't had any previous driving experience and had just completed the RTO license test & also my budget was on the lower side, I started looking for a used car. Searched many cars from the local used car dealerships but couldn't zero down on any particular car. Some had body re-painted, some had bad drivability.

As it was told in the movie Transformers-I, A driver doesn't pick the cars. Mmm-mm. Cars pick the driver. Something similar was written in the destiny for me.

Mahindra had just re-branded their used car business as first choice. Saw a lot of campaigns on TV & print media. With a budget of 1.5Lacs I called up the Mahindra First Choice dealer in Thane (Dealer @Khopat was the only dealer present in thane at that point of time). Inquired about the exact location and decided to pay a visit to the showroom in Jan 2008 along with a friend of mine.

I was attended properly by one of the SE. He showed me various vehicles some of them I liked, some I didn't even bother to open the door and check. Nothing in my budget price band was appealing me. Then he showed me a Santro 2003 model cost ~2.3Lacs. I liked the vehicle. The paint job seemed OK, tyres were had some life left of approx another 10000KM. Analog ODO was showing 39K and SE put a disclaimer saying we don't take a guarantee for this but most of the cars have the geniue reading after all its Mahindra they do 118 points check. I trusted him & brand Mahindra. This was my first mistake.

I wasn't a confident driver until then so I asked my friend to take a test drive. He drove the vehicle and said seems OK. We examined the entire body, no signs of major dent except a small on top of the front windshield. I brought my parents to the showroom immediately in the evening and they too liked the car. So the vehicle was decided. We sat on table for the pricing. The dealer said no negotiations as the price is fixed by Mahindra company and they cant bargain on that. 2.3 was way over my budget but I still decided to re-think. Told them I will come back again next day which was a Sunday.

Before buying the car I didn't do my homework. This was my second mistake. I was a newbie and wasn't even aware of things to check before buying a car. My friend used to get his vehicle serviced at Maruti A.S.S. so we didn't had any local trusted mechanic whom we can show the vehicle.

After thinking a lot on Sunday I went again to the showroom. Asked them for negotiations they said no scope. Called up my friend he also then came to the showroom. We gave a second thought and decided we have seen enough vehicles. This seems OK. Lets go for it. Paid the advance, showed work to be done prior to delivery of the vehicle. There were many cleanliness, old carpet etc etc. The delivery was promised within a weeks time. Went to the showroom exactly after a week. The vehicle was ready. A tank full of petrol and 2 services in one years time frame were committed. From the check list of work to be carried prior to delivery some of them were rectified. Some I decided to live with.

Paid the balance amount. He said the RTO passing will be done in a month's time as this is a thane registered vehicle and need to transferred to Mumbai. One month was high but I still decided to trust the brand Mahindra. This was my third mistake.

Took the vehicle came home. The joy of owning the first car in the family was something that words cant describe.

Started using Santro mostly on weekends. Initially the usage was low. Around 250-300 Kms a month.

After a month's time I called up the dealership asking about the RC, he said it will take some more time. I asked why, was given a response that there are some challenges with the transfer and it will take another 15 days.

4 months just went like this and there was no proper response. I was frustrated and escalated the case to MFC helpline. I got a call from one of the lady after a months time who asked me what went wrong I explained my story. She said MFC will get back. Didn't get any response from Mahindra ever after that. In the mean while I called up the showroom and insisted that I want to speak to the owner. He came on a call after repeated drama of being busy with other customers. I explained my pain and told him that I really regret buying a vehicle from him. His personal feeling were hurt. He asked me to pay 5K for the octroi transfer and mentioned that this is under the table the receipt will be of much less amount. I was loosing patience decided to take this final gamble. Paid him 5K as asked. Never followed up with him after that just for mental peace. Finally after 7 months or so I got a call saying RC has arrived. Went to the showroom and picked it up.

After that the Santro was my regular companion for my drives to Pune. This gave some boost to the ODO count. In the meanwhile the vehicle gave some niggles like any other used vehicle but no major repair work so life seemed good.

Somewhere in March 2013, approx 5 years after the Santro was bought the ODO was about to touch 80K and here comes the surprise that I never wanted to have.

Saw on the ODO that it was tempered. The paint from the digit 8 was damaged such that it was evident that some one had tempered it. I was sold a vehicle which had run more than what was shown to me. Though the SE had put the disclaimer, I was merely trusting brand Mahindra which was my biggest mistake of all.

My sincere advice to all the fellow TBHPians & readers is that before you decide to buy a used vehicle, please go through the check list under the used cars section.

Also note that we live in India. The consumer laws are weak and you can be take for a ride even from a reputed company dealer. Mahindra had a strong swadeshi brand image in my mind which is no longer a brand to me now. Its hard for me take this jolt of being cheated. I paid the price on the basis of a 39K Kms used vehicle. I should have got it. Thats my right as a consumer. But life moves on. Decided to live with this cheat but I wanted to ensure that this experience is shared so that at least I could save some one else from being a victim of this malpractice.

I was a addicted TBHP reader until a few months back but then decided to share my story with the fellow members so that some one can learn from the mistakes that I did.

Thanks for reading.

Geekyengineer.
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Old 12th July 2013, 22:58   #2
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

Hi

Its never a good feeling to be cheated out of your hard earned money.

How did you make the connection between the scratched 8 and the tampered odo?

Amitoj
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Old 12th July 2013, 23:07   #3
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

I dont think they open the odo unit internals to reduce the meter reading, in fact, most of the times it is done mechanically using a motorised tool. Maybe the number 8 was printed like this by Hyundai? Can you verify this with a Hyundai dealer if anyone opened the odo unit?
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Old 12th July 2013, 23:07   #4
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

Thanks a lot, for sharing the reality of the Indian Used Car Scene , even in case of organised players.

I can't believe how bad it would have felt, when you bought something which, though out of your budget and still turned out to be a problematic experience.

I guess, the TrueValue seems like the only reasonable option to go for, if want to skimp on your homework(I'm not saying you should, but for a regular joe), if the buyer can digest those higher than regular prices.
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Old 12th July 2013, 23:08   #5
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

Has the car given any other major problem? If it was already 80k and you drove another 50k, I am sure there must have been higher service costs associated. Could you share details of the same?

I know its a little late to tell you that I feel sorry for the ordeal, but your experience could be a blessing for someone else on the forum. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12th July 2013, 23:20   #6
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

A 5 year old compact petrol hatch(in 2008) with digits touching 80k range? Doubtful.
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Old 12th July 2013, 23:35   #7
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Do not be sad, if the car was in good condition mechanically, I think it was only a 39k vehicle.
I got my Matiz's odo tampered, got it reduced by 30k, from 95 to 65 as I was thinking of selling it off, but later on due to guilt, got it back up by 30k, now it reads 1lac+ and still with me. And both of the times, the meter had to be taken out with the glass, they do not take off the front plastic/glass panel of the meter. So if your car has not given you any problem, might be just a printing error with original odo reading in my opinion.
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Old 12th July 2013, 23:54   #8
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramzsys View Post
A 5 year old compact petrol hatch(in 2008) with digits touching 80k range? Doubtful.
Why? My Wagon R is 9 years old, and has done 160 K. Parag Sachania's Wagon R has done 200 k in less time.
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Old 13th July 2013, 00:20   #9
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

More than the money, being cheated hurts more in your case. Atleast, you can find peace in the fact that your car never gave you major trouble. Thanks for sharing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by geekyengineer View Post
My friend used to get his vehicle serviced at Maruti A.S.S. so we didn't had any local trusted mechanic whom we can show the vehicle.
I feel you brother but this is not a reason for not finding a mechanic. A friend of mine was also on the look out for a pre-owned Santro. We came across one neat looking and well maintained (we only thought so) and were just about to finalize it but I was hell bent on having it inspected by a mechanic. We did not have a clue on how to inspect the health of a vehicle. I went to the nearest Hyundai A.S.S at around their closing time-->spotted a mechanic-->told him my story-->picked him up on my bike-->he inspected the vehicle and he told us many horrifying facts about the vehicle which were obviously not told by the dealer. Luckily he was from the body shop department and could tell that the vehicle had been in an accident. He gave us many reasons not to buy the vehicle at the said price. One of his observation was - the vehicle was of 2008 but the wind shield was of 2010. I would never have found that on my own. I felt like an idiot for not checking the superficial things atleast. Paid him Rs.200 and dumped the dealer.

EDIT: I know nothing about meter tampering but if I think from a layman's per se - For tampering, the digit at ten thousand place (here 8) needs to be forced back to 3. And if I have to move it back to 3 wouldn't I be scratching 7,6,5 and 4 too in the same digit place???

Am I making any sense here?

Last edited by Farukh : 13th July 2013 at 00:32. Reason: Added a question.
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Old 13th July 2013, 02:40   #10
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

My friend, while there is no concievable reason for the 8 to be sort of mutilated, but please realize, this is a simple activity - unless some rank newbie did it under a peepal tree, no one would do as shoddy a job so as to mutilate the 8! Farukh has a good point - if it were to be some such clumsy apparatus, it would have mutilated all the digits at the ten thousandth place up to three. Which it hasn't.

You should relax. Go offer some laddoos etc at your religious place of worship.

In fact, if i dare say myself, you have gotten lucky - you bought at MFC without someone doing a thorough check on your part, and yet you have had 50k km of pretty much trouble free motoring. I think you got a decent deal (no idea about the "fairness" of the numbers, but MFC gave you a "good" car!).
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Old 13th July 2013, 06:59   #11
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Hey Geeky, used car scene is pretty bad in India and this doesn't exclude MFC. however I fail to understand how the misprinted 8 indicates that the odo is tampered? Can you please elaborate.?
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Old 13th July 2013, 07:25   #12
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Geekyengineer, when you buy a used product you assume certain risks. You know the whole caveat emptor thingy? But I am at a loss a to why your buyers remorse came so late? Five years is an awfully long time. Even if there HAD been any meter tampering back then, surely if you have had a reasonably pleasant ownership experience, it should not matter now.

I bought a Swift Vxi at 30000 km/3 yrs from MFC in 2009 and apart from an AC that blew early on, was perfectly satisfied with my experience. The RC was delivered as promised within a week, they didn't ask me to pay anything "under the table" etc. In fact there it's no earthly reason for the RC delay, nor should you have agreed to pay the excess amount.

But that is all in the past now. My advice is- if you have otherwise enjoyed your ownership experience, put this behind you.

Last edited by noopster : 13th July 2013 at 07:26.
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Old 13th July 2013, 11:15   #13
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

Lets look at this objectively. You feel cheated because :

1. Delay in regn.

This was a problem and am sure could have been handled better by the dealership. AM sure Mahindra has some connections and no RC formalities should take so long.

But let it be. No use crying over it now. Leave it behind and enjoy the car.

2. Tampered meter

First of all, have to agree with the rest of guys that the meter need not have been tampered with.

Whether you have been cheated or not, one thing is clear that you have got a good car. Believe me its better to be cheated into buying a good car rather than getting an excellent deal on an abused car.
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Old 13th July 2013, 11:29   #14
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Default re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

I do not understand how you were cheated. I understand there was a delay in registration, just leave it behind as it is sorted now. How can a misprinted "8" point out that the meter has been tampered?
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Old 13th July 2013, 12:34   #15
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Red face re: Pre-owned Santro from Mahindra First Choice: Scratched Odo / Service issues

@geeky engineer
Is it possible that only one digit of the odo can be tampered with, I suppose if the tampering is done wouldnt other digits also bear the tampering signs. Surprising that you waited for 5 yrs to find out. I strongly feel that this is your imagination. You have enjoyed the car for 5 yrs, I would suggest continue enjoying without any remorse.

Had you joined the BHP forum earlier, you could asked for expert advice before proceeding. Was the MFC outlet by any chance Automxx near Nitin Co in Thane?
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