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Old 18th March 2004, 00:12   #1
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Revvmaster, Shantanu, Dippy and V12 knew of the fact that I was picking up my Honda City Vtec this evening. I had first seen this car last Thursday and instantly fell in love with it. The sales staff at Ichibaan Honda (Authorised Honda dealer at Worli and Kalina, Mumbai) had called me and informed me about an almost new Vtec that was available with their used car department. This Honda City Vtec is a 2003 model, dark silver in colour, single owner and has run only 3260 kms!! I thought to myself that this is a car that has not even been totally run-in and is as good as brand new! The body was spotless, the interiors still smelt like new and everything was really "tight" about this Honda. Beside a Pioneer stereo and leather seats, everything else is original about this car. I test-drove the car around Altamount road and instantaneously knew that I wanted to take it home.

It took two days of negotiations before me and the seller finally agreed to a price. The sale price was a little higher than what I thought was reasonable, but the advantage is that the entire sale/purchase transaction was being carried out by Ichibaan Honda - Bombays premier Honda dealer. *That, to me, delivered a lot of security since I was buying a second hand car for the first time. Also, I thought, doing a deal through Ichibaan Honda would mean that it is carried out with honesty, sincerity and utter transparency! Its after all Ichibaan Honda who markets why buying a certified used car from them is a 100% "safe" transaction.

The financing was approved through Kotak Mahindra (awesome customer support) and the payments made to the seller. Finally yesterday, Tuesday the 16th of March 2004, my Honda City Vtec entered Ichibaan premises to be readied for delivery.

Throughout the day, I was in constant touch with Mario, Ronny and Neelam (used car department sales executives) to make sure that everything is fine and that I will be able to take the car home today. They assured me that all is fine and that the car is currently being polished and cleant inside out. We agreed on a 5 p.m. delivery time. The delivery was to take place at Ichibaan Honda, Kalina.

Despite having taken a confirmation from them earlier, I spoke to Neelam at the Kalina branch just before I left my office at 4 p.m. She once again confirmed that all is well, and the car is ready for delivery at the scheduled time. I picked up my family and the 5 of us proceeded to Ichibaan Honda to welcome our new car home.

Buttttttttttttttttt horror struck at 5p.m. sharp as we pulled in our C Class into the Ichibaan compound at Kalina. I received a call from Mario and he asked me where I am. I replied that I have just pulled in to the showroom and will see him in less than two minutes. He sounded really nervous.

The minute I walked in, Mario + Neelam and Ronny asked me to wait in the lounge as the car was being "readied"? for delivery. I asked them how long it would take and they replied that it would be atleast 2 hours more. I asked them what is happening with the car, and they replied that they are fitting a 12 cd changer that I had supplied for my new car. Now this was a concern as the auspicious period for delivery (My mother and her insistence!!!) was only uptil 6:15 p.m. latest. So I politely requested him to let me perform the puja on the car, and then he can take it back in te service area and finish the rest of the work.

Mario and Ronny gave me some really strange answers about the polish being wet and customers not being allowed to see the car before delivery. I smelt a rat! I told them that I wanted to see my car right then there without any further negotiations. *

I walked into the service area alongwith Ronny and guess what I see!! My Honda City Vtec, which is less than a year old and still within the factory warranty period, is sitting WITHOUT the entire front bumper assembly and left front fender near the paint shop. Whats more, I see three mechanics working at a frantic pace on my car!!

I was seeing RED, and was so furious that words cannot explain what was going through my mind. Firstly, I pay a premium price to Ichibaan Honda for the sake of security, honesty and utter transparency. The car was dented apparently while moving around the service station, and they are attempting a QUICK-FIX!

Just the fact of him telling me that the car will be ready within 2 hours means that
1. He wanted to continue hiding from me that my car was damaged by them.
2. He was going to deliver the car to me, and just go back to his business as if nothing happened.
3. If I had noticed damage repair after a week of taking the car, Ichibaan would tell me "What the hell do I know how your car is damaged. When we gave it to you, it was perfect".

This is simply a case of fraud! Not only does Ichibaan damage my car before delivery, but they also refuse to tell me about it. Think about it, do you think that this is the first time something like this must have happened? I am sure that there are many unsuspecting Accord and City owners who are driving around in their "repaired" brand new cars
without a clue of how their car was "patched up"

As a customer, what was the whole point in me paying Ichibaan a premium for what I thought would be a spick and span Honda certified automobile? Why did I not go to the disorganized used car segment to look for a Vtec? We all know that used car dealers can be scrupulous in their dealings, but then NEITHER DO THEY MAKE ANY STATEMENT OF WORLD-CLASS SERVICE!

Accidents happen to anyone, and no one is a perfect driver. For all you know, I could have myself dented the car tomorrow while driving to work. The only fact that really cheeses me off is that they tried to lie about the whole thing, hide the fact that my car was damaged by their staff and just deliver it to me without a mention of apology.

Also, can you imagine the quality of a job that has been done to patch-up accidental damage with time as the biggest pressure? Their only concern with the repair work was to give me the car within 2 hours?.NOT MAKING SURE THE PAINT MATCHES.

Honda is really a world class company, but the same cant be said about their premier Mumbai dealership. I think Ichibaan Honda really needs a lesson or two in ETHICAL BUSINESS MEANS.

As of right now, my car is at their service station. Their manager is trying to find an "appropriate solution"
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Old 18th March 2004, 00:24   #2
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Ichibaan has always been a oversmart kinda dealer. They go round as if they are doing everyone a favour and that they r superior to everyone else cuz they are honda dealers! Good thing u found out their true colors before the delivery.
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Old 18th March 2004, 00:26   #3
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hey thats really bad. have you already made the payment??? If not, i guess you shud cancel the deal. Maybe they are trying to hide something more. When you saw the car, only the bumper and the left fender was missing. Maybe they have damaged something else and have already rectified it before you came.

I got a good idea. Ask the person who damaged the car as to what happened exxactly. Question and cross question him. If he gives vague answers or tries to hide anything CANCEL the deal. The best thing is to take a good mech along to check the body and paintwork. With Ichibaans paintwork u wud never make out if its a company paint or repainted in their booth. So u gotta be very observant and careful.
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Old 18th March 2004, 00:33   #4
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This really is Shocking News Man.
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Old 18th March 2004, 00:34   #5
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Chee Chee IcheeeBaaan.
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Old 18th March 2004, 00:55   #6
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thats .. shocking...better.stop the deal and try somewhere else..its really a shock to me..man.. i wont suggest that dealer to any of my friends
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Old 18th March 2004, 01:01   #7
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This is terrible. I had called GTO in the evening asking if he got his car and he told me he'd call me back later since there was a dispute. But I didnt expect this. Honda has always come out tops in the surveys but this is totally way out of this world. Total unprefessionalism on the part of Ichibaan. I myself planned to buy my pre owned 1.5 City A/T from a Honda dealer but after seeing this I have my doubts. I guess you should think twice about this deal buddy...

Cheers
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Old 18th March 2004, 01:48   #8
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Dude, after talking to you on the phone about the problem, it really got to my gut. What's happened with you is really downright nasty. And this is one problem i find dealerships taking it a little too casually.

What's really sad is that the car is something you were picking up today, a new car, so imagine what these guys do to people who pick up brand new off the floor cars?? Infact i was in consultation with GTO and was about to look for a second-hand VTEC for myself at Ichibaan. This incident has made we wonder whether its worth going to them at all.

Frankly, people go to company authorised dealers for used-cars with the though that their purchase will be secure, it would be a peace-of-mind deal. But if this is how they deal with their customers, my question is, how different are the small 2nd hand dealers from the company showrooms? Why should NFO and JD Power waste their times giving company dealers any ratings then? This is a matter of concern.

My best wishes to you pal. Hope this mess clears out at the earliest. Meanwhile the rest keep your eyes open while purchasing a car. A lil inquisitiveness can go a long way

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Old 18th March 2004, 02:27   #9
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What a shame. They should have been honest and come clean upfront.

--V.
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Old 18th March 2004, 02:45   #10
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events like these just totally ruin buying a new car. i never really like the way indian dealers function. these guys are forever trying to rip you off. whether it's sai service for maruti's or lakozy/shinrai for toyota. hell everytime i used to give my qualis for service they would hardly do any work at all. heck, in my friend's qualis..mind you a GST..top of the line et all... he paid 10 lakhs for the farking car..and guess what? the tubes in the tyres were fakes..as in bridgestone tyres but not bridgestone tubes. we were like, wtf? we made an absolute barf of a scene at the showroom..made sure there were quite a few customers around. and started giving the car for work to a guy we knew.

crazy shit all this. about time somebody did something about this.
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Old 18th March 2004, 09:06   #11
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CSI ratings mean nothing to these guys. I have never understood why some top class nameplates fail to deliver service that should otherwise match vehicle quality. Toyota dealerships come at the bottom of a list of over 35 auto manufaturers, well below average. Honda fares only slightly better, coming just above average.
Personally, I ratify these rankings. I can't seem to get this across without generalizing and sounding damning, but these folks are quite arrogant. My experiences with Toyota, Honda and VW has never been good - to say the least. The irony is, Lexus and Acura find places at the top !

Again JD Power ratings differ for different markets, but I wonder if the Indian market is going the way of the largest one in the world. Hope not.
GTO, I strongly recommend you to do your own investigation of the vehicle before purchasing it, making sure it's only a little dent and not a lemon.
--V.
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Old 18th March 2004, 09:28   #12
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Publicise it in magazines - write to Honda - Honda will step in (i hope) to limit bad PR
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Old 18th March 2004, 10:38   #13
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I'm not surprised. My cousin and I had gone to Ichibaan, Kalina to test drive the new city and try to get a glimpse of the Accord V6 which Honda were raving about at that time. For starters, they made us wait for 20 mins or so till we got an attendant to show us around. From her we came to know that they didn't even have a 4 pot Accord at their showroom, let alone the V6. Next, they didn't have answers to a few simple technical questions that I put up. After this, we were promised a test drive in 5 mins, but had to wait for another 30 till we got it.
Trust me on this, the HM guys at National Garage, Santacruz, where I get my Conti serviced, have never kept me waiting like this. If it is because I talk to them in Marathi, I don't know.
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Old 18th March 2004, 13:25   #14
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Ah!! This is real sad. A similar thing happened to us when were expecting delivery of our Vtec. The car i have now isn't the car that was supposed to be given to us!!!!

They made a lame x-cuse saying the truck carrying the cars had been stopped by the cops for wrong dimenssions of the truck. I dunno if that rule actually exists in India.

After listening to your story, even i've started suspecting the delay.

U shouldn't keep silent, complain to Honda about this and if they don't respond ask the auto mags to post it.

We can't have such idiots marketing a brand, that's respected around the world.

So what happened finally?? R u taking that car or not?

Regards...
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Old 18th March 2004, 15:24   #15
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GTO,

As i said yesterday do give it a thought b4 buying this car from Ichibaan. It is owned by a Sardarji who are known to rip off people in Automobiles..not that his being sardar matters a lot. Wonder whether JD Power & NFO really conduct surveys ! These idiots really dont care abt customers..all they want to do is push cars out of the dealership..if you show some interest in buying a car they'll lust after you like dogs..When i made my decision to buy the car the GM of the dealership & a sales person came down personally to my house for the necessary documentation ! The reason being that v are privileged cutomers !! but once they sell the car everything goes down the drain ! I'm sure ur planning to write about this in the leading mags..donot spare them..one thing that i wonder is that did u fire the dealership manager or service manager or not ? do let us know of further developments
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