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Old 21st March 2009, 23:56   #1
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Angry Arya Honda denies me a TD of New Accord V6 !! EDIT : Now Resolved

So here's how it went.

Last weekend, I walked into the Arya Honda showroom at Prabhadevi in Mumbai and asked for a test drive of the Accord V6. I was told by the sales guy that the car isn't launched in Mumbai yet, and they have no info on pricing or specs whatsoever. He took my number and assured me that I would receive a call from him when the car arrived this week.

And so he did, promptly, which pleased me quite a bit. Called me up a couple of days back and said that the car is available for TD, I can go down to the showroom anytime for it. Since I was working during the week and had today i.e. Saturday off, I called up this chap and asked him whether the TD vehicle is available or not, to which he said he wasn't available at the showroom but I could walk in and take the TD anyway. I reached a couple of hours later, dressed quite "appropriately" (i.e. no torn jeans/shorts/chappal...but being sarcastic), travelling from Bandra to Prabhadevi just for the TD. When I got there, they asked me to wait for a bit as a customer had already arrived there before me and was just taking the car out. Meanwhile they took my licence for the TD form and returned it in a couple of minutes.

By then, the sales guy who had called me arrived at the showroom and was rather pleased to see me there. He disappeared into the office and after about ten minutes came up to me and asked for my business card. I replied saying that I don't have one, and the car will be for my father whose business card I don't have on my person (facts). I also told him rather clearly that he could have all the details he wanted. He mumbled "Sir actually we have been asked for the customers profile...mumble mumble..." and I replied saying I will speak to his manager if there is any problem, I don't see why there should be though. He nodded and disappeared back into his office, and emerged a few minutes later. After that he spent about 10-15 minutes - kept me waiting in the mean time, now I had waited almost half an hour in the showroom - with his colleagues from the sales team discussing something or the other (well I was about to find out what). He was probably trying to come up with a suitable excuse that I'd buy.

Following this, he walked up to me saying "Sir actually the TD will not be possible today, it's quite difficult as the car is not registered and it's caught by the cops on the road right now...."

(I had noticed the TD car was on red plates while it was leaving the showroom with the previous prospective customer...)

I realized what had happened and let a moment of silence go by. Then I turned to him and stated a couple of facts.

Fact 1 : I TD'd a BMW 320d last weekend and that was running on red plates as well, in this very same area where Arya Honda is located. The cops very well noticed, and didn't flag us off the road even with some aggressive driving.

Fact 2 : I also TD'd an Audi A4 last weekend where I was asked for a business card, and when I replied in the negative there, they politely smiled back and took my details instead.

After which I blasted him in a rather restrained manner. Restrained not in words, but in tone and loudness of voice. I asked him what the problem really was, whether it was the car or the fact that I wasn't carrying a business card and not deemed worthy of a TD of their flagship. Has Honda really become that big, bigger than Audi to deny a prospective customer a TD because of some bizarre criteria they deemed fit to apply to every customer who walks through the door? I made it clear to him that after traveling all the way from Bandra for this TD and being made to wait half an hour for this nonsense, he will most certainly get some bad press for himself and his dealership, and that he has lost a customer.

(All this while...he is completely clueless, slightly embarassed too I suspect, and speechless. Smart move, for if he had opened his mouth to refute anything I'd have drawn the attention of every single customer in the showroom to the incident...)

I said "I want to speak to your superior immediately..." after which, in a moment, I completely lost it and said something to the effect "You know what, never mind, you've lost a customer and I'm no longer interested in talking to you", handed over the V6 brochure and pricelist right back to him and stormed out of the showroom. That's how I ended it.

Honestly, I don't know how to react. Maybe a few years back I'd have bought his crap excuse like any average joe who walks into these showrooms and gets played around with by the sales team. But after reading incidents of TD denials on this forum and more recently sidindica's Porsche incident (sorry to bring that up again, I know it's resolved) I am completely amazed by the behaviour exhibited.

And I'm not just saying this cause I'm disillusioned by their behaviour today, but at 28.5 lakhs OTR Mumbai, they really can't afford to treat people like this if they want to sell any of that car at lofty prices, especially in the times of recession where car buyers are holding tight.

I honestly believe with full conviction, thanks to this forum, that car dealerships have no right to make preliminary assumptions of their customers' backgrounds and denying them TD's / behaving inappropriately with them on the basis of the same.

Wake up Honda, after the price hike if your dealers are going to flaunt this attitude, you're in for a rude shock.

If any of you guys honestly think what I've said here or how I handled the situation is wrong on my part, please feel free to say so, but I stand ground on my opinion that they may NOT continue with such practices if they know what's good for them. Since when has Honda become bigger than BMW/Audi anyway?

Your opinions please.

Last edited by FlyingSpur : 19th September 2010 at 02:59.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 00:08   #2
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Sorry to hear of your ordeal spur.It really is a bummer on part of the dealer to treat prospective customers like this.
well I don't think an avg customer has the heart to randomly walk into Audi/BMW/Merc showroom and get a TD as compared to a Honda/toyota showroom.
This does not mean that the Honda dealer was right in how he dealt with you.
Unfortunately Honda/Toyota are becoming more lame in dealing with prospective customers as they know their products are unique and no matter what customers will buy(due to price/value thingy hehe).It is sad indeed. You should have spoken to the manager of the showroom and voiced the problem. But nothing can be done about these things except for the steps you have already taken. Don't take it to hear as the sales rep was obviously not very competent.
I believe you have a 5 series right?If yes then go back to that bugger's showroom in your 5.Park it in their face and then as them for a TD and see them come kiss up to you.
Chill bro

Last edited by Rehaan : 23rd March 2009 at 18:22. Reason: Please watch your language.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 00:11   #3
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No I don't really have a 5, morphin1. I just TD'd it. There too, they didn't behave like the Arya chaps.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 00:20   #4
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@flyingspur

Absolutely right sir. Nobody has got the right to say 'NO' to a TD based on this business card mumbo-jumbo! Had I been in your place, I would have most probably knocked the salesman, then the manager and if possible guy sitting in the office upstairs too with some not so good sounding words too. IMO sir, you should take this issue up with the honda. Nobody and i mean nobody is bigger than the customer, be it BMW or honda. I'm sure someone on team-bhp can do the honors with the email id. Time to send a stinker!

cheers
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Old 22nd March 2009, 00:33   #5
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And that stinker will be sent, @bharti22shresth !! If I tell my father about this he'll really flip. I'll mail them at the appropriate time.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 03:03   #6
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What will the sales guys do if I print a fake business card and go for a TD? I find this practice disgusting and flyingspur you have done the right thing by walking out of tha shworoom.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 03:17   #7
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Spur the owner of Shaman Group which owns Arya is a family friend. I'll bring it up with him tomorrow. Ideally this should never happen. I've only experienced such BS at Fortune Tata in Nerul when I went to TD the Linea. [However the owner of Fortune is also a friend of the family and a quick phone call rectified this]

Bottom line is that they cannot refuse a TD to anyone. However it is probably the fact that they have only 1 TD vehicle and need to prioritise the "Genuine" customers before all others. It's probably just your age. Just brush it off as the ignorance of a salesman.

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Old 22nd March 2009, 04:23   #8
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Idiots. Don't be angry, it's their loss not yours. What happened to customer is king? Is Honda making enough profit to choose their customers?

Cheers
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Old 22nd March 2009, 04:25   #9
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i think its called profiling a customer to identify if the customer is a prospective buyer after the test drive or not!

nothing to get angry about it. BMW/Audi has premium products and they want/need sales in the economic situation. where are toyota/honda know their products sell and people want them, so no matter if TD or not, their cars will sell.

even some airlines do customer profiling, some hotels do the same, its called right of admision reserved!
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Old 22nd March 2009, 08:16   #10
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Our local tata/fiat dealer was doing a linea demo. I had a friend who had plonked the money for a dzire ZDi and was waiting the long wait to take delivery, and in the meanwhile , was trying to get him to consider the linea. Went there and told the sales guy that my friend here had plonked down the cash for a dzire Zdi, and was in the mood to change his mind. Would he get a TD?

No, apparently. I asked the sales guy if there was any reason why my friend should buy the linea instead of the dzire. The guy said the familiar story of the fiat withdrawing the license for using the MJD in the dzire, and that he may not get the car at all. I was expecting something good about the linea, and instead , got the negativity instead.

I remember reading in one of Scott Adams' ( the creator of dilbert) books , that there are two types of salesfolk. Lazy ( paid a fixed salary), and unscrupulous ( paid commissions). I guess these were the former

I went back to my office, and as I was leaving, I see the salesman taking the car for a joyride around the block (
- I'm sure because this happened on our office campus , and I could see the route he was taking....

Last edited by greenhorn : 22nd March 2009 at 08:22.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 08:22   #11
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I'm 22 and i Test drove the BMW two years back. I didn't even ask for it. I had gone to the showroom and it was offered to me. Case is the same with the Audi and the Benz. I'v never been to Arya so can't comment but then Icchibaan chaps were quite decent and gave me the test drive. But the point about the BMW / Benz and Audi is that they make you feel special in the showroom. Attention is lavished upon you, they are cordial and warm. And that too to a 20 year old boy who walked in after a hard day in office looking like a worn out salesman.

BOT - All said and done iot's fine. Probably the salesman was helpless himself if he really was as embaressed as you said he looked. You should have fired his sales manager dude. And then stormed out. They deserve nothing less.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 08:35   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocG View Post
Bottom line is that they cannot refuse a TD to anyone. However it is probably the fact that they have only 1 TD vehicle and need to prioritise the "Genuine" customers before all others. It's probably just your age. Just brush it off as the ignorance of a salesman.
@Doc, any and every showroom keeps one and only one TD vehicle of a particular model, whether it's the Alto or the BMW 750Li. That is no reason to deny a TD.

Secondly, at "just my age" if he was going to make preliminary conclusions on my TD-worthiness he might as well have done it last weekend instead of giving me a call, and making up tall tales on my visit.

And yes, if in case I'd forgotten to mention, last weekend too he asked for my business card and I had given him the exact same, factual reply i.e. I don't have my own and the car is for Dad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parm View Post
nothing to get angry about it. BMW/Audi has premium products and they want/need sales in the economic situation. where are toyota/honda know their products sell and people want them, so no matter if TD or not, their cars will sell.
Just this once, I'm really keen to see how many V6's they sell at INR 28.5L OTR Mumbai. And that's got nothing to do with what happened with me in the showroom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parm View Post
even some airlines do customer profiling, some hotels do the same, its called right of admission reserved!
Are you really justifying their actions? And I have half a mind to see if they have the spheres to put up such a notice outside any car dealership in these times.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redeff View Post
BOT - All said and done it's fine. Probably the salesman was helpless himself if he really was as embarassed as you said he looked. You should have fired his sales manager dude. And then stormed out. They deserve nothing less.
I assumed a warm and cordial e-mail on Monday morning would be a more dignified way of going about things.

Last edited by FlyingSpur : 22nd March 2009 at 08:42.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 08:46   #13
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Well my sister's friend has worked with Honda in some senior customer relation or some other post, I dont remember exactly.
When she visited our place, obviously she started asking me a few puzzling questions about cars. I answered them all easily. I then asked her that she didnt knew even what is piston how can she even do a job like this.
The reply stunned me. She told me they were dealing with premium customers. She was trained to speak the word " Sir " and " Madam " a million times in one statement. That would satisfy the customer. Agreed that for marketing purpose you dont need a person to know what is crankshaft or valve, but this was ridiculous.
The way Honda trains its people is like this " Our cars are the most premium products in India " and we have only " premium customers " who are entertained properly.
The salespersons at Honda didnt knew anything either. Not even the difference between independent and non independent suspension.
The problem is not the sales person, its the attitude of Honda and some other companies. I was insulted back in 2007 when I went to Honda showroom for my friend's City test drive.
Anything more than Rs. 5 lakh = Premium product and the physical outlook matter a lot for the dealers.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 08:57   #14
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I feel you should mail Honda Co directly and let them know how the dealers behave, also mention in your mail that you were to buy a Accord but after the incident you are thinking of getting the New Superb. THis should ring bells within the Honda Marketing team.
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Old 22nd March 2009, 09:04   #15
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@Flyingspur: I cant imagine how they can do something like this. But the way you have handled the situation is amazing. I would have lost my temper at the showroom and would have ended up making a fool of myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parm View Post
i think its called profiling a customer to identify if the customer is a prospective buyer after the test drive or not!

nothing to get angry about it. BMW/Audi has premium products and they want/need sales in the economic situation. where are toyota/honda know their products sell and people want them, so no matter if TD or not, their cars will sell.

even some airlines do customer profiling, some hotels do the same, its called right of admision reserved!
@Parm: How do you decide someone is a prospective customer or not. And IMHO Customer is the king and is always right should be the motto of anyone in sales of any product. Gone are the days when companies used to treat customers badly. I am sure if Honda people come to know about it they would not be pleased.
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