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Old 2nd July 2009, 17:57   #1
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Default Narrow escape from dodgy dealer:Thanks to Team-BHP PDI checklist

Hi TBHPians,

This is my first post on TBHP, but have been a regular visitor of the site in the past.

I recently had a very narrow escape from a dodgy dealer, thanks to the TBHP PDI checklist. Would like to share the experience with you all so that others can learn from the experience.

It's a long post, but hopefully a good learning experience for one and all who are planning to buy a new car.

After a long search and countless reviews (including TBHP ownership reviews) I decided to buy a Swift VXI in June 2009. The car had a waiting for 2-3 weeks so I was in touch with multiple dealers to see if I could get a car without the waiting period. I did not want to finance the car so was ready for a cash deal.

One of the dealers called me up one day telling me that there is a car available for ready possession. The salesman said that it was a car previously booked by someone, but the previous booking deal fell through because of some delay in the loan allotment of the party. And hence the car was now available and I could take it if i wanted to.

I asked the sales person specifically if this was a 2009 model car and he assured me that it was a 2009 Jan/Feb car. I was particularly concerned about it being a 2009 car for the resale price it would fetch compared to a 2008 car.

I demanded a pre-registration check of the car (thanks to many TBHP threads) and I and one of my friends went to check the car. The car looked fine, but some of the beadings of the car looked awfully old. And the disc brakes had some rust. The sales person told me that this was the result of the car being in the stockyard and promised to replace it before delivery.

The salesman, after some negotiations agreed to give me discounts on accessories (mud flaps/seat cover/steering cover/floor mats/perfume) and after some more negotiations agreed on half price anti-rust coating also. They did not agree for any discounts on the invoice price of the car.

I was pretty happy with the deal and agreed on the registration of the car. I paid in full before the registration process. The dealership agreed on the delivery of the car after 4-5 days. They finally called me on the day of the delivery and asked me to come in the evening. I took a printed copy of the TBHP checklist with me, to ensure that we do not miss out on anything.

With great excitement, I went along with my wife and one of my friends to take delivery of the car. We saw the car parked in the delivery bay and checked it once again. We saw that the old beadings of the car, which the sales person agreed to change were not changed. We also saw that one of the headlamps had a lot of scratches on it. The sales person quickly agreed to replace both in couple of days and insisted that he would come and collect the car, take it to the dealership and replace it. Rest everything about the car looked fine.

Now the fun begins.

We begin to check all the papers. The salesman takes us through all the papers, shows us the insurance papers (which showed the chassis number, car number, year of manufacture-2009 etc etc). He meanwhile also arranges for sweets & a pujari to do the pooja. He gives me the pen to sign the dotted line for delivery and other documents.

Somehow, I decide to take another look at the documents at ease before signing. I finally reach the form 21, the basis of which the car was registered and the details of which will finally appear on the RC book.

To my utter shock, the form 21 states the date/year of manufacture of the car as May-2008. I was in utter disbelief. I was 2 minutes away from driving off in the car and now I am seeing this. After asking the Pujari to go away, I point this out to the sales person.

The sales person acts surprised and after 2 minutes of mumbling says that the form 21 has been wrongly typed by the dealer staff and that actually the car is indeed a 2009 make. He said that the RC will in fact reflect the correct details and asked me not to worry and sign the papers. We started growing suspicious and my alert friend started recording the whole conversation on his phone, without the salesman’s knowledge.

We demanded the salesperson to get his manager. He disappears for 5 minutes and comes back. To our horror, he tells us with the most straight poker face, that the car is not a 2009 model, but indeed a May 2008 model. This means that the dealer was selling a one year old car as a new car to me. He says he is “sorry” for it but now that the registration is complete on my name, nothing could be done about it.

We flatly refused to take delivery of the car and said that this is plain cheating, where we were promised a 2009 make car and they tried to sell off a year old car to us. The sales person till about 5 minutes back was claiming that the car was new and a 2009 model.

We call his manager. His manager arrives and gives the story a great new spin. The manager says that the salesman knew that the car is a 2008 model and that the manager was under the impression that the sales person had passed on this information to the customer. We argue that we were not fools to buy a year old car paying the full amount to which he just shrugged and said that now nothing can be done and that the car is registered on my name. He proceeds to act out the usual story of blaming the sales person asking him why he didn’t tell us in advance etc. We demand to speak to his manager.

His manager was not in the office and was out on a sales call driving his car. We told him the story and to our surprise, he arrogantly told us that nothing can be done now and that the car is already registered under my name. He refused to budge and we had to hang up as we could not see any resolution in sight.

We demanded to speak to his manager (the branch manager). We spoke to him on the phone and he thankfully was a sensible person and said that he will look into the matter the next day and assured us of a resolution after speaking to his staff.

In the meanwhile, my alert friend took the papers (form 21, Insurance papers) etc and got a xerox copy of it as valuable evidence, in case we had to later approach a court. The phone was silently recording all the conversations as well.

All this took about 3 hours and it was now 10 PM in the showroom.

Since the car was registered on my name, I insisted that the dealer give me a letter in writing on the dealership letterhead stating that I have not taken delivery of the car and that the car is in the dealer’s possession. After 30 minutes of arguing and multiple calls, the dealer finally reluctantly agreed to this. I insisted on this as I felt that any accident etc by a car which is registered on my name would land me in trouble. So to protect me from such future possibilities, I took that letter and left for my house.

Next morning we land up at the dealership and meet the Branch Manager. The branch manager straight away owned up to the mistake and offered us 3 options. He said we could cancel this booking and that they would give a complete 100% refund. The other options were to take a 20,000 Rs discount on the car or to wait for a fresh car.

We opted for a 100% refund as we did not want to pick up an old car which would give us trouble later. We also did not want to pick up a car from the same dealer as we had lost all faith in him.

The dealer assured us that the current registration under my name would be “switched” with the new buyer and that the dealership will pay for all the expenses. I again insisted on giving it in writing on a letter head stating that the said car (with chassis number, reg number etc) was never delivered to me and that it is in the possession of the dealer.

It’s a long post and I am sorry if it bored you in between. But being a first purchase, we were super thrilled for the new car and were so taken aback with what happened to us. Any other customer, who wouldn’t have checked the documents carefully would have been duped by the dealer and taken home a one year old car thinking that it was spanking new.

These are my learning’s from the incident:

•Never opt for a quick delivery. Wait if you have to. If the dealer is eager that you take a car which is readily available, double check, triple check.

• Insist on a pre-registration check. During that check, have a look at the VIN number of the car. In case of Swift, it is usually under the hood on the left hand side edge. The VIN number allows you to ascertain the manufacturing month and year from the last two alpha numerals of the VIN number ( I am not fully sure, but that seems to be the case). During my pre-registration check I did not do this. Big mistake.

•Make sure you insist on the dealership filling up all details (year of manufacture, chassis number etc) on the order form, on the RTO registration papers etc before you sign it. This will ensure that you have evidence of having ordered a specific product (year, chassis number etc) and the dealership not delivering it.

•Be calm while taking delivery. Make sure you check and double check all documents, especially the RTO papers etc.

•Take some family/friends along with you while going to take delivery. Ask them also to go through the papers. In my case, my wife and friends who accompanied me were crucial in detecting the error, recording the whole conversation, taking some evidences etc.

Finally, many of you might be wondering why I am not naming the agency here. The simple reason is that despite the trouble I went through, a competent authority in the said dealership intervened and gave me an unconditional full refund of the amount that I paid for. That too very promptly. I am giving them the benefit of doubt that this is a one off case of some salesperson trying to get his monthly targets filled up before the deadline. I am fully aware that this could also be a regular event in the said agency, but for now I choose to refrain from naming them.

Also another point to make here, while we were quarrelling with the dealers, we also called up the Maruti helpline and lodged a complaint with the full story and got a complaint id etc. Till this date (almost 30 days), we haven’t heard anything from Maruti yet !

On a last note, my love for Swift got superceded, I finally booked a Ritz VXi with a different Maruti dealer. I will put up an ownership review later.

Last edited by GTO : 22nd February 2017 at 22:27. Reason: Typos
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Old 3rd July 2009, 08:34   #2
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Dear Itsrenjith - I am not surprised. I have been telling since years and have written many times on TeamBHP also that buying a new car in India is an ordeal in itself. After a house, the car is the biggest purchase anybody makes (besides jewellery) and more often than not he has to deal with complete nincompoops many times if not at all times. But all is not lost. There is a technique. Please observe the salesman's behaviour and more importantly his body language, within 3 minutes you will be able to make out whether to proceed or walk out. I have walked out 9 times out of 10 and the dealer principal never even knew.

Also please read my post on page 4 of a thread started by "Muneemm" on his experience as a car salesman at a dealership. This amply proves that we TeamBHPians who are passionate about our cars feel about our automotive experiences differently and that there is just no comparison between us and others in any way. But what to do, life is like that only, you have to be careful.

By the way, I don't like the petrol Swift at all. There is just no performance and build quality is tacky to say the least. If you want details, please PM me.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 3rd July 2009, 08:42   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsrenjith View Post
Hi TBHPians,

I recently had a very narrow escape from a dodgy dealer, thanks to the TBHP PDI checklist.
Welcome to the gang, I too had a harrowing escape from Skoda and TAFE Bangalore when they knowingly passed a lemon and I found my registration forged. T BHP saved my day with the PDI checklist too.

Glad to know you took a hard stance.

Cheers,
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Old 3rd July 2009, 08:44   #4
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We could feel the sense of disapointment you would have had on D-Day.

You said you did a pre-registration check but missed to note the year of manufacture from VIN. Not complaining, but just highlighting that its very common to go by sales talks.

Even for me, when buying my first car, all I did was, pay the cash, took delivery. Luckily I had no issues, but later learnt from this forum that thats not the way it works.

For my next car, forum members know my each move, dilema and helped to decide on a car. And yes, if you show some hurry in your purchase, salesguys try to take us for ride.

Wonder when these dealers change.

Btw, you should definetely proivide this cpmplaint/feedback to Maruti. So, it would help next customers.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 09:24   #5
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Phew that was close. Seriously, there are people out there to con you and will do that for whatever it takes. First it was the second hand market and now dealerships.
By the way, Congrats on you Ritz booking!
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Old 3rd July 2009, 10:13   #6
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As they say - "The worst thing which was supposed to happen has already happened". So enjoy your new ride and pass on this story to as many people as you can so that you save others from such salesmen.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 10:48   #7
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I'm glad that Team-BHP and our PDI checklist saved the day for you. However, I am surprised that you chose to check the year of manufacture only at delivery time, and not in your pre-delivery visit.

Quote:
Insist on a pre-registration check. During that check, have a look at the VIN number of the car. In case of Swift, it is usually under the hood on the left had side edge. The VIN number allows you to ascertain the manufacturing month and year from the last two alpha numerals of the VIN number ( I am not fully sure, but that seems to be the case). During my pre-registration check I did not do this. Big mistake.
Hopefully, others learn from your mistake. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

Quote:
Finally, many of you might be wondering why I am not naming the agency here.
We encourage 100% transparency in content. Do share the name of the dealer, our user discretion ensures a mature judgement.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 11:50   #8
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Phew, some ordeal, Glad you got out of this without any problems!

And please please spell out the dealers name, one of incident or not, this shows of unfair trade practices and all of should know from where to keep away from
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Old 3rd July 2009, 13:41   #9
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Wow that was surely an eye opener. I am glad that you were alert & could avoid buying an old car.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 15:17   #10
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Quote:
Do share the name of the dealer, our user discretion ensures a mature judgement.
Good work. Please share the name of dealer; By this it will be an alert to other potential customers & dealer cannot do the same tricks again.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 15:34   #11
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itsrenjith,

Glad to know you werent duped. But i feel for the benefit of others, you should name the dealer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by itsrenjith View Post

We also did not want to pick up a car from the same dealer as we had lost all faith in him.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 15:54   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I'm glad that Team-BHP and our PDI checklist saved the day for you. However, I am surprised that you chose to check the year of manufacture only at delivery time, and not in your pre-delivery visit.



Hopefully, others learn from your mistake. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.



We encourage 100% transparency in content. Do share the name of the dealer, our user discretion ensures a mature judgement.

this is why i love and respect team bhp for, keep it up guys!
itshrenjith, sorry to hear your experience but happened for good reasons, just a curiosity why didnt you checked the year of manufacturing at you pre delivery inspection and did at taking delivery of swift?
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Old 3rd July 2009, 16:46   #13
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Well done renjith and congrats on your new buy - the Ritz.

Regarding your decision not to name the dealer my view is different because of the following,
1. They clearly have the responsibility to deliver a new car when a new one is ordered.
2. Even if it is you who they are trying to cheat for the first time and played all the drama, they are still answerable. Also it is not only the sales person but also his manager who tried to run away from his responsibility.
3. The dealership should also answer what actions they have taken to avoid any such things happening in the future and what has been done with the sales person and his manager. Team-BHP is the right forum to post the dealer's name and the dealer would be encouraged to take action and update the same here. After all it is this great site which helped/is helping all of us.
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Old 3rd July 2009, 17:37   #14
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Incidents like this are one of the reasons why I refuse to let the dealership handle a new car's registration for anyone in my family - I always get them registered myself.

Sure - Its a little bit of trouble to go and get the RTO paperwork done but at the same time it ensures peace of mind (you get to see and feel the car without being rushed by the dealer) and you save a couple of thousand that the dealer charges for getting the registration done.

You were fortunate enough that the dealer agreed for a 100% refund - sometimes they refuse and the buyer ends up with having to approach the consumer court, etc.

Its possible that this particular car may have been a demo vehicle. Please share the name of the dealer

Last edited by CrackedHead : 3rd July 2009 at 17:40. Reason: content
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Old 3rd July 2009, 17:51   #15
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Ranjith

thats good that finally you got saved from this cheating by dealer and even more satisfying is that T-BHP PDI list saved the day for you.

But you should share the name of the dealer as you should help in making other buyers aware of this dealer or would you be just content in getting your Refund ?

cheers
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