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Old 19th August 2009, 13:39   #1
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Default Tragic buying experience of my PUNTO from TAFE FIAT in Chennai

Hey guys

August 7th was a day i wanted to cherish. This was the day I was getting delivery of my FIAT PUNTO 1.2 ACTIVE petrol variant car.Yes guys -- thats right, the petrol 1.2!

The whole of July, I used to search forums for information on the 1.2, but could not find any actual user reviews but these were hard to come by.

This car is for my wife and we had initially targetted the Hyundai i20, petrol magna version to buy.But after seeing the Punto in the showrooms,I felt we should buy the PUNTO.We both drove it and as it was top of my mind it was underpowered, but my wife felt its enough for her.

My wife would be driving the car for like 10-12kms a day in high traffic.
She test drove it and felt comfortable.
We thought paying a lakh more for the Hyundai i20, which is 5.45 onroad in chennai was not needed at this point.

The day the car was to be delivered, there was absolutely no communication from the sales exec who we were dealing with.I waited till 5 pm in the evening and as it would get dark by 6 30, I called up the sales exec and he did not respond, so sent him a message and he replied back saying come to the showroom by 7pm!I was like its will be dark when we take delivery and i need to see the car well before i drive it off.He said he just could not have the car in the dealership before 7pm.

At 7pm, we reached the dealership showroom and to our surprise no one there knew our car was to be delivered on that day.The delivery sheet had no mention of it.So I called up the sales exec and his mobile was switched off!Then after waiting for an hour in the showroom, finally around 8 pm, the sales guy shows up with the car.

The car is totally covered in dirt and it looked like it was just coming out of some storage yard!I was like -- oh man!! and the guys at the dealership were very cool and said, take the car now and tomorrow morning drop it back, we shall clean it and give it back to you!The interiors and expteriors of the car were totally dirty!Then i took a round of the car and i noticed a deep gash (scratch) on the rear bumper!I showed this to them and again they said we will have it made up when you give us the car tomorrow.As this was my wifes first car,i did not want to make it an issue and kept my cool and took the car keys and sat in the car and started it and i switched on the headlights and saw the instrument panel in front of me and was totally zapped!!!!!I got out of the car and walked towards the sales exec who from the time he had come did not even speak to me and was fully nervous!My wife was like, what happened, come lets leave!Now why did i come out of the car??Why did i strom over to the sales exec?!Well we need to go back a day prior to my delivery for that.So lets flashback to August 6th (the day prior to me taking delivery of the car).

August 6th 5pm - I was at the dealership and was waiting to check on the car which would be delivered to me. I had chosen a Medium grey colour car. I was taken to the back of the showroom where the car was kept.As i used to religiously read the Team-BHP forums, i was well prepared for my PDI checklist. All done the car seemed good and the ODO reading was 26 kms, so gave the go ahead for the registration. A staff there had cleaned the car for me to inspect.

Now lets fast forward to the present day August 7th - the day of delivery.I am sitting in the car starting to take the car out of the showroom and I see the instrument and the odo reading shows 127 kms!!
I was like how did the car do 100 kms in a day!
Having read so much in forums about such things, I went to the sales exec and asked him for an explanation on how the odo went up by 100 kms in a day.He said by mistake they had taken a different car for registration of the same colour and so the trip was done twice and so the odo went up.But he was contradicting himself here as if he took a different car for registration then how will the odo in my car go up!The car i saw the previous day was cleaned in front of me but this car was dirty.
Then he said the car had been to the workshop and they yard etc and so 100 kms came up.Again i asked him even if you travel so much you cant cover more than 50-60 kms at the max then where did the remaining 50 kms come on the odo and he had no answer for that.
There was one more car of the same variant and same colour there in the back of the showroom and i was surprised, i said you told me you had only only car of this colour then where did this car come from.He was like this car was booked for a client but he will take delivery only after a month as the good day for him is a month away and i was like doesnt sound convincing!The odo on that car read 52kms!The mistake on my side was i had not noted down the engine and chassis number.

These guys at the dealership got very nervous and fidgety and had no answers on how the odo showed 127 kms.

Then their marketing manager called up and he said there is nothing wrong with the odo showing 127 kms and he quoted almost all cars the sold had odo readings above 100 as their yard was far away and i was like oh man!Then i told him but i have a ANHC bought just a month back and that odo read just 20 kms and he said that dealer must have probably cut the odo off and thats why it was so low!
Then after around half hour talk on the phone i refused to take delivery of the car.A couple of employees there of the dealer said what was happening was unacceptable but they cant say anything as it would affect their jobs!
Around 9 45 pm, i walked out of the showroom without the car.My wife was totally dejected and sad and she said we were buying the first car for her in her name and all this has happened and she never wanted a car again in her name.This day basically became a very sad and emotionally draining day for us.Still I tried to cheer her up and said we could always buy the Hyundai i 20 now!
Came back home that night and as my member ship was not approved at that point on Team-BHP could not ask for opinions.
Shot off a mail to FIAT top brass, courtesy email ids provided in Team-BHP forums.My mail to them stated exactly what had happened and a solution for this.
Next day waited till 11 am, being a saturday, I thought I would not get any reply so shot a mail again to FIAT stating the urgency and then got a mail back stating someone would get in touch with me soon.
The Marketing Manager of the Dealership called me and said he wanted to come over to my house and meet up with me.I told him I need an explanation on the car and the ODO reading.He came over but just did not say anything about the odo reading on the car.He aplologised and was sweet and I said I need a letter from him stating the dealer would take responsibility of the car for the next two years if something goes wrong in it.He was like, i will give you anything in writing but take delivery of the car.I then said ok ill take delivery but I need these in writing and an explanation on ODO.I was assured I would be given the same on monday.
Saturday evening, they came and handed the car over to me.The interiors still not very clean.Did not say anything and took the car.Went with my wife for pooja and had dinner and came back.My wife actually says she has no joy on buying a new car due to this unpleasant experience and I would agree with her to an extent.The feeling of happiness on ownership was completely missing this time.
Come monday no letter from the dealer.I called up but was not told the concerned person is in meeting or will call back.
Then waited a week and then shot a mail back to FIAT.
Got a prompt reply back again that someone from the delaer would call up and presto they did the same day!They came and gave me a letter.The letter stated that the car would be covered as per the Warranty and I told them but I had drafted a letter and given it to you.
The car already has warranty then why should i need a letter from you stating the same.
Now its almost two weeks but the letter has not come and also i had asked for the odo explanation which is not forthcoming.

On August 18th-the GM and Marketing Manager of the dealership came to my office and told me the letter would be handed over today.But now they have again mailed me stating the car is covered as per the warranty.I guess this letter would give me some peace.Also I had wanted a breakdown of the odo reading stating how the 100 odd kms were run.
Still waiting for these things to be handed over.
It has been a very fraustrating experience and one I wish I had never gone through.I dont want this to affect me and my daily schedule but once in a while it gets to you when you think of your hard earned money and why should I go through this.
Whether it deserves a mention in this forum,whether I am overreacting , i am not able to decide.But all the lies which piles up from the dealership was just adding up to the question why cant they just be clean about it and be frank so we can move on in life!

1.Dealer keeps saying lies to cover up on lies.
Today he says the car did 126 kms as it was sent for PDI - I told him you had not done the PDI on the car and I was told it would be done on saturday when i give the car for washing.
2.The car went for washing - the car was completely covered with dust and we were asked to wait as they were cleaning the car with cloth and we were told the next day they would wash it and polish it and hand it over.
3.The cars left rear door lock was not working.It was repaired and given back.Even for this it was told the child lock was on!But when asked to prove they said the lock was broken and changed!

In the end its we the customers who end up losing sleep for no fault of ours!Its time these dealers realised we all need good service and transparency.
I am rock steady in my thinking that FIAT is a gem of a company and have responded back extremely fast.The dealer being the ambassador of the FIAT company has given very shoddy service and there is no trust left now to deal with them.

My heart says if everything is all right then there is no need for any cover ups and blatant lies at every stage by the dealer.

I have not mentioned the dealerships name as yet as I realise this site has huge viewership and just need some replies to know I have not done wrong in pursuing this matter for the truth which certainly is out there!
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:07   #2
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Goodness, what a horrid experience!! When will those nitwits learn?

I feel that based on your initial agony, you should not have taken delivery of the car till they gave you that written assurance. That is how things work in this country.
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:17   #3
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Man, it seems like someone at the dealership had fun with your new car, at your expense. They must have taken it all over the place & ripped it around!

You should have refused to take delivery of this vehicle. It is now fait accompli......
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:25   #4
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I sympathize with you fully. I see no reason why you should not give the name of the dealer, and his staff, if you are being honest. After all, you did not hesitate to name Fiat!
Again, the root cause of this is that the dealerships are not used to dealing with private customers in large numbers. Hitherto, their customer base has largely been the CV trade, that does not care for the kind of sentimental things that private customers do in India, where a car is concerned.
Good luck with the car, and I suggest you get to know the service people well, so that your relationships will cover for probable lack of process discipline.
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:27   #5
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Thumbs up congratulations and just Chill..

First of all Congrats on being BOLD owning a FIAT car and being the first Punto 1.2 owner at T-BHP!

I can understand how it must have felt when buying a first car that too for your wife!

As you said correct, the product is a gem however the dealers screw the name of the brand with their pathetic sales approach and service.

I hope you have mentioned your buying experience to FIAT. You should also mention the name of the person you interacted with from manager to executive.

Now that you have the car in your hand, nothing can be done. Just forget it and enjoy the car!

I too faced similar but with both TATA dealer and TATA-FIAT officials! Every dealers be it TATA or Honda, have their own attitude, You take it or Leave it!

Wish you happy miles driving the beauty - Punto

Do post your ownership experience along with pictures!

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Old 19th August 2009, 15:30   #6
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Originally Posted by rudrah View Post

Now that you have the car in your hand, nothing can be done. Just forget it and enjoy the car!

I think you are very angry with the dealership and you ought to be.

But don't let that interfere with your enjoyment of the new car.

The prime issue is the unexplained 100 kms. Forget them and look forward to the 100 thousand you will enjoy over the next few years.
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:31   #7
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This is really sad. FIAT as a company is very good and challenging but for the dealers, there are no words. They need some real thrashing . Anyways hope you have a pleasant experience with your Punto going forward. Best of Luck .
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:34   #8
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sorry for your bad experiance rajini.
more and more buyers are complaining about FIATS not being ready at the given time and being unclean.many have complained about scratches as well.FIAT pls wake up.

p.s : you should have given them a hammering in true rajini style maan
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:34   #9
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What I see here is :

1.FIAT has a lot of money to invest in india but my assumption is its all for the Manager Salaries. Oh I forgot - a famous cricketer's fees as well to pseudo drive it.

2. Theres no care and concern for the customer and they have hopes that they are going to run a business up here.

3. I think FIAT is becoming the new Skoda. Everyone here in the forum knows about poor harish's experience. Guess as the last display of buffoonery they should try instigating TBHP now

What I think is though what has been done has been done,but you should try moving up the escalation ladder with the proofs. Under normal circumstances this should qualify for a replacement if I am not wrong.Also this point onwards try taking every commitment from the dealer in writing. If this doesn't sweeten the experience in anyway theres this thing about consumer courts.
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:35   #10
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The anger has subsided.The anger is more due to the fact that these guys think we will accept anything that is handed over to us.

Just wanted to make sure these guys never do the same thing to other's who will buy cars from them!

I am happy in a way today that I am able to access t-bhp to put across my views.
Two weeks back with no ways for outlet had put turned to some other forum.

Yup time to move on, but guess takes a little more time then we think!humans after all!

HA HA! given them more then enough to think about and they have themselves admitted they have learnt a lot from this experience and are now more reciprocative to customers!

Last edited by Technocrat : 19th August 2009 at 15:43.
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:37   #11
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Hello Raj,

Not trying to rub salt into your wounds, but taking delivery was the first big mistake. I know for a fact because I did it once. Again the timing was perfectl, close to showroom closure hours, light not good etc. also it would have been getting late for you etc.

Secondly, all is not lost yet, I agree that the feeling of being cheated is something that is hard to digest. IMHO you should teach the sales man a lesson.

To get down to a good argumentative base with the dealer

1. Please check the number of test drives they have given in this period, this might give you some insights on the useage.

2. Secondly in most workshops, there needs to be a log book maintained by the security staff on KMS in and OUT for every car going in and out of the gates either on service or on trials. If the usage was genuine this would be recorded.

3. Thirdly, the Maintenance records will also how the date the PDI was done, if not anything there would be a paper Job card for the PDI, ask for this. This can be tallied against the Computerised maintenance records.

Now, this would be hard for somebody to tamper with, as I know that T.A.S.S guys use good amount of technology for this purpose.

4. Document everything the dealer has been stating, you can later document the contradictions if need arises.

I feel sorry for you mate!, but I think we turn wiser each passing day.

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Old 19th August 2009, 15:39   #12
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That was a unpleasant experience without any doubt!
I guess the dealer is TAFE, another Bhpian too had a horrid experience with them.

The least I expect when I take delivery of a car is that they thoroughly clean the car both interior & exterior!
It seems they lack sense on basic customer service!

On the odo reading, you can't do much except to believe them, it is not possible to track the car from the factory untill the keys are given to you!
But, I will do thorough PDI and test drive the car to ensure all is fine with the car.
If it is fine, no issues....

Last edited by finneyp : 19th August 2009 at 15:41.
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:40   #13
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Originally Posted by bblost View Post

I think you are very angry with the dealership and you ought to be.

But don't let that interfere with your enjoyment of the new car.

The prime issue is the unexplained 100 kms. Forget them and look forward to the 100 thousand you will enjoy over the next few years.
Yes angry at the unwanted lies at every stage!

Making my ownership report ready and will have it up in a couple of days with pics!Have already taken the car for a drive from chennai to kumbakonam and back this weekend!Will try to pen in something useful!

Wow good to be here in t-bhp!
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:41   #14
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First of all Congrats on owning a FIAT Punto

I can understand on what you went through on getting your brand new car.
As you said correct, the product is a gem however the dealers screw the name of the brand with their pathetic sales approach and service as I experienced the same when I was getting my Verna.

Is there any update on the deep scratch on the rear bumper, what does the dealership or FIAT got to say about that.

Waiting for pics of your new car.

Cheers,drive safe and have loads of fun.
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Old 19th August 2009, 15:44   #15
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Rajini, this is a horrid experience, I can imagine the angst and the pain. However, what you did wrong was - Not noting down the engine number/chasis number when you examined the car. It is very evident that they gave you a different piece to the one that you examined.

You should not have taken delivery under any circumstance, unless you had the letter you wanted and the car cleaned to your satisfaction. Now that you have taken delivery, the donkey is off their back.

Lastly, you should have asked compensation from FIAT/Dealer for causing so much grief to you. This would have worked like a charm before taking delivery(Read the Xenon thread by memo), but now, you are at their mercy.

And finally , what prevents you from naming the dealer?
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