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Old 3rd March 2011, 18:48   #1
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Default Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

The gist:
My sister was fraudulently sold a May 2010 Tata Nano CX by VST Motors, Mount Road, Chennai instead of a Nov 2010 model that they had promised her. The car was later also found to have scratches on the body, some under-chassis rust, a rusted spare wheel, cobwebs and dirt in the engine bay. The car has since been returned to the dealer, stating that they had cheated her and we would not be able to accept the car. They have accepted their mistake but want us to take the car with the damages fixed as it has already been registered.


Here is the detailed sequence of events (laborious read - my apologies. Please skip to the last section if you'd like).


TD / Booking experience:

1. She enquired at multiple dealerships (VST / Concorde) about TD and availability of the Nano. She decided to take it for a TD at VST as it is closer to home.

2. She was attended to by a sales exec who was very courteous and involved. The TD went great.

3. Her max budget was 2L (cash) and hence the CX model was finalized. She was informed that 2011 models were not available as TML hadn't even begun shipping them and they would take close to 2 months. They told her that they could get her a Nov 2010 model within 10 days and give her a discount of Rs.4000 on the price.

4. She checked with Concorde Motors and was informed that they could get her a 2011 model in < 15 days. However, considering that VST was offering a Nov 2010 model, 4K discount and that she had had a very good pre-sales experience, she decided to go with VST.

5. She paid the entire amount (slightly less than 2L) to VST. They promised to call her in a week when the car was ready and go ahead with the registration formalities after that.


Registration / Delivery Experience:
1. There was no call from VST as promised. The sales exec who had attended to her had to go on leave due to some personal emergency and referred her to a trainee exec. My sis called her up to hear that the vehicle would be ready for registration shortly.

2. She went over to the showroom and asked to see the vehicle. They said she couldn't as the vehicle was "in physical" (whatever that means). My sis presumed that it meant the vehicle was in transit and returned without seeing the car. Hence, there was no pre-registration inspection by my sis.

3. Delivery day: My sis went there at the time indicated (12 PM) but there was no one to attend to her. After about 30 mins of waiting, the car was brought to her. The car had lots of dust all around. My sis thought this may have happened in transit or at the yard and asked them if they expected her to accept the car in such shape. The sales girl went away promising to get it cleaned and didn't return for another 45 minutes. My sis got frustrated and asked them to hand over the car / papers and complete the formalities as it had been over 2 hrs.

She then noticed the car had a couple of scratches on the body (door / wheel arch area) and told them she couldn't take the car. A sales exec noted it down in a sheet of paper, handed it over to her and told her they would be fixed during the 1st service.

The car was finally delivered but there were many issues with the delivery (all these are mentioned in TML's delivery checklist):
Features not explained
Service schedule not explained
Service Advisor not introduced to
Insurance policy mentions model as "2011"
No ribbons / No chocolate box

She was in a rush to get it on the same day as it was meant to be a surprise b'day gift for her mom. They seemed to have taken full advantage of it as they were well aware of it right from the day of booking.


Post delivery:
I had a look at the car at around 11 PM (that was when I knew she had bought the car). Besides the dust, I noticed the VST vinyl sticker was completely cracked all over (like it happens when the car is exposed to sun and rain for long periods of time). I told her I had misgivings about the car and it looked like one that had been in the yard for quite a while.

I attempted to locate the VIN but couldnt as it was late in the night. The next morning, we located the VIN and I found that it was a May 2010 model (10th letter 'A' and 12th letter 'E'). I could also see a few more scratches and noticed the spare wheel was rusted and the engine bay was dirty with cobwebs and dust.

We took it back to the dealer 2 days ago, assembled the Sales Manager, Customer Relationship Manager and Service Manager and asked them to explain the following:
  • Why they had sold (i.e. taken cash based on the promise of) a Nov 2010 model and delivered a May 2010 model
  • Why they didn't allow her to see the vehicle
  • Why they had not told us the vehicle was in the yard and had asked for 10 days to deliver it - this looked like a measure to make it seem like we were getting a Nov manufactured model (which would anyway take at least 2 months to reach the dealership from Tata acc. to them).
  • How they could deliver a car without even basic cleaning outside and inside
  • How the dealership sticker could be so completely cracked and worn in a new car
  • Why the engine was so noisy (in comparison to the demo car)

Needless to say, they had no answer to this. The salesman even had the gall to suggest that all 2010 models were the same and the month (May or Nov) made no difference. When I asked him about the safety issues reported in the media and the statement from Tata Motors (in Nov) about additional safety features having been incorporated in new batches and being retrofitted in older Nanos, he said the retrofit had been done on this car. This was a giveaway - Nov 2010 batch cars would have had the features incorporated by TML itself. So, his stated position that he didn't originally know this was a May 2010 model was false.

To top it all, a Manager told us separately that there was not a single nut or bolt added to any Nano as part of the additional safety feature retrofit exercise and that it was just a public position! We actually didn't know what to make of them at that point.

At the end of the day, we returned the car to them saying they had cheated my sis and that she wanted a brand new car. We have obtained a letter stating that the car has been returned due to problems with the car and that the customer is unhappy with the vehicle.

They told us they would fix all the issues - i.e. change the spare wheel, paint the scratches, give a single coat of rust-resistant paint (i overheard this) and hand the car over to us in "New" condition.

Current Status:

They have informed my sis today that the car has been almost fully restored. However, she doesn't want to accept the car as she has paid for it with her personal savings and is feeling completely cheated.

I frankly do not think their offer is adequate compensation for their dishonesty. Even if they were to sell a May 2010 car to any other customer (with their knowledge), they would still have to do sell it in Brand New condition. They would also not be able to sell it unless they offered a substantial discount.

I need your advice as to how to proceed with this. We know many people in the media but do not want to use those connections - honest and transparent transactions should be every customer's right.

If they really feel bad about having cheated a customer, they need to extend a significant benefit to make up for it (NOTE: My sis is not looking for such benefits and would actually be happier if they gave her a "clean" Nov 2010 model as promised at the time of booking).

P.S.: At this point, I believe the Customer Relationship Manager and Sales Manager genuinely feel sorry about what happened but want my sister to take the car with the fixes as it has been registered.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 18:55   #2
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

So the car is already registered.

No big deal, you must pressurize the dealer to buy it back from you for the same price and give you a car from the latest batch.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 20:26   #3
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

I feel really bad for your sister, spindoc. She is lucky to have a TBHPian for a brother- otherwise this unethical behaviour by the dealer may have never come to light.

Like mooza says, see if they agree to buy back the car from your sister at a similar price- I doubt however that they will agree to this since the next person they try to palm it off on will be the third owner. Why not examine the car with an open mind and if it looks new and feels new, bite the bullet and take it? With time the hurt will wear off. You should however report the unethical behaviour to Tata (Write directly to Ratan Tata- that may work) and see if they compensate you in some way.

I am not advising you to pursue the legal route because that would just mean big expenses, who your sister can ill afford, and an interimnable wait where your car will probably be taken from you. It sucks but that's the reality.

Tell your sister to take the car, drive ti around and then sell it as soon as she can afford to buy something better.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 21:36   #4
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Well spindoc, sorry to hear about this terrible experience your sister had with the dealer. Well to tell the bitter truth, your sister made major mistakes especially as she had already seen all the faults in the car even before registering the car, She could have completely rejected the car.Also I find it weird why didn't you accompany her to the PDI before registration on the delivery day?

Well anyways what's done is done and now it cannot be reversed. Now that the car is registered I am sure the dealer will not buy it back so the only options you got is either go higher than the dealer, talk to the guys at tata and see what they can do for you, give them a link to this thread so they can understand the seriousness of the problem (as Tata is up for promoting sales of the Nano and would not like bad publicity) and maybe if your lucky you will get the desired solution.

Try contacting them atcustomer complaint it worked many times for me and may work for you too. (in the Complaint Area option choose sales and not dealer service related as they usually forward those complaints to the dealer itself)

The second option as noopster suggested to to live with it, drive it for a while and then sell it off. Also since you have said that the dealer has admitted to his wrong doing, now you got the upper hand, get everything resolved, ask him for some accesories and stuff, I am sure that the dealer will gladly listen to it just to get this problem solved.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 21:48   #5
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Since the car is already registered, it will be quite hard to get the car returned to the dealer.
You can try the legal route which would take months maybe years. Instead as others have suggested get the car, check it thoroughly and get additional stuff like alloys and other accessories for free from the dealer for their mistake.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 21:52   #6
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindoc View Post
The gist:[*]Why they had sold (i.e. taken cash based on the promise of) a Nov 2010 model and delivered a May 2010 model[*]Why they didn't allow her to see the vehicle[*]Why they had not told us the vehicle was in the yard and had asked for 10 days to deliver it - this looked like a measure to make it seem like we were getting a Nov manufactured model (which would anyway take at least 2 months to reach the dealership from Tata acc. to them).[*]How they could deliver a car without even basic cleaning outside and inside[*]How the dealership sticker could be so completely cracked and worn in a new car[*]Why the engine was so noisy (in comparison to the demo car)[/list]
Hi,
Sorry to hear about your plight. I had gone to both concorde and vst and was treated fairly by the customer care personnel. I almost booked the fiat palio when i was caught in the middle of a turf war between vst mount road and vst anna nagar and concorde added more spice to it. Went home without booking the car.
Now regarding what you are facing its a sorry sate of affairs. I think your sister should have done the pre registration check a little more seriously. Unless you have any written confirmation of what you have been promised you will not get much headway in this issue. Most likely they will not take the car back and you would have to take it back after the niggles have been sorted out. But you can try and make enough noise or email their senior officials but i am almost positive that this would be too tedious and the response would be lack lustre. Instead you can ensure all the niggles have been sorted and may be get a extra couple of years of warrranty cover without paying any money.
Cheers.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 22:27   #7
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Feels real sad to read such things!

Money is important and we work very hard to earn it but besides the money part when you get a lemon for a car it leaves you feeling helpless and all the joy gets shattered in a split second!

I have gone through the same but over time realised its just not worth it as these dealers/salesman once caught for their mis-deeds will put on a big fake smile and will do anything to convince you that their sales staff were indeed wrong and they will try to make up for the same.

As you have left your car in their showroom, its a matter of concern for them so in all probability they will land up in your house with some higher up of the dealer stating how sorry they are and how bad they feel and would request you to tke back your car!

As the car is registered in your name you could put pressure on the dealer to ask for a replacement but this would this would not be easy and most probably wont happen.

What you can do is:

a.Ask for a cash discount
b.Ask for all available accessories A-Z to be given to you
c.Get a letter from the dealer stating that for the next three years if your car ever gives you any problems else you find any defect then he would be liable for the same( just for your peace of mind)

I would suggest you mail all top TATA officials just to keep them in the loop and be very stern with these dealers as once you give them some space they would again try to act smart and try to back off with a 'sorry' and ' we would ensure it never happens again'.

We are not opportunists and would not want to ask for freebies etc but since the dealer tried to do a fast one on your sis, it doesnt sound bad to ask for what you want in exchange!

Lastly, make the dealer make your car look like a new car and give it back to you.

Enjoy the car but first be very adamant and stubborn about what you want/feel and dont back off from making noise!

All the best!

OT - The dealer's give a very good incentive to the sales guy when a car is paid in full in cash so negotiate well.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 22:37   #8
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Do not go for legal route. Its a waste of time and money.
Buying a car in India is a difficult and risky thing. One needs to be eternally vigilant. Otherwise this happens. Team-BHP PDI list is the first last and only hope.

What has happened has happened.
Forget it.
Enjoy the car. We live only once. Do not waste precious moments thinking about it. Drive a lot. Drive safe.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 23:12   #9
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

@All, thanks for your valuable input / advice. They are truly appreciated.

The problem was that none of us were aware that she was buying a car as it was planned to be her surprise gift to her mom. Had I known beforehand, I would definitely have insisted on a visit to the yard for PDI based on the TBHP checklist.

As mentioned in my post, my sis had actually asked to see the car prior to registration but she was informed that she couldn't see it as it was 'in physical' (some stupid jargon used by the sales exec) - she learned later that 'physical' meant yard while she had thought it meant 'in transit'.

It was only during delivery that she noticed that the car was dirty and had some minor scratches and even then she had no reason to doubt it would be an older model or would have any other problems. After waiting for quite a while in vain for someone to clean it, she had asked a service advisor to note down the scratches and give it in writing to her and had left the dealership in a huff. She returned the signed but unfilled dealership PDI checklist / delivery experience report to them. When I went there with her on the day following the delivery, I asked for the report and noticed they had ticked all the boxes! I corrected the form, marking their failures and returned it to them.

The fundamental point is that even if the customer doesn't know anything (e.g. Pre-reg / Pre-delivery inspection, VIN) about the car, they should not be taken for a ride, when hard earned money is at stake.

That may sound like an idealistic position, but dishonest people / businesses must certainly be made to pay for their mistakes. I do not think they should be allowed to get away easily i.e. with just fixing a new spare wheel / painting those scratches which is anyway their duty (and they wouldn't have even attended to these in case we hadn't noticed and reported them immediately).

Last edited by spindoc : 3rd March 2011 at 23:45.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 23:17   #10
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Forget it - cut your losses, take a sweetener package, and move on. Since its registered you can jolly well forget about any decent timeframe (see harishv's thread on his skoda, dr pullockaran's been fighting about his junkindica ).

Honestly. Don't take me otherwise but the fault is entirely yours for not seeing what was being sold. There's little you can prove except the obvious faults. Better make sure the mechanicals are fine and move on, else this car (and hence, the savings) will rot while the case will drag.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 23:22   #11
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

I had a similar experiance when i booked my Nano in 2009 and it was the first lot which came in Oct 2009.When i went to inspect the car,a branch of a tree had fallen and the fender was scratched,water had entered the car de to xposure to rain and spoilt the mats,battery was dead and i could find enough dust on the Nano to blow a dust storm.I promptly cancelled my booking and took the entire refund of the amount.But now they say the service has improved as they want to push Nano sales.

In the end i sympathise with this deal as it is outright unprofessionalism.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 23:42   #12
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Forget it - cut your losses, take a sweetener package, and move on. Since its registered you can jolly well forget about any decent timeframe (see harishv's thread on his skoda, dr pullockaran's been fighting about his junkindica ).
While I may have personally moved on (for lack of time if not anything else), I find it difficult to convince my sister to do so!

Quote:
Honestly. Don't take me otherwise but the fault is entirely yours for not seeing what was being sold. There's little you can prove except the obvious faults. Better make sure the mechanicals are fine and move on, else this car (and hence, the savings) will rot while the case will drag.
I fully understand the spirit with which your statement has been made, but I still believe every customer is entitled to honest / transparent dealings, irrespective of how well- or ill- informed they might be.

Having said that, I do think my sister was at some fault for having blindly believed the dealer (based on the courtesy and earnestness demonstrated by the sales exec who initially attended to her) and for having ventured into the deal all by herself.

Last edited by spindoc : 3rd March 2011 at 23:58.
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Old 4th March 2011, 07:21   #13
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

@ spindoc - i would suggest write an email to TML and demand a replacement. its worth trying , attach photographs too if you have. IMO customer care is proactive , should get a solution for the same.
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Old 4th March 2011, 07:42   #14
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Red face Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

@spindoc,

Feel really sorry for your sister, getting duped in this manner is the last thing any car owner would want.

I hope you get the issue resolved at the earliest. BTW had you/sister asked for the VIN before the car went for registration? If you had got it checked, you would have surely sorted out the issue at that moment itself. I really doubt whether you would get a replacment car since the registration is already done.
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Old 4th March 2011, 07:48   #15
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Default Re: Advice needed - Cheated by dealer on Nano sale

Do try to reach Tata Motors, starting with your area sales managers. Demand to talk the area sales managers at the dealers, who should be able to provide such details. Also, many a times a Tata Motors employee is attached to a dealer specifically to manage Nano sales. He should be in a position to help you out.

Other than that, I would suggest that you contact a lawyer and try to find out if you have got a case that can be won in court. Its a pretty long drawn out process, but if case is strong enough dealer may want to prevent being dragged into the court. But you would need to have enough proof.

Also, here I may point out, the dealer's fault wont exactly be slipping you a May model, but more like delivering a fault ridden vehicle. The fact that it is a older model just compounds the matter. As theoretically its still a brand new car. Though even a oral promise to deliver a Nov-10 model may hold up in court. Do contact a lawyer. Because even though it can take a bit of time, courts many a time end up asking the party at fault to return full amount paid with interest and damages, which can be significant.

Let me tell you about a friend of mine who had bought a Pulsar 180. He had initially not noticed an extra knocking kind of sound from the engine. I pointed it out to him when I first saw the bike, by which time it had already run for 10days and had been registered. I asked him to get it checked out, as I though there might be problems of a loose valve seat or something.

A few days later his bike refused too start at all. We had to hire an auto to take it to the dealer, where when he opened up the engine, we discovered a bolt inside the cylinder!!! My friend along with two other's were infuriated, and demanded to talk to the Bajaj people. After about a day of haggling, with him even offering to change the engine out, he finally agreed to provide a completely new bike. Largely due to us threatening to go to court over the matter and demanding compensation.

So a dealer can take back a sold and registered vehicle if necessary. Though in my friend's case it was the manufacturer's fault rather than the dealers.
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