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Old 6th August 2017, 06:21   #1
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Lightbulb Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!

For people considering using Stanley for their leather needs, BEWARE. They do not honour their commitments & there is no escalation mechanism within the organization if things go bad.

I am not a newbie to either leather or Stanley. I have been a customer of theirs for around 20 years. 4-5 cars of mine have had their interiors done in leather with them. A lot of my home furnishing done by them.

Still, I have been unable to get the pending work on my car completed - work that they had agreed to complete but kept postponing.

What happened is this: I had my interiors done by them and when the car was delivered they had not done the steering wheel, handbrake, gear boot & gear knob in leather. All of them have been done by default by Stanley in all my cars until now. (In fact, they used to do perforated leather on the wheel & dual tone on the gear knob without being told). I pointed this out to their representative, Nagaraj, immediately and he also agreed to get it done.

(In fact I have noted this in my post right here on TeamBHP!)

The missing bits

Steering Wheel

Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!-steering-wheel1.jpg
Art leather? Most importantly, the top slips & I do not like it.

Handbrake & Gear
Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!-handbrake-boot-1.jpg
Art leather & looks cheap.

Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!-gear-shift1.jpg

Art leather. I like the gear knob to be covered in leather.

The bulge on the 2nd row hand rest
(This was found later. Makes the hand rest stick to the slot & makes it difficult to extract. Poor workmanship.)

Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!-bulge1.jpg

Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!-bulge-finish.jpg

What the rest of the car looks like
Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!-interior1.jpg

I want the boots & the wheel to be similar to the rest of this interior

The receipt
Stanley Bill.pdf

Does not mention what is included. In fact, I am not convinced the colour I chose is the same as the colour that was delivered. There is no way for me to argue that.

Nagaraj, the person who took my order, kept promising that he will get it done this week or the next and kept evading me. The thing never got done. But, he had always agreed to do the job and never denied it was due.

Since all my sms are backed up to my gmail account automatically, I have these interactions on record. See below:

SMS Trail

01/12/2016: Please drop the car at MG road by 1:30 pm tomorrow.
Address :
Last Mile Consultants
(^^ Car delivered after the work has been completed on 2, December, 2016)

03/12/2016: to +91 Nagaraj
Was awaiting your call.
The following have not been done
- the gear lever boot
- handbrake boot
Are you sure the base color is Fading Daylight? Looks very different from the sample. This Looks More like the one on the bottom row lhs on your sample sheet.

03/12/2016: to me
Sir it's all in black from dash board to hand break it's look like cascade flow.. it's very nice in aesthetic looks.. if you still insist to do we will.
^^ His objection is aesthetic. He is not claiming that it is not part of the deal. He has taken a decision, without consulting me, to leave it as is.

03/12/2016: to +91
But both the boots are art leather.
Hence, yes, I want the boots replaced.
Suspect that the steering is also art leather. That, & slipping is why I wanted it changed too.
^ I have been clear about what I want right from the beginning. Would have probably lived with it, if he had replaced it but in black.

He went silent after that for about 6 days

09/12/2016: to +91 Nagaraj
I am getting upset. I have been coming to Stanley for automotive leather and furniture for over 20 years. Your lack of response is jeopardizing that.

09/12/2016: Nagaraj - Stanley Leather
Let me know when you want leave car sir on next week.
^^ Here he has agreed to fix it. We are only trying to determine when it should be done

09/12/2016: to +91
Can you please pick it up & drop it back? Tuesday works for me

: to me
It's only possible next weekend sir
(^^Commitment. Not met)

24/12/2016: +91 Dear Nagaraj
Are the boots ready? When can we do it?

24 Jan:
to +91
Dear Nagaraj
The work is pending.for 2 months now.
To remind you, we need
- Gear Boot
- Gear Knob
- handbrake boot
- handbrake handle cover
When will you get it done? - Sridhar Parthasarathy

1 Feb: to +91 Nagaraj
I will send the car on Saturday.
Work to be done (will send text if I remember anything else)
- Gear Boot
- Gear Knob
- handbrake boot
- handbrake handle cover

4 Feb: to +91
Will come to Ecity showroom at 9:30 am today. Please ensure that someone is there that knows what is to be done
(^^ Happened after a call with him. He was not there when I went)

12 Feb: to +91 Nagaraj
What happened? No call from you for a week after telling Me you will pick up the car last Tuesday

23 Feb: to +91 Nagaraj
Can you please complete the work today?-Sridhar Parthasarathy

1 Mar
Nagaraj - Stanley Leather <+919945072300@unknown.email> to me
Monday I will be completing the job.
(^^ Again, commitment. Not met either)

28 Mar: to +91
Again you have neither called or delivered on your promise, Nagaraj.
Things to be done
- gear knob
- gear boot
- handbrake
- handbrake boot
- backseat armrest pulling loop
- steering wheel
- head rest elastic fix
- clean seats

28 Mar: Nagaraj - Stanley Leather <+919945072300@unknown.email> to me
Sir I am not in town & I will reach you after 2nd
(^^ Evasion. He never did call back)

20 Jun: to +91 Dear Nagaraj
I am back from my travel. Could you get pending work done on Thursday? -

22 Jun: to +91
What Nagaraj? I have send 10 messages before answer, is it?
^^^ This is when I find out that Nagaraj has quit
After this, I interact variously with Praveen, Rajesh & Dharmashree - all of whom were intent on saying that nothing is due. Their basic approach was "this is all we can do for 80k. Also, nothing is mentioned in the order or invoice. So please go fly a kite". No attempt at finding out what happened. No response when I supply the evidence/ history.

They are very slow to respond to a customer issue. And that only after I threaten to create a scene.

I also kept asking all of them for contacts of somebody in charge of Customer Satisfaction or Customer Service. ALL OF THEM IGNORED IT, no doubt by instruction.

At that point, I was irritated but was not worried as Stanley has never been cheap about their dealings with me. I thought since I am dealing with underlings, things are not moving. I thought once I get to a person higher up, it will get done.

I went to their factory opposite erstwhile eInn, and met a HR manager called Uday. He seemed shocked when I told him the story & showed him the sms trail. He promptly gave me Sunil Suresh, CEO of Stanley, email saying "Sunil has spent 20 years building the Stanley brand. He will address it.". Unfortunately, the CEO does not seem to care as much about the brand as the HR employee.

With a lot of hope and more than a modicum of patience, I contacted Sunil on 2nd August. Much to my disgust, he has neither acknowledged the mail nor responded to it. The address is correct as it has not bounced back.

This is the worst customer experience for a luxury product for me. I would never buy Stanley again. I would caution anybody to be very careful when they buy any product from them.

What gets my goat is that the sum at stake is quite trivial.

The full text of my mail to Sunil Suresh (sunilsuresh@stanleylifestyles.com):


Dear Mr Sunil Suresh

I am sure Mr. Uday from your factory would have updated you about my meeting with him by now. Apologies for the long mail but please understand that I am deeply upset and I think the issue needs to be explained in full to you.

I am writing to you as the last resort. I have repeatedly, until now, in my seminars and talks, used your organization as an example for premium quality. Perhaps I need to use it for the contrary purposes, in future.

The Issue:
I am a customer who is very unhappy as I have been given the run around on getting Stanley to complete the work which was promised when I gave the order.
It has been close to 8 months now & counting.

Work Pending
- gear knob
- gear boot
- handbrake
- handbrake boot
- backseat armrest - there is bulge & is difficult to use.
This is more a defect rather than a pending work and was identified later
- steering wheel

First the background:

I have been a customer of Stanley for around 18 years. I have had 5 cars done through you and bought 6 La-Z-boys from you when they were introduced. Until now, I have been very satisfied with you and was quite happy to pay the premium that you demanded, considering the excellent service I have received. (I am a friend of Sridhar of Vijay Auto and I used to send my cars through him for getting the interior done at Stanley until he went out of business. I think I met you once in the Domlur showroom when I was getting my Honda interiors done.)

The History of the issue:
Late in November,2016 I had sent my Crysta to you for getting the interiors done. After the car was delivered, I noticed that the steering wheel, gear boot, gear knob & handbrake boot/ cover were not done in leather.
I brought this to the notice of Mr. Nagaraj (who was your representative) immediately and he agreed to fix it.

The run-around started from that time. He asked me to bring the car to your showroom (not factory) in Electronic City but was not present when I came. After that, he set up appointments to take my car to get the work done but never showed up. Subsequent to that, he got creative and stopped responding to my calls or messages. Then he fell sick; then he was travelling .... the litany continued

Last month or so I find out that Nagaraj has quit and the phone now belongs to a Mr. Praveen. This was on 22nd June. He asked me to send a mail to praveen.kumar@stanleylifestyles.com, which I did on the same day. As seems to be your organization's preferred method of handling disgruntled customers, he ignored my messages for some time & then palmed me off to a Rajesh about 15 days later, who immediately asked me to write to salessupport@... and dropped off.

True to pattern, a Dharmashree got into the act & started ignoring my mails.
She responded to one in 3-4 mails, mostly after I threaten to create a scene in your showroom.
Her way of handling the issue was the most egregious, as her role is to handle customer issues, if I understand it correctly. What she did:
  • She asked about the problem, slept on it;
  • asked for the order copy; slept on it;
  • then came back & said it is not there in the order and therefore, politely, can I please get lost?;
  • when I sent the sms history with Nagaraj showing that it was work that was agreed as pending by Nagaraj; she went back to her impression of a turtle and did not respond
  • Finally when she did respond, she essentially told me to get lost, less politely. "You paid 80k. That is all we can do for 80k" was basically her answer.

That is when I met Uday​ at your factory​. He gave me your contact and here I am, writing to you.

My Disappointments
- I certainly did not expect to be treated like a beggar after paying good money.
There is no doubt that the work was pending. There are smses to show it (Luckily, all my sms's are backed on my gmail).
My own experience with Stanley shows that you have always done the work pending above, in fact, without my even asking for it.

- There is no escalation mechanism for redressal
I asked for an escalation path or a contact of somebody responsible for customer satisfaction to every person that I interacted with in your organization. I never got the contact.
Surely you have a person looking after customer satisfaction? Surely it is not a state secret not to be revealed to mere individuals?
There is no way in your organization to escalate & resolve an issue.

- Weaseling out of a commitment on a technicality
I strongly suspect it was a cowardly attempt at wriggling out of the commitment on a technical point when Dharmashree asked me for a copy of the invoice.
Do you not have records of your customers? Can you not get the invoice copy based on my phone number or other contacts? Failing all that, can you not look at your invoices for the delivery date & retrieve the order?
Forget all that, would you not be able give me a duplicate invoice if I asked for one for insurance purposes?
What then, was the purpose in asking for an invoice copy if not to weasel out of a commitment made to me?
This is the act of a fly-by-night operator. Not an organization promising quality products at quality service levels.

- Reverting to "it is not there in the order" is dastardly.
When I asked Nagaraj about not writing down steering wheel, gear lever etc, when I gave the order, he said "Dont worry saar. I am there. I will take care". Nothing is mentioned in the order. Nothing is mentioned in the invoice. So what is the sanctity of either in resolving a customer dispute?
In fact, I had asked for a swath of the colours that I had ordered but was refused (I understand; even if I am not OK with it. ). In the end, I still cant get rid of the feeling that what was put into the car is not what I ordered (I had expected a more cream colour; what is in the car is more brown). Since there was no way to prove it either way after the fact, I dropped the issue.

- It is just basic courtesy to respond to people (leave alone customers) promptly and clearly.
Your people have failed completely in basic decency, to say nothing about the exceptional customer service that you have trained me to expect

- This not your brand promise
I have always received exceptional service from you. I have sent multiple friends over to get their cars done & their houses furnished from you despite the higher price.
Your people have completely destroyed that advocacy and loyalty by treating me like this for essentially a paltry sum at stake.
This treatment has already hit your bottom line, whether you realize it or not.Please be advised that I have put on hold a plan to refurnish my home in leather, essentially with your furniture. I was all ready to sign on the dotted line but just wanted to see how Nagaraj will address my issues before that. Since he did nothing, I have started looking elsewhere.
I am certainly no longer a major proponent the Stanley brand and will find it difficult to wholeheartedly recommend your products to anybody else.

You have built a good brand and an expectation of top quality service over the last 20 years. I am wondering if this treatment of me is in accordance with your philosophy of how customers have to be treated. If it is, I have nothing more to say.

All customer service is prone to failure. But what differentiates a good brand from a great brand is how they react to a failure in service.

So far, Stanley's reaction to my issue has been pathetic.

As of yesterday, I have had no response from him. The mail has not bounced either.

Last edited by sridhu : 12th August 2017 at 14:04.
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Old 14th August 2017, 09:06   #2
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th August 2017, 17:39   #3
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Default re: Bad experience with Stanley Leather. Resolved!

Quick update folks. The post here helped. Got a call from Sunil Suresh about a week ago and he offered to fix the outstanding work "in the interest of our relationship".

Accordingly, the car was dropped on Saturday & whatever could be done of the pending work was done. I say that because, they could/did not do the handbrake boot & I opted out of getting the steering wheel done.

Basically, Stanley said that the steering wheel has to be unmounted, with all the electronics disconnected and handed over to them in order to wrap it in leather. I spoke to Toyota and they said "Sure we can do it. The only problem is that the warranty on the steering wheel controls including the airbags will be voided".

So, like any sane person, I opted not to do it.

Regarding the work done, Stanley has done a brilliant (just brilliant) job on the gear knob. The gear boot is a bit baggy but nice & the handbrake grip fits well. The rear seat armrest bulge has been fixed.

Stanley was even nice enough to fix two neck cushions (bought separately) as part of this.

So, all is well that ends well. Dont think this would have happened if I had not started this thread.

Thanks team!
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