Part 2 of the ordeal:
Once I got to know what the issue was, I immediately called up the CC. I explained to him that the car has a problem and explained the problem. He told me that I could visit a garage and get it fixed and later claim the bill for reimbursement. He also told that they will return a call to me later to find if all is well. Then I asked the mechanic what could be done. He told me that the leak would be plugged and I can drive it to the Mahindra service center at Gonikoppal, which was 35kms away. Since the car was not showing a single other issue than the leaking oil, he told me that it may be driven to the service center and even I wanted to get the car to safe hands since the place we were was very remote and RSA would have taken ages to reach there.
He did a good job of patching up the crack with MSeal and the leakage stopped completely. I thanked him and paid him before we left. On the way it was the longest 35kms I ve driven in my life as I was really worried if the gearbox would get stuck again. Fortunately, we were able to get the car till Gonikoppal without issues and any leakages. I found an India Garage dealership cum service center there which was a big relief as I knew that the car was at the right place.
I explained the problem to the people there, and also learnt that they are only permitted to service and sell Commercial vehicles. But thanks to their helpful attitude, they readily offered help and immediately put the car on a lift. The Mseal had held up pretty good till then. The manager or person in charge, Mr. Vivek initially suspected that we hit a stone somewhere that caused the crack. He offered to drain all the oil, remove the MSeal and put a better sealant and refill the oil for us, so that we could take it to Bangalore. He also assured that there wouldnt be any problem on the way.
However, once the oil was drained out and the previous Mseal was removed, the shape of the crack brought in surprise to all the people there. That time, they concluded that its an internal problem and not due to any stone hit etc. The stance completely changed and Vivek advised us to not drive it since it would cause further problem. I agreed and gave another call to CC telling them that the problem isnt minor and I wouldnt be driving the car further.
There starts the big confusion and communication gap.
Call #1: Sir if the car is driveable then drive to mysore and leave it there for repairs.
Call #2: Sir senior executive advised not to drive so we are contacting RSA from our side and will lead them to you. I agreed and they told us that we could take our own transport and they will refund the transportation costs.
Call #3 from Mahindra RSA: Asking for details. I explained the whole thing and they said that a truck would be right away and ETA was usually 0.5-1hr. I thought this was impressive. They also offered a free cab for 50kms.
Meanwhile, Vivek at the showroom had provided good hospitality for us and the whole group of people sat in his customer lounge. He also informed me that the tow truck has to come from mysore which is easily two hours away. I was okay with this initially and I agreed to wait till the two truck came.
Call #4 from Mahindra: Sir, we contacted the team at mysore, and the two truck isnt available since it has gone to Ooty to pick another car up. The service provider at Madikeri isnt reachable and hence it might take upto night to get a truck. I was shocked and angry.
Call #5 to Zoomcar: I explained that the tow truck isnt coming anytime soon. And it was impossible to stay till night in that area since there was neither transport available nor an accomodation to stay. I got a blunt reply saying that I have to stay till the truck arrives.
At this moment, I was surprised at their cold reply without even understanding the situation. Moreover, Vivek was humble enough to assure that the car is in safe hands with him and he would take care of it until the truck arrived. He even had a word with the Zoomcar executive where he explained the problem and told that he is again a Mahindra dealer so no issues about the location of the car.
Then, the executive told that I could leave the car there and carry on but again, his senior executive refuses this idea and tells that at least one person must stay with the car. This became very irritating.
In between this, I had to wait for nearly half hour each time to get a call back.
Call #6 was from Mahindra telling me that the truck was being sent from Kannur in Kerala which is a four hour journey for him. They said that the truck would reach at around 5 in the evening which was again quite late.
Call #7 was made to Zoomcar where I had to start from the low level executive to the person handling this case and again the same story repeated. The people there assumed that the car is in an open space even though I told that its already with a Mahindra dealer. This time I yelled at them telling that it isnt my fault if the car breaks down and I cant stay there all the way till night. After that, they assured me that they will find a solution as soon as possible. It was already past noon and it was becoming more and more annoying.
Mr. Vivek enquired about our lunch and offered to drop us to a good restaurant since he too was leaving for lunch. It was really nice of him to help us all the way and it was much needed in the kind of situation we were in. As we reached the hotel, I got a call from a Zoomcar representative saying that they have arranged for a person to come and take over the car from the same town, after which I could leave the place. I was partially happy hearing this since we could leave soon. Then, Vivek sitting beside me in his Jeep got a call from India Garage, Mysore explaining that he should go and pick up a scorpio which is stuck. We had a hilarious moment when he told that we have already met and he has the car in his own dealership. He was the person who was supposed to come and take over as per Zoom car. That made me totally happy and relieved as the person was none other than Vivek himself. I bid him goodbye near the hotel itself since he suggested that we carry on from there instead of returning 4kms back to the IG dealership.
We bid a goodbye to him with heartfelt thanks and had a good lunch. At the same time I got a call from Zoomcar saying that a person called Vivek will pick my car, and check if it can be repaired there itself. I blasted them saying that I was with Vivek from morning and they never understood the situation.
We left to Mysore by Bus and later returned to Bangalore at night by which I was told by Vivek that the car was picked up by the Kannur guys. At the same time, the Area Manager of Zoomcars called and helped me close the booking while he took down the details of the distance we had travelled and the fuel we filled. The documents were brought to Bangalore by me and I told that I would return it the following day.
When I woke up next day, I was surprised to find my booking closed and even the refund was made including the fuel without even me producing the receipts for the same. I went and returned the documents, where I learnt that the car had already got a new transmission and engine before under warranty, and this was the second failure.
Overall, it was a hard day for us and the only comforting thing was the way they handled things in the later stages.
Will I take a Zoomcar again? Definitely Yes. However, I want their customer care to be more single window type than having to call random people and explain the problem to each and every person. At least if I had to deal with one person from start to end, he would know the problem well and any discussions would be done with a single person. That is how things became better when I had to talk to the area manager instead of the Customer care. He was able to guide me better and I could repeatedly call him. The support provided was good and even Mahindra RSA tried their best to help.
Sad thing is, this type of a breakdown is totally unexpected on a new scorpio. Furthermore, since we had two scorpios, both cars had covered the same distance, and were equally old, travelled the same roads together and only two of us drove the entire trip, switching cars randomly. There was no downshifts, redlining and any such dramas done on either car and we had got superb fuel efficiency too, as we covered 515kms in around 2/3 of the tank. In spite of all this, the car gave up on us, only respite that it happened on the last day of the trip and not in the middle.
A last shot to commemorate the trip:
Hope to see the car back in action soon, and a big thanks to all the people in the Coorg region who helped us. Special thanks to the people in India Garage, Gonikoppal and especially Mr. Vivek, whose help we can never forget.