News

Skoda dealer sells me a repainted Slavia: How I got a full refund

Every company will try to save their dealer partner, customers first is a myth!

BHPian markivskoda recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

27 Aug 2022 - We booked the Skoda Slavia 1.5 DSG from Skoda India’s authorised dealer Akoya Motors Pvt Ltd, Baner, Pune. Service Maintenance Package came as standard from Skoda. Given its a DSG, we opted for 5-6th year extended warranty. We asked for time to finalize the color.

30 Aug 2022 - We informed the showroom that we have finalized the color Crystal Blue. We were told the car is not available with them and they would need to order it from the factory afresh.

13 Sept 2022 - We were told to come for Customer PDI by our sales representative. Three of us went for the PDI. We inspected the car and took video from all sides. Also started the engine and checked functions. Everything seemed good.

13-27 Sept 2022 - All the formalities related to insurance, BH passing were done. We chose 28 Sept as the delivery date as it was my dad’s 60th birthday!

28 Sept 2022- We took delivery of a Skoda Slavia 1.5 DSG from Akoya Motors Pvt Ltd, Baner, Pune with BH number (22BH6984D). On the day of delivery, while we were about to take the car out from the delivery area, I noticed that the co-driver side quarter panel was somewhat rough. Couple of my friends were present there. I called them to take a look. Everyone agreed that it was rough but only two of us thought that some work had been done on the panel. We immediately called our sales executive. Firstly he was reluctant to admit that there was an issue. On our insistence the Sales-Service manager, Akoya Skoda was called. On inspection she agreed that there was roughness. I asked them if they had repainted it or not? Both of them said, "No repaint has been done on your car." Interestingly when customer PDI was done on 13 Sept 2022, this roughness was not there. We had also shot a video of that PDI.

So once the roughness was brought to their notice, they asked us if they could take the car to their in-house 3M workshop for 30 mins and get the roughness resolved. We were not very willing to let the new car go into a detailing shop but it was getting late so we obliged. In the meantime we asked to see the most senior person available in the showroom. We were taken to the Business Head of Akoya Motors. He assured us that no part of the vehicle had been repainted and he would investigate this issue and get back to us by email the next day. He said, "Sir, you are now part of the Skoda family, whatever the issue is, we are with you to resolve it, you please take the delivery today ." On their insistence we took the delivery on the condition that they would investigate and reply to us via email on what had happened between PDI & delivery.

29 Sept 2022 - We took the car to two different detailing workshops for checking the issue. On physical check itself both the workshops said the whole quarter panel starting from the C pillar had been repainted. To get the proofs we checked the paint thickness using the DFT meter. While the whole car’s reading was below 130, this particular area showed reading of 170-190. We took photos of the reading and waited for the Akoya Motors’ email. We received an email stating -

“Dear Mr. Vikram,

Greetings from Akoya Skoda Baner!

At the outset we sincerely regret the inconvenience caused.

It has been noted that there was some roughness on the particular part and looks like difference in paint.

As we observe that the roughness and difference in the paint is due to the bird shit and which was cleaned by dirty cloth.

Your vehicle is not repainted.

We express our sincere apologies for the same.

Moving ahead to get this concern solved we would like to offer you the needful repair work.

Kindly give us approval for the same.

In case of any further assistance, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Assuring you our best services always.

Thanks & Regards,

Customer Delight Manager

Akoya Motors Private Limited.”

We replied to this email with DFT reading photos and asked them again to get the car surface checked from the Skoda technical experts and get it verified and inform us of the technical opinion of experts. We asked them to take the issue seriously or we would need to approach the Skoda India & Consumer Forum if the issue is not resolved.

30 Sept 2022 - We got a call from Akoya calling us for a ‘discussion’. As my dad was retiring on the same day there were many programs lined up so we said we would come for the discussion on the next day.

1 Oct 2022 - We first had a brief meeting with the customer manager. She was in no mood to accept that some wrongdoing had been done from their end. She was rather giving us a lecture on how she was thinking from a customer point of view being a Customer Delight Manager. We asked to see the Business Head of Akoya Motors. We again offered to keep the car at the showroom as we were going out of town for the next 15 days. We had also informed them about our schedule at the time of delivery. He said that they were accepting the roughness but it’s not due to repainting. So I requested that you please refute the evidence we have submitted so that we can take up this issue with higher authority. He agreed to reply to our mail the next day. We did not receive any email communication.

2 Oct 2022 - We contacted senior RTO officials of Pune and narrated the happenings. They took cognizance at their level. We also contacted ARAI to inquire whether they have any facility where this issue can be checked. The ARAI said although they have this facility, they didn’t provide this facility to individuals. However, they provide this facility to the manufacturer company.

3 Oct 2022 - We received a call from business head. He said that he had discussed the issue with the management of Akoya Motors and they have agreed to make good the fault by repainting and matching the color of the C-pillar and quarter panel. He also offered to do 3M Ceramic coating to the whole car as compensation. But he stated that he was unable to give any written reply to our email in which we had given details of the DFT meter readings and the pictures. He reiterated these things on 4th October, 2022 also.

4 Oct 2022 - Meanwhile, we received a feedback call from Skoda India about purchase of the Skoda Slavia. We informed all details of happenings in this feedback call. The representative informed us that the happenings are unfortunate and they will be flagging the issue and informing the concerned team. They told us that we could also take up the issue with Skoda India independently, if we wished. Once again we called Mr Kedar Kulkarni on 4th Oct 2022 in the evening and requested for the written acceptance of the fault in the surface of the car and inform us details of what has really transpired and why were the facts covered up before the delivery of the vehicle? This was the first time he accepted that the fault had appeared at the Akoya Skoda level and not at Skoda India level. He also informed that they have fired two staff members who were involved in the Pre Delivery Inspection of the car. He expressed his inability to give any written communication. I insisted on written communication of acceptance of the fault and details of the happenings by replying to the email. However, the business head said that he will not be able to give anything in writing and he would discuss the issue with the Akoya Skoda management and due to Dussehra on 5th October, he will reply to mail by 6th October afternoon. But they didn’t reply!

I would like to state that the team at Akoya Motors Pvt Ltd had ganged up to cover up the fault fully in knowledge of this. Even after pointing the fault at the time delivery the sales staff ganged up to tone down the issue. It is unfortunate that even after the Akoya Skoda management has been informed there was talk of making good of the surface without written acceptance of the fault.

6 Oct 2022 - On not receiving the email we escalated the matter to Skoda India on 6th Oct. We were assured that a resolution would be found to this issue at the earliest. On 11th Oct 2022, we received a call from Zonal Manager, West region, Skoda India. She said that she had spoken to the dealership and wanted to know our side of the story. After listening to all the details, she assured to get back to us on this soon.

Our basic contention was, if Skoda India, which is considered as a premium brand in Indian Automobile Sector can deliver a repainted car as a new one through its dealership (Akoya Motors Pvt Ltd) when the customer has paid in full, how can we trust any automobile brand operating in India?

Being a proud owner of Skoda Fabia (MH27AC7326) for the last 12 years, we were ready to escalate the issue to Consumer Court if the resolution was not found at the Skoda India level.

7 Oct 2022 - We received this mail.

“Dear Mr. Vikram,

Greetings from Akoya Skoda Baner!

At the outset we sincerely regret the inconvenience caused.

As telephonic discussion we are working hard to resolve your concern .

Kindly let us know about when will you be reaching your home town.

We will accordingly discuses about the needful things and will get it done.

You may also get in touch with us in the below number wherein we would be more than happy to hear from you.

In case of any further assistance, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Assuring you our best services always.

Thanks & Regards,

Customer Delight Manager

Akoya Motors Private Limited.”

7-13 Oct 2022 - We had to mount pressure on Skoda India through our contacts in VW India, VW AG Germany and Govt of India (from the highest level).

14 Oct 2022 - We had a first call with Regional Sales Manager, Skoda India. He said he had gone through our email and wanted to know what we wanted to do. We reiterated that we wanted a confirmation of the repainting, if done and whether it was done at the factory level or at the dealer level.

Finally we received the following mail from Akoya Motors Pvt Ltd accepting that they had repainted the car. However, no details of what was the actual damage (supported by pictorial evidence) was provided. No details of why this fact was hidden from us before or during the delivery have been provided.

“Dear Sir,

Our sincere apologies for the delay..

With reference to trail mail, we would like to confirm that the said situation is true.

As mentioned by our CDM, we found some stains (bird sheet/hard particles) on your vehicle on the day of delivery.

One of security guard noticed & tried to remove the same by cloth which was rough and already dirty.

As this was something different, said stain got spared on quarter panel & paint got damaged.

Delivery was already schedule & confirmed, we tried to remove it through repaint.

Yes the part is repaint but we also would like to confirm that it is not damaged.

Request you to kindly consider and assure our best services all the time.

Regards,

General Manager – Akoya Škoda”

15 Oct 2022 - We again had a call with  Regional Sales Manager, Skoda India. He asked whether we wished to replace the car or take full refund. We said we are open to both the options. On asking why the panel was repainted & why it was hidden from us till then, he said let's not go that way. He said he would be the single point of contact and requested us not to escalate the issue for the next 3 days in which he will revert with the resolution.

18 Oct 2022 - We received an email from the Validation Team, SKODA AUTO VOLKSWAGEN INDIA PVT LTD stating that they have not been able to contact us and have not heard from us on previous emails so they hope that we were satisfied with the service and resolution provided from dealer. We replied to this email immediately stating Mr Ketan Bhale, Regional Sales Manager had asked us for time to talk to the dealership and provide us with a resolution.

19 Oct 2022 - We inquired with the Regional Sales Manager, Skoda India about the developments. He informed us that the dealer is ready to repaint and match the color of the repainted parts with the other parts of the car. Even the option of full refund was there, he said.

21 Oct 2022 - We contacted the RSM and expressed demands for resolution from our side. He asked us to give the demands in an email. Our demands were -

1. Replace the repainted car with a new car with all the add-on’s availed in the original deal along with all the formalities of insurance and registration done by the dealer. We demanded compensation of Rs 1,50,000/- for cheating, fraud, mental harassment & wastage of our time.

OR

2. Refund the paid amount fully along with cost involved in insurance, registration with compensation of Rs 1,50,000/- for cheating, fraud, mental harassment & wastage of our time.

He asked for time to talk to the dealership and due to Diwali he said he would be able to get back only on 27 Oct 2022.

21-26 Oct 2022 - We washed the car once and kept it covered in our parking. All this while we were using our 12 year old Skoda Fabia. We didn’t want any incidence with the Skoda Slavia which might affect the Replacement or Refund process.

27 Oct 2022 - We received a call from the CRM who said that there was no intention from the dealership to cheat us and they had made a mistake for which they were ready to pay. He informed us that the dealership had agreed to replace the car along with all the originally availed offers and the business head from Akoya Skoda would be confirming the same over the email. He requested us to visit the showroom in the coming days to ‘discuss’ the details of the deal.

28 Oct 2022 - We went to Akoya Skoda Pvt Ltd for discussion. The CRM was present at the meeting. Two options were worked out again.

Option 1: Replace the car with all the offers, along with MH 12 registration and 50,000 compensation for cheating, fraud, mental harassment & wastage of our time.

OR

Option 2: Refund the full amount paid, along with insurance cost plus 25,000 for the accessories installed and 1,50,000 cheating, fraud, mental harassment & wastage of our time. The business head assured that there would be no further discussion in these options and they just need time to finalize one of them. We agreed to give him time.

29 Oct 2022 - I messaged him inquiring about the issue. He said Skoda India and Akoya Motors wanted the customer to choose one of the options rather than them choosing one. We asked for a day’s time to decide on the option. Here he made a personal request for minimizing the penalty amount as according to him it was going to come from the pockets of the whole sales team involved in it. We rejected the request and reminded him that he had said that no further negotiations will happen on the options decided on 28 Oct 2022.

30 Oct 2022 - We informed Akoya that we wished to continue with the Skoda India brand and that we were willing to take option 1.

(Option 1: Replace the car with all the offers, along with MH 12 registration and 50,000 compensation for cheating, fraud, mental harassment & wastage of our time.) The CRM again asked for a day’s time. When we reminded him that he had already said that Skoda India and Akoya wanted us to choose the option and they had given full approval for the same reason why more time was needed, he had no answer.

30-31 Oct 2022 - No communication from the CRM or business head. Reason given - month end. (Basically they were busy managing sales of ’new’ cars which was a more important issue.)

1 Nov 2022 - We had to escalate the issue again through the Govt of India.

2 Nov 2022 - I got a call on behalf of Skoda India. They said they had worked out the options again and now we shall choose one of these options. We asked them why they were backtracking from the 28 Oct discussion where it was mutually decided by the customer and dealership that no further negotiations would happen in future, he said they had to also take into account the cost involved. Basically they were worried about the extent to which the dealership can be penalised. Their options were -

Option 1 : We keep the faulty car. Dealer would repainted the affected panel with the help of Skoda India technicians plus 1,50,000 compensation.

Option 2 : Full refund plus 25,000 for accessories plus 1,00,000 compensation.

Option 3: Replace the car with MH 12 registration for which they would pay 1,50,000 from the total of 1,90,000 difference of BH and MH 12 registration. No further compensation.

On their insistence we chose Option 2 but we were not convinced.

3 Nov 2022 - We called the CRM and informed that we are backtracking like they did and we didn’t accept any of the options imposed on 2 Nov 2022. Again a conference call with CRM and business head was planned where we said that either accept one of the options decided on 28 Oct 2022 or we will go ahead with legal options available (Consumer Court and FIR under Sec 420).

Finally the option of Full refund along with 1,50,000 compensation was finalized and the particulars were mailed to us by Akoya Skoda. We replied to their mail accepting the offer.

Kedar asked for a time of 7-9 days to issue the cheque as one of the owners of Akoya Skoda Pvt Ltd lives out of town. We accepted that.

10 Oct 2022 - We were called to the Akoya Motors showroom and received an HDFC bank cheque for the amount of 20,63,561 at 4pm. We were asked to sign an undertaking where it was mentioned that we would not claim any compensation from Akoya in future and we would help them transfer the car to the new owner.

We submitted the cheque to my home branch at 4:30pm. The teller informed me that as it was the cheque from the same bank it will be credited in 30 min. I went home with a sign of relief. WE THOUGHT WE WERE OUT OF IT.
But, the cheque didn’t get credited.

11 Oct 2022 - No message from the bank till noon. On visiting the bank, the teller informed me that there was not enough balance in the Akoya Motors Pvt Ltd’s account and the cheque would bounce. He asked to talk to the dealership once. When I called the CRM, he said there must be some issue and asked for sometime (again). I had lost it by now. I called the regional sales manager, Skoda India. He also asked for sometime. Received a call from Akoya’s chief accountant about 30 min after the fiasco. He said there was some issue at their end and they had just transferred the amount from another account to HDFC one. He asked to inform the teller to try again. After 30 min more I received a message from my bank of the credit of 20,63,561!

Lessons learnt from all this fiasco:

  • Never trust a sales guy! Never…
  • Customer PDI is a very important aspect while buying a new car. So does inspection on the day of delivery.
  • No matter where you are in life, you can easily be cheated.
  • Every company will try to save their dealer partner, customers first is a myth!

Car details:

  • Owner Name - Ravindra K Wankhade IFS (Retd)
  • Skoda Slavia 1.5 DSG (crystal blue)
  • Chassis No - MEXBRGPB5NG014934
  • Engine No - DUMA22248

Note: Owner is my dad. Intention of writing and sharing this experience is not to ask for any further compensation in any form but just to make everyone aware of the facts so that one can be careful while dealing with premium brands like Skoda India.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
Love Cars Live Cars