Jump to content

Fiat customer services - a warning


Majikthyse

Recommended Posts

We bought our new Murvi Pimento (Ducato 130) in November 2013, so it is still just within warranty. It has a 3rd year extended warranty, which includes roadside assistance. No major problems until April this year, when the van suddenly went into limp mode and apparently slammed the brakes on. A very long saga ensued, involving several more breakdowns, DPF sensor replacements, multiple DPF forced regenerations, and misleading error codes. It culminated in a breakdown at the beginning of a trip to the Lake District, on 4th September. We spent 5 days in a hotel while yet another Fiat garage diagnosed a leaking fuel injector - a new one had to be sent from Italy. 1500 miles since then and no more problems. The main features of the story are:

 

1. Two local Fiat garages totally failed to diagnose the underlying problem, which was the fuel injector. All they did was to fix the error codes, force regen the DPF, and replace sensors which were getting damaged by over-fuelling. They were not interested in proper analysis of the problem, and refused to seek advice from Fiat technical dept despite my pressing them to do so.

 

2. The Fiat breakdown service is provided by the RAC, which must be the most chaotic organisation I have ever encountered. Record keeping is appalling, as I had to keep calling them to chase up everything, and they usually had to go away for several minutes to ask someone who knew about the case. I had to hang around on hold while they charged my mobile at international rates for calls to Italy. They did eventually reimburse the £70 cost of these calls, but I had to complain several times. On 4th Sept the RAC actually refused service because they had misunderstood the terms of the warranty, so we had to arrange alternative recovery. Almost everything they promised to do, they took all day to get around to.

 

3. I complained to Fiat UK about this level of service, using the very good www.resolver.co.uk. But they were useless, put no pressure on the first two garages to resolve the fault, and closed the case. I even escalated it to Fiat UK's CEO, but he simply bounced it back down to the call centre and didn't even acknowledge.

 

I received a call from Fiat on 12th September, the day we collected the van after repair. They offered a goodwill gesture in the form of a voucher for £250. When this arrived I found that it could only be used for servicing at a Fiat garage. Needless to say after our experience we are not keen to give the local Fiat garage any more business. I explained this to Fiat customer services, who said that I can use it for accessories. Well have you seen the list of Ducato accessories? There's almost nothing of the slightest use for a motorhome. The next service isn't until next October anyway. So we opted to use the voucher for an oil change (not strictly needed but I'm a bit wary of 2-year service intervals). That was £160 leaving £90 for `accessories'. But Fiat says we can't split the voucher and it has to be all used for servicing, or cancelled and changed to another one for accessories. Neither will they let us use it for replacements eg a tyre. In any case £250 is not much when the next service has been quoted at an eye-watering £630.

 

Are they really trying to annoy me? How is this `goodwill' when they are so inflexible? At least the RAC paid us £100 cash to compensate for the terrible service, which they could not deny. Surely the first two garages who pitched us into this situation should chip in, but of course all I get from them is a defence of their box-ticking mentality. They just work on a sort of Pavlovian response basis - "for this error code, we do this". Analytical ability is a lost skill for them.

 

I remember some business training from many years ago, which said "You don't want satisfied customers, you want delighted customers". I am not even satisfied.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After my experiences with the three nearest Fiat garages to us I always refer to them as 'Fiat (un) Professional'.

p.s. As for RAC, we've been long term customers, in general i'd say we have had good service, although there was the one time that I parked in the RAC west of england main depot, they couldn't touch the car without head office permission, but did let me use the phone, I then had a slightly surreal conversation where the call centre just couldn't understand where we were. After getting address from depot manager the last question they asked me was "Can you describe your surroundings to help the patrolman find you" the answer was "My car is surrounded by RAC breakdown wagons", it took about an hour before mechanic came out of workshop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I remember some business training from many years ago, which said "You don't want satisfied customers, you want delighted customers".

 

 

Crikey, that must've been a long time ago as I don't think anyone has heard of such a statement nowadays 8-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Happy with our Fiat, but we have the 240, so the model prior to the upgraded version in 2006.

 

Had a scare this time in France when all of a sudden the engine cut out, pulled over to the side, and found the keys had slipped from the ignition!! Re started engine and carried on. This happened again some miles later, so just restarted the ignition. We have now taken most of the keys of the ring, as it was much too heavy, and going over bumps , of which they now have lots more( sleeping policemen), caused the heavy key ring to slip out. Do others have ALL the keys on one bunch?

PJay

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My FIAT powered motorhome is a 2004 so I'm assuming this engine to be at the end of a long line of resolved problems.

 

The surprises I've had during the first few years after I bought it in 2008 could hardly be attributed to Fiat, early failure of front wheel bearings, failed steering rack and other ancillary issues though the steel sump they fit with a lick of paint to keep it going for a couple of years is disgusting.

 

I also had a Fiat 500.

 

I love my motorhome, I did a lot of service and replace. I liked that Fiat 500, I did a lot of bitchingmabout bits falling to pieces and essential systems failing. It was cute.

 

We went back to VW with cars and when this lovely motorhome passes on Fiat will never spoil my life again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well have you seen the list of Ducato accessories? There's almost nothing of the slightest use for a motorhome"

 

Bit unfair surely? I mean for only £25-ish you can buy the dust caps with Fiat on them, for the tyre valves.

Christmas is coming...........

;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fiat has now relented and I can use the rest of the voucher for anything I like, as long as it's from the Fiat garage. Blimey I had to fight for that. To be fair this is our 3rd Ducato and the ones before have been fine. The current one is great to drive, the only downside being the terrible traction on soggy ground. Frankly the so-called traction control does absolutely nothing at all. So we just travel with traction mats which are excellent.

 

I think the moral of the story is that modern vans are pretty reliable, but when they go wrong they are so complex that they are beyond the capabilities of the average technician. Manufacturers offer a wide range of support under warranty so as to win sales, gambling that most of the time they'll not be rumbled by owners who find the services are crap. Fiat pays the RAC a fixed amount and the RAC tries to spend as little of that as they can. But they end up spending far more because they don't oversee the garages that did the work - nobody does. So we have 5 breakdowns because of one fault, and they have a £500 hotel bill.

 

I am still left seething over the first two garages, who insist they did nothing wrong. I did phone the Caravan Club legal advisor, who said that the law changed last year. Previously garages had to employ "due care and attention", but now they only have use "reasonable care and attention". Nobody knows what is reasonable because there is not yet any case law. They don't have a legal obligation to diagnose faults exhaustively, only to repair what they can see. Clearly there is something wrong with consumer law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...