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Thread: To hell with main dealers

  1. #1
    Regular Member john_k_sri's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra

    Trim : SRI NAV XP

    Engine : 1.9 CDTI 150

    Year : 2007

    Mileage : 72K

    Default To hell with main dealers

    Got a phone call this week saying my Vectra was due its third service (I've got a 2.0T) and when I asked how much I was told.....£169. Bit steep I thought.

    A while back I sought advice on here about how often I should get my car serviced as it's set up on Eco-Service-Flex (in spite of the dealer saying it wasn't and was set up for yearly servicing), and I only do about 5K miles a year ATM, and I was advised to settle for an oil change or an 'interim/mini service' between 2-yearly services. So the idea of paying £169 after shelling out £230 a year ago didn't appeal to me.

    On the way to work this morning the dreaded 'spanner' light appeared briefly and went out. Car didn't go into 'limp mode', and performed as normal thereafter (gave it some remapped beans just to check!). Checked in the manual and it said if that lights appears briefly and disappears then it's of no consequence.

    So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and drop in to a smaller VX dealer near to where I was working to ask what they charged for a 3rd service, and to ask about the 'spanner' light.

    Initially they told me £149 for a third service, then after I groaned at that, they said "Is it under warranty?" and I said "not any more" they said "In that case we can do a silver service for £89 (including VAT)".

    I said I wanted 5w-30 fully synthetic oil and they said that wouldn't add to the cost, and when I mentioned about the 'spanner' light they agreed to throw in a 'Tech 2' to check for any fault codes.

    Result...no fault codes, oil changed, visual checks all done, aircon 'debugged', car serviced there and then, no need to book it in for a date several days away,and an extra two-way journey, and free coffee.

    The staff were pleasant, helpful, not at all like the main dealers, who never say anything about cheaper servicing options for cars over 3 years old, and the place is not like a madhouse.

    I had heard good things about this small VX dealer and I'm glad I popped in there. They put in 6 litres of fully synthetic in during the service and left the remaining unused 4 litres from the second 5-litre container in the boot for me. Big is not always beautiful, or best, obviously.

    And I didn't have to remind them to stamp the service book afterwards....like I had to do at the main dealers. Looks like the main dealer in question has lost another customer.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Gsi3.2's Avatar
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    Smaller garages need a good reputation to survive..and it looks like you've found a corker....

    Name em John..so others can benefit....

  3. #3
    Vectra-C Obsessed Poster Drinky's Avatar
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    on your momma !!!!!!!!!
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    Come on then John spread the word we all want to know who this super duper dealer is ......................Good result BTW !!!!!!

    Back in a V6 !!!!!!!!!!!! And lovin it !!!

  4. #4
    Regular Member John35's Avatar
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    A bargain.......I bet they are not in the Southeast. Although being that good it might be worth a day trip "up north"...............

  5. #5
    Regular Member Ste's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Jaguar XF 3.0D V6

    Trim : Black

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    Year : 0000

    Default

    I said ' up yours main dealer ' a long time ago.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Madgunner's Avatar
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    Never have used main dealer services gotta mate who does everything, even fault code readings so pretty lucky really

  7. #7
    Regular Member john_k_sri's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra

    Trim : SRI NAV XP

    Engine : 1.9 CDTI 150

    Year : 2007

    Mileage : 72K

    Default

    Thanks guys for your comments. I can only go on first impressions, but the portents are good. TBH I was fed up with the main dealer as it was too impersonal, too 'conveyor-belt'-ish, they won't miss me, and I won't miss the 'not you again' looks, hidden behind a forced smile.

    You only got sense out of them if you were really lucky and got the chance to talk to a senior engineer/supervisor, armed with a bit of knowledge gleaned from this site. Thank God for Vectra-c-com.

    Most of their customers seem to accept whatever servicing price given to them, and during the warranty period you can tend to feel obliged. No longer.

    You hit the nail on the head Mark, they clearly wanted my custom, and their attitude was first class. The small dealer I went to said that the main dealers are too big and too greedy. Even the engineer who serviced my car came back with a smile on his face after taking my car for a final test run. Maybe he doesn't get many 2.0T's, and the test run was on country lanes.

    Leaving the oil in the boot (in a container, that is), was a nice touch. Maybe they normally use 10W-40 on a silver service, but they never flinched when I asked for 5W-30.

    The dealer is Duerden's in Formby ,on the way to Southport, just off the bypass (any excuse for a quick 'blast' on the way there).

    And the main dealer......Lookers in Bootle, on the way into Liverpool. Oh and while I'm at it, avoid Lookers in Birkenhead like the plague........
    Last edited by john_k_sri; 21st September 2007 at 11:22. Reason: amendments

  8. #8
    Regular Member Beavis's Avatar
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    sounds like everyones happy!! the fitter to the owner!!,most small independents are good as they value your custom and as said don't rip you off thought as of people rather than another car/££££££

  9. #9
    Regular Member Ian S100's Avatar
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    Duerden's have a garage in southport too so it looks like that's where I'll be going with my Vec - cheers for the heads up

  10. #10
    Regular Member john_k_sri's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra

    Trim : SRI NAV XP

    Engine : 1.9 CDTI 150

    Year : 2007

    Mileage : 72K

    Default

    The garage in Southport (Churchtown) is bigger, but will have the same ethos and attitude to customer service. They are both part of a small group of dealers (link). Although they are described as 'main dealers', and Formby is probably their smallest dealership, they are nothing like Lookers, who are just huge and seem to have most of the VX business in Merseyside, . Another one that seems to have a good name, a bit further out, is Edmondson's in Hesketh Bank. Seems they all welcome defectors from bigger dealers with open arms. And people have been known to go to them for used cars rather than to the likes of Lookers.
    Last edited by john_k_sri; 21st September 2007 at 12:10. Reason: amendments

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