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Volkswagen Servicing


I took my wife’s car, a 2011 Volkswagen Polo 1.6 cc diesel, to a Volkswagen dealer. They were to repair a mirror damaged by another vehicle. I mentioned that on some mornings when the car was cold (around 5 C) the automatic transmission would not shift immediately. If I let the car warm up for 3 or 4 minutes the transmission shifted normally. Since the car was already in the garage for the scratch repair they said they would look at it.
I went back in the afternoon to pick the car up. They advised me that they could not simulate the shifting problem and that they would have to wait until the following morning when the car was cold to see if they could observe the problem. They also advised me that they had put the car on the computer and had sent the results to the main garage in Brussels. The results had not yet been returned. I went back on Friday and they advised me that they had now received the results and that three of the four fuel injectors would have to be replaced. I asked if this was the cause of the transmission not shifting immediately if it was cold. The answer was evasive. I asked how much three new injectors would cost if they were installed. The answer was +/- 1100 euros for parts and labor plus tva. They also advised me that Volkswagen was giving a reduction of 70% on the cost of the injectors because the car only had about 32,000 km on it. I asked how many hours it would take for the repairs and the cost per hour. The reply was approximately 5 hours at 63 euros per hour. I asked for a reduction on the labor as well but the answer was that “this is what the computer says it should be” and that no other reduction was possible. I was not convinced that this work was necessary but as they had recommended that it be done I agreed. I would bring the car in on the following Tuesday for the work to be done. It should be noted that I never made a request that the car be put on the computer for diagnosis and never signed any work order for this to happen. Nor did I sign any work order requesting that the three injectors be replaced.
On Monday morning I consulted an independent VW mechanic and explained the situation. He was puzzled as to why it was necessary to replace three of the four injectors on a car with only about 32,000 km. I told him about the problem of the transmission not shifting correctly until the car had warmed up for three or four minutes. He asked if the car was running smoothly when warm and I said that it was, that we had recently made a trip of about 2000 km with the car and that it had run perfectly. He advised me to just warm up the car for several minutes before driving and to continue driving the car as it was. He also suggested that I could add a product to the fuel which would clean the injectors. I purchased the product (Bardahl) from him and added the required amount to a tank of petrol. I asked him if it was likely that the problem with the injectors could be related to the slow shifting of the transmission when the engine was cold. He replied that he could not see why there would be any connection. I returned to the Volkswagen garage around noon on Monday and advised them to cancel the appointment for the next day. They said that there was a 10% fee for sending the parts back.
The car has continued to run smoothly. The next day we made a trip of about 300 km during which time the car ran smoothly all the time. However it is still necessary to warm up the car for several minutes on a cold morning to ensure that the transmission shifts easily.
On the following Thursday, I received two bills from the garage. One was for the sum of 158.25 euros plus tva for a total of 191.48 euros. This was for a “diagnostic de panne” (diagnosis of problem) which was for attaching the car to the computer and then sending the results to the central office in Brussels. The cost of this diagnosis was for 2 ½ hours of work at 63 euros per hour. The other bill was for 192.64 euros plus tva for a total of 233.09 euros. This amount was for “INDEMNITE RDV NON HONORE” (penalty for a missed appointment) in spite of the fact that I had cancelled the appointment approximately 24 hours in advance. The total for both bills was 424.57 euros although no actual work was ever done on the car. I did not request any formal diagnosis and had I known that they were going to charge 63 euros per hour for 2 ½ hours for such a diagnosis I would not have agreed to it. As long as I warm the car up for several minutes on a cold morning the car works and drives perfectly.
When I cancelled the appointment they said that there would be a 10% fee for restocking and returning the parts to the parts department in Brussels. The fee charged on the bill I received is 192.64 euros. I had originally been told that the amount of labor would be about five hours at 63 euros per hour or +/- 315 euros. The difference between 1100 euros and 315 euros would have been the cost of the parts, or +/- 785 euro. But if the 10% restocking fee is 192.64 euros the original cost of the parts must have been 1926.40 euros, or far more than the total estimated cost of 1100 euros for both parts and labor. It is obvious they are charging the return fee not on what the actual cost was to have been but on some unknown cost before the 70% reduction. (This would seem like a good way for Volkswagen to make money. Set an inflated price for parts, then give a 70% reduction, but if the customer is to be charged a 10% fee to return parts charge the 10% on the inflated amount.)
Question 1. Is it justified to charge a 10% restocking fee on what the price would have been without the 70% intervention or should it be on what the quoted price of the materials was to be?
Question 2. Is Volkswagen inflating the original cost of parts so that they can then propose a 70% reduction? And if the parts have to be returned should they use this inflated cost on which to calculate the 10% fee for parts returned?
Question 3. Volkswagen has already admitted to rigging automobile computers to give a false reading of fuel consumption. Are the Volkswagen diagnostic computers also rigged to indicate problems when no problems actually exist?
I returned to the garage on Friday morning, and told the receptionist that I was willing to pay the sum of 100 euros to end the affair. (Note that this is more than 10% of what the actual parts costs would have been.) She stated that the garage owner was not in at the time but that she would convey the offer to him and that I would be advised by telephone of his reply. On the following Tuesday I received a telephone call from the receptionist informing me that the owner would not accept this offer.
I also contacted Volkswagen Belgium. After a lengthy delay I finally received a reply. This basically stated that Volkswagen Belgium does not interfere in any dispute between a client and the Volkswagen agent.
As I was leaving the country in a few days I paid the bills so as not to incur further charges for late payment. I also consulted a lawyer who wrote two letters to the Volkswagen agency. He did not get a reply to either letter. I then contacted Test Achats, an organization which protects consumer rights. Test Achats also contacted the Volkswagen agent. The agent did not deny the amounts charged but said that as I had paid the bills then the amounts must have been accepted. Test Achats also advised me that when I paid the bills I should have made a notation on the bills that they were paid under protest. Unfortunately I neglected to do this. Test Achats also advised me that if I wanted to pursue the matter further I could initiate a court action against the agency. I have no interest in doing this and so will just write the matter off as a bad experience with Volkswagen.
1. I have paid a Volkswagen garage the sum of 424.57 euros for a simple diagnosis with no actual work ever being done on the car.
2. I have learned that if you pay a bill you do not agree with you should always make a notation on the bill that it is being paid under protest.
3. I have also decided that in spite of being a Volkswagen driver for many years my next car will definitely not be a Volkswagen.

shortof Feb 22, 2016 10:08

D Ieteren?

Go to Ceulemans near Leuven.

Tom2012 Feb 22, 2016 10:48

I read your post and frankly you have been conned.
It is impossible that commonrail injectors would require replacing at the miniscule mileage your car is at;; 30k. They easily do 200k before problems occur. Diagnostics is data accessed on your ECU instantly via software a laptop or a machine on site so no there is no spiel about results being sent or otherwise.This is a lie. Max a halfhour,,and that's with a cup of coffee.
Automatics do have shifting problems in cold weather precisely because the oil in the box needs to heat up a little so as the engine gets warm the oil becomes more viscous. They should have checked the level and quality of the oil as a first .You really need to name and shame this garage.
In all my years the worst case I have heard.

Tom2012 Feb 22, 2016 10:50

Just to add you should demand to see the results of these alleged diagnostics.

kasseistamper Feb 22, 2016 11:15

I find it hard to believe that the national main agent of any car manufacturer does not deal with a dispute between a client and another agent of the company.
Perhaps understandable if the garage that did the work is simply someone who works on WVs but if they are a genuine, registered VW main dealer then I would take the complaint to WV in Wolfsburg, Germany - you have nothing to lose.
I would also query the 'restocking' charge. To some extent it will depend on the precise timing of the cancellation of the order and on whether or not injectors are items that the garage would normally hold in stock but I would certainly be sceptical.

becasse Feb 22, 2016 11:35

I rather suspect that the dealer thought that the car wasn't what it seemed to be. After all, if you were offered secondhand an expensive car registered five years ago but with only 32.000 km on the clock, you would be suspicious too.

I realise that the reason must be that your wife hardly drives at all - and therein lies part of the problem. Diesels are meant to be worked, and worked hard, and just pootling round the corner doesn't suit them (and particularly the more modern diesels) at all, especially if they are automatics. The poor computer readings for the injector performance are almost certainly a result of having ONLY done 32.000 km in almost five years - and the dealer probably referred them up the chain because they were outwith his experience. If the car was fitted with a particulate trap, then you have probably been having problems with that too, since its performance depends on the car being regularly driven at speeds higher than 50 km/h for some distance - enough to complete a "burn" of the filter.

If your wife really needs a car, buy her a petrol, or even better an electric, one.

xl Feb 22, 2016 13:50

@ Tom2012 and Becasse:
Seconding your technical side of this matter - driving a Golf 4 TDI since many, many years without problems; just serviced 1x p.a. as driving under 12,000 km/year. In cold season any diesel has to be put on about 20 - 30 seconds waiting time before starting the motor.

@ moi:
I cannot second your complaint on the mode of customer service nor rely it only to your VW garage / dealer.
Why? (...and no, I not linked to any garage or any other interests in those than your complaint)
1) you received a cost estimation and you made two (clear) orders ..as you did not know better at that minute:
1a) for diagnostic services
1b) for the replacement parts
===> 1a) was executed ==> has its price > to be paid
1b) NONE of the garages today have a look of parts in stock, due to multiple pieces by age of a car model ==> thus, by giving your order, it's send automatically to the VW national / regional repair parts center => delivery during the day / overnight => part + shipment has to paid by the orderer => as well as the return (shipment) ==> overturned to the client = you!
in short: your order > your payment

You should have inquired at the 2nd garage BEFORE any other action taken at the 1st one. Sorry ...but be happy, that this lesson was relatively cheap against the expenses of a real repair !

Good luck for next time, xl

Moi Feb 22, 2016 17:20

I chose not to name the dealer as Tom2012 has suggested. However, there are a number of Volkswagen dealers in the area south of Brussels in Genval, Boitsfort, Waterloo, and Overijse. I have had personal experience with those in Boitsfort and Waterloo and can recommend them. If I was looking for a Volkswagen dealer to service my car in the future the one in Genval is not one that will likely come to mind.

mik123 Mar 1, 2016 13:08

We had similar problems with a Volvo authorised dealer. I don't have the nerve to explain the whole process now, but in short: they made us pay for re-installation of software and other works and said the car was repaired. We immediately saw the problem still existed (they obviously didn't even verify that), went again and they check it again to say that we were right, what was done the first time was not needed and they offered to replace one full system for 2000 EUR. We refused and asked to have back the unnecessary billed money. No success. I wrote to Volvo Belgium for assistance, they replied to me that the dealer was 100% in his right to bill me for all these things.
Such things could not happen in many other countries but here - yes!

CC_R May 13, 2016 15:50

Having just read this we had a Toyota in the UK at the time many years ago. It was standard to fit an immobiliser switch which we had done. One day when had it about a year and when visiting miles from home the switch broke. So we called the AA the guy said he could wire round the switch but he wasn't happy to do so, because instead of using the core sleevings connectors which are a few pence at most the switch wring was simply wrapped in electoral binding tape.
He therefore ordered a recovery truck. I rung the dealership garage they said oh we close at this time and if you arrive later we will be closed and can't lock your car up so we won't accept responsibility of its damped over night. I said if you're closed I will take the car to my home and you can recover it at your cost and my convince and they miraculously stayed open late to lock up the car. When the manager was back we went to speak to him he was giving us the run around that this switch was wired in by their highly trained Lexus technicians. My husband said I know there will be manual saying how everything is done, if you can show us where it says used electrical tape not the correct sleeves we will take it home now no problem. Amazing how fast the reapair was done free of charge then. So yes just because they are a main dealer doesn't mean they don't do dodgy stuff. If I were you I'd take them to small claims court

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