Guess What (follow-up)?

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(Follows on from "Guess What?".)
Dealer asked me to take the car in so that I could have the steering rods replaced free of charge as no records showed this had been done under the
original campaign. Boy, was I not in for a bigger surprise when after dropping the car there, I get a second call in the afternoon telling me that while the car is on the lift, a tie-rod replacement record has shown up on Elsa (they had pressumably not been able to set up a connection before), the German database, and that I will have to pay for the whole thing. He very kindly informs me that it's only the upper right-front end arms and both tie-rod ends that need to be replaced. Since I had asked for an estimate prior to any real arm replacements, he then quotes a total of some $800, including labour.
I say "thanks for the info", but could you please lower my car and get it ready for me to pick it up when I finish work?
So, in the end, I just took the car to an independent mechanic and had all of this plus an oil-and-filter change and 2 new Bilsteins for the front end for $1000..
I really felt I had been cheated by the dealer. I did not check any other ones as I did not have either the time of patience to drive an extra 100 miles but this speaks volumes about how the make is treating their customers.
JP Roberts
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JP Roberts wrote:

What about warranty on the first repair/exchange job? Was it already expired?

US customers.. ?
Well, just to drop another view in:
My A6 TDI developed sort of a rough idle after 4 years. To sort it out, my Audi garage changed both camshafts, filters, engine mounts and re-adjusted timing etc.
The whole procedure took several visits and a few months, but I always got a free loaner and didn't have to pay a single euro (except for the fuel for the loaner). They were flexible with appointments and the car was washed and cleaned inside every time.
During one of the first service visits in 2000 they should have done a rewiring of the MAF which they didn't. It was not an absolute must, but a recommendation. That caused the consumption of 3 MAFs of which I didn't pay a single one. I insisted on the re-wirig after ~5 years. The car was out of any warranty of course by then but as I had told them about the re-wiring before (which I myself estimated at roughly 1,5 hours job for a good mechanic) I paid a more or less symbolic contribution of 15 Euros.
Sure, one could argue, that it should have been completely free, but I was happy it had been done and the tip to the mech would have been there anyway.
And finally: I had an aftermarket (Eberspaecher) pre-heater installed, which was subcontracted by them to another company. I was suspicious because I wanted Webasto. They recommended Eberspaecher and sure enough the pre-heater smoked like an old chimney and was unusable. They picked up the car two times at my company to bring it into the shop, leaving me a loaner. They agreed to change to a Webasto free of charge for me in case they couldn't fix it in short time although the Webasto was more expensive but finally found the flaw and fixed it (pre-heater exhaust installation error). Since then it works like a charm and hadn't shown a problem at all. To get this done in the end they got their head mechanic, the subcontractor AND the Austrian Eberspaecher head tech in to discuss that directly on my car.
I'm at the moment factually basing my decision on the next car brand almost purely on the fact that I finally found a shop which is good, fast, precise, flexible and features a good price/performance relation.
Ok, enough babbling but the pluses almost never get mentioned. It's the complaints which get sorted out here.
Regards
Wolfgang
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I'm glad to believe you were pampered like that, because I think you must be just about one of the rare exceptions, and judging from what I've read on the forums, the general opinion on the treatment they get from the make is clearly bad, and that's even in the US, where customers get better treatment than in Europe. It is now perfectly clear to me, that the arms were clearly underengineered and that they should be covered for the life of the car. Further to this, if you drop into just any garage where the mechs have some experience they'll tell you that the front suspension of these cars is basically ***t in terms of long term reliability.

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JP, I'd love a warranty like that on the rear transverse links on my 5ktq - I've had to replace them a couple of times in the past few years. It may be true that the front links were underdesigned.....some revisions to the design and a silent warranty may have been applied to the underdesign......but a lifetime warranty? Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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some
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X-no-archive: yes JP Roberts wrote:

I'd be interested to know how you arrived at that conclusion.
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Just conduct a number of random searches on www.audiworld.com on the subject of dealerships, or more specifically "stealerships" as they are commonly referred to.
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Wolfgang Pawlinetz wrote:

That's true. With my recent fuel pump follies, my independent was quite embarrassed about not finding the problem, even with all the billing he did. It was all legit - he spent time trying to track down an intermittent problem. It just so happened that it finally failed away from his shop. I have always been happy with my mechanic - he does a great job at low prices, and if he goofs, he covers out of his own pocket. All of our high-mileage Audis have been solid, and even though the parts are somewhat expensive, they are no worse that the same parts for Japanese cars. While I'm not a big fan of dealerships in general (high rates, 100% book-time charges), a few of the relatively local ones have been very helpful in sorting minor DIY stuff. Like how to replace bulbs when the mounting hardware is not as simple as it first appears.
JPR's dealer sounds like a place to avoid, but they are not *all* like that...
E.P.
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Phoned the closest dearlership apart from "mine", which is 50 miles from this (therefore the 100-mile trip) and they told me the same story in terms of the make only covering those items for which there was a current campaign. Well, I think this is very bad; you only need to think of what happens if you miss that recall letter - which I incidentally have not yet received for the current lower arm recall. The little *** know perfectly well it's hardly ever the lower arms that go, but the upper ones, that's why they're doing the campaign on the lower ones.
I feel utterly disappointed and cheated, especially as this is fairly common practice as I've got to know now.
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JP, I'd venture that it's not necessarily the "make" but the "dealer" who is mistreating their customers - maybe you should consider going the extra 100 miles to the other dealer - post on Audiworld and here asking what the rep of the other dealership is - and while you're at it, post the name of the dealership that you had problems with so others can avoid lousy treatment. If the independent is a good shop and does great work, why not continue with them? Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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I've long been having oil changes done at the independent. I think you're getting confused here, since what we were discussing is the fact that this should have been covered under a faulty design silent guarantee by the make - read dealer.

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JP Roberts wrote:

you're
this
the
But the dealer sucks, so don't go there. The dealer *should* have done it, but didn't. So don't go there. The dealer is not interested in you as a repeat customer. Don't go there.
E.P.
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JP, Didn't you say that the dealer found that they _were_ replaced a while back under the silent warranty programme - once their IT guys got their ducks in a line? - As with my other post, considering that ball joints are indeed a wear item, and do wear out on most cars, it is possible you could take your complaint to AoA if the lifespan of the replacements were less than most - at best, they'd cover some of the replacement cost (although it may be unlikely if the replacements were done at the independent garage with parts purchased through channels other than Audi (dunno if that's possible or not). Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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They should have been replaced, but with these so called "campaigns", if the dealer does happen to have the necessary time to check during a routinely service, and I'm assuming they do, it still takes some "free play" or whatever other sypmtoms for them to have the parts replaced. Now, if they know these to be faulty I find that is only adding insult to injury as they should all be replaced automatically in every single instance.

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JP, So were they replaced or not? Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

you're
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Steve Sears wrote:

http://groups.google.co.uk/groups?q=author:1234%40yahoo.com&start &hl=en&lr=&selm=cpnr1i%24fgc%241%40news.ya.com&rnum&
have a look
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In all probability they weren't and the lack of a sticker speaks volumes but unfortunately as I had not yet become suspicious enough at the time, I never really checked. Anyway, it is still much of the same thing now with the lower arms, which, of course, they just found to be OK, and I bet they're going to fall apart just as soon as the campaign is over. I mean these people know very well what they're doing to boost their business and empty our pockets, right?

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Steve Sears wrote:

is
extra 100

the rep

the
treatment.
continue with

This is the same complaint heard over and over all over usenet, no matter what make. If the dealer makes a mistake, the manufacturer is at fault (so the reasoning goes.) If the dealer is crummy at CS, somehow Audi is the problem. It may be that the control arms were under-engineered. But the dealer was the problem to begin with, saying work had been done when it had not. Audi didn't have anything to do with JPR's out-of-pocket, other than a problem with under-engineering (which is still a maybe.)
I agree that the name of the rep and the dealership should be made known. So that if any one of us finds ourselves in that area, we know where *not* to go.
It would still be better if JPR got a Toyota or Honda product. That way, when he has a problem, and goes to a newsgroup to complain, they'll be able to tell him the same thing. After questioning his truthfulness, because everyone knows that Toyotas and Hondas don't break down. :) Don't laugh too hard, I've seen it.
In the end, Audi's not much on the hook for this one. The dealer, however, is.
E.P.
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I would really like to buy this, but if you read my other posts, you'll realize that it's an Audi "policy" thing not to automatically replace all faulty parts. To give you a further example, my brother-in-law had to drop his car at the dealer's three times for three sucessive but differently and ill-timed coilpack failures. This is something that you will never see when a Japanese make is involved, and I should think no other German manufacturers would dare live up to such preposterous standards. I feel it's especially disappointing as we are paying dear money for these cars in the belief that they are going to be German-reliable and I have always know Germans to be very serious about whatever they do.
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JP Roberts wrote:

Not only Audi.

Seen that e.g. on Hondas and Toyotas, too

Check the BMW and/or Merc Newsgroups. Or the japanese ones.
Regards
Wolfgang
--
1999 Audi A6 Avant TDI

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Wolfgang, Hear hear. Piecemeal servicing is getting more common everyday. The more complex the cars, the more "black boxes" to go wrong. Sometimes there may be a group of BB's daisy chained together to form a system, and the standard operating procedure is to replace the most likely failed BB, see if that fixed the problem, then go for the next, and the next, and the next......sounds alot like the A8L problem we had here a while back, but it was also the problem I heard about a certain British SUV company repair policy, too. It's all across the board. I doubt that servicing Japanese products would make JP feel all warm and fuzzy inside, either. After having a massive rear brake replacement (cables, calipers, rotors) on my wife's 2k2 CRV, in which I was criticized as being neglectful for not bringing in the car for a "brake inspection" (I "inspected" them when I rotated the tires), I asked for the rotors back. They forgot and threw them out. I asked for a replacement set and they said "Oh yeah, we get CRV's and Odysseys in all the time for rear brake problems, we'll get you a set next week". Inspection, my a$$. Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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