Catherine Harris bought her new Mazda CX-5, complete with its shiny 62-registration plate, on September 1, 2012, and was delighted with it. So she was more than a little miffed when her enjoyment of the car was cut short just two weeks later when the windscreen was cracked by a stone.
She wasn’t overly concerned because cracked windscreens happen, so surely a quick call to her insurance company would get her back on the road again in no time?
Things didn’t turn out to be so simple. No windscreens could be located in the UK, or even anywhere in Europe. After a week of no news she contacted Mazda, and was given more bad news: the windscreen wouldn’t be available for weeks.
Things started to look up when she received a call from her dealer ahead of schedule, with news that the screen was being delivered that day for fitting. However, the one that arrived didn’t fit. A new one would have to be dispatched from Japan, which could take another six weeks.
By this stage, Catherine was nearing the end of her tether. The all-wheel-drive CX-5 was her fifth Mazda, and she’d bought the new 4x4 especially to tow her horsebox. Although her dealer did provide her with a courtesy car, the 1.4-litre Ford Fiesta was not up to the task.
Fed up of borrowing more powerful wheels from friends, and worried she was stretching their goodwill, she contacted Helpdesk.
We got in touch with Mazda to ask if there was anything the manufacturer could do to speed things up, and if not, if it could act to ease Catherine’s inconvenience. Just over a week later, the right screen finally arrived and was fitted after a nine-week wait.
Unfortunately, though, Catherine’s confidence in the brand was now shaken, and even Mazda’s offer of two years’ servicing worth £450 or CX-5 accessories to an equivalent sum couldn’t appease her.
She wasn’t even sure that she wanted to keep the Mazda if parts were as difficult to get hold of as her experience suggested.
‘I can’t help but feel a little insulted,’ she said. ‘I’m not ostentatious; I work extremely hard and saved up for a long time to purchase an SUV with a towbar that would enable me to transport my ponies. Then after just two weeks, I find myself in a much smaller Ford Fiesta for something as simple as a windscreen.’
She added: ‘I can’t see what compensation two years’ servicing is to me if I decide to move the car on, and secondly I’m confused about what accessories I could possibly want for a car that I understand is the top-of-the-range model already.’
What if this happens to you?
- Ask your dealer for a written estimate of the part’s delivery lead time, and confirmation of the order.
- Request regular updates, and if the part does not arrive within a reasonable time, insist on a courtesy car that will suit your needs. Check your insurance policy, too; it may provide you with a hire car.
- If your dealer can’t give you any answers or assistance with your courtesy car needs, contact the manufacturer.
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