Just before Chris’s new top-of-the-range Seat Alhambra was due to be delivered, he received the bad news that because of supply problems, it would arrive without its standard-fit reversing camera.
He didn’t relish backing out at this late stage, so with Seat UK’s assurance that the camera would be retro-fitted as soon as the part was available, he accepted the car. In the meantime, his inconvenience was softened by £200 to spend on Seat accessories.
His patience, however, was to be sorely tested. Chris spent the next six months making countless phone calls and sending e-mails before Seat finally sent an engineer to examine his car. The result was one he hadn’t envisaged: his car hadn’t been built to accommodate a reversing camera.
Chris was furious, but his dealer, Frost’s Seat in Shoreham, West Sussex, assured him the manufacturer was working on a fix, and that his wait for the camera he’d paid for would soon be over.
No such luck. Over the next few months Chris continued to keep up the pressure. All he could get out of Seat, though, was that his case was still active but there was no news from the factory, and
there wouldn’t be any further compensation at this stage.
Finally at his wits’ end, he contacted Helpdesk. Frost’s had parted company with Seat but continued to act as his go-between, and when we asked Chris to obtain invoices to back up his case, the manufacturer sprang into action.
Days later, Seat UK contacted Chris with the first solid news in a year: unfortunately, there was no clear-cut fix to his car’s missing camera connectors, so his wait was likely to be infinite. However, Seat said it would compensate him if he couldn’t wait any longer.
‘Over the past 12 months, Seat has explored a number of different options in order to retrofit a rear-view camera to your Alhambra,’ said a representative. ‘However, at present our factory colleagues in Spain have advised that no Seat part will resolve this issue.’
Seat offered Chris the choice of £1500 in cash or £3000 off the price of a new Seat, in addition
to whatever discount he could negotiate with the dealer. Chris, who apart from having to get used to over-the-shoulder parking is very happy with his Alhambra, decided to plump for the cash and put the whole sorry saga firmly behind him.
‘It’s taken a long time to get to this point,’ he said, ‘but finally I feel Seat has taken responsibility for the situation and I think the settlement is fair enough.’
What if this happens to you?
- If you’re told your car will arrive with missing parts or kit prior to delivery, don’t accept it. Insist on a new car that fits the specifications advertised.
- Ask the dealer to help you with interim transport if you can’t afford to wait for a new car to be delivered.
- If this isn't possible, only accept the car with written confirmation that it will be remedied within a set time.
We've prepared lots of useful advice, including a full guide on warranties that could help you with either a new or used car.
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