...And the ugly

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...And the ugly

Alfa Romeo
We recently bought a new Mito for delivery on September 1, despite previous poor experiences with the Alfa Romeo dealership.

The salesman, who lived nearby, kindly agreed to bring a demo car to our home as my wife wasn't keen on test-driving an unfamiliar car in a busy city.

My only gripe with this was that we were looking for a 95bhp Mito and they would allow us only to test drive the top-of-the-range 175bhp model, refusing to let us in a lower-powered car.

I would have walked away at this point, but my wife had her heart set on the Mito. We traded in our Alfa 156 2.5-litre V6 through the scrappage scheme and waited.

We had an e-mail in August to say we could collect the new car one week late on September 8. As we were paying cash, we decided to leave it until a week before the collection date to transfer the cash.

In the week before September 1, I had a call from the dealership where a guy insisted we go into the dealership to pay on August 27. He denied the agreed delivery date was the 8th (I kept the e-mail so I knew he was wrong). We went in on the Friday anyway (it was a close-run thing having two days only to transfer and clear funds into our current account).

My wife then had the joy of meeting what amounted to a sexist double-glazing salesman, who seemed to know nothing about the order written in front of him and was trying to pressure her to buy all kinds of policies and extras. She was most upset by this.

We arrived on the Monday and Alfa has a policy of 'unveiling' customers' new cars. A car was ready in the display area under a cover, its lights on and with a welcome card. Sadly, it wasn't our car.

The salesmen said we had got the time wrong, but that he could sort out our car soon. I went outside to track down our car: it was parked outside and absolutely filthy, and still covered in lumps of the protective coating wax.

The salesmen told us to wait, and he kept us waiting while he chatted to potential new customers, leaving us sat there looking like idiots for more than an hour.

Eventually he brought the car around and then had my wife fill out the paperwork.

Then we couldn't get into the car because the seat was covered in dirt and would have made us filthy. We had to request a damp cloth to clean it. We were keen to get away by this point, so we just drove the car home.

On closer inspection at home, the inside of the car was found to be filthy: there were all kinds of swirl marks and minor scratches on the paintwork, and some stubborn objects stuck to the leather seats.

It took me two days to clean the inside of the car and clean off the marks on the paintwork.

When the sales rep called me a week later to see how the car was, he was not interested as I reeled off the list of faults and he admitted that their sub-contracted valet company was 'rubbish'. Looking at the Alfa forum, another customer said he received the same excuse when he complained about the poor state of his car.

Since then, some minor faults have developed and I dread having to take the car into the service centre as their reputation is not a good one.

My wife, though, does at least love the car.

All in all, if I had to give a score out of 10, I would have to say 0. The salesman said if Alfa UK called I should give him full marks, but they never have.
Peter & Julie