The bad...

* Readers spill the beans * The good, bad and the ugly * How does your dealer rate?...

The bad...

I purchased my 2008 Ford Fiesta and noticed a few weeks later that it had rattles in the dashboard.

I took it back to the dealer, who advised me it would be covered under warranty. However, they have since changed their mind and given me four weeks of grief while I tried to get it fixed. On countless occasions I have had staff be rude to me and lie during phone calls when they're supposed to be giving me advice.

I have had to take time off work to go back to the dealer to 'test drive' the car and show them what the problem is, even though every time it's the same.

My car comes back dirty every time it's been in the dealer and almost empty of fuel (even if it goes in with half a tank).

Ford Customer Relations are absolutely useless and do nothing to help you resolve a complaint, but instead tell you it's your problem to sort.

Stay clear of Ford, it takes your money and the second you need help you get bad attitude instead of results.

I would never buy another Ford!
Adam Cousins

I purchased an '03 Ford Galaxy from my local main dealership two years ago. It was my worst ever experience with any dealership.

Right from the start things were badly handled. Promises of a free transfer of a cherished numberplate were cancelled at the last minute. The car was presented for a test drive in an awful state. Front tyres had to be replaced and odd, part-worn ones were fitted.

Shortly after delivery, the car developed a minor fault with the cooling fan. Unbelievably, it took them three separate attempts to fix the problem, leaving me without the car for three of the first six weeks I owned it.

I complained to the chief executive in writing and received what I considered to be an unsatisfactory answer to my complaint. If I ever buy another Ford it will not be from that dealer.
Maurice Wood

I have had two cars serviced by a Honda dealer over the past six years, and at times the service has been excellent (reasonable prices, car valeted, ready on time, friendly service), but on two occasions the dealer failed the replace parts that I was charged for. On one occasion the dealer allowed me to drive off with my new rear disc brakes binding.

They did atone by replacing the brake pads (already down to 90% worn) and the brake discs, which were glowing red by the time I realised when smoke started pouring from my newly serviced car.

On the last occasion I was in there, I informed them I was servicing my car with a view to sell and I had very much enjoyed the courtesy car they had supplied me with. I asked if they could quote the car for me a salesman eventually wandered over and told me it was 'about 18 grand', then promptly walked off back to his cup of tea.

I checked on the internet that evening and found that Honda was offering the same model and spec at a special price of 15,000. The salesman had lied to me and the dealership never called to follow up my enquiry. My money went to Nissan who could not have been more helpful.
David Thomas

I bought a new MX-5 Sport Cabriolet Coupe and the buying experience seemed fine. However, a few niggling faults emerged with the car, so I decided to get them checked out by my local Mazda dealership. They didn't fix any of the faults, saying parts needed to be ordered despite me describing the 'well-known' MX-5 faults over the phone weeks in advance.

No courtesy car was offered or provided. I received no updates, as promised, and they never answered their phones when I called. Then someone washed it at the dealership and covered it in deep scratches!

The car went back four times for them to fix the paintwork they had ruined each time coming back worse. At one point the car looked like sandpaper had been dragged down the driver's side and the interior was now damaged, too!

I contacted Mazda UK, who were useless distancing themselves by saying the dealership was to blame, not them! They kept that attitude even when I pointed out that the dealership was representing its brand.

The dealership got more aggressive, intimidating and dismissive each time I returned my car for their next feeble attempt to repair it. A replacement car was refused by both the dealership and Mazda UK after their attempts of repair failed miserably.

Then the car broke down twice the first time on the M3 in the middle of roadworks. I was towed by Mazda's breakdown service to a dealership where they 'fixed' it only for it to breakdown again a couple of weeks later.

After two weeks without the car, while it was being repaired, a hit-and-run driver then damaged it (maybe this particular car was cursed!). I contacted the Mazda dealership to supply me with a Mazda-approved body shop for the repairs to be carried out, but the body shop was rubbish too they kept changing the date of when I could drop off the car, then it wasn't ready when they said it would be.

I eventually picked up the car last thing on a Friday evening initially it looked okay (I should have suspected there was an ulterior motive why it was parked in the shade). On closer inspection, the car had paint overspray all over it on the glass and interior and dull paintwork where there wasn't even any damage from the hit-and-run driver! The engine bay was covered in powder from sanded filler, too, and the seats and dashboard were covered in some kind of sticky cleaning fluid that hadn't been wiped off properly!

Mazda UK was, once again, useless and totally reluctant to address the appalling customer service I'd experienced from two of their dealerships and one of their approved body shops and even the car itself had let me down by breaking down.

I even wrote to Mazda's chief executive after I was sent their quarterly magazine, boasting of their great customer service reputation. The response from one of his staff listed incorrect information and he even sent it to an incorrect address and once again offered nothing to address my complaints.

I sold my ruined MX-5 at 11 months old for a huge loss. I cannot understand how Mazda seems to do so well in customer satisfaction and reliability surveys they are the worst manufacturer I have ever had the misfortune of buying a car from in over 20 years of driving. I will never take my custom to them again after they cost me so much stress, time and money.
Gavin Smith

I have owned Renaults for a number of years and I am left asking myself time and time again why?

I owned from new a 1.4 Clio Dynamique, which suffered from problem after problem. After two and a half years of visiting Renault dealers on a fortnightly basis with problems I approached a main dealer to see what kind of trade-in deal they would offer me.

I was shown a 1.5 dCi Megane Dynamique on an '07 plate and offered a 'deal'. Upon inspecting the car I noticed a few faults (mostly electrical) and a problem with the keyless system on the tailgate. I was promised that these faults would be repaired before I collected the car the following week.

When I got the car home, I noticed that new faults were happening with the electrics and that the tailgate problem hadn't been repaired. I rang the dealership and the car was booked in for the end of the week. This appointment was later cancelled and a new one made when there were no courtesy cars available, meaning I was left to pay hire-car charges. A month later, after numerous visits, phone calls, complaints and e-mails the car still wasn't sorted.

Eventually, after contacting the managing director of Renault UK, I was promised the car would be sorted. Sorted it was, but the car returned after a week at the dealership with scratches to the door and a kerbed alloy wheel. Renault didn't accept this as its fault, but reluctantly agreed to repair the damage.

The damaged alloy wheel had to be replaced and after driving the car a few times, a loud grinding noise started coming from it. A visit to a different dealer (who have very good customer service) revealed that the wheel nuts hadn't been tightened up. I immediately called the original dealer to tell them of this dangerous oversight, only to be accused of tampering with the wheel myself!

Throughout all dealings with this dealer, I found staff to be rude, not deliver what they promise and to never return calls. I was treated as an inconvenience and when I pointed out their faults, I was accused of overreacting and sabotaging the car myself.
S Riley