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I have a Fiat Grande Punto 1.4 2007 reg at the moment. I bought it when it was literally just 2 years old and have had a number of problems with it since. It cost me around £7000 and has one more year warranty on it. When I first drove the car from the dealers I noticed a knocking sound everytime I went over a bump (I did not notice this during a test drive as it was flat roads). I ignored it thinking it was nothing. A couple of months later my handbrake seized up. The mechanic said it needed readjusting so I had to take it to fiat. They fixed the problem. and also diagnosed the kncking they said it was the suspension coil that needed replacing- they did this free at a later date as it was under the warranty so ultimatly they sold me a car with a fault. During this visit they did anohter aftey check and told me I needed a whole new steering column (the car wasn't even 3 years old yet). I noticed the steering wheel was turning itself when the car stopped. It wasn't moving the wheels, it was just turning but again hoped it would go away. Obviously it was a serious fault and Fiat strongly advised I didnt drive the car. When they eventually got confirmation that this was also covered under warranty they fixed it. That is 3 faults on a car in less than a year in a less than 3 year old car. It was ridculous.
Dec last year my key snapped in the boot. I was told that the blanks had to come from Italy. Jan they arrived and I was told that it worked on a 3 key system - the sensor would look for the master key then two others when coding. The dealer told me that he may be able to use the stub of the old key thus saving me £55. This worked and he cut one blank then I paid by Visa. We went to the car and the sensor did not recognise the key he had cut. I told him I was not happy as he had just taken £55 + vat from me. He basically shrugged his shoulders. I contacted Visa who said they would look into it. They did not uphold the dispute and want payment. I contacted the main Fiat dealer several times and they tell me that they have phoned the dealer who will phone me back. The latest was in early April when they told me that he was going to write a letter. It must be some letter as it's not yet arrived. This shows that once you have bought a Fiat, you are on your own. Any help is a bonus.
This review refers to a branch of FIAT in WEST Kent: The fiat range of cars are fairly good. The build quality is reasonable, and the rustproofing is good. The styling is fairly modern, but it could be better. Reliability is down to luck. Some fiats are very very reliable, whilst others are on ebay for "spare parts" within five years. I had a fiat for some years. I purchased it from new, and I loved the car. The sales department were "friendly" when I parted with my money. That's where the "friendliness" stopped. Their attitude changed once I had bought the car. They were not interested in problems, and even "twisted the truth" just to fob me off! My fiat made a light knocking noise from the engine area. It only happened occasionally, and went away once the engine had been revved. One saturday I checked the car's oil and the level was perfectly normal ... well clear of the "min" mark. The car was booked into fiat's "lovely" service dept the following week, so that they could investigate the noise. After an inspection they claimed that I had let the oil level drop below the "minimum" mark. This is complete and utter rubbish. As I mentioned above, I checked the oil a few days earlier, and the car wasn't burning oil. I gave up trying to solve the problem, and the knocking noise continued for several years! I had no failures, no oil-burning, no breakdowns .... nothing. The knocking noise was unrelated to oil, which I checked regularly. The noise even occurred with the oil level at MAX (cold engine). Later that year I had the foolish thought of returning to the same dealership for my fiat's annual service. They kept me waiting in the reception area for a good few minutes. I could see this stupid girl and one of her dummy colleagues looking at me in the back office, giggling. Is this the way you treat your customers?! I'm paying their wages, and they carry on like a bunch of adolescents! I vowed never to return to that dealership. They have lost TWO car sales due to their attitude ... they've cost themselves over £20,000 in lost car sales .... congrats :-) I had the next service done in another fiat branch. A 10,000 mile service cost me ..... get ready for it ...... £190!!!!! The grease-monkeys seemed friendly, but the customer-facing staff were offish. After that I serviced the car myself. The car was 100% reliable to the day I parted with it!!!!! Confucious say: Man who drops watch down toilet has crappy time. I say: Dealership who treats customers like crap will see crap on their annual sales figures.
My wife bought a Punto there about 18 months ago. Sales team are fine and the only problem we found was that the spare key wasn't programmed and we couldn't start the car and the AA (Fiat membership) managed to sort it out as a last ditch effort. At the showroom they made our 2 young sons very welcome whilst all the forms etc were being sorted out. The salesman we dealt with, Russell Palmer, even gave one his bannana! And he gave them a model car each. Can't speak for the service department as we used Perrys in Amersham for the 1st service as they're much nearer to us. They were expensive but OK. Generally speaking the service departments of most franchised dealers aren't great. Better to use an independent garage if you can. My wife is thinking about her trading the car in for her 3rd Punto so the dealership can't be that bad.
I bought a one year old Fiat Seicento 1.1 Sporting (Schumacher Ltd. Edition) from Thames Fiat in Slough (just 1/2 mile from Fiat's UK Headquarters). Like most reviews on Fiat dealerships, I too can't complain about the Sales department. They were honest and did their job efficiently and professionally. I even praised them in a questionnaire the salesman handed me when I collected the car. The Aftersales care is utterly cr*p. So much so that I would strongly recommend anyone considering buying a Fiat, especially from Thames Fiat in Slough against the idea. The problems began when there was a problem with the fuel supply. The fuel gauge had the appearance of sticking (i.e. once you filled the petrol tank full, the indicator remained on empty). I took the car back to Thames Fiat, who repaired the car while I waited. All was OK for a few weeks, when an intermittent fault with the steering became regular. The steering fault became life threatening at one point, when I was travelling round a tight bend at speed on a motorway slip-road. The warning light came on and suddenly I found myself with no control over the steering on sharp bend at 45mph, heading straight for the crash barrier. I managed to get the car back home, where the AA towed the car to Thames Fiat for repair. This happened on December 23rd 2002. The car was towed to them on 24th. The car is still with the dealership and there is no idea of when the car will be fixed. I asked for a courtesy car when I handed the car in. I have been unable to get one, as the Service Manager, Nick Miller, said to me. "If I had enough courtesy cars I would not make a profit". Nick Miller features on the Recruitment section of Fiats website as a first-class Service Manager (http://fiat.newjobs.co.uk/people.htm). Something I feel should be removed. I wanted to complain, but Thames Fiat was just not interested. I complained to Fiat Custo mer Services, but they were not interested either. So I complained to Fiat UK Ltd, who apologised on behalf of the dealership, and arranged for me to have a hire car, at Fiat's expense while my car is being repaired. This is just a brief summary, as to the amount of hassle I have had with the dealer. I have had to contact Trading Standards and the finance company to get even the most basic things out from the dealership. My advice ... don't buy your car from Thames Fiat in Slough. If you think that you'll save money by buying a budget car, you'll end out paying more for it through taxis and bus fares when the car comes in for repair.
Firstly I'd like to make the point that this rant is about the service given by Hylton of Worcester, the Fiat dealership that my car came from, rather than Fiat as a whole. I can only hope that my experiences aren't typical of the quality of customer service that Fiat provide. ***** This whole saga started about a month ago, when I decided to start looking for a new car. Firstly I took a test drive of a second hand 106 at the Worcester Peugeot dealers. This went without a hitch - I phoned up and said I wanted a test drive, turned up, handed over my driver's license, took the keys, and went for a spin, with my Dad in the car for a second opinion. I don't know if it's just because my Dad has bought cars from them in the past, so they trusted us, but it seemed a very courteous and friendly service. Later that day (it was a Sunday), we drove past the Worcester Fiat dealer (Hylton of Worcester), which was sadly closed, and had a peer in the window. One thing that caught my eye was the 3 years interest free credit option that they were doing on new Seicentos. ***** Forward winding to the next Saturday, I got my Dad to phone up, and book a test drive on a Seicento (I was driving back to Worcester from Leamington, so didn't have a phonebook handy.) When I arrived home, I found my Dad had gone out to take the dog for a walk, so I met him at the showroom. Now maybe part of the problem here was that my dad was dressed in full hill walking regalia, and so didn't look particularly respectable, but that's still no excuse. We announced ourselves at reception, and we were told that someone would be with us shortly (I'll call him "P" so as to protect his identity, but considering he's the manager of the branch, it shouldn't be too tricky to track down who he is, if you so wanted). Whilst waiting, we took a look at the cars in the showroom, notably the Seicento SX that was sat by the window, with an electric canvas sunroof (similar to the roofs that 2CVs have, but powered) and also a CD player, which will become important later on in this story. "P" eventually arrived, apologized for keeping us waiting, and went into full sales mode. From what I can tell, he was only prepared to offer us a test drive once he had ascertained that a sale would be happening (quite unlike the man at the Peugeot dealer, who was perfectly happy to give me a drive when I told him I was just looking at all the available options) To get to the point, he went straight to the hard sell, basically telling us that Fiat ran the interest free credit deal on a month-at-a-time basis, and he couldn't be sure if the offer would be valid past the end of the month. However, he told us that the car we'd looked at (with the electric roof) was basically available immediately - they'd just have to run it through some pre-sale tests, and slap plates on it, and we'd be able to take it away in a week. Now that he was sure I was interested, he took us to a vehicle to test drive, put his trade plates in the windows and sat in the passenger seat (instantly showing a different level of trust to the Peugeot experience.) I got behind the wheel, and drove away from the showroom. However he was quick to point out that the car didn't have much fuel, so we couldn't go too far (unlike the Peugeot, which had plenty of fuel.) Having driven for a minute or so, he said it would probably be a good idea to turn around here, so I reversed round, and we returned to the showroom. Luckily for Fiat, I really liked the car, which must be the only reason I put up with the rest, rather than just taking my business elsewhere. So when he asked what I thought, I said that yes, it seemed like a very good deal, and I'd take it. We went through to his office (or rather his desk in the Audi showroom th at is attached to Hylton's Fiat showroom) and filled in the paperwork (and gave the £200 deposit on the car). Actually, the switch wouldn't go through, but he took my card details ***** During the week (I think it was the Tuesday), I got a phonecall from "P" telling me that he?d managed to make the transfer go through, so my deposit was paid fine. I asked to check how the car was going, and he said, to be honest with me, he couldn't be certain that it'd be ready for Saturday, but I should phone and find out. ***** Forward wind again to the next Saturday (i.e. the day the car should have been available) When I phoned up in the morning, I was told by "P", that there had been a problem, and the car that he'd told me was mine had already been sold to someone else (by a colleague who'd been on holiday for weeks) but not to worry, as he'd got an identical model on order, which should be delivered soon. He was glad I'd phoned, since he had only found out about this on Friday. It wasn't until after I hung up that one thing dawned on me - I'd have to get the insurance changed, since on Thursday morning last week I'd phoned up to find out the chassis number of the car (since Direct Line had told be on Wednesday night that they'd need either that or the reg # in order to insure the car). I had phoned up and was told that it was "P"'s day off, but the guy on the phone found my file, and told me the chassis number. I phoned up direct line, and gave them this number, and all was ok. Now returning back to Saturday, after hanging up the phone after talking to "P", I realised that I'd be insured to drive the wrong car. By this point my Dad was suitably outraged, so we drove over to the showroom (Menacing awkward shopkeepers is one of my Dad's hobbies). Of course he made a point to wear a smart suit this tim e! On seeing us, "P" looked slightly uneasy (Evidence "A", M'lud) but said he'd be with us as soon as he'd finished dealing with his current customer. When he was finally ready to see us, one of the first things I mentioned was that because I was now going to get a different car, it meant that the chassis number that I gave to Direct Line would be wrong, thus making my insurance invalid. "But - I never gave you a chassis number" was his response (Evidence "B") - it seems odd that he somehow expected me to insure a car when he knew I had no way of identifying it to the insurer. I explained that I had phoned up on Thursday, but he wasn't there, but a colleague of his had been helpful enough as to find the number for me. He looked visibly shaken by this. We then went on to question as to when this replacement car would be delivered. He told us that he had hoped it with this morning's delivery, which it wasn't. We asked if we could have the chassis number (or registration) of this new car, so I could get the insurance sorted. He took us into a small office, with a (laughably outdated) computer that was hooked up to their central network. He keyed in some details (with very shaky hands - Evidence "C") which then took the system to a screen asking him to wait. It took about 5 minutes for it to finally come up with any details (I suspect that he was hoping that it would time out, so he could blame the system, and we'd go away). He pointed some bits of information out (like the bit that said Seicento, and the colour, which matched what we were expecting.) He also pointed at the bit that said "Delivery status" telling us that that meant that the car was somewhere within the system waiting for, or in the process of being delivered. My dad queried why it said that the delivery date was the 1st of August, and he stuttered that it was "Worst Case" delivery date. He then told us that the system only records the last 8 digits of the chassis number, but that shouldn't be a problem, since that's usually all the insurer needs. He offered to copy it down for us, but my Dad pointed out that there was a printer attached, so couldn't we just have a hard copy. His response to this was "Why?" adding, "I can't possibly see what benefit that would give you." (Evidence "D"). My Dad told him that he was Dyslexic, so rarely trusts things written down by hand, since it's easy to make mistakes, and, begrudgingly "P" gave us a printout. My Dad (jokingly) suggested that they aught to provide a CD changer after messing me about so much, but "P" settled on offering us a full tank of petrol as a "good will gesture". I also made certain that my car would have the CD player, since I had since noticed from the Fiat literature that the CD player wasn't an available option on the SX model (it was only available on the higher range Sporting model). He assured us that it wasn't in their interest to mess around their customers, and that he'd ensure that the car did have a CD player. We said our goodbyes, and he told me that he'd phone when the car was ready. It wasn't until we'd nearly reached my Dad's car to go back home that I thought to compare the number we'd just been given with the one I had been given the previous Thursday by phone. It won't take a great guess to realise that the numbers were in fact the same. (Or rather the last 8 numbers I'd just been given, tallied with the last 8 of the entire number I already had - this was fair proof that I hadn't just copied out the number, and claimed that I already had it). This was beginning to look like more than just an honest mistake. We turned round, and went back again, my Dad went d irectly back to find "P", whilst I got a cup of coffee from their vending machine, and noted that If I was American, I'd sue over how full the plastic cup was, and how it was impossible to hold without scalding yourself on the hot liquid. When he was told this (about the chassis number, not the coffee,) he looked a bit shaken again, and suggested that we could check the new number against the number of the original car (which was still parked on the forecourt. Incidentally it hadn't been given number plates yet, which seems odd, considering you'd expect all of that to have been ready by Friday, when the mistake was discovered - Evidence "E") Whilst he was routing around in the offices trying to find the keys, I realised that the chassis number was also marked on the windscreen, so I noted this down. He returned, and apologised, saying that he couldn't locate the keys. I told him that he probably didn't need to worry anyway, since the chassis number appeared to be marked on the windscreen too. He told me that it wasn't the chassis number, but some kind of new European registration code, that was now being put onto car windscreens for security. (Evidence "F") We then went back inside, as he realised that he had all the vehicles paper records stored somewhere. He eventually found these, and showed us the original car's chassis number was indeed different from the one I'd just been given (But oddly it was identical to the "European Code" - Evidence "G") ***** Now moving on the next Saturday (a week after the car should have been available in the first place, and a fortnight since the test drive). I phone in the morning, and am pleased to hear from "P" that the car is ready, and I should come and collect it. So, we arrived at the showroom, noting that the original car was still sat on the forecourt, and w ent inside. When "P" finished doing whatever it was he was doing , he took to his desk. I handed over the bankers draft for the initial payment, and signed numerous forms to do with the finance, being certain to keep clear of the extra insurance package he tried to push (in case I became unemployed, and couldn't keep up the repayments.) I pointed out that I had enough money saved to be able to buy the car straight away, without going through finance at all, and I was just picking the interest free option as it was much more convenient, and allowed my savings to sit in their high interest account for longer. Once everything was signed, I was handed the pack of manuals for the car. I noticed that one of the manuals was for a radio cassette player. I pointed this out, saying "shouldn't this be a CD player manual". Again, "P" looked worried, and said he?d just go and check. About 5 minutes passed (we spent this time sitting in all the Audis) when "P" was spotted (looking slightly flustered) heading towards the garage with a CD player in hand. About 10 minutes after this he returned, and handed me the CD player manual and removable fascia, and commented "Don't say I haven't done anything for you" (trying to pass off his own oversight as a favour to me!) He then took me to the car, and took me though all the controls (which are well laid out) and warned me to always remove the CD player fascia, otherwise it's clock would flatten the car's battery (actually the manual states that you just need to turn it off by pressing the off button for a couple of seconds, but I'm beyond expecting him to know any of the products he's supposed to be selling) At this point I noticed that it barely had any petrol in it, and reminded him that he promised me a full tank. He provided a credit note for a local petrol station (after being reminded again on the way out) and toppe d up without a hitch (after making sure the 1/4 of a tank that was in there was used up first!). ***** So there you have it. I'm still not sure if it was an honest mistake, or if there is something odd going on. It certainly looks like it was known on Thursday that I wasn't getting the car that I expected, since the guy who gave me the chassis number over the phone told me that he had found it in my file. If Thursday was "P"'s day off, then he'd have had to have known about this on Wednesday at the latest, in order for that to be on file. It seems odd that if a mistake had been discovered, it hadn't been relayed to me as soon as possible. Also his continued uneasiness strongly look like the symptoms of someone lying through their teeth. He also appeared worried when he realised I had been given a chassis number, and was reluctant to give us a printout of the new car's details, things that wouldn't bother someone who was just trying to do his job and be helpful. I suspect that, for some reason he had decided that I wouldn't actually buy the car, or that I wouldn't be able to get the insurance on the car (which I wouldn't have been able to do, had I not got the chassis number) and that he knew that the car in the showroom wasn't actually available at all (perhaps some kind of trick to make me hand over my deposit there and then, instead of when a car was actually ready) I'm planning on re-writing all of this, and making a formal complaint to the Fiat head office for the region (or the country, or possibly both), although I doubt it'll do any good (But I would like a CD multichanger...) Also note that as for the car itself, I'm very happy with it, and haven't had any problems with it at all. I'll get round to writing an opinion on it soon.
Well, lets start from the moment I bought my first shiny new car from the FIAT dealership in Leicester in August 1998. It was a Seicento Sporting Arbarth. Please take time to read my review on this great little car afterwards. Right, the dealership… my first impression of the dealership was obviously from the sales side and after my very first test drive I was very impressed with both the vehicle and the way I was treated by the salesman. After deciding to purchase the car I was handed across to a saleswoman the next day to deal with the sale. This was all done very smoothly and I felt like I’d got a good deal. All I had to do now was wait a few weeks until delivery….. After returning from a lovely holiday in IBIZA I was now very excited about getting into my new FIAT, and contacted the garage to confirm the dates. Everything was on schedule, and I chose my number plate for registration from 3 that were available at the time. The delivery date cam round, and off I went again to the showroom with my mates to collect the car… this was probably the last day I would ever be seen leaving the FIAT dealership with a smile on my face! Fortunately for me, I had left the garage with a years warranty on the car. (although I would expect a minimum of three years warranty now). The main reason for my disappointment with the garage from this point on was their complete and utter lack of after sales service. From the moment I left the garage on the day of delivery I was treated like an unwanted piece of S**t. The first little niggle I had with the car was on the first day, when one of my mates noticed that the sun visors in the car were from a left hand drive vehicle. Nothing major, but I would have expected the dealership to at least change them with the model that they had sitting in the showroom… no such luck, I’d have to wait for the new ones to be ordered in. Two weeks and several phone calls later, and still waiting for the sun visors I was driving along when I turned on the heater in the car, only to find that the dial sprung back to cold again. After taking the car back to the dealership I was told that it would need to be booked in for a couple of days to have the dashboard removed to sort out the problem. They would also ensure that the sun visors were fitted at the same time. That was the last I saw of my new baby FIAT for SIX WEEKS… SIX Damn weeks. I should imagine that it didn’t even take that long to build the car in the first place. During this time I was using a Punto leant to me by the dealership which was in itself not a bad car. The annoying part however was that every time I phoned up and they said my car would be ready tomorrow I just put £2-3 worth of fuel in the Punto, only to find that I would have to do this every day for the next month… It was very frustrating indeed, and I think the Punto was maybe a little worse off when I returned it, due to angry use of the accelerator! By this time I was enraged by the quality of service and had been to see the service manager… and the next one… and next week yet another. There were so many new service managers at the dealership that I decided to go higher. At one point, after many arguments with many people I managed to get hold of Peter Vardy’s phone number (the owner) and told him of my utter disgust with the service. Eventually a few more weeks after I had my Seicento back, I had a meeting planned with the manager of the Dealership which was this time successful. I managed to come to an agreement, and the Warranty on the car was extended for a further year, on the condition that I payed around £100 for the second year AA Cover. This seemed fair enough at the time so I accepted and all was apparently well…. For a short while. Needless to say the first time I needed the car servicing I took it to my local FORD dealersh ip in Oakham who did a terrific job. A few months later along came the next problem… a knocking sound coming from the suspension at the rear… quite obvious to me (and I know nothing about cars), and the car was still under warranty, but the garage had different ideas. First time the car was booked in for a day they changed a bush on the suspension. At the end of the day I collected the car, and the first noise I heard upon leaving the garage was the same as when I had dropped it off that day. The thing to remember here is that I live about 15 miles away from the dealership and the frequent trips were now becoming quite tiresome. To top it off, they had started to charge me £3 every day I had a courtesy car from them for insurance waiver purposes… this I thought was absolutely disgusting practice, especially as the car was under warranty. The next time the car was in all day and I returned only to find that they had put some cable ties around the hand brake cable and told me that it was knocking on the exhaust… I was charged for the ties as they are not covered under the warranty, only to find that this still hadn’t cured the problem. Eventually the dealership changed the suspension arm, and I was given a reduction off my next service for all the trouble. Again a nice gesture, but I could have well done without the hassle. When the service came round, it was completed promptly… most likely because they wanted to see the colour of my money, and I still wasn’t happy with items such as washer bottle top up that had been charged for without my request. I once again felt ripped off. Some time in between the next service that car was re-called twice to the garage, once for some brake pipes to be altered, and again for the handbrake to be checked. The final problem I had just before the second year warranty ran out was with the door transfers crumbling off. After booking the car in and removing th e transfers from one side of the car, they decided that they hadn’t even got the replacements and then made me drive the car without them whilst making excuses for a further three weeks!! Eventually the problem was sorted out, but that was the final straw for me, and the warranty having expired I decided that there was no reason for me to ever visit the FIAT dealership in Leicester again. To be honest this is only a brief recollection of the problems I had with the FIAT dealership, and I wish I had documented my encounters more heavily at the time. Other things that annoyed me during the time I visited the dealership were them moving site (about 500 yards away), and losing all my documents which contributed to a lot of the problems, and the other was that it took them over a year to realise that I had had the number plate changed, even though I told them every single time I went there. I’m glad to say that I can hopefully forget all my troubles now, having decided never to use them again (at least not for a very long time) and continue to take my car to the FORD garage to get the job done properly with genuine FIAT parts. At least then they wont have to Fix it again tomorrow.