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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Harish V vs Skoda Auto

Some dealers of reputed automobile companies, often try to make some quick buck by cheating unsuspecting customers. In a recent incident, an Audi customer (Vishal Gondal) found that his Q7 was being taken for a joyride midnight when it was supposed to be at service station in Mumbai. Using his social media influence and aided by car’s GPS data, Vishal managed to cause an uproar and Audi smartly killed the issue, by entering into a truce with the customer, who is believed to have got a new Q7. [Details here]

About 3 months earlier, an Audi R8 caught fire and burnt to ashes on Bandra Worli sea link. Again using its effective PR skills, Audi managed to suppress the issue- no one knows the real cause of the fire yet.

Audi R8 burnt to ashes at Mumbai- image from indiatvnews.com


This time, I read a case of Mr Harish V vs Skoda India, again part of Volkswagen group, which also owns Audi and other brands. I read about this incident on team-bhp forum. Since I’m not eligible to reply to threads there, I am sharing my thoughts on the topic here (for some reasons best known to the moderators, my account is not yet enabled to reply to threads)

Summary of the issue is that Mr Harish V had given his Skoda Octavia to a Skoda dealer in Mumbai and even after 1 year, he is unable to get his car back. Dealer was found to replace genuine spares of the car with fake products to the tune of 4 lakhs and when the customer brought this up, he didn’t get the attention he deserved, from Skoda India. When a local consumer court ordered release of the car, Skoda India went to higher court and got a stay. Skoda even threatened to drag team bhp to court if they allow this matter to be discussed on their forum. I sympathize with Harish for the ordeal he had to fight to (Spend 12 lakhs on a premium car, live without it for 1+ year, fight court battle to get it back, spend money again on transportation and suffer mental agony) To know more, head to team bhp thread here and here.

My thoughts:
How can customers make their voice heard in such cases? If the forum has 40000 members, I recommend its members (and others as well) to do the following
  • Go to nearest Skoda showroom
  • Pretend to be interested in the vehicle, take a test drive and walk out
  • When the sales folks follow up, tell them about how Skoda dealers are replacing genuine parts with fake parts and dragging customers to court if they ask their car back. Tell them that you like the car but hesitate to buy because of these after sales issues

If say 10% of teambhp folks or other consumers in particular do the above, Skoda officials will be bound to take notice of the seriousness of the situation.

Note: Spelling mistake in the post URL is intentional

Also read: Audi R8 V10 * Audi Q7 Limo

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