I had originally started this post with the title "We take so ...etc..", but then thought it rather pretentious; how could I possibly know how other folk view their worlds? There have been a couple of things, of late, that have impacted massively on my life, and my faith in the system of which am part.
Firstly, Bev and I purchased a Ford C Max from the Perry's dealership in Canterbury. A lovely clean motor which fitted all our requirements i.e. - spacious, easy access for getting our elderly parents in and out plus ease of moving grandchildren and the assorted kit which comes as standard when young kids are involved, 14 weeks after we'd taken delivery (delayed by two days as the salesman was away on a "Customer Service Course" in Basingstoke! You will see the ironic side of this if you continue reading?) the car suffered a complete gearbox failure; the diagnosis being a replacement at a cost of £3,500 (Invicta Ford at Westwood Cross).
Now whilst I am no mechanic, this seemed a little too major to be just "a thing that motorists put up with" and, despite being two weeks out of warranty, Bev contacted Perry's to be given a load of cobblers about warranties and such-like. The good thing for us, although not immediately apparent, was the fact that we'd a finance agreement with Black Horse and, as such, technically the car belonged to them! Citizens Advice put us in contact with the Financial Services Ombudsman who, giving the complaint a unique reference number, then told Bev to speak to Black Horse and quoting the 1973 "Sale of goods Act" in which it states that items must be fit for purpose. Black Horse were first class and immediately set about getting Perry's to repair the car - the law stating that they had eight weeks in which to complete the task. We were also provided with funds to hire a replacement vehicle whilst this saga unfolded - we got five weeks at £183, so over £900!To cut a very sorry saga short; Perry's (at Canterbury) were woeful, their side-stepping and excuses being a pathetic attempt at avoiding their legal obligation as an agent of Black Horse. We were invited back to Perry's to collect our repaired C Max 7 weeks and six days after the intervention of the Ombudsman. Bev had been in conversation with our case manager, at Black Horse, who had advised that she keep the hire car until an independent assessor had checked the gear-box, Due to work commitments, I wasn't able to drive Bev to pick the car up until the following morning. What a farce, the Finance Company insisted on us getting a six month warranty on the repaired gear-box, in writing. Well, for their customers, sitting around in the plus new car showroom, it might have been a bit of a surprise to see Bev, almost in tears, when the car was unable to be collected; the gear-box not having been replaced but, instead, a new torque converter had been fitted? The car still had no gear-box function! Bev confronted the Service Manager (a guy called Nick) and, after expressing her total dissatisfaction with the whole Perry's experience, handed the phone to him, as on the other end was a rather irked Black Horse case manager (a guy called Kevin).
A pathetic display of grovelling apologies, but still no grasp of the legal side of this whole charade, Bev and I left Canterbury knowing that Perry's Head Office would now be getting dragged into the fray.
Black Horse have written the car off, we received our deposit back and all payments made during the period, that we were without the car, plus a couple of hundred quid as compensation for the phone calls and inconvenience of the experience; Kevin explaining that Black Horse would get the money back from Perry's along with an admin fee and other corporate expenses - surely it would have been easier and cheaper to comply with the law and fix the gear-box? I certainly couldn't recommend Perry's (at Canterbury) to anyone!
We take delivery of a Mazda 5 on Wednesday, purchased from Chapel Car Sales, at Ospringe. who were recommended to me by a couple of guys at work. Whatever the mechanical performance of the new car, I feel confident that the after sales service will be a much better quality than we got from that branch of Perry's.
So while I'm rambling on - my other major life change has been the temporary custody of our grandchildren, Emily and Harry, whilst my Step-daughter receives some, much needed, medical help to combat clinical depression. Two kids running amok in our little bungalow is a challenge for Bev and I, both on a physical and logistical level, but our only option? It was a no brainer as we would never allow them to be taken into care. It is times like now when you discover who your real friends are; we have been inundated with offers of help and will surely be calling on a few favours as the weeks go by. Fishing might well get relegated to the subs bench all the while this situation remains. My only other news is that I saw my first butterfly of 2014, when I flushed a Small Tortoiseshell from the footpath (where the Great Grey Shrike was) on my way home from work on Friday afternoon and there was a Buff-tailed Bumblebee exploring the garden borders, later in the day.