Exhaust saga finally sorted and stroke avoided - long rant!

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Linegeist
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Exhaust saga finally sorted and stroke avoided - long rant!

Post by Linegeist »

Finally got the exhaust frontpipe properly fitted to the Athena on Saturday, but not without a bit of interesting faffing about with the exhaust centre's Head Office, and resorting to threats of dire consequences if they didn’t immediately hit their branch manager around the head with a fresh copy of the Sale of Goods Act and fix his shoddy work.

The whole mess started off when I got a new frontpipe fitted last week by a local exhaust centre and, after failing to order the correct part despite 2 days notice, claiming on the 'phone that it had arrived, then failing to arrange for delivery of a replacement, and then finally having to send a fitter to go and get one from 10 miles away, after a 4-hour wait they bodged the fitment of the pipe by leaving out the carefully designed Citroen spring-tensioned flange system, replacing it with two 4” bolts that clamped the pipe rigidly to the manifold. This meant that, every time the car accelerated or slowed down, the engine rocked on its mountings and the entire exhaust did a gymnastic routine under the car trying to accommodate the movements of several feet of violently thrashing frontpipe.

Image

This resulted in some very interesting sound effects from beneath the floorpan that were distinctly evocative of a bag of Whitworth spanners energetically bonking, and which made the drive home harsh, noisy and unpleasant – for me if not for the spanners.

Understandably I immediately complained bitterly to the local branch but, initially at least, got the standard customer run-around which just served to wind me up.

They started off by offering to order the missing downpipe-to-manifold fitting kit they omitted in the first place, and fitting it for free, just charging me for the kit (£15). They actually got a bit shirty when I started laughing at them on the telephone. So I got out the camera and produced an engineer’s report (it was a slack day in the Linegeist office) which I emailed to the company’s Head Office to point out the shortcomings in their improper fitment and the dangers it imposed on anyone driving the car after their work.

While I was at it, I also attached a copy of the Sale of Goods Act with the relevant bits highlighted and put the whole word-mongering shebang on my company headed stationery and signed it electronically. I’m also one of those sad people who, in the distant past, amassed a rather anal collection of engineering related letters after my name …. so I bunged those on after my signature for good measure and sat back to wait for a reaction.

It came when the telephone rang within a couple of hours, with a very amenable chappie on the end of it who wanted to talk nicely to this geezer who obviously wasn’t the average mong-in-the-street who could be fobbed off with any old cobblers that sounded half technical. Unfortunately for him, by now I’d drawn up a list of preconditions that I wanted met before I would allow the branch to touch my car again. I read them to the chimp-on-the-phone

1. The Area Manager was to be present throughout the repair
2. I was to be allowed to observe the operation up close to ensure it was done correctly
3. I was to be permitted to invite the President of the Owner’s Club as an observer

This last bit was tongue in cheek, but seemed a rather good way of applying some extra pressure to the chimp and, sure enough, he swallowed the lot – albeit with a few gurgling sounds and what sounded like the kicking of a wastebin. We made an appointment for Saturday morning at 10am.

The very next morning, I got another telephone call from the Head Office chimp with the surprising news that the very silly Branch Manager was not prepared to allow me to enter the workshop under any circumstances on the grounds of Health and Safety. Hmmm. He obviously wanted a fight. Fortunately, this was easily fixed as I was passing the exhaust centre later that morning (in a different car) to visit a client and I was able to photograph the exhaust centre’s work area, along with several customers looking under their airborne cars and under the supervision of the centre’s fitters (who were presumably trying to get them to buy shock absorbers by the dextrous use of techno-wibble and squirts of used engine oil in strategic places).

On my return to my office I emailed the chimp stating that this Branch Manager’s demands were unacceptable. I also attached that morning’s photographs of the customers inside the workshop, pointing out that the Branch Manager was obviously contravening his own interpretation of the H&S rules and asking what disciplinary action the company were proposing to take against him. Also, on the basis of the Branch Manager’s cheek, I thought it worth taking the shot that, if the company were not prepared to fix my car as previously agreed, then I would take it a Citroen Dealer for repair and claim the costs from them as well as passing the whole file, including photographic evidence on to Trading Standards as a formal safety complaint. Then I cancelled the Saturday appointment for good measure.

That created something of a panic - and was when they obviously hit the Branch Manager with the nice fresh copy of the Sale of Goods Act, because he deflated and agreed to all my terms. I got a very polite telephone call from chimp within the hour, head in hands (but still kicking that wastebin) and the appointment was back on.

Saturday dawned and I woke up feeling naughty ……… so I telephoned the exhaust centre and spoke with the now-deflated manager. Determined not to leave him any wriggle room, I confirmed with him that everything was in order, that he had the correct fitting kit on site and established how long the job would take, as I was very busy that day (such a fibber I am ……….. you have no idea the amount of guilt I feel now ………..) and that any more delays like the previous 4-hour marathon could cost me a lot of money – which I wouild be seeking to recoup from him. From behind gritted teeth, he informed me that it would take no more then half an hour to fit the manifold-to-downpipe kit and that we would be waiting for me, so my trap was set.

I left early enough to drive the long way round and give the car a good warming-through so that, by the time I arrived, the exhaust was almost glowing. Of course, this was to thoughtfully make sure that all the fitting bolts would be easy to undo and, as I pulled onto the forecourt, I saw the manager, in overalls and a fresh scowl, waiting for me. Deep joy! I got out of the car and, just for effect, looked at my watch, pulled out my clipboard and jotted down the time while retrieving the big black camera I use for technical work from the passenger seat. <chortle> I saw him visibly blanch.

In the event, the fitment was an anti climax and went flawlessly. The high point was that the fitter who did the original bodge wasn’t at work that day, so the Branch Manager did the job himself. This meant it was he who had the task of fixing a red hot exhaust within his own timescale of half an hour and, going by the Welsh swearing, he came into contact with several pieces of rather warm car on more than one occasion. With hindsight I can feel a little sorry for him as a caught the repeated whiff of cooking pork and singed arm-hair. It’s never easy working with some technical bloke in shiny shoes and holding a clipboard and camera lurking behind you watching your every move – especially when you’re trying to remove a hot exhaust pipe in cramped conditions in asbestos gloves. However, with considerable effort I managed to hold my compassion in check and I let the beggar burn himself to his heart’s content. To give him (reluctant) credit, he did the job properly and the drive home was quiet and rattle free and my 6 hours of wasted time had ended up with a result.

Herself made a good point when I got back to the hovel, vowing never to use that particular exhaust firm ever again. As she pointed out, “They’re never going to try and rip you off again, are they……?”




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rayfenwick
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Post by rayfenwick »

Fabulous Bob! A great result for you, and a great read for us. I think you should submit that to the Citroenian - it's very worthy of inclusion.

You have my admiration for standing up to and totally outgunning these people (in general). Too many times they get away unchallenged because they baffle/bully customers into acceptance. It's high time that such trades were made to realise that they should do a proper job for their money, and charging people for work/parts they don't need (complete with misleading squirts of oil etc) or for work/parts that haven't been supplied is not only unacceptable, but will cost them money, or even end up in Court.

I salute you, sir. =D>
Last edited by rayfenwick on Mon May 09, 2011 10:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
Ray

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Tim Leech
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Post by Tim Leech »

Well done Bob! Remind me NEVER to sell you a car though :shock: .

Whilst thinking of it, I am after all a Director of the CCC these days so if that carrys any clout, I am always happy to write a snotty letter when required, although it seems you to have managed ok! :lol:
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ken newbold
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Post by ken newbold »

I hope he's not reading this!

Probably not though, he'll have other things to do with entire morning :lol:

Unlike me :oops:

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Paul296
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Post by Paul296 »

Well - to use a hideous Alan Partridgism; 'back o'the net!!' Ray's right - a salute seems entirely appropriate! =D>

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Post by Defender110 »

Excellent \:D/ \:D/ :rofl: :rofl: Well done Bob that's made my day =D> =D> =D>
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mat_fenwick
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Post by mat_fenwick »

Paul296 wrote:Ray's right - a salute seems entirely appropriate!
Will this do? Image
Image

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Linegeist
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Post by Linegeist »

That's a relief at least ..................

I'd expected this Image Image

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rayfenwick
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Post by rayfenwick »

...only from the chimps as you left :D
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1997 Citroën XM 2.0 TCT Exclusive Auto (for sale)
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1992 Alfa Romeo 164 Lusso 3.0 v6 12v Manual (on the to-do list)

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Linegeist
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Post by Linegeist »

Ah!

Image

:wink:

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mat_fenwick
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Post by mat_fenwick »

Wish I had popped in, just to observe the scenario...

However, I fear the smell of cooking pork at 10am might have made me fancy a second helping of breakfast! :wink:
Image

1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
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Post by Linegeist »

mat_fenwick wrote:However, I fear the smell of cooking pork at 10am might have made me fancy a second helping of breakfast! :wink:
Strewth guv'! :shock: I'm not sure we could have afforded to dish up THAT amount of nosebag twice in the same month! :shock: :shock: :shock: :lol: :rofl:

Mothman

Post by Mothman »

Well done bud,

Made me smile reading the post, if only they could have got it right first time but i suppose thats too much to ask.

Actually, it must have been great sport for yourself to screw them so bloody well. I wont ever go near such a place.

Andy

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Oscar
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Post by Oscar »

Chapeau, Bob, chapeau. That was very funny and satisfying to read.
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electrokid
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Post by electrokid »

Saturday dawned and I woke up feeling naughty ………
Yeah - I get that these days :-)

Seriously - very well done for getting them to do the job properly - hell of a journey to get something done the way it should have been done in the first place though.
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