Beware the VW Main Dealer Rip-Off Merchants

Posted on February 24, 2014

My car packed up the other week, going into some sort of sluggish safe mode that made pulling out to the A338 Formula 1 race track even more exciting than my usual daily brush with death.

Always being one to try to support local businesses, I took it to a local independent garage in Ringwood called A M Autos.

Because there is more knowledge of cars in the left testicle of ant than there is in my brain, I have to rely on gut feeling when I go these places and I have to say that the busy workshop and cautiously friendly staff ticked the boxes required to instil confidence within.

The name A M Autos is pretty basic and I have learnt through business that basic is good. Flash names alert me to being ripped off and you just know these companies calling themselves something like The Crystal Benetton Motor Company are owned by a yellow Pringle wearing bloke called Frank who has a villa on the Costa del Sol along with a history of VAT fraud and bankruptcy orders.

Anyway, Alan (that’s what the A stands for you see) from A M Autos halve solved the problem with my car by cleaning out all the diesel crap out of the filters. However after running a diagnostic test, he explained to me that a certain code had come which alerted the tester that a damper/air flap type thing was not opening, thus leading to a build-up of crap.

He even explained it in a way where I almost knew what he was talking about, even if my brain was running at full megabyte capacity and would shortly be danger of going in to buffer mode before I had switch myself off, count to ten and re-boot.

The crux of the matter was that when he searched on-line for the part that had flashed up on the diagnostic test, he discovered that there seemed to be every chance that this was what is known as a ‘call back’ fault and that if I booked it into a Volkswagen Garage it should be fixed free of charge.

What a decent bloke. He could have easily told me what the fault was, charged me for parts and labour to fix it, taken my cash, and I would have been none the wiser; I am not sure why, but I find it quite admirable that he didn’t do that.

Sadly, and some might say typically for me, this story didn’t have a happy ending, because it meant that I now had to converse with a Volkswagen dealership.

When I initially called them, a young and efficient lad took down all the car details as well as the fault code from the diagnostic test and confirmed that yes, on Monday, they would have my car in to their workshop to solve the problem as, indeed, it was a ‘call back’…It all seemed pretty simple.

However, the next day I received a phone call from a girl who seemingly had the voice of someone whose life revolved around watching The Only Way is Essex and reading Jordan autobiographies.

“I’m sorry sir, we called you yesterday to say your car is covered by a call back but it isn’t.”


“There is no call back on this car.”

I was quite taken aback by this but I guess I can’t force them to fix my car if they don’t want to can I? Still reeling from this appalling quality of service, I started wondering what to do; now it was booked in should I just let them do the job and get the whole thing out of the way and forgotten?

“Oh I don’t know what to say really…How much will it cost?”

“Well, first of all we have to run a diagnostic test to find the fault and that’s £59.00”

“Whoah, hold on, it’s had a diagnostic test and I have given you the fault code…You know, the code you initially told me was covered by ‘call back’ and now you want £59.00 to run a test that has already been done?

“That’s right sir.”

I’m not paying £59.00 for a test that already been done, I…..”

“Ok”….burrrrrrrr…..She was gone.

When I got off the phone I wondered what part of this whole debacle I was not understanding, so I rang A M Autos and they confirmed that a full diagnostic test had been carried out and that VW had all the information that was required to fix the part, which, in all honestly, for the sake of hassle, I would have probably let them do if there had not been a blatant attempt to stripe me for £59.00.

The car is now back with A M Autos.

I should have just let them do the whole job in the first place.

*I am not going to name the garage until they have had a chance to respond to my letter of complaint.


1 Reply to "Beware the VW Main Dealer Rip-Off Merchants"

  • Dave Perkins
    February 26, 2014 (11:20 am)

    It is very unfair to name the Manufacturer (VW) in your blog; in my experience they are all try to con the customer. I have a wealth of stories but I think you’ll like this one:

    My 90 year old Yorkshire-born mother-in-law recently took her new Hyundai to the local dealer for a service and was quoted over $400 (she lives in Canada). She mentioned that it wasn’t a major service and the price was reduced to just under $300. She then spoke to the Service Manager and told him that she used to service Rolls-Royce engines on Spitfires during the war and that she knew her way around a service schedule and wasn’t going to be conned.

    The bill was fully itemised and totalled $84.00

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