Our Society loves a good old fashioned David and Goliath story. We want to back the underdog and see him triumph over the tyranny of evil. What most of us don’t hear about are the underdogs who are squashed.
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Quite often clients come to us with requests for advise surrounding what people deem to be a warranty claim with any number for vehicle manufactures and the manufacturer has denied this claim. Most seem to feel the next step is to take legal action against the vehicle manufacturer. Our advise in almost all cases is to not pursue this line of thinking or action. Why? There are several reasons to avoid this running parallel with the fact that consumers have a number of alternative actions you can take that could get the consumer the desired result.
First and foremost in majority of cases you are talking about taking on an international corporate giant. Even if you are one hundred percent in the right and the vehicle manufacturer has robbed you blind and disappeared into Sherwood forest with all your money these company’s will have no struggle to out spend you until all of your recourses dry up or pay for a legal team that will weasel out and possibly crucify you in the process. However in almost all cases this is not needed.
The ongoing assumption is that the vehicle manufacturers are internationally out there rob consumers blind. This is an industry perception which we have covered in the past in a previous blog article. You can find that content by clicking here. Granted things like the VW scandal, Toyotas DPF issues and Fords Powershift Transmission fault don’t help this argument.
Basically in summery the auto industry is not a bunch of thieves as much as the publics perception of them suggests it is. Vehicle manufactures do want consumers happy, they want repeat sales and they are not about destroying one or many individuals livelihood. Ethical debates can and have been had by us in the past surrounding some of the practices that go inside dealerships which again was covered in a previous article you can find here.
My main point is manufacturers are generally good companies with reasonable moral compasses.
If you go about your grievance in the correct manner, more often than not you will get what you desire.
People need to firstly understand that in many cases the dealership is not actually the same as the manufacturer. Tom Smith Toyota buys its stock from Toyota Australia which buys it stock from Toyota Japan. In many cases threatening the sales team at Tom Smith Toyota is not going to get you very far as they will just push the complaint up the line. In most cases we have witnessed the dealer in question actually went in the battle for the consumer against the parent company. Again most of the time the parent company is willing to do what’s needed to keep consumers with reasonable grievances satisfied. So our first piece of advise is don’t go on the attack towards the dealership, you need them on your side.
If you come to no satisfactory agreement with that angle you have a few governing bodies in place to help consumers with legitimate claims. The first in the MTA (Motor Trades Association) however be warned this association is around to protect the industry not the consumer, unless you have an open and shut case they will side with the dealers and vehicle manufactures. Having said that they are the fastest acting body we have ever come across when it comes to grievances.
Your next point of attack is the Department of Fair Trading. In our experience more often than not the Department of Fair trading will side with the consumer and will push for a resolution without legal action. They will appoint an employee to investigate the case, inspect the vehicle and make a ruling. Once this is over with the decision is usually final. If you pursue the matter to the courts, a finding from the Department of Fair Trading will usually be upheld. Our advise is after this stage is complete, if you are still not satisfied, abandon your pursuit as you are unlikely to get a different result in court.
The third option is consumer affairs. We can’t really comment on this as we have no real experience with this. Our suspicion is this may get passed over to the Department for Fair Trading anyway.
Overall we advise against going legal on a Dealership or a vehicle manufacturer. Remain civil and calm and pursue these alternatives and most of the time a resolution can be found.