In these days when service-after-sales is causing growing discontent among the majority of new car buyers who find faults in their vehicles, potential owners may be interested in a personal experience.
In 1958 I bought a new Volkswagen which lived up to its reputation in all respects—except one. It leaked. Water somehow found its way under the rear mats and although two different agents made searching tests with pressure hoses, they could find no point at which the water entered the saloon and confessed themselves mystified. “We’ve never heard of a VW leaking before” was the plaintive comment on each occasion.
Some days after the second inspection the car was left standing in a thunderstorm and I returned to find one of the rear mats actually floating. That evening, being in a particularly black frame of mind, I wrote to Wolfsburg. I told them in no uncertain terms that a vehicle not completely watertight was useless and I expected the fault to be corrected without any inconvenience or expense to myself. (The guarantee had expired three months or so earlier.)
A reply came within four days, deeply regretting the incident and informing me that they were passing the matter to their Sole Concessionaires in London, who would be getting in touch with me very soon. This promised letter duly arrived, asking me if I could take the car to them for a routine service when they would attend to the leak at the same time. I replied that due to my moving to Somerset a trip to London at the time would be impossible but perhaps they would place the matter in the hands of their (then) agents at Wellington, Som. (C. J. Jennings Ltd.), with whom I had had excellent service on another occasion. VW Motors confirmed that this would be done and I duly presented the car to Mr. Jennings a week or so later. “We’ve been expecting you” was the greeting as a wad of typewritten foolscap sheets of paper was produced for my inspection. Contained in this collection was a copy of the letters exchanged between Wolfsburg and myself, a covering letter from the London Concessionaires to Jennings and a list of tests which they were to carry out on the car until the fault had been traced and cured.
And the fault was found. One of the rubber cups which cover the fixings of the chromium waist strip to the body on the inside of the saloon had dropped off, and the hole which admitted the fixing clip was also the unsealed entry for the water. The cup was replaced, covered with underseal solution for good measure; and the remainder of the joints tested.
The next few weeks I spent driving the car on wet roads and leaving it out in rain whenever possible, and there was no recurrence of the floating mat ! I returned to Jennings’ Garage to inform him that everything was o.k., and he seemed relieved. “We had a letter from VWs the other day,” said he; “they wanted to know if we had done the repair, was it successful, and were you satisfied ?
“The work was carried out with no expense to me whatsoever and I was able to confirm my satisfaction entirely. It was, henceforth, without hesitation that I later purchased my second VW knowing that, while such co-operation between manufacturer, agent and product exists, the customer—when he has a genuine grievance—will always be right.
I am, Yours, etc. G.Lewis. Minehead