Spares inflation

Sir,

Eleven years ago I wrote to you bemoaning the efficiency of local Alfa Romeo agents, with reference to availability of spares. I still just about manage to run an Alfa a 1968 Spider Duetto. In fact I have had it too long, it's too much a part of me, keeps me poor and has caused about as much heartache as people themselves can give. Anyhow the point is, I write calling for justification for my latest experience. I asked my newest local agent for a brake master cylinder kit. The agent I usually deal with could not locate one! Time involved was no problem, as within a day I paid £11.27 trade price for a small box of rubber parts. They were made by Girling of England with an Alfa Romeo sticker across the box printed "genuine spare part". The person who fitted the kit checked a general motor factor in Torbay their price for the same Girling kit - £2 and a few pence, retail!

My original supplier replied to my complaint that this occurrence was not uncommon and Alfa were not prepared to change the situation. However, as a customer I may have more success - where does one begin?

This £9 difference and obvious high profit somewhere along the line must be unfair trading surely, or is it just tough luck? Besides feeling very foolish at not "shopping around" as usual, this has made me very disgruntled indeed. If the expected high price is asked in these sort of circumstances let's at least have a genuine Alfa Romeo box complete with "crest".

Marlsdon, S. Devon CAROLE LANDEN

(The practice is not restricted to Alfa Romeo, alas. Ed.)