Priced by Computer

Priced by Computer Sir,

In January of this year, I had the good fortune to purchase an Aston Martin DB5 in beautiful condition. Since when I had Connollys to give the leather the full treatment, (a magnificent job, spurred on by your article, done punctually and at very reasonable cost). I have also had call to purchase brake and servo parts from Paul 13ackhouse Ltd. of Manchester, a firm whose staff are really so efficient and courteous that it makes one feel that all is not lost in Britain after all.

Early in August, however, I called to order a left-hand rear brake caliper, the first time, incidentally, that they have not had a part I required in stock. However, this was promptly ordered from Girlings and they telephoned three days later to say that this was ready for collection. Having paid the fair price of £25, I found on arriving home that Girlings had, in fact, supplied them with the wrong side, i.e. right-hand side; back into Manchester, Back-house apologised most profusely, and at the same time showed me that they had ordered the correct part number, offered to send it back and make sure that Girlings send the correct one. A few days later they telephoned to say that the replacement had arrived which, on picking it up, found that once again they had been sent the wrong One; now becoming frustrating! Third time lucky I thought, until Backhouse rang to tell me that yet another wrong one had been sent. Now we come to the classic—on MY instructions, they then ordered (fourth attempt) the right-hand side, i.e. the opposite to what I wanted, and "hey presto" success, the wrong one arrived, i.e. left-hand side, which was What I wanted in the first place. Unbelievable, wouldn't Esther Rantzen just love this

The best bit was still to come, however, When on ordering the final time, I also ordered a handbrake caliper which I thought would be approximately £10, until I came to collect It from Backhouses, who suggested that I sat down while they informed me that the invoice from Girlings was £33. I must add here that Rackhouses, in all fairness, were absolutely staggered and full of apologies and had already been on to Girlings before contacting me to argue the price, but to no avail. By this. time the whole thing was becoming a joke, so I then rang up Aston Martins at Newport Pagnell., and asked their price, "£11

Sir, and we have them in stock", a difference of £22. I then rang Girlings who admitted that as the main caliper had cost me £25, "a handbrake caliper at £33 didn't seem quite right"—however, having spoken to three different "cogs", the only answer I received was, "Well Sir, you see it's our computer, and we cannot alter the system". In other words I got precisely nowhere. Result—bought the same thing for £11 and returned the original to Girlings.

End of saga, except to say that I cannot speak too highly of Paul Backhouse Ltd., who were put in some very embarrassing positions by this giant supplier in Birmingham. Incidentally, I have no connection with Backhouse's whatsoever—just an appreciative customer of a firm who "try harder".

Have recently purchased an Alfasud Ti for everyday use—what a fantastic motor car. Macclesfield D. E. J. LOMAS