Entries tagged with “Paarl Motors”.

The Sweet Service Award goes to Mercedes Culemborg, and was nominated by Eamon Mack, for the service recovery, after the appalling customer service he received when he went to collect his car.  “It had been towed in to Culemborg a week ago as it would not start. The fault was speculated to be the key or the ignition system. I was told my car will be ready at 4pm today. I took a taxi to the Foreshore and met the service advisor who was dealing with me. After a lot of hanging around she found the key for me, and presented me with a bill for R2300. I said fine, looking at it, and said that I’d pay 30% as I had one of those mobi plans. She said no, that I was due to pay 100%. I said, no, that I had spoken to a number of Mercedes people over the phone and they all had said 30% only was due.  She went into the Service Manager Peter Kruger who loudly said, “Tell him no, he must pay 100%, he has no cover as we do not pay for lost keys”. The service advisor came out and told me this and I stood my ground, explaining that I had not lost the key, but that it had malfunctioned.  At this stage Mr.Kruger appeared from his office with a bunch of files in his hand. I asked him what was going on.”You lost the key, you must pay 100%” he said. I said I had not. He asked where it was then, that they did not have it. I said it had gone in to Culemborg with the car. He denied this, saying that they never got the key. I protested and he said that the issue was between me and the towing company and that I had to pay 100%. He then turned his back on me and walked off.  At this stage I was left standing with the service advisor and a young woman who had spent the time while I was there ringing customers asking them if they had been happy with the service they had received, and to rate Mercedes on a scale of one to ten. How ironic.  She asked me what the issue was and I quickly explained, my blood pressure rising.   I recommended that they all sort it out amongst themselves and call me when they had a solution. I was offering to pay 30% of the bill and that was that. The service assistant said I must pay the full 100%, or I would not be allowed to drive the car away. I looked at her and reminded her that it was my car, and that I was going to drive away. She said I couldn’t as they were going to trap me in the garage by not raising the boom. I said I was going, and if they did not raise the boom I would drive through it. I couldn’t believe it!  Held hostage by Mercedes for a bill I did not owe. Incredible stuff.  I saw my car through the window, out in the garage and went over to it. I unlocked it and climbed in, started the motor, and drove towards the boom. Nothing happened. I wound down the window to ask the gateman to open the boom. I was prepared to give them one last chance. He didn’t budge.  I drove towards the boom, fully intent on escape.  Suddenly the customer services assistant appeared like magic at my window. ” Oh we’re going to let you go……..blah blah” I cut her off.  “I am very angry, young lady” I said, “and I am not going to finish this conversation with you now. Get your attorney to send me a letter”.  She raised the boom, and I drove off.  This is the worst customer service experience I have ever had in my entire life, bar none. I am still shaking with anger. Threatened with being trapped in Mercedes Culemborg with my car for a bill I did not owe.  Totally and completely outrageous and unacceptable.”  Eamon has since written, to say that the bill has been written off in full by Mercedes Culemborg, and an apology made to him.

The Sour Service Award goes to Paarl Motors, who have previously received three Sweet Service Awards.  The dealership’s Debtor’s Clerk Marietjie Brits handed a matter related to a cheque for a service to their lawyer, which had been rejected by their bank (Nedbank).  The Dealer Principal Jaco Kotze and the Workshop Manager did not try to intervene and resolve the matter.   The service from the Workshop has been outstanding over the past 5 years, and therefore the poor service received was disappointing.   Even more shocking was the attitude of Mr Kotze, who did the “my staff are perfect” customer alienation routine when called by the customer, without having taken the trouble to contact the customer proactively.   The client’s ABSA bank approved the banking of the cheque. No apology has been received from Paarl Motors.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website

The Sweet Service Award goes to Lourens and his Workshop team at Paarl Motors, for managing to get the replacement of a gearbox covered by a Mercedes Benz Maintenance Plan, which the car manufacturer had said had expired, despite the gearbox having been ordered 3 months ago.  Instead of having to pay R 20 000 for the replacement, or 50 % of this under the maintenance plan, Lourens managed to persuade Mercedes Benz to not charge at all.   This is the second Sweet Service Award which has been awarded to Paarl Motors.

The Sour Service Award goes to Cinema Nouveau in the V&A Waterfront.   The cinema appears to have no manager on the floor, the manager’s office being upstairs and hidden from the ticket sales area, where most of the problems occur.  The staff have attitude, are rude to their customers, constantly change, book one against the wall when one asks for a ticket on the aisle, and often do not even man the ticket booth and expect one to buy the ticket at the refreshment counter.  The staff do not match the quality of the movies shown at the movie house, and have no interest in assisting clients when there is a problem.  There is no way one can complain about the service, as there is no telephone number for the Waterfront branch – all calls go to a central call centre, and calls are not returned.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

The Sweet Service Award goes to Paarl Motors.   A customer locked the keys in the boot of the car.  The spare keys were in Cape Town.   Fortunately the customer had left the windows of the car partly open.  The internal boot release would not work as the alarm went off once the car door was opened.  The customer called Paarl Motors, and the Service Manager Dougie Taylor was of the opinion that the problem could be fixed via the car battery.  The customer was not able to do the technical procedures, and therefore two mechanics were sent from Paarl to Franschhoek, to assist the customer.  With telephonic guidance from a colleague, the two mechanics managed to get the internal boot release to work, and the customer could get the keys out of the boot.  When the customer called Dougie to thank him and his team, and to make arrangements for the payment of the service, Dougie declined the offer for payment, saying it was part of the service they offer at Paarl Motors!     

The Sour Service Award goes to ADT in Paarl.  The customer had picked up that an accidental alarm activation had not lead to a call from ADT in Paarl.  ADT was called, and they stated that they had not picked up an alarm signal.   It being a Sunday, the technical assistant said that he would leave a message for his colleagues, to visit the premises the following day, to check the alarm.   By lunchtime the following day, no call had been received from ADT, and therefore the customer called again.   The technical advisor had no record of a message about the alarm, but promised to send his colleagues immediately.   However, he was most pedantic about the payment, insisting that the service call be paid for immediately and demanding to know the method of payment, without knowing what the problem was with the alarm.  The technicians took about one and a half hours to arrive in Franschhoek, and sat down to write the invoice before they even looked at the alarm.  Once again, they were adamant to know how they would be paid before they looked at the alarm.   It appeared that the radio receiver had to be replaced.  Before paying, the customer wanted to test the alarm, but everytime the alarm was activated, no call was received from ADT’s control centre.   However, the technicians called and sms’d the control centre, asking them to call the customer, which was hardly proof of the alarm working.   The customer was under time pressure, and had to leave, and the ADT technicians left as well, without payment being made.   No ADT executive followed up to check on the customer’s satisfaction, nor to clear the payment issue.  An invoice was sent by ADT to the customer by post, and was paid, as a subsequent test of the alarm showed that it was working again. 

ADT RESPONSE:   “Adrian Good, Regional Managing Director of ADT Security Western Cape, said, “Thank you for highlighting this although the technician was testing the system correctly, he seems not to have communicated the process he was following adequately to the customer. I will address this with him and our other technical staff.   For more information on the testing procedure: When testing an alarm system, the technician places the system on SMS testing. This means that when he triggers the alarm to test it and the signal is received by the Control Monitoring Centre an automated acknowledgement is sent by the system directly to the cell phone as an SMS. This is to ensure that alarm testing does not interfere with ADT resources that are handling potential emergencies.”


In both instances the customer had a technical problem to solve.  Paarl Motors did not talk money, nor conditions of payment before or after completion of their call, compared to ADT, for whom payment was the be all and end all, and the customer satisfaction apparently of lesser concern.   The customer holds Paarl Motors in even higher esteem than before.   Perhaps ADT could entertain invoicing service calls, as was done ultimately, as a lot of unpleasant interaction can be avoided, valuable technician time can be saved, and a better customer relationship can be maintained. 

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

The Sweet Award goes to Paarl Motors for effortlessly dealing with a customer’s car for a service, in collecting it from and dropping it off in Franschhoek, returning it beautifully cleaned, and charging an affordable price for the service, even though the vehicle is three years old.  The customer sent her Garage Card along for payment, and it was returned safely, and payment taken efficiently.

The Sour Award goes to Boulder’s Beach and its management, the National Parks Board.  Penny Klann, a registered tour guide, writes as follows:”National Parks is paranoid about letting people in without paying at the penguins at Boulders Beach (and at other tourist attractions such as the Cape Point nature reserve) and have instructed staff at these paypoints to check the tour guide’s i.d. card to make sure that they are a bona fide tour guide. Tour guides go in for free, as we ideally like to accompany our pax to see the penguins in order to give information to our pax about these fascinating birds. I have been going there on a regular basis as a tour guide for 15 years, and in the past year it has become irritating to say the least to be treated by these pay-point officials as if I am trying to get in illegally. For a while I had a tour guide card i.d. which had expired, but I had already paid up my new membership and was waiting for the new card to arrive. I explained this to the woman at the gate (who was intent on wielding her authority and blocking my access, as well as the 40 German tourists I had who were champing at the bit to get in to see the penguins, not to mention other tourists also waiting in the queue). As she would not accept that I was a paid-up official tour guide (in spite of my badge and the fact that my 40 tourists all obviously were with me), I showed her my Wild Card. This should have allowed me in without paying, even without a tour guide card, but – no – the woman insisted that I should show her my ID document to prove that I was the correct card holder. Unfortunately my Driver’s Licence was in the coach, parked some 400 metres away… and I tried to explain this to her, but she was determined to undermine and humiliate me in every way she could. She forbade me from going in with my pax, which meant I had to wait outside the gates and let my 40 German tourists go in without me. They were absolutely gobsmacked, and I felt like I was a criminal. These pax had had me guide them around the whole of South Africa for 2 weeks, and now their guide was being barred from entering a site of prime importance on their tour itinerary!  Yesterday I was at the penguins with 2 high-profile VIP guests, and the woman at the gate studied my Tourist Guide ID card for a long time, and then said “You are not registered for the Western Cape”. I realised that she was looking at the back of my card, which lists the provinces for which I am registered. In my case, because I am a National Tour Guide, it states “All provinces”, which was obviously too complicated for this woman to understand. She got very uptight when I explained to her that the reason she didn’t see the province Western Cape mentioned is because I am registered for all provinces. Do these officious-minded people who work at this pay point have nothing better to do than be sour, unwelcoming and downright pathetic? They should be glad to have a job at one of the world’s most popular, charming tourist sites. They should be making the tour-guides who bring them paying customers feel welcome, not be intent on humiliating us in front of our pax. Why would we tour-guides want to get in for free in any case if not for the service of providing our pax with commentary? We tour guides have all seen the penguins countless times!”

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.