I had been using a Toyota Innova for the past 9 years and thought it would last a couple of years more.

This was due to the fact, that it was in pretty good condition, and economically I did not want to stretch myself, given my new profession, where I need to watch every penny that I spend. However, some repairs and advice by Toyota and other well intentioned people (mainly the wife) I finally worked out some finances and decided to search for a new vehicle.

Finally, narrowed down to Mahindra XUV 5oo given the size, value addition for the price etc. I was recommended a gentleman Mehul who organised the loan etc and was of utmost help. The first meeting, he spoke and explained to me at length, why I should avoid the XUV, checked with a couple of others also and it was evenly poised. At this point, he introduced Ford India’s best selling vehicle Ecosport. A Test Drive was arranged, and whilst I liked the feel and drive, my hesitation was two fold 1) Delivery issues for the Titanium color specific 2) A friend had faced problems with Wasan Ford a couple of months ago and had cancelled in disgust.

Vijay who had come to help with the test drive, confirmed that either one of the colour would be made available in 15 days. It was later confirmed by Mehul & the 50000 was paid to Wasan Ford on their commitment that the complete delivery would be done latest 1st week of May (this included color, registration etc). Knowing that it would take 4-6 days for all this, I presumed that the vehicle would have reached Bombay by 24-25th.

So I called up Mehul on the 24th but was told blandly that it would reach by 3-4th May and it was a problem with the Ford Plant.

I immediately contacted Ford via Chat – which gave some ridiculous answers, so called up. The complaint was registered & a template answer received. I was asked by Wasan via Mehul as to why should I speak to Ford directly. Anyway, another gentleman Rajesh Rupani from Wasan decided to oblige me by saying, Grey which you wanted is not going to be here, so I am organising your other option Black thru another dealer on the 30th. By this time, I knew that the usual Dealer lying to ensnare a customer was in process and hence asked for money to be refunded. Mehul kept followup with the excuse ‘Dealer and everything is closed for 3 days’ whereas RTO worked on that saturday. No response as usual till 5th when some chasis nos was given. I kept my demand for refund so I could cut this stress out. In the meantime, followup by email to Ford India showed no response. Finally some Kavita called up, saying your complaint has been addressed according to the dealer and we are closing the complaint. I asked for written proof and details, which she claimed will reach me by EOD. No answer after that for a week.

In the meantime, I agreed to accept the vehicle on 9th with an undertaking by Sameer from Wasan that latest by Tuesday 12th registration would be done. (I had cancelled my plans for the long weekend of 1-4 May) and had to cancel again this week/weekend. So called Sameer on 12th May, who said it normally takes 4-5 days but we were doing you a favour, but don’t know when it will be done and will call you back.

Speaking to his senior Rajesh Rupani, who said you wanted a different number (that I paid for) and basically that Wasan responsibility is over tone. During this entire period, I had asked if we could take care of the registration.

Finally I decided enough was enough and procured the email ID of Director Marketing & Customer Service of Ford India and wrote to him with the above background and asking the following:

This 15 day delay due to lying, means I had debates at home for cancelling vacation time, spent more than 20,000 on Taxi fare for my work and have the damn car sitting in the compound for the past 5 days.

I understand that FORD INDIA cannot antagonise its dealer because they do not have dealers in Bombay or because Wasan wields influence, however the following points need answers:

1) All dealers are liars, Wasan seems to be perfecting the art?
2) If Ford cars are so much in demand, why don’t the dealers have the guts to say “Sorry, we cannot meet your terms – for date, delivery, colour” and provide better service.
3) Why does Ford India have a chat manned by people with just template answers and take complaints to which no action or communication is ever made.
4) Why can the unregistered vehicle not be cancelled and since there is so much demand given to somebody else and my money refunded.
5) Dealer is just a channel, Ford is the brand and the behaviour leaves one with a bitter taste that, customers are not trusted by the brand
6) Given this what can I trust Ford India with – the extended warranty and service would be done by a dealer who lies and has no concept of service – and ford rarely responds.

The saving grace is, you have responded and somebody did try my numbers in the evening. BUT does that mean if I retain the vehicle I would have to call you everytime for a service? I would rather prefer to cancel the vehicle and get a refund.

The customer service at Ford India did try and reach and finally spoke but had no resolution to offer, except the usual template answers.

Finally on 13th evening the registration number was received; apparently after paying extra (more than what I had already paid). And then there were a flurry of calls from Ford India, enquiring after the vehicle etc.

On the 13th/14th Ganesh also spoke to me about customer service, dealer and how important a customer is etc, and how hurt I was, also now I would have nothing to do with Wasan but Ford will help and ensure service; And whilst any offer of couple of thousand would not matter, but the dealer needs to be punished and will come and meet you with some waiver and offer. And I could call him anytime and he was sending a mail to that effect that would have his mobile number etc. (NO mail or information received till 20th May)

One of your customer service rep called and said Dealer would need to come and meet you to apologise, in spite of my saying that How is that going to help me? (But probably just so that the complaint number can be closed as required by the process of the company)

Finally, the dealer rep (Rajesh Rupani) came today with a bouquet of flowers (seriously??) wanting another chance to make up and more or less said the same things Ganesh had said. No mention of the amount/accessories which Ganesh was so vocal about.

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My reply to both has been the same – Experience with regard to attitude and communication has been pathetic, Trust has been lost, how does Ford India wish to win that back is what you should be worried about and not keep apologising.

This entire episode and the way it has been mis handled (incidentally there is no answer from Ford also about the delay in their response, till I sent an email to you) has left a bitter after taste.

As one single customer, it definitely would not matter to Ford and hence I think it is better to close it here; with my hope that I do not have a problem with the service and warranty over the next couple of years, till the vehicle is sold.

After this reminder email, I received an acknowledgement “Thank you for your feedback” Anurag and Ganesh sent me their mobile numbers. AND finally today a receipt was sent by Mehul showing Rs. 5000/- paid for Number (issued by the RTO) and since I had paid 3000 already, I paid Rs 2500/- to just close the issue.

To sum it up, Ford India has no service recovery in place till the bomb bursts and somebody pushes at the top. All the tall talks about Zonal Manager is looking into it and dealer will reimburse and be penalised remain just that.

AND my constant question begs to be answered here: How are customers who are not well connected/have access to the top be treated by brands in India?

Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends