The Black List

1st Position

Westmoreland Cars

Westmoreland Cars, Thorp Arch Estate, Wetherby, Leeds.

After losing my Citroen C3 VTR to an ice skid in the New Year, I was a little wary on buying another car that wasn’t similar to the old one. When my wife picked out a People Carrier – something that we had discussed getting after the life of the VTR had faded – I was convinced that it was the path we should take, having two twin 6 year old daughters, and a large family between us who could fit in the People Carrier on days out, too.

Arriving at Westmoreland Cars, that was only a stone throw away from where we lived, we told the sales man that we had looked at the Renault Megan Grand Scenic VVT on the internet site of the company, and we were happy to take it for a Test Drive. Told there and then that they had no petrol to put in the car, I volunteered to top it up enough to get us from A to B, which the sales man was delighted about.

At first, when he tried starting the car, it wouldn’t make a sound. He was embarrassed that the car battery was in fact dead and needed jump starting. We were told that it had been standing over the Christmas Holidays and that it was the only reason it wouldn’t start. He then told us that the only thing needed for the car was a new Spare Wheel Carriage – as the present one had rusted and given way – and that one was at the repair garage on the estate ready to be fitted. As well as the Spare Wheel Carriage, it needed a quick Service and MOT, before we could take it away.

Telling the salesman that we were on our way to pick up our two children from school in Wetherby, he told us to take the car for a Test Drive and bring it back after we had picked the children up, to which we drove it away from the car lot and filled it up at the Wetherby Service Station – begrudging the high prices of the Franchised Fuelling Station – it was here that we decided that it was the car for us. When we returned I told the salesman that we wanted it.

The salesman told us that if we wanted to take it away now, we could return the car for the MOT, Servicing and Spare Wheel Carriage the following Monday – 3 days later – after the weekend. We were delighted with the car, as were our two children. We drove very little in the time that we had it over the weekend, though we travelled enough to notice that on the Dashboard, two lights were coming up – Service and Alternator Lights.

Taking the car down to the Bosch Garage on the Thorp Arch Estate, which we believe is owned by the very same person who owns the Car Lot – Peter Westmore – I mentioned the lights and was told that they would be sorted out. The car was then taken in for the whole day from 9.15am till 5.30pm, where I had to ring them and ask if it was ready. The car had been ready for more than two hours, and yet they had my home landline number, business landline and mobile phone number to contact me and let me know that the car was ready to pick up – No call came.

During the week I, being the driver noticed that something wasn’t right with the car; the accelerator was at times unresponsive to my tapping on the gas, the gears were sluggish and the lights on the dashboard were intermittently flashing with Service, Alternator, Airbags, and other odd indications that something wasn’t right with the vehicle. When my wife and I stopped outside our children’s school, little did we know that this was the place where we would have to rely on Westmoreland Cars to help us out. The car refused to start and they brought out a Courtesy Car – If that is what you would call it!

Again, the car was taken back down to the Bosch Garage where they would take it in and work on the problem. Another day the car sat in the garage being fixed, and again, I had to ring them to ask if it was ready. And again, I drove the car from the Bosch Garage home, where only for a day or two the problems remained at bay before I was knocking on the Car Lot door asking what the hell was going on with the car?

Having been given a 3 Month Warranty on the car, we were told that there are many things that go wrong with cars, even if it was brand new and just driven off the forecourt of any Dealership. But this wasn’t a Dealership Garage, it was a second hand Car Lot that sold many cars that were from either Auctions or other second hand car dealers. The 3 Month Warranty was a legal requirement, not a perk or deal breaker for someone buying a vehicle.

Taking the car down to the Bosch Garage, again, they took it in and told me to go back to the Car Lot for a Courtesy Car, to which I was now given an Nissan Almera S 16v Turbo. Again, I was told that unfortunately, they had no petrol to put in the car for me, and again, I topped the car up to what I believed would be enough to get me and my family around on a day to day basis. The salesman told me with great conviction that my car would not be fixed that day and to try back after the weekend.

Filling the car with £40.00 of petrol, I started with the School Run and ended with a Morrison’s shop before returning the two and half miles back home. It was when we returned home that there was a message left on our answering machine to go and pick up the car from the Bosch Garage. It had been three hours since I dropped it off. Going to the Car Lot to talk to the car salesman about the £40.00 of petrol that I’d put in the car he phoned Peter Westmore to request a refund before I picked up my own car. Peter Westmore offered me £20.00 for the trouble, which I rejected at first but found he would not budge to pay anymore. I was then told that £20.00 would be waiting with my car keys when I went down to the Bosch Garage on the Thorp Arch Estate.

When I drove the Renault out of the Garage grounds and reached the roundabout near the entrance of Thorp Arch, lights started coming on throughout the Dashboard; Service, Alternator, Brakes, Airbags and Oil. I returned it and immediately I was handed the keys to the Nissan Almera, again. I also handed back the £20 note that I had picked up from the staff member at the garage while  watching six men who had crowded around the vehicle laughing and joking at the Laptop Computer that was now connected to the On-board Computer Terminal. Then the laughing stopped. I was told that there were initially three faults that came up on the diagnostic, but now, another three faults were coming up and they would have to keep the car in over the weekend. I returned home with the Courtesy car.

After the weekend, I was contacted by the salesman, who told me that the car needed a Pencil Coil replacing, and that I should have no more problems with the car. Picking my two children up from school and allowing the petrol to go down to near where it was when I picked it up, I put the children into the (Supposedly Fixed Renault Grand Scenic) car while I went to see the mechanic inside the office. When I came out, one of my daughters was holding a large object up in the air that she had found on the back seat. It was off the engine. I returned to the garage asking if it was supposed to be on the vehicle, to which with blushing smiles a mechanic came over and replaced it onto the top of the engine before waving me off.

When I returned home, I noticed that the fuel gauge was on the last bottom two bars. They had run almost three quarters of a tank of petrol from the tank in the space of two and a half days. They had told me that they had road tested the car and that it was now fixed, again, but where had they road tested my car to? The Coast? London and Back? The mind boggled.

The car was ok for almost a week, before I started to notice a great power loss in the acceleration, as well as the juddering that accompanied it. Travelling to Scarborough one weekend the faults were starting to show more and more, especially on the hills heading into the Coastal Town, where from 60 mph we were almost at a standstill, while a strange smell of burning wiring or solder filled the inside of the car. Eventually, we reached Scarborough and parked the car up, with thoughts in my head wondering whether or not we were going to make it back or not. We did make it back, and that same evening I emailed the Renault Dealership in Harrogate asking to be booked in for an “Electronic Diagnostic Check” for £65.00 of my OWN money. Because I had fears for the safety of my family, my children most of all, and that all faith in Westmoreland’s had been lost, I was willing to find out exactly what was wrong with the car.

Renault told me that the car was by no means a danger to anyone’s life, though there were many things coming up on the vehicle that would suggest that things were not right with the car and that I should, at the next available time return the car for maintenance and repair. They also pointed out that the Service Book had not been stamped with any repairs or service parts installed and that I should get a print out of the Full Service History when possible.

Armed with the Diagnostic Report and a calm mind, I asked for the Full Service History to be printed out and a word with the salesman, who happened to be off that day. The following day I returned to the Car Lot and explained everything to him, who then took photocopies of the Diagnostic and phoned down to the Bosch Garage. In addition, I showed him photos of the dashboard – in particular the Petrol Tank Meter from my mobile phone – before he checked also and handed us the keys to the Nissan Almera, again. The car was in for almost two days before we were contacted to go and pick up the car, again, for the fifth and final time.

END OF WARRANTY.

On the last week of the 3 Month Warranty from Westmoreland, we took the car to OUR Mechanic in Swillington, Leeds, who told us: “I cannot and will not touch even the smallest nut or bolt on that vehicle. If it is still in Warranty by the car company you bought it from, then it HAS to be put right by that Car Company.”

When finally the Warranty ran out and we were even less happy with Westmoreland and their very bad treatment, the car was taken to the Mechanic. Immediately, it was placed on the Diagnostic Machine and a full (Free) Diagnostic Test was carried out before a Full Set of Pencil Coils (4 in a set) were placed on order and fitted (At the same time). There were questions raised which I couldn’t answer, and of those questions I could answer, the reaction said it all.

What we were Happy about was the fact that our Mechanic’s Garage was a Family owned Business and with this, it was priority to them to make EVERY car that they work on for their Clients and Customers Tip-Top and Safe to drive away. The Renault Grand Scenic Megane was FIXED and made absolutely Safe for me and my family to drive away. The four Pencil Coils, Computer Management Reset and a small additional Service of Oil, Break Fluid and Spark Plugs were carried out. It was now that the £120,00 bill made the car run until 30th November 2011, when it has just had its Full (Legitimate) Service.

MAKING THE BLACK LIST.

With discrepancies in the Service Print outs and the way in which we were treated with Peter Westmore and his Bosch Garage, we find it only too fair that Westmoreland Cars take first place on The Black List. And, with the honest opinion of one family to any other families or single drivers out there who are looking to buy a second hand car from the Wetherby area – Do not go anywhere near Westmoreland Cars at Thorp Arch, if you want a good sound second hand car, go to a dealership who will give you up to a 3 years warranty on all of their second hand vehicles.

WHAT WOULD THIS COMPANY GAIN BY BEING DIFFERENT?

We believe that Peter Westmore is set in his ways and that there would be no advising him on anything, because the more that people stay quiet about a problem with their vehicles, the more he thrives in business of selling unreliable cars and absolutely appalling service. If one day this guy suddenly wakes up with a conscience, then that will be the day that Westmoreland Cars starts selling quality used cars and picking up business.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY.

If I had a Car Lot and a Service Garage, I, too, would think that by selling second hand cars that needed attention could be a great way of directing business to the Service Garage. But, with a fair mind on the belief “If my Customers are happy, then I’m happy”, this is where myself and Peter Westmore differ. Trade price parts at today’s VAT increased market! MOT’s, Services, Diagnostic Checks, High Maintenance Bills! Think before you buy – or it may well cost you your life, or someone else’s life for the sake of seeing what looks like a good deal, or being taken in by the Car Salesman’s banter.

© Marcus De Storm 2011.

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