Update - Dealer$$$speak lookin' good

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 21:29
ThreadID: 24889 Views:2989 Replies:7 FollowUps:13
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The latest for those who have been following the story of the $575 service charge to run a new ground wire to fix a malfunctioning security system (NATS) in a Nissan Patrol. Whole story in a long post PostID24583. Sorry about the odd characters which invaded the original post. Also updated in postID24698.

On Monday afternoon I sent a 2 1/2 page VERY firmly worded letter by registered post to the Dealer Principal - explaining that I wanted $375 of the $575 that I paid and why and what my next steps would be if I did not get this sorted to my satisfaction.

Today (Tues) I got a call from the Branch Manager and after some conversation about my complaint he AGREED TO RETURN THE MONEY AS REQUESTED. I will do serious celebrations once the cheque is in my hand!

Branch Manager said he had not received the (more gently worded) email. If so, I expect that the tone of the letter he did receive would have been a bit of a shock. Even so, he was polite and prepared to discuss and listen to the points I made (you've heard them all here). He initially offered a $200 discount on my next service with them, but I declined (not sure that my confidence is restored to the extent that I would feel comfortable leaving my car there for service - no quote, little free communication etc). I told him that I really wanted my money back so that next time I needed a "Nissan-specific" service/product, I would consider driving to my nearest (15 minutes away) dealer rather than over an hour to the other side of town.

So, that seems to be a win for sticking to your guns and insisting that clear & timely communication is a necessary component of good customer service. Knowing my rights as a consumer and keeping my cool while taking the necessary steps to ensure that the business 'does the right thing' worked for me.

Sooo... what have I learned:

this forum has been great for information, advice and support. Thank-you to all. Think I better join up now!

I know a lot more about my Patrol AND I know that I have a lot more to learn.

I visited the Qld Patrol Owner's Club last night and met some friendly people - likely to do a club run this weekend and join up to do some driver training. If I had not had a NATS (security) prob, I would not have met those friendly people and the ones on line.

I'm learning that a good diesel mechanic is a must have. When you find one VALUE him!

It seems (according to the service manager I spoke to today when the dealer rang) that the diagnostic equipment (console?) is not as terrific as I thought. I gather it would have told the dealer's mechanics that my car had a NATS fault and then they would have had to figure out why. I already knew it was a NATS prob - I read that section of the handbook when the dash light started to flash! At $102/hr, I would have been better off to employ a good switched on diesel mechanic for the search and repair - surely they are available for less than $102/hr.

Nissan help line does not know it all ...several forumites did a correct distance diagnosis of the ground strap problem and Help line had no idea. I mentioned to the branch manager that I put my Patrol's symptoms on a 4WD forum and within 1 hr 3 of you had suggested the solution (and you were right).

Thanks heaps (& I'll let you know when the cheque does arrive!)

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 21:54

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 21:54
Great result for you Patrolee.
Now, how are you going to distribute your refund amougst us:-)

On second thoughts, spend $50 on a member upgrade and the balance will buy you a Henschke "Hill Of Grace".

Good on you for the win.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 121215

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:25

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:25
And what would a Henschke "Hill Of Grace" be to a newbie??? Remember my Patrol ownership came through the need for a tow vehicle! Is this part of the kit for REAL 4WDing? I won't get my 4WD training for a few more weeks. At this point I can only guess at how to use a UHF, what a snatch strap looks like and where recovery hooks are on my Patrol. I have learned from this forum to ask those who have experience and be real fussy at supercheap auto!
FollowupID: 376263

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:39

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:39
Forgive me Patrolee.

A "Hill Of Grace" is one of two premium bottles of Australian Red Wine, (the other being Penfolds Grange) which I suggested you buy to celibrate. Nothing directly to do with 4WD's at all.

I assume some other form of indulgence is your preference???

Have a good one.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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FollowupID: 376266

Follow Up By: Leroy - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 09:30

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 09:30

Hill of Grace is a necessary part of your 4wding kit. Once you have joined a club and completed your driver training you can open the bottle and enjoy it with friends when you have reached a fantastic out of the way location and celebrate!!

FollowupID: 376291

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:26

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:26
Now ...I would have recognised the Grange option! Have to confess that I love most of the Brown Brothers range of wines and Strongbow, so I will remember to add a suitable celebration bottle to enjoyed at the end of the day.

FollowupID: 376425

Reply By: Member - Andrew (Bris) - Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:30

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:30
If you mean to do the 'Spicers Gap' run, it's a nice trip. Not too hard, and the views are good.
AnswerID: 121225

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:32

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:32
That would be the run. I see you are in the Nissan club - one of the friendly members at the meeting I visited? I'll do this run as a passenger (thanks to a kind offer made by one of your members) and get a feel for how this 'convoy' stuff works. I usually do all of my travelling solo, so this will be a change. I still need to get my minor leak in injector pump fixed before I go for any club run. Sounds like I should also take my camera.
FollowupID: 376428

Reply By: Moz - Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:34

Tuesday, Jul 19, 2005 at 22:34
G'day Patrolee
Well done on getting a satisfactory outcome.
It seems you encountered a less than honest service consultant.

As a previous forumite said he is trying to make a target for the month
and he saw a way to get there with your job.

It is worth while finding a good Diesel mechanic and he probably would
cost less than $102/hr however for this particular job the Nissan dealer
would have been your best bet. I haven't met many Diesel guys too
interested in electrics. A switched on auto electrician would be your
next option but your guy already directed you to Nissan because he
probably didn't know the system.

Nissan have the diagnostic tools, wiring diagrams and they may have seen
the problem before (but obviously not in your case).
It is common misconception that all you have to do is plug the diagnostic tool
in and it will tell which part is faulty. It will only tell which system is faulty
and a system may have 5 or 6 components and the wiring in between and a
lot of these components are hidden behind the dash, centre console and trim
panels whch have to be removed to access.

Lets hope that is the last of your vehicle's troubles.

Cheers ,
AnswerID: 121228

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:40

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:40
Knowing the limitations of the diagnostic tool will help me make a more informed choice next time my Patrol needs attention. I am about to join a Patrol owners' club and it seems that will give me ready access to people in the know about how things work and what is a fair price for work that needs doing.

As it turns out the shop where I have been going for my regular servicing is about to be sold - rats! Now I will be on the hunt for a new diesel mechanic. Club member in my local area has mentioned one near by who does great work, so that looks promising. Perhaps he can then recommend an auto-electrician whose work he is pleased with.


FollowupID: 376430

Reply By: Member - John C (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 08:10

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 08:10
Wonder when the dealers goig to join up on Exploroz forum for diagnostic assistance?
AnswerID: 121251

Follow Up By: Member - Trevor R (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:21

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:21
Good point John.
$50/year- return $102/hr NOT BAD.

FollowupID: 376424

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:46

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:46
I didn't actually mention which 4WD forum I was accessing, but it should not be too hard for them to find out if they searched for key elements of this 'story'. The quality of the info on this forum sure seemed to be better than on the Nissan help/hot line.
FollowupID: 376436

Reply By: Gerhardp1 - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 10:02

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 10:02
Patrolee, congratulations on your persistence.

I think there are 2 key points in your experience that might help others

1. Email is just a bunch of + and - computer bytes and they can be deleted/ignored at will. A written letter is trumps.

2. Sending abovementioned written letter by Registered Post requiring the recipient's signature is a sure way to get immediate results.

A few years ago I had trouble with a TV repair, with the TV no better after a $120 repair. Numerous phone calls and visits to the premises achieved nothing. A phone call to Consumer Affairs provided the advice to write a letter clearly stating what I would accept to resolve the issue, and to send it by Reg post with Sig required.

The phone call from the rip-off dude came within minutes and the repair was done to my satisfaction the next day!
AnswerID: 121277

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 14:11

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 14:11
Yep, your spot on the money I reckon. I had a problem with a dealer and a warranty issue a few years ago on my Feroza. Verbal arguments and telephone conversation with sales/service people and service managers only resaulted in more frustration, a written letter to the dealer principle prompted an immediate fix and my local auto elecrician and their cost. (saved me what would have been the 4th 1 hour round trip to the dealer).
Firm, factual, and to the point but not too harsh is the way IMHO.
FollowupID: 376364

Reply By: Member - Trevor R (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:26

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:26

Well done, maybe I should have employed you on my behalf as opposed to the solicitor that I employed to get a result from Nissan regarding the overheating problem I encounter.(no result except a couple of G's less in the bank)

Anyway good to hear your outcome, and big A+ to all the forumites who got the answer right in this instance.

Regards Trevor.
AnswerID: 121340

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:54

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 18:54
I note that you have the same model Patrol as I do (4.2TD 2000), so encounter the overheating prob. I do not encounter it often, as I do not tow a lot. I read a lot of the posts about this on this forum and note that one member has solved the problem using 'water wetter' coolant instead of the 'regular' (non-glycol???) products and a more 'free-flowing' exhaust. Thought I might investigate that before summer hits.

FollowupID: 376438

Follow Up By: Member - Trevor R (QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 20:03

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 20:03

I also have the free flowing exhaust plus plenty of other goodies to try to stop the overheating, but the one thing that seems to have worked significantly so far is the stage two power-up done at MTQ Toowoomba.

If you want to know more about water wetter see this site.

I dont know much about water wetter myself, but Roachie, one of the other forumites on here is trying it now. Not sure but I think it has not stopped him running hot. With all the gear he has put on his car to prevent overheating, if it hasn't worked on his I don't think it would work on anybodies. That's my opinion and am sure others will disagree.

Anyway good to hear your result and I might see you on a club run one day. If I pull my finger out and settle in one spot for more than a week, I might be able to join a group of like minded individuals and have some fun in the mud.

Regards Trevor
FollowupID: 376453

Follow Up By: Patrolee - Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 18:57

Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 18:57
Trevor R,

Can you tell me about the work you had done in Toowoomba? I visit there quite regularly and can hang out with friends and family for a few days if required. I'll visit the water wetter sight too. Hope Roachie gives us his verdict when he's 'test-run' the product. He posted in response to one of my earlier questions and I found it very helpful.

FollowupID: 376606

Follow Up By: Member - Trevor R (QLD) - Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 20:47

Thursday, Jul 21, 2005 at 20:47

The stage 2 power-up takes a full day, we (wife and I) stayed 2 nights in toowoomba when the job was done.

It involves fitting 3" exhaust and dump pipe (which I think someone has explained to you what it is), removing original turbo and fitting a new turbine inside the original housing, adjusting the fuel aneroid (changes the delivery of fuel) and change the timing. Most of this had already been done on my vehicle from new but was not done properly until MTQ sorted it out. Have done 20 000 plus km since MTQ upgrade and the car has never felt better.

The difference is stagering compared to an original 4.2 turbo, but made little difference in power to my already enhanced vehicle. The HUGE difference comes in the torque increase in my case, my vehicle can really hold a gear much longer when towing (which it does all the time big loads too). It is now like an auto once I get into 4th, rarely changing down, only on ranges like Toowoomba. (I do not use 5th ever because I tow all the time)

Now for the bad news $2500 - $3000 depending on what modifications you have already, but as it has so far totally cured my overheating I think it is the best money I have spent on this car. ( and beliave me I have spent heaps on it ) I have not spent a Nth QLD summer in this vehicle since MTQ worked on it, so my final all clear won't come until I can tow up nth in summer without overheating.

If you want to get something like this done on yours, you can keep in touch and have a run in mine to see the difference if you want to, as I also am in Brisbane. (mostly away for work so have to plan ahead if you want a drive)

Hope this helps
Kind Regards

PS I have no ties with MTQ, so in no way benefit if you use these guys.
FollowupID: 376638

Reply By: rolande- Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 22:25

Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 at 22:25
G'Day Patrolee,

You are not alone! Mate put his TD5 Defender in to the local dealer as it was using more fuel and running rougher than normal. Only asked that they plug it into diagnostics to see if a fault came up.

"Yep, MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor buggered, will cost you $380 for a new one plus fitting"

Cost for this bit of advice? $125

Add to this his $175 oil change and he was less than impressed.

AnswerID: 121384

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