I'm a fairly relaxed and easy-going person. I accept the imperfections of daily life, and that sometimes things don't go entirely to plan. It takes a lot to get me worked up, but in 2008 the Marshall Motor Group, specifically their Bedford Land Rover branch, managed it.
As a rule I don't hold grudges, but when you've been over-charged, told falsehoods, had defective parts fitted to your vehicle, had promised work not done, and then had management poke fun at your name in an attempt to placate you, it's not surprising that I will not give them my custom.
The reason for this post is that I got a call from them inviting me to have my Defender serviced. I bought it from an independent, franchised dealership in Halesworth, Suffolk, which has now been taken over by Marshalls. It's a shame, because the staff there were friendly, the service good, and I never had any cause to complain; the polar opposite of Marshall's ethos.
I didn't realise how strongly I still felt until I received the call.
Without wishing to go in to boring details, although it's all documented, none of the items were in themselves catastrophic, but cumulatively they indicated that the company did not really care about their customers...
...and it hasn't changed now. They're so keen to build a relationship with their customers that instead of someone you know calling you from the dealership, they use a call-centre to take bookings. Calling the dealership I used to use before it become Marshalls to ask them to remove my details too, I offered to explain why but they didn't seem interested.
I've also tweeted to @mmglandrover about their offer but obviously didn't get a response. Same as the letters of complaint I wrote at the time to the dealer principle.
Land Rover are making some great vehicles, but my local dealerships (all owned by Marshalls) are a real deterrent to buying one. I've been in touch with Land Rover directly, but they said it was nothing to do with them. Shame.
Things go wrong from time-to-time. It happens. That's life. What really matters is how you put things right. Sometimes all that's needed is the word "sorry". It's not hard. No, really, it isn't.
Blaming other people, making excuses and not even making a vague attempt to put things right is how not to put things right.
And a final tip: If you have a disgruntled customer on the phone and you're trying to convince them to bring their business back to you, think very carefully about poking fun at their name. It will be a very cold day before I buy a vehicle from, or let them anywhere near, one of my cars.