Subaru UK’s offer

In February this year (2012) the Subaru was coming up for service, so I called Subaru to locate my nearest dealer for service (apart from Pentagon). I was told my nearest dealer was in Leicester, with a new one opening in Derby soon. I decided to book the Subaru into Leicester for Tuesday the 28th of February.

I also learned that Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited was no longer a Subaru dealer.

Some time back, Pentagon had put in a warranty claim for my corroding alloy wheels to be replaced, and as far as I was aware they still had the wheels in stock. I decided to call Subaru UK on Friday the 17th of February about this, to try and arrange for them to be fitted when the vehicle was being serviced. I was put through to Mr Mike Wood, Technical Support and Development Manager.

I had a long call with Mr Wood, who very kindly arranged to send my wheels to Beechwood in Derby who were about to become a Subaru dealer, so that I could have them fitted there, as time was too tight to get them to Leicester for my booked service.

I explained to Mike Wood the problems I had with BF59ODL. Mr Wood said that he would have a chat with others within Subaru and get back to me, which he did, to advise me that Mr Alan Able, National Fleet & Used Car Sales Manager for Subaru UK, would be telephoning me.

On Wednesday the 22nd of February 2012, at Mr Alan Able called me to say that he was working on finding a vehicle to offer in replacement for BF59ODL, and that he would contact me by the end of the week.

On Friday the 24th of February, Mr Able called me to say that Mr Mike Wood was looking for suitable cars in the compound, and that he (Mr Able) would be in touch with me the following week with an offer.

As promised, on Wednesday the 29th of February, Mr Able called and offered to exchange BF59ODL for a similar vehicle as long as I paid £1000. The replacement he offered was white, registered in March 2010, and had 21000 miles on the clock. I explained to Mr Able that I was already over budget and that I didn’t really want to spend another £1000. Besides which I felt that I had already spent a considerable sum of money in legal fees and other costs as a result of my dealings with Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited, so much so, that I could have bought a brand new Subaru Legacy in the first place!

Mr Able sympathised, and said that he would have to speak to someone within International Motors to see if he could alter the offer, and that he would call me back within the week.

On Friday the 2nd of March, Mr Able called me to say that the offer was their final and only offer, and they would leave open until Tuesday 6th of March 2012. He said that if I wanted to view the vehicle I could do so at I.M. Group Parts & Service, Ryder Street, West Bromwich, B70 0EJ.

My feeling was that whatever the offer, there was no harm in meeting Mr Able in person and viewing the vehicle, even if I didn’t accept the offer. I called Mr Able back and agreed to meet him at his Ryder Street site with BF59ODL.

When I arrived at the Ryder Street site, signed in and parked, I got out and noticed another car parked nearby looking similar to BF59ODL, but with a licence plate that I had seen somewhere before. I couldn’t think where I had seen the plate before, or whether I had merely seen something similar.

Mr Able met me on the car park with one of his technicians and made introductions. The technician listened to my concerns and did his best to allay my worries about BF59ODL, saying that he thought the car to be in great condition and that the stone chips were “honest” stone chips and nothing to worry about, but just to touch them up. He also told me that it was normal for parts to rust in the engine bay, and that I shouldn’t worry about it as it would be a very long time before the car submitted to “tin worm”. I also mentioned the parcel shelf in BF59ODL that was coming apart, which Alan immediately exchanged.

Mr Able told me that the offer he had made would be on the condition that I didn’t take Pentagon Motor Holdings to court. It was at this point I categorically turned down the offer, as I felt that I couldn’t sacrifice my right to pursue Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited in court with regard to sections 13(1) and 14(2) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and section 2(1) of the Misrepresentation Act 1967.

I thanked Alan for his time, as at the end of the day my contract of sale is with Pentagon and not IM Group. International Motors were by no means obligated to make me any offer, and I took the gesture in the spirit of goodwill in which I believe it was intended. I found both Mr Mike Wood and Mr Alan Able very pleasant to deal with, and remain grateful to them for their time and effort in the matter.

As I drove away I was still trying to place the licence plate I’d seen, and then it came to me; BV10YCR was on the list of three vehicles in group stock from which Pentagon had initially offered to let me choose (see below).

Replacement car offers list

Replacement car offers list

I called my Solicitor who had a copy of the list, just to check if I was right and sure enough it was the same registration, type, colour and mileage.

Also in my dealings with International Motors I found out the reason for BG10LFJ’s very worn driver’s seat. Apparently it was used by someone in the import department who used it to travel around site a lot, getting in and out of the vehicle very frequently. So that explained the excessive driver’s seat wear in I mentioned in “Viewing BG10LFJ”.

Next Post Due Tonight

Status

The next post will be about the offer I couldn’t accept, made by Alan Able of Subaru UK (International Motors) as, mentioned, by Kate of Pentagon in her comment made on Saturday which you can view here: “Contact from Pentagon”

I will also reveal what I was told regarding BG10LFJ which explained it’s condition, as you may remember this was the vehicle Pentagon offered to me in replacement for BF59ODL. You can read about when I went to view BG10LFJ here: “Viewing BG10LFJ”

***UPDATE: Not had time to complete the post tonight, check back tomorrow***

Contact From Pentagon

Today I’ve had contact via the comment section on the “About” page of this website from a Pentagon employee. This is the first time, to my memory, that I’ve had contact from an employee of Pentagon since Mr William Johnson’s letter dated the 24th of November 2011.

I’ve put Kate’s comment below, followed by my reply.

Kate writes:

“Hi
My name is Kate and I have worked for Pentagon for 20 years. This is a family run business and we take our customer satisfaction and level of service very seriously.
Every customer that buys a used car from Pentagon is invited to take part in a satisfaction survey either by email, text or letter which involves answering questions about the dealership, staff, the vehicle they purchased and their overall satisfaction. We have been using JudgeService since December 2011, and prior to that we used a company called Feefo. The figure of 4.6/5 is based on everybody’s feedback since we started using JudgeService. Anyone who leaves feedback via the Judge Service website that hasn’t been invited to take part has their comments read by the General Manager and the Sales team at the relevant dealership.

As an employee of Pentagon I have been very much involved with customer satisfaction, and I can assure you that we do work tirelessly, quickly, and as fairly as we can to resolve any customer issues or complaints.

Don’t get me wrong, we do get things wrong sometimes, but our mission has always been, and will continue to be, to keep all our customers happy and to deliver an exceptional level of customer service. I understand that this will not always be the case, and every so often we do get customers that we cannot please no matter what we do, and are quite frankly impossible to deal with.

As I understand it, Pentagon have tried on many occasions to resolve your issues with various substantial offers, and Subaru UK also made you a very generous offer a few weeks ago that hasn’t been mentioned anywhere. I also believe that you informed Subaru UK that you were perfectly happy with your car which leads me to believe that you do not have any issues with this car any longer.

It really does sadden me when someone is tainting the name of Pentagon, a family owned business whose mission hasn’t changed in over 20 years which is “to make car and van buying and servicing easy and affordable and to treat people as we would like to be treated”.

The motor industry has had a bad reputation in the past, but its companies like Pentagon that have helped to improve that reputation in recent years by providing customers the opportunity to let us know if they are unhappy with the service they have experienced. This in turn gives us the opportunity to put matters right, and to improve our service in the future for everybody.”

And my reply to Kate’s comment:

Hi Kate,

Thank you for taking the time to add your view to MyPentagonHell.com.

I understand that Pentagon is a family run company, this is partly what influenced my decision to place my trust in their Chilwell dealership and purchase the Subaru. I have at no point been asked to take part in a satisfaction survey by email, text, letter or otherwise.

Comments via the JudgeService.com website may well be read by the General Manager and the sales team although they aren’t all published publicly. However in my experience the Pentagon employees that I have dealt with, tend to ignore problems in the hope that they will disappear, with the exception of Neil Vernon.

Mr Steve Armstrong Sales Manager at Pentagon Chilwell repeatedly didn’t return my telephone calls and Mr Trevor Reeve Managing Director of Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited still hasn’t replied to the letter that I sent to him by registered post on the 21st of November 2011.

You are quite right companies do sometimes get things wrong, I accept this, but they have to accept when they are in the wrong and face up to their mistakes.

Pentagon’s mistake was to tell me the vehicle was something it wasn’t, this is misrepresentation. It is my belief that your salesman did this to close the deal and and make a sale to the value of £22990.00.

At no point have I been impossible to deal with. I would add quite “frankly” as you put it, that if I wanted to be impossible to deal with I would Ignore Pentagon’s calls and letters and then instruct a solicitor to write letters which contain incorrect facts to Pentagon’s solicitor and perhaps drag things out by asking for more time to reply to a letter and then reply late.

Pentagon has only made me one offer and this was in the form of a replacement vehicle it was far from substantial and not acceptable you can view the details here: http://mypentagonhell.com/?p=123

You mention the offer that Subaru made to me, which as yet I haven’t published because my contract of sale is with Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited and not Subaru UK (International Motors). However you are correct Alan Able of Subaru UK as an interested 3rd party did make me an offer on the condition that didn’t take any legal proceedings against Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited. This was not acceptable to me. I will put full details of Alan Able’s offer in my next blog post but it was basically this, in return for BF59ODL, £1000 and my silence they would provide me with BV10YCR a vehicle which I mentioned earlier in my blog here:http://mypentagonhell.com/?p=115

I am not happy with the car because it is not what your salesman said it was and not what I paid £22800.00 for. I hope this is clear.

If the truth taints Pentagon’s reputation I would respectfully suggest that in my opinion, it’s time for a change of “mission”.

The motor industry may have had, as you put it a “bad reputation” in the past. However Pentagon have in my mind only enforced that reputation. I wish this was not the case and that my purchasing of the Subaru had been as I had planned, a pleasurable experience. In reality it has cost me considerable stress, time, money and inconvenience.

I remain receptive to dialogue with the aim of acceptably resolving the situation as always.

David.

Pentagon’s Customer Reviews – The Truth

Since I published MyPentagonHell.com, it looks like Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited have been getting lots of great reviews for customer satisfaction on a website called JudgeService.com, and published on their Facebook page.  In fact at the time of writing (10:50 14/04/2012), Pentagon has some 555 reviews, with an overall customer satisfaction rating of 4.6 out of 5.  This has been promoted by @JimatPentagon tweeting ”Now rated 4.6/5 for overall satisfaction after 555 customer reviews. Thanks @JudgeService”, and @JudgeService tweeting “See what great feedback Pentagon Motor Group is getting from their customers”.

I decided to submit my review, and waited for it to appear on Pentagon’s page within the JudgeService.com website. Strangely, nothing appeared, which led me to question whether it ever would. I then looked into the website a little further, and found that it was for dealers to refer their customers to, in order for them to leave their feedback. It would seem that in order to secure mostly positive reviews you would simply have to give only happy customers the referral details. These details are your vehicle registration number and a password given to you by the dealer. Not exactly a true representation of Pentagon’s customer base.

I had a read of JudgeService.com and found the following quotes:

“In the old days an unhappy customer might tell half a dozen of his closer friends about his grievance. Starting with the internet, evolving on to blogs, and then finally social media, it has become increasingly easy for people to share their criticisms with everyone they know and then some.” - How correct they are (and then some).

“According to recent research (source Zoomerang), 82% of customers would definitely recommend a friend or family to buy from a car dealer if they felt they had received good service, and 73% said they would be more likely to recommend a friend if the dealer asked and indeed incentivised them.” - Incentives eh?

Having looked into JudgeService.com, I decided to look for other review sites on the internet and came across MotorCodes.co.uk, which is government-backed.

Their website says, ”Motor Codes is the government-backed, self-regulatory body for the motor industry.  Its voluntary membership of thousands of garages are all committed to maintaining high standards across new car sales, service and repair and vehicle warranties.  So, whether you’re buying a new car or need a service or repair job carrying out, use our garage finder to seek out your nearest OFT-approved garage.”

Having read this, I thought I’d search for satisfaction reviews of Pentagon Motor Holdings Limited.  This is what I found:

Pentagon Manchester: 71% – 81%

Pentagon Barnsley: 72% – 78%

All other 13 Pentagon dealership sites had no reviews.

These are much more believable compared to the score of 4.6 out of 5 (which equates to 92%). I also believe that if you were to select to leave feedback only those customers whom you believed were happy, and would give a great review, 92% is actually a pretty poor score.

To me, this also rather reinforces my belief that with Pentagon everything isn’t always what it seems at first glance.