Saturday, September 24, 2011

Squeaky wheel gets the oil

By nature, I am a quiet guy.

Tried very much to stay off the limelight, never one to hog them.

I normally would pay my bills without batting my eyelids. At times, I would even pretend that I was expecting the sum of the bill, even though upon reflection (later), I knew I had been conned, or at the very least, cheated. So I tried very much to protect myself, noting and making mental calculation before going to the cashier to pay my bill.

I have a car - 3 year old car last Sept 11. 2011. The warranty expires on that day, eventhough my mileage is only 74,000 km (as opposed to 100,000 km, as it is on the basis of whichever one is earlier).

I sent my car for its 70,000 km service in July 2011, when I was told that the engine oil was leaking from 3 places - the valve cover, the oil pump and another location which I have forgotten. I was also told that since this is considered normal wear and tear, it is not included in the warranty of the car. Nothing major I guess, but apparently it was going to cost me over RM1,200.00 for this repair work, in a any case.

I tried to argue that it should be considered under the warranty programme, but the service advisor was adamant that it is not.

Not wanting to make a scene, I told them not to bother and would decide later what to do with it.

I had thought that once the warranty is over (in two month's time), I would send the car to my favourite mechanic (and not to the official make workshop). I was sure it would be cheaper.

And I had not bother getting it done, until I started smelling like something burning coming from the car.

By then, it is urgent to get it done.

So I decided to call the official workshop to get the details, so that I could get my favourite workshop to work on it. By then, the 3-warranty was definitely over.

Talking to the service advisor, I decided to make a fuss over the phone.

1. Being the most expensive car I had  bought in my entire life, I told him I was surprised that such model and make would have problems such as oil leaking, while my other cheaper cars would trouble free (at least no leaking). My RM26,000 Saga which I bought in 1989 did not have the oil leaking within 3 years, and it was multiple-fold cheaper than my present car.
2. The car, while it is 3 year old by Sept, has very low mileage (i.e. only 74,000 km in 3 years)
3. The car is fully maintained by the car maker itself.
4. The problem was found to exist while the car is under warranty (i.e. in July 2011), even though I decided after the warranty to send it to the official workshop.

So when I brought the car in a week's later at the maker's workshop, I was told that the repair work would now be considered under the warranty program, and hence I would not have to pay for it. I was surprised, but thankful.

It pays to make noises or create a scene, so that they would not take us for granted. On what basis did he tell me earlier that it was not under warranty and two months later, changed his tune, I am not sure.

Personally I would prefer if the conditions of a car's under warranty are clearly spelt, so that there is no misunderstanding. We have to protect our right as consumer.

In another incident, after Friday prayer last week, I decided to buy some dokong. Thinking I could get 3 kg for RM10.00, I was taken aback when I was told that the price is RM5 per kg. "What? I thought it should be 3 kg for RM10.00," I told the seller.

Without batting an eyelid, she reduced the price to RM4 per kg, so I bought a kg just to satisfy my craving for dokong while walking to the mosque earlier.

I didn't try to bargain, I was only telling her as a matter of fact.


Squeaky wheel gets the oil!

It does not pay to stay quiet, and not make a fuss in doing business in Malaysia. They would try to get out from their responsibility if they could help it. They are hoping that all Malaysian consumers are indifferent to their rights.

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