Jaguar Land Rover – Letter Over Spirit in customer service?

Genuine question about my experience with customer service at Jaguar Land Rover.

The facts are as follows:

  1. My car warranty expired on 21st May.
  2. As per their normal process, I received a reminder email before 21st May, and a call from the dealer (on 25th May) to schedule my 3rd routine service which I did for the 26th.
  3. During their check-up they found that the battery was “weak and needed replacement”. This would normally have been covered under warranty, but since my car was out of warranty I would have to pay for it!

ACT 1

I knew my warranty was to expire sometime in May but was not sure of the exact date. So the moot question is, in this case, should JLR go by the spirit of the warranty or the letter?

I did not dilly-dally on scheduling the service, the date of the scheduled service was no more than FIVE days from the expiry of the warranty. This battery issue in all likelihood would have come up had the car come in before the 21st (I doubt my battery suddenly started to fail in the past 5 days), and they would very well have replaced it then.

Shouldn’t this service be considered as part of the warranty service? Or is JLR simply being opportunistic in taking advantage of the fact that technically my car was out of warranty? Personally, I am very surprised that this even needed so much discussion.

ACT 2

The matter did not end there. When I requested that the replacement should be considered under warranty, they came back and offered me a choice:

a. Take a free replacement of the battery, but no warranty (absolutely reasonable since my car warranty had already expired), OR

b. Pay 50% of the battery cost and get the full 3 year warranty on the new battery.

I chose the former. Guess what? They called back saying they had made a mistake in offering the first option (“internal miscommunication”) and regretted that I really only had the 2nd option!

ACT 3

I decided to take this matter up with JLR.

  1. Their website has NO number or email ID to call customer service.
  2. There is a form which I completed (on the 26th or 27th of May), to which, to date, I have no response.
  3. The 2 emails to the dealership have gone unanswered.
  4. Finally I had to resort to Twitter, to which I received a response after approx 15hrs. No number or email ID, just a promise someone will call.
  5. Someone DID call shorty thereafter. Someone very efficient, very polite, very firm, but ZERO empathy.
  6. The gist of the response is the same – my warranty expired on 21st, my car came in on the 26th, so sorry, no replacement. i.e. Letter overrides Spirit.
  7. On the issue of the dealer going back on their offer, JLR conveniently hid behind the argument that the dealership is a separate entity from JLR. I would have thought that JLR should have taken ownership of the entire experience.

ACT 4

It so happens that I was offered, and had availed myself of, the extended warranty on my vehicle. When I received the offer, I specifically inquired if the extended warranty would, at the least, cover everything the original manufacturer’s warranty would cover. In response, I was provided a flyer with Inclusions and Exclusions, and a covering note that all inclusions and exclusions are listed in the flyer. There is no exclusion of battery or electrical parts in the extended warranty. Yet I have been told that batteries are not covered in extended warranty. And what of the fact that there is no specific exclusion of the same in the offer document? “Oh well, shit happens.” (they didn’t actually say this, but was pretty much the message :-)).

The final outcome, BTW, was that they eventually offered me a replacement as a “goodwill gesture” where I would have to pay 20% of the cost of the battery, which also would be reimbursed in a subsequent service. So while I did get a “free” replacement, you know what? The experience still sucks and has left a bad taste in my mouth:

  1. I shouldn’t have had to fight so much for it
  2. I shouldn’t have had to pay for it at all – it should have been a legitimate free replacement under warranty, and not some goodwill largesse!!!

As you can see clearly, I am very disappointed. But yet, I would be genuinely like to know if the disappointment is justified? What’s your take?

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Founded and run one of India's leading Interactive Marketing Agencies called Indigo Consulting (www.indigo.co.in). Based in Mumbai. Love the city. Love music, gadgets, travelling, the Internet. Check out our company blog Mood Indigo at www.indigo.co.in/blog.

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Posted in Business & Economy, Marketing, Social Marketing

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