Friday, 11 October 2013

Car salesman

The New Car adverntures don't seem to stop in our house: the representatives from Hyundai headquarters in Athens phoned us up last night to ask us about our buying experience at the local seller. If we had not received the call from them, I would not have bothered to write up my experiences. Reliving my experiences with the car salesman is not a cavoury prospect.

The buying experience could have been miles better quite frankly: I thought that the salespeople at Hyundai Hania were very cocky and did not actually treat me like a special customer. When you are parting with a big amount of money, you feel some stress, so having someone making you feel comfortable about it eases things. In this case, I can genuinely say that I was not comforted at all about the way that the salesman handled the sale.

For a start, he never ever called us to tell us what was going on with the sale, and at which stage we were at. When I asked for the 'gifts' (the Auto Beeper Parking Sensor System) to be installed on the car before I picked it up, he said it couldn't be done (but the service workmen booked me a time to come and install it pretty much immediately when I picked it up). When I asked to order some extra spare parts that I wanted (wind and rain breaks on the windows because I refuse to use the air-con - I like to drive with the windows down in any weather), he didn't even order them, and now I am still waiting for them. And when we asked for a test drive, he said that he would arrange it - μην είδατε τον Παναγή, as we say in Greek. So we never actually did a test-drive.

As you can imagine, the sales evaluation was my turn to take revenge on those pompous prats. Naturally, I gave them low marks on many items. What do they think they are selling? Luxury? Our new car is a cheap model family car, a good choice for people who buy cars for purely functional reasons, eg to ferry kids to school, to do the shopping, to go to work. I was surprised at how easy it was to drive - it ain't much different from the previous Hyundai I owned!

The most annoying thing that that airhead did was to keep saying: "Oh, I can't tell you that," every time I asked him about the delivery of the new car. When I asked him to show me the different colours available, he said that he didn't have good pictures available that showed the colours. Surely the computer could show us everything, I wondered. How on earth do people decide what colour to buy if they are told that they cannot see the range in the first place?! When we asked for a brochure, he actually asked us to bring it back once we had no use for it! We initially settled on a blue colour, but every time I asked about when the car would come, I was told "Oh, I can't tell you that." When I asked if it would be here before Christmas, again he answered, "Oh, I can't tell you that." As a paying customer, I really could not work out WTF he was doing that for. Even if you really do not know, you make an effort to appease a potential customer by trying to handle the situation as well as you can, and I can say that he didn't even show he was trying.

When he realised that I would not take a simple 'no' for an answer, he was more salesperson-friendly with me. But as soon as the deal was closed (ie they knew where their money would be coming from), that facade broke away. I feel sure that I was treated like crap because:
a) I was a woman (and I am supposed to be ignorant about cars)
b) I was an already convinced customer, having owned the same brand in the past and been happy with it
c) I had already decided on buying a Hyundai - they had absolutely NOTHING to lose.

We eventually settled on the silver car in the showroom - choosing any colour that was not in the showroom would have meant waiting for an unspecified amount of time. That's not really a very global way to do business, is it? And still no test drive, even though we had bagsed that car. After we closed the deal money-wise, we could not be bothered with the test drive. We had more important things to do than think about test driving a car which we had already paid for. They did not even tell me when the car would be cleared of customs so I can pick ut up, even though it was sitting in the showroom. I popped in myself nearly two weeks after the deal was made, to ask them. I entered the showroom and said "Hello," and they Hello'ed me back and asked me 'what brought me there' (would you believe it??). I asked them if they needed any documents from me before the car was ready to be picked up. They said they didn't.

For at least a year, I have not listened to much radio, because the old car radio was not working properly. This was the very first song I heard on the very first time I turned on the radio in my new car. LUCKY YOU - I hope that is an omen! 

I'm usually very good at breaking down barriers, so I just stared at them until they broke the silence. "So what's going on, Ms Maria?" they asked me like ignorant fools (as if I popped in for a chit-chat!). I just shrugged and said "You tell me". "Oh," they said, remembering their purpose, "the car will be ready for you to pick up by Wednesday at the latest." (It was Friday when I spoke to them.) Talk about casual! They couldn't even give me a call and remind me not to put more petrol in my old car!

At the end of the ranking exercise for different questions about the salespeople, the premises, the way the sale was handled, etc, the woman who was asking the questions asked me if I wished to submit my responses anonymously or with my name. I decided to submit them with my name; after all, the local salespeople would know that I was the one who gave these responses (unless they are incredibly thick, and I don't think that is the case). They have a right to know who is unhappy with their lack of manners in the same way that I have a right to tell them off.

By the way, the salespeople at Hyundai do not bear any resemblance in manners to the technical staff, who are, simply put, wonderful. They smiled when they saw me in the new car and they all said Καλορίζικο (which loosely translates to "May the new thing you bought bring you good luck"). They have got to know me over many years - Hyundai Hania does not have a great rate of staff turnover (which says something about the company in general, I guess - I'd say they have good work conditions). They are all so polite and have always treated me like a special customer - no query was too unimportant to them. The difference between the car grease side of the business and the showroom is immense. I hope that adding my name to the evaluation will make that pompous prat in labelled clothing understand that.

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