Wheels & more -- Motoring quarterly
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A land of follow-ups

While people are comparing notes on their latest FIT (Food Intolerance Test), I think I just got the result for my People Intolerance Test and I want to get a few of them out my system for the duration of the year.

Last year, my trusted old GSR Lancer was gasping its last breath. “Blue” (the name of my old car, well because it’s colored blue; don’t judge) had been a trusty companion. It has survived many floods and car accidents and it’s still parked in my garage until now. Everytime people would see me with my car they’d be like, “Hello yan pa din kotse mo?” “Ano ba get a new one na!” My friends were also getting tired of picking me up in the middle of the night because my car conked down on some road.

Sentimental me didn’t want to get rid of my first car, but last Christmas the mechanic said it might be dangerous to travel with it to the province. So, with a heavy heart I decided to finally get a new car to lessen my worries and stress, and stop burning a hole in my pocket for car repairs. I read reviews, talked to friends for suggestions and referrals on what car to get, and after window shopping I ended up in FORD BGC because some friends recommended it.

I don’t easily get persuaded by salesmen but if I like something I decide fast. And I tend to choose sales people who don’t annoy me much, but now I regret my choice.

I wanted an SUV because flooding has always been the enemy. But I also feel like its too big and I’m scared of maneuvering it around and end up killing something on the road. After scouting and test-driving some cars, I ended up with the FORD Ecosport for its compact size, affordability, and the best selling point –  “it wades through flood.”

I have a lot of friends who are car enthusiasts and racecar drivers but I know nothing about cars. I can’t pretend to write some technical sheez about it (let me direct you to Dino Directo on our Motoring section for that) but I am in love with my new Ecosport. I named her “Snow” (guess what color it is, lol). It doesn’t have the machinery for a real SUV as it carries the same engine as a Fiesta so sometimes it’s hard bringing it up a steep road or even getting it revved up just to bring it up the garage. But I’m content with the compact size because it’s easy enough for city driving. Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of new leather interiors, a few digital upgrades on the dashboard, and a cute sunroof? Despite the bubbled tint job on the left window, I was happy because it doesn’t eat up gas like my trusty old “Blue.”

I brought it home to the province and was so glad that I didn’t have to worry about towing and overheating while on the highway. It really felt like Christmas.

Then came New Year. I already used up the miles ready for the first service checkup so I brought it in for servicing and for the dealer to fix the bubbled window tint. This became the start of an awful relationship that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Ford BGC – more than a car dealership, provides maintenance service for cars. In any industry, good service is worth more than any product you buy. You go to a shitty restaurant and if the servers are fast, friendly and efficient, you feel like you’ve eaten in a five-star restaurant. You even leave a tip because you felt so at home and taken cared of.

Ford BGC has, by far, one of the worst services I’ve experienced for something that is costing me hundreds of thousands of pesos. I brought in my car for them to take care of, but when I went to get it after servicing, my mom noticed deep fresh scratches on the plastic rear bumper and rear paint. Jun Galvez, Ford service advisor, looked stunned and said the scratches were probably there prior. Good thing there’s a checklist before you have your car serviced – and the scratches clearly weren’t there when I brought the car in.

I was so upset. I only had it for a few weeks.  I asked them if they had CCTV footage to check who was responsible for it. To top it off, the bubbled tint they were supposed to fix wasn’t fixed at all. They washed the car and it looked like a shitty car wash – the kind you get for P25. Jun just said they’d investigate and for me to bring it in again so they can fix the tint and the damage. I texted my sales dealer Dominic Rosales to inform him about what happened and I also let their customer service staff Quincy know about what their service people did to my car.

They scratched the car January 10; I repeatedly contacted all of them everyday and I always got the “I will get back to you, ma’am” stock answer. Two days after, Quincy called me up and we agreed that someone can just get the car since I had no time to send it back to BGC. But then I figured – that’s scary. How can you still trust them when they might end up scratching it again? So I told them I will bring it in myself and for the hassle that they are causing I will need a loaner car to replace my vehicle while they fix the damage.

I was busy transferring to another condo then, I had to go back and forth to transfer all boxes and stuff to my new place. In the middle of my move, I fixed my schedule to make it in the afternoon of their scheduled repair on January 17. That was during the weekend of the Pope’s visit  to Manila. I got there, tired, and still dusty from moving, and they made me wait for hours only to find out that Jun Galvez was on leave and that no one was going to process papers for the car repair. I was furious! They made me go there for nothing.

By then I was screaming at them by the sales lobby for everyone to hear how bad their servicing was. And all I kept hearing from them was “We will get back to you ma’am.” They brought in my car to fix the bubbled window tint because that’s all they could offer.

(My ordeal didn’t end here, I will share the rest of my horror story in my next column.)

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