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Thames Fiat = Cheap cars + Cheap service
Member Name: mark_foote
Date: 12/01/03, updated on 11/04/03 (2193 review reads)
Advantages: Low price cars
Disadvantages: Appalling levels of Aftersales care, Never return calls, Nick Miller, Service Manager
I bought a one year old Fiat Seicento 1.1 Sporting (Schumacher Ltd. Edition) from Thames Fiat in Slough (just 1/2 mile from Fiat's UK Headquarters).
Like most reviews on Fiat dealerships, I too can't complain about the Sales department. They were honest and did their job efficiently and professionally. I even praised them in a questionnaire the salesman handed me when I collected the car. The Aftersales care is utterly cr*p. So much so that I would strongly recommend anyone considering buying a Fiat, especially from Thames Fiat in Slough against the idea.
The problems began when there was a problem with the fuel supply. The fuel gauge had the appearance of sticking (i.e. once you filled the petrol tank full, the indicator remained on empty). I took the car back to Thames Fiat, who repaired the car while I waited. All was OK for a few weeks, when an intermittent fault with the steering became regular.
The steering fault became life threatening at one point, when I was travelling round a tight bend at speed on a motorway slip-road. The warning light came on and suddenly I found myself with no control over the steering on sharp bend at 45mph, heading straight for the crash barrier. I managed to get the car back home, where the AA towed the car to Thames Fiat for repair. This happened on December 23rd 2002. The car was towed to them on 24th. The car is still with the dealership and there is no idea of when the car will be fixed.
I asked for a courtesy car when I handed the car in. I have been unable to get one, as the Service Manager, Nick Miller, said to me.
"If I had enough courtesy cars I would not make a profit".
Nick Miller features on the Recruitment section of Fiats website as a first-class Service Manager (http://fiat.newjobs.co.uk/people.htm). Something I feel should be removed.
I wanted to complain, but Thames Fiat was just not interested. I complained to Fiat Custo
mer Services, but they were not interested either. So I complained to Fiat UK Ltd, who apologised on behalf of the dealership, and arranged for me to have a hire car, at Fiat's expense while my car is being repaired.
This is just a brief summary, as to the amount of hassle I have had with the dealer. I have had to contact Trading Standards and the finance company to get even the most basic things out from the dealership. My advice ... don't buy your car from Thames Fiat in Slough. If you think that you'll save money by buying a budget car, you'll end out paying more for it through taxis and bus fares when the car comes in for repair.