Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), a brand flaunting ‘peace of mind’ in after-sales support and reliability in service, recently was exposed by a Team-BHP member “ROG_AK” who wished to get his car serviced at an authorized service centre. Reluctant initially for leaving the vehicle without his presence, he dropped off his new Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS, due for its 2nd free service at Mandovi Motors, Bangalore.
At the time of preparing the job sheet, ROG_AK complained of a distinct petrol smell during a cold start and requested the service manager to look into the issue during service. The scent would last for a minute after starting the engine and eventually disappear, so the service manager assured him to find out about the problem.
ROG_AK had his own plans for quality assurance that he installed a dash cam to capture the complete service being performed on the car. Even though the service manager asked to remove it during servicing, ROG_AK fiddled him saying that the dash cam’s wire had been embedded in the A-pillar and can’t be removed, which he fell for and didn’t remove the camera.
Little did the service manager and the mechanics know that the camera was recording the entire service process. The events recorded in the camera are somewhat demeaning to any proud car owner, who worshipped his car and took good care of it. The vehicle was delivered later in the day after the so-called ‘service, ‘ and ROG_AK checked the recorded footage of the dash cam. He was shocked after discovering that little had been done to his car in the name of service, and returned to him after merely washing.
The video attached uploaded by ROG_AK, which shows the entire service process from the time he dropped the car until it was dropped off at his office. It is entirely clear from the video that there was absolutely nothing done to the car. They merely washed the car and returned it to him, inspecting nothing in the car, not even his complaint of petrol smell from the engine. No fluid levels were checked, as they take for granted that nothing such happens in newer cars anyway. The mechanics only opened the bonnet to clean the engine bay and did not even bother to remove the dipstick to check oil levels.
The video exhibits the conversation between ROG_AK and service manager in the beginning, and later between the mechanics themselves, which is all in Kannada, so he translated it for us. The video starts when he tells the service advisor not to polish the car from inside, to which he inquires if it’s alright to polish the outside and he tells him that’s fine. Just before leaving, he asks service manager to check the petrol smell, and he said he would look into it, and he went off at this point. The breakdown of the incidents is as follows
- @ 22 sec the car gets driven into the workshop and as the owner leaves, it is reversed into a service bay.
- @ 57 sec someone is heard shouting, “washing washing don’t put it here, there is no candidate (assuming he meant mechanic).” The service advisor driving the car told them to wait for the customer to leave.
- @ 1:45 after they made sure the owner has gone, the car gets taken out of the service bay and is driven to the washing line. The service manager can be spotted her talking on the phone.
- @ 3:53 the car reaches the washing line queue. The driver upon feeling hot turns the AC on at MAX speed, ROG_AK stated he never used the AC at full blast. The car idles for several minutes with the AC running. Initially, he thought the sound is of vacuuming the car, but since it stays during the rest of the process, so it can be assumed that it’s from the blast of the fan.
- @ 11:17 the car waits in the washing line when the service advisor spots the dash cam and has a conversation with someone about it asking if it records. The other person replied affirmatively, and they ramble on for a bit.
- @ 14:11 the bonnet opens for the first and only time during the entire ‘service’ process where the engine bay is cleaned.
- @ 15:23 after the washing completes, the lunchtime starts and the mechanics use the car for having their lunch, while the AC still runs on max. They also spot the dash cam and seemed fascinated by it.
- @ 18:32 finishing with their lunch, the guys chose to stay inside to chill and avoid the heat outside, when the service advisor walks past and asks them to step out, doubting if the dash cam is recording.
- @ 18:45 the car leaves the washing line and gets parked. The driver inquires whether the car is serviced or not, to which how the service advisor responded wasn’t picked up by the cam’s mic.
- @ 21:34 the car goes through a final cleaning and gets ready for delivery.
- @ 25:49 by this time, the formalities like billing, gate pass, etc. are completed, while the car goes to get it’s under chassis checked before delivery. Surprisingly it was finished merely in under 4 minutes! The video shows the timestamp when the car switches off and dash cam stops recording is 15:02 and resumes it again at 15:06). Later, the driver takes the car for delivery at the owner’s office.
The inspection sheet attached above is a blatant lie by the Service Center and shows all the boxes were ticked without any inspection whatsoever. These boxes are critically important to make sure there’s no serious issue with the car, and these service centres take it all for granted. Such practices risk the lives of the owner and other people on the road, and many accidents are reported due to some fault in the car. We at The TeCake would like to spread this message to all the readers that make sure all the boxes ticked are inspected by the service centre during the time of service to ensure the safety of yourselves and others out there, and also for the well being of your car.
ROG_AK after watching the video was naturally offended by such practices. He went back to the service centre the next day and confronted the service manager and showed him the video. The service manager being a diplomatic person reacted sympathetically and promised to act against the people concerned. The car owner told him that service centres take the first and second service of the vehicles for granted, thinking nothing would happen on these cars anyway. He also told him that the car was due for a long trip next week and if any serious issues were present in the vehicle, it could have been found and fixed during the service. The service manager apologized repeatedly and conducted proper service, performing what they were supposed to do in the first place.
Another incident involves an acquaintance of ours who owned a Maruti Suzuki Baleno that met with an accident on the road. The car was taken to the nearest service centre in Jhujhunu, Rajasthan. The job was covered under insurance, and necessary payments were made, but upon inspecting the car, the owner found out that the work was not satisfactory and shows the careless attitude of the service centre. The vehicle had loose fittings and improper alignment of the panel, and after reporting this to the service advisor, he responded that these minor glitches are common and do not matter much. Upon severe insistence from the owner, they agreed to fix it during their next visit to the service centre, but a couple of visits were made, each went in vain stating time issues or unavailability of necessary parts. The service centre promised to call the owner and get the car fixed as soon as the required parts were made available, and it’s been over a year, and the owner received no such call.
Such incidents are highly unacceptable on the parts of the car dealers, not just Maruti Suzuki; such instances have occurred with other brands as well. A car owner puts his trust in the brand-name like Maruti Suzuki while leaving his car for service, but the service centre guys take its advantage and make lame excuses for the improper quality of service.
So please spread awareness among car owners to not get cheated or fooled during the car servicing. Owning a car in our country is still counted as a luxury, as the middle-class society spends a considerable amount of their money to own one car finally. When such incidents of the dealers are reported, it becomes agonizing for anyone to have such experiences.
This might happen with anyone of you or your relatives. To avoid such incidents, please share this post at maximum so that Maruti and other car makers might notice and consumers would get what they are paying for. Also, if you have a message to these service centres kindly put it in the comment section below.