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897sma

Original Poster:

1,232 posts

24 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
After hinting at issues in another thread I thought I'd tell you a story and get it off my chest. Obviously as I'm not allowed to N&S even though they have gone out of business, this is about a pair of fictional characters - Dick & Jay and what they did (or didn't do) to my DB7.

I sent my DB7 in for its annual service to them in April last year, a fairly straightforward job you would think and he said it would be done in the same day, whilst it was there I asked him to look at what I thought was an exhaust knocking. He told me it was the front shocks and he would order new ones, rather than keep running backwards and forwards to Derby I suggested he keep it for the few days it would take to get the shocks. Dick told me they would need to be specially made by Aston Martin as it was a GTA model and it would be around a week. A week came and went no contact, I called and left messages and they never returned my calls. This turned in to three weeks. They offered to deliver the car back to me which saved me the hassle of getting a lift. On three separate days they failed to turn up, I even said I would come and collect but Jay informed me that her dad was bringing it and it was on its way - it wasn't.

Anyway £1100 lighter (service & front shocks, not a bad price I thought) I eventually got the car back with black greasy hand marks all over the headlining?? Jay's dad offered to take it back and clean it but I didn't want it gone again.

I was dying to take it for a spin so I reversed out of the parking space at work and the car revved itself up and shot backwards....the brakes having no effect on stopping... luckily I knocked it into neutral and I stopped. I thought at first that I had floored the accelerator instead of pressing the brake so I tried reversing again, same thing happened only this time the car stayed running at around 3000rpm. It's a good job we had plenty of space in the car park and this hadn't happened somewhere busy!!

I called them and they came back the following day to collect it. After a couple of weeks Dick thought he knew what it was and told me that I needed to have a new section of wiring loom fitted behind the engine, apparently a common fault on V12 DB7's and by the way it would £800 for him to get fixed and take another week or so. A couple more weeks came and went and still no contact, not answering calls, no call back, etc. so drove down to see them. Dick then informs me that he thinks it might be a software fault on the ECU's so he would need to send them off to be re-programmed and it would be another week. This nonsense went on and on getting nowhere until Dick informed me that I needed two new ECU's as the other were still showing a fault after being repaired. These were £600 each and had to be specially ordered as for the GT & GTA they were from some obscure American Ford. Another few weeks go by and still no further forward, still almost impossible to contact them. Then Dick tells me that it was a faulty gearbox sensor that was giving out a 12V signal instead of a 5V signal that was causing the fault, he also told me that this is what had damaged the ECU's. Anyway I took Dick at face value as he seemed genuine and I had no reason to doubt him.

Up to that point he'd had the car 21 weeks in total!

I went to collect one Friday, got a friend to drop me off as I was assured that everything was ready. When I got there the car was parked up outside with the nose pulled up to the wall outside, Dick and Jay weren’t there. I was assured that everything was ok and paid the guy who worked there, approx. £2400.

Both the front carpets and the dash under tray hadn't been fitted properly and one of the plastic under floor panels was on the back seat. There was also a dent in the driver's door speaker with a boot print in the middle of it. Tried to call Dick and Jay and complain but they weren't answering as usual. Then looking around the rest of the car there was a 3 inch crack on the front nosecone under the headlight. WTF!!

The poor lad they'd left there didn't know what to do with himself. I took photos of the car and decided to drive it home, firstly because it had been 21 weeks, secondly because it was 5.30 on a Friday night and I was 30 miles from home.

I got about 1/2 mile out, when smoke started billowing out of the engine bay. I pulled over straight away as was worried the engine bay may be on fire, especially after the electrical issues I'd supposedly had....it was just steam. I turned around and drove straight back with my eye on the temp gauge, both me and the car fuming.

The lad from before was just locking up. I have never seen anyone so embarrassed. He at least dropped me at the station and I got the train home.

I went back next day to confront them, they weren’t there when I arrived and didn't answer their phones when I called. The mechanic (same one from the day before) called them on his phone and they answered straight away. Dick came straight down. He was very apologetic, he said he'd seen the crack in the bumper and he wasn't sure if it had been there when I brought it in and he intended to mention it to me. He blamed his mechanics for the incomplete refitting and for the dent in the speaker and promised to put it right. I have staff and know that they don't all work to the same high standards you would yourself so I sort of sympathised. He tried to tell me that steam was just excess fluid finding its own level after being topped up on service, turned out they'd cracked the header tank where the pipe connects (he welded this up which worked for a couple of months or so but I ended up having to buy a new one at £404.72!)

He kept the car and promised to get everything sorted within a couple of days. Once again neither of them were there when I went back to pick up the car and everything looked ok, driving away (50yrds or so) there was a knocking sound a little like a loose wheel so I turned back around. Went for a test drive with the mechanic again and he said to leave it with them once more.

When I phoned them the next day Dick advised me that I need new rear lower arms at £230 each but as a goodwill gesture he would not charge any labour. Told him ok get on with it.

They either never test drove it on any occasion before I collected or they did and hoped I wouldn’t notice the faults were that obvious.

Went again to collect and paid the £460 and this time got all the way home with no issues. Parked at work the next day and spotted that there was a definite line across the bumper where they had blown in the paint from the repair, I hadn't seen this before as I was eager to be back in the car. I ended up sending it back three times before it was painted properly.

I'd asked Jay a couple of times to order me some new mats for the front as the driver's side was a little tatty showing signs of wear, they still hadn't come - some issue with back order. The last time I was there I asked again and she said if I paid for them whilst I was there (I think they were around £400) and she would get sent to me straight from AM. Fair enough. I went back down a few days later as there was still an issue with the floor on the passenger side and they had gone. The place was all shut up, no answer from phones or emails.

I decided that I would sort the passenger floor issue myself and it turned out the plastic cover for the ECUs which is under the carpet was the wrong way around. I took it off and lo and behold there was an old ECU sat there which was obviously not the new one I had been charged for, checked the other side and that too was obviously not new. These are the ones he was supposedly waiting all those weeks for to come from America!!

Some months later I had to have a set of tyres fitted and had a look under the car whilst it was jacked up to see what the underside was like, the new rear arms that he had purportedly changed had also mysteriously disappeared and been swapped back for some old ones. The front shocks didn't look new either.

I know looking back I should have noticed something sooner. I don't usually tolerate poor service but they always seemed such nice genuine people, if a little disorganised and unreliable. They struck me as many small trade business' do, better at actually doing the job rather than administration and business type stuff. Dick always seemed to be really making an effort to sort the issues and was always apologetic when they had to replace something else that was costing extra. If they did con me they were very good, adding costs little by little, all the time behaving like they were helping me out.

Many people who used them felt they were the best thing since sliced bread so maybe my situation is not typical. Perhaps they were having difficulties and weren't able to buy the parts they should have replaced or perhaps just desperate for money to keep the wolves from the door. Having vanished overnight I never had the chance to confront them.

Anyway you live and learn. The car got sorted out eventually and ran like a dream for the rest of the time I owned it, although never I felt quite the same way about it afterwards. It didn't put me off Aston though and I had no hesitation swapping it for a DB9.


Edited by 897sma on Wednesday 10th October 17:30

Tony V12V

1,927 posts

32 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Steve....that is an Epic!

897sma

Original Poster:

1,232 posts

24 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Cheers Tony, this is only the abridged version. The full story took 5 months.


Tony V12V

1,927 posts

32 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
You deserve a medal for patience

paddy328

1,669 posts

65 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
That is terrible!

Ive heard various stories too and it's a shame really. Had they done things properly, they would've made a very good and long lasting living for themselves.

I've detailed cars for customers there a few times and they were very helpful to me, but we're always shouting at the young lads (guys doing the work).
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johng39

2,632 posts

40 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
The problem is, con men are the nicest people you will ever meet. They never walk about with a badge on proclaiming that they are in fact not as they seem.... You can normally spot them, when they fail to answer the phone or call you back and then come up with some bullst, yet almost plausible story.

We all like to think the best of people, unfortunately second hand car dealers have a well earned reputation caused by people like this.

Sorry to hear your story of woe.

stevewushu

733 posts

81 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Sorry to hear of such an awful experience.
I was very close to taking my V8V to these guys amidst all the hype about them. Kinda glad I never did now.

As my coach always said to me "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!"

And these guys always seemed a bit too good to be true.

Not that I have any affiliation to BR but these are the boys we should be going to.

Glad to hear that you finally sorted it though.

yeti

9,577 posts

155 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
A brave post Steve as many, including me, could be quite forceful in my defence of them.

If they had still been trading, I would have them in court by now for the appalling work done to my car - their incompetence cost me no small amount of money; we're lucky to have BR and the like to sort their mistakes out.

And there have been a LOT of them, some of the stories emerging, which aren't usually told due to forum rules, would make you shudder.

I really don't know where it all went wrong for them.

whoami

8,829 posts

120 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Good post OP.

There was far too much OTT defence of them when they were trading.

897sma

Original Poster:

1,232 posts

24 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
I've avoided posting before because I always felt any issues I had were between me and them and not really in the public interest, especially as they were no longer trading. I've seen many previous posts saying how wonderful they were and bit my lip (perhaps they were really wonderful?) somehow I got drawn into making comments yesterday which then prompted a pm asking for more details. I'm really not bitter or angry in any way, it just felt now was the time to say what I thought about them and let it go.

SLacKer

2,096 posts

87 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
I had my DB9 serviced and had the plugs done at the same time. Starting to wonder if that was actually done. I never even got a bacon sandwich.

I have always maintained my own cars but for the last few years have gone to garages to keep the service record up. The more stories I hear the more I think a 2 post ramp is on the cards and forget the history.

I can see now why they disappeared. Thank the lord I only used them once.

I have had issues with another who is well regarded on this forum and ended up making a small claims court application to get the money I was owed. Which was a pity as he was a man of his word and stood by what he did for most of the time but went silent over the final element.

Edited by SLacKer on Wednesday 10th October 18:51

F1 NDW

934 posts

26 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Well done Steve, a tale to make us think.

I have had my under body panels off after work has been carried out by
two independents that I have recommended on here. Not to check up
on them or anything but to do other jobs. I have of course had a look at their work while
I was under there and was very pleased to see that it was indeed to a very high standard.
I certainly stand by my recommendations.

The thing that sends a shiver down me is that I was seriously thinking of taking my car to the same mechanics that Steve mentions.

michael gould

4,551 posts

121 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
A good lesson to all .......things are not always what they seem !

Lunablack

3,473 posts

42 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
I had my Vantage done there.... But took my own oil, and waited whilst it was done...... No issues, I saw the wheels off the car, and stuff getting checked and adjusted, and a few minor issues were pointed out, to keep an eye on etc....

I left satisfied that my car had been serviced to the recommended schedule...... But as I say, I was there and I was watching..

Maybe It could have been a different story if I'd just left them to it....

hartley

636 posts

79 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Interesting perspective - I used them once on the way to Le Mans for a service and found them very helpful - you have me wondering if they actually did what they said they did . However I have since travelled further South to BR for damper replacement which was totally missed by the AM dealer at a service a month earlier so obviously we seem to run a risk wherever we go. I'd like to think they just got into a cash flow mess and went under but sounds like there was more to it.
it is vital this forum gives feedback on garage experiences - may be your approach of using different names but correct location is the way around the rules ?

BingoBob

1,080 posts

27 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
Thanks for posting this. There is all too often a phenomenon of the emperor's new clothes with these "specialists".

I deplore that this forum doesn't allow the names of the parties to be divulged. The whole point of an enthusiast's forum is to share information like this and prevent others falling victim to the same treatment. Oh well.

whoami

8,829 posts

120 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
hartley said:
Interesting perspective - I used them once on the way to Le Mans for a service and found them very helpful - you have me wondering if they actually did what they said they did . However I have since travelled further South to BR for damper replacement which was totally missed by the AM dealer at a service a month earlier so obviously we seem to run a risk wherever we go. I'd like to think they just got into a cash flow mess and went under but sounds like there was more to it.
it is vital this forum gives feedback on garage experiences - may be your approach of using different names but correct location is the way around the rules ?
Sadly, it was fellow members who stamped on any less than glowing snippets of feedback, rather than the site moderators.

897sma

Original Poster:

1,232 posts

24 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
I know I've sort have done it here but I think on the whole we have to be very careful about N&S.

It could very easily turn normal supplier/customer dispute into something that could easily get out of hand. If Dick & Jay were still trading I would have resolved the issues I had with them.

I would not have subjected them to trial by PH amongst a group of people I interact in a way that some of them believe or trust what I say having never met me or knowing anything about me other than what I choose to post.

Dangerous ground indeed as this could put an otherwise honest trader out of business because of one disgruntled customer with an axe to grind especially with a community as small as Aston owners

I'm also not implying in way that similar things may have happened with their other customers. It's a year since they went and any problems with their work would've surfaced by now. Personally I would assume that you got what you paid for until you KNOW different.

Edited by 897sma on Wednesday 10th October 20:26


Edited by 897sma on Wednesday 10th October 20:28

Neil1300R

3,756 posts

58 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
yeti said:
A brave post Steve as many, including me, could be quite forceful in my defence of them.

If they had still been trading, I would have them in court by now for the appalling work done to my car - their incompetence cost me no small amount of money; we're lucky to have BR and the like to sort their mistakes out.

And there have been a LOT of them, some of the stories emerging, which aren't usually told due to forum rules, would make you shudder.

I really don't know where it all went wrong for them.
Oh just give the guys some brakes!

wink

BingoBob

1,080 posts

27 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th October 2012 quote quote all
I know of a rogue Audi specialist who was named and shamed on several other forums, arrested and convicted of fraud and, of course, is now trading again. Thanks to the victims and their naming and shaming, some people will be saved from being scammed again.

PH would have been protecting that fraudster.

Still, you also make a valid point. But is blind censorship a better solution? I'm not convinced.
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