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Thorp Plumstead - Bad Service

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Dear Mr Thorp

With the current economic turmoil facing the world and the very serious financial trouble that General Motors find themselves in I am flabbergasted at the level of service, or more correctly the lack of service, that is extended to owners of your vehicles.

I’ve only ever been an Opel owner and I can honestly say that I doubt my next purchase will be anything produced by General Motors. The cars are awesome but the after sales service is just not worth the headache and believe me it’s a headache. I was sitting in your Plumstead dealership this morning after booking my car in for a third time to fix the same problem (more on that later) and there were numerous people complaining about the very same thing. They love the cars; they just can’t handle having to bring it in for a service.

This is my story. I will try to make it as easy to read as possible.

At the end of January 2009 I brought my car in to your Plumstead branch for my 45 000km / 3 years service. There were other issues I wanted them to take care of which were added to the job card. These included rotating all tyres, cleaning the brakes, fixing my fuel flap issue and fixing the driver side park light problem that I’ve had since I bought the car in July 2007.

The fuel flap had an issue in that the lock wouldn’t release when unlocking the car. This problem first occurred on Christmas Day when I went to go fill up with diesel. I was stranded at the petrol station unable to get home so I made a call to the Delta VIP hotline. Nobody from your dealership or any of the other dealerships around the Western Cape contacted by the lady who helped me bothered to answer their phone. What’s the point of an afterhour’s technician number if nobody is going to pick up? Anyway, after 45 minutes we managed to open the lock by using the release in the boot.

Back to the service. I collected the car in the afternoon and was told by Heinrich (service advisor) that the park light problem as well as the fuel flap problem couldn’t be fixed because the car needed to be taken to an auto electrician. He told me that your technicians looked at the problem and determined that there was no current being fed to the back of the car. I accepted his explanation and we agreed that I would book the car in again at a later time.

On the 17 March 2009 at around lunch time I booked the car in again because the fuel flap wouldn’t open. This time around I dealt with Laeeq. I told him what the problem was and that the car needed to be booked in to an auto electrician (as per what Heinrich told me at the end of January). I had to sit and wait for 40 minutes before a driver was available to take me back to the office. My patience was wearing thin and when I eventually enquired where the drivers were I was pointed to a gentleman who had been standing next to me at the coffee machine for the last 10 minutes reading the newspaper.

I was phoned by Laeeq the next day (18 March 2009) and told the problem was not actually auto electrical but instead that the fuel flap actuator was broken and needed to be replaced. This was going to cost me just under R1000 as my car was out of warranty. After a couple of phone calls I pointed out that the car was brought in under warranty in January for the problem and was not fixed and that I was unwilling to pay for it to be fixed. The actuator was eventually replaced under warranty.

The park light issue was just a case of buying a new bulb (or so I was told). Odd I thought. Why wasn’t this changed out during my service? Isn’t the very first check that’s done to a car when it comes in for a service checking to see that all the lights are working? Even odder was that I was charged for a bulb when I did my service. I agreed to buy a bulb when I came to pick the car up because after all, your guys should know what they’re talking about.

I bought the bulb (incorrect one at first after being told incorrectly which one to buy by Laeeq). We eventually got the correct bulb and one of your technicians changed it for me. Needless to say the new bulb didn’t do the trick. My car was pulled in to a bay and the technician that worked on the car that day took over. He fiddled around for 10 to 15 minutes trying to get the bulb working after which he turns to me and tells me there is no current which is why it’s not working. When I told him that’s what I reported when I booked the car in he got visibly upset / angry and went to discuss it with Laeeq.

The end result was me having to book the car in again this morning for a 3rd time for the same problem.

When I queried with Laeeq why the actuator needed to be changed when I was told that the problem was auto electrical the only answer he could come back with was that Heinrich had lied to me about the problem. As it turns out Heinrich was not lying. There was a current issue. Does this now mean that the actuator has been replaced when in fact it didn’t need to be? How does one get to the bottom of this? Why is this type of information not stored on the job card or on my vehicle profile in your system?

I dropped the car off at 8:05am this morning. At 9:40am a driver was finally available to take me back to work. One hour and thirty minutes after I dropped my car off I was finally heading to work. Do I even need to mention how unacceptable a situation this is? By the time I eventually arrived at work it had taken a little bit under two hours for me to book my car in and dropped off at work in Westlake.

I just received a phone call from Laeeq (1:00pm) advising me that my car is now ready for collection and that the problem has been fixed in house (as opposed to taking it to an auto electrician).

After reading the above complaint I would love to have the following questions answered.

a) Is this an example of satisfactory customer service?

b) Why was the problem not resolved the first time around?

c) What is Thorp going to do to make sure that customers like myself don’t experience this kind of shocking service again?

d) After this experience what is Thorp going to do to keep me as a customer?

I would just like to add that this complaint has also been posted on a website that I own called SystemShock. SystemShock is an ICT & Technology focused community of over 6 000 members. Our members have made over 250 000 posts in 23 500 topics. We are visited by 40 000 unique visitors a month generating 225 000 impressions.

The complaint can be read online here.

Kind Regards,

Jason Hartmann

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Thank you for your email. I will get back to you once I have all the details

Kind Regards

Nicky Thorp

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Dear Mr. Hartmann

Once again thank you for your email. After a discussion with Mr. Korsch it is clear to me that you as a customer of Thorp was not treated in a way that I would like to be treated. As far as the run around with fuel flap I would like to believe is was a lack of communication starting from Heinrich. Unfortunately the front desk only passes on info they receive from the technical side which also looked like a run around. For this I must apologize. With regard to the morning I must tell you it is my biggest nightmare. We have to take on 30 to 40 jobs in the morning and as much as we try and spread the load it seems the customer wants to drop off their car between 7.15 and 8.30. I can tell you I am only too grateful that I have such a big customer base so we always try to please everybody all of the time. But you have certainly planted seed and what I have decided to do is put a bus on one of the routes and inform the customer when booking the car in a choice of departure times. We are looking at 8.00 , 8.30 and 9.00. All I can offer you is some compensation on your next service as a gesture of goodwill and hopefully restore you confidence with Thorp.

Kind Regards

Nicky Thorp

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The bad service has continued.

I took my car in at the beginning of February for a service.

I asked them to please look at the problem of my car rolling on an incline. The job report said they cleaned and tightened my hand brake. This hasn't resolved the problem. I reported this to the guy who gave me a courtesy call two days after the service.

Two additional problems that they picked up on were my front brake pads that needed replacing and the disks needed to be skimmed. Two of my injector seals are also leaking and need to be replaced.

Mr Korsch, their service manager, showed me what the problem was and said he would order the part immediately. I told him I would only be back at the end of the month or possibly the end of March to allow the finances to settle after the service. He said it wasn’t a problem and that the part would be in stock.

I got a call a couple of weeks ago from Thalia, one of the service consultants regarding the hand brake problem. I asked her to please make sure if the injector seals at arrived so that we could do both jobs at the same time. She put me through to Junaid (not sure of spelling) in parts who couldn’t tell me if the seals were there or not. He promised to phone me back.

A week later I phoned back to find out what was going on. Thalia said she would speak to Mr Korsch and let me know what was happening. Another week goes by and I phone back again. (This was last week). I phoned Thalia twice towards the end of last week, either Wednesday or Thursday and left two messages for her to phone me back. Needless to say she didn’t.

I phoned early the next morning to once again try and find out what was going on. Again nobody knows and again a promise to get back to me. I phoned back at around 11 and finally got through to Mr Korsch.

Long story short the seals weren’t there. They had only ordered them that morning.

I’m now waiting for Mr Korsch to phone me back and let me know when they arrive so I can finally get this nonsense sorted out.

Don’t even get me started on the exorbitant amount of money they charge for everything.

I got quoted R1600 for the pads and skimming and I paid R888 and a reputable, Outsurance approved, repair centre over the weekend.

I’ve been quoted R1500 to do the seals job. I should probably phone around to see how much they’re ripping me off but it’s just too depressing.

I can’t wait for my extended warranty to finish so I can finally start taking my car to somewhere where I’ll at least get some degree of service.

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Record of calls made. Will be updating this soon with my new rant email to the high ups at GM.

Call Type Date Time Dialled No Duration Cost

Local 26/03/2010 13:19:05 0217153889 00:01:34 0.65

Local 10/03/2010 11:53:05 0217611865 00:04:27 1.75

Local 26/03/2010 11:40:09 0217611865 00:03:09 1.24

Local 26/03/2010 09:02:08 0217611865 00:01:41 0.66

Local 25/03/2010 16:23:01 0217611865 00:01:02 0.65

Local 25/03/2010 14:17:10 0217611865 00:01:08 0.65

Local 10/03/2010 11:48:02 0217611865 00:01:10 0.65

Local 10/03/2010 13:39:05 0217611865 00:01:14 0.65


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Thorp Plumstead is the WORST dealership! This is just a friendly warning to those who might intend on buying a car from the DONT DO IT! It's a long complicated story.... Save yourself the agony and choose another dealership!! 


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