What is it with main dealers and service lead-in times at the moment? I know that it has always been an issue but a recent example has left me fairly exasperated.

I had a commercial vehicle recently develop a fault. Luckily this happened at its base, so it wasn’t at the roadside. It was a contract hire vehicle with a well known organisation, but due to the vehicle being under warranty it couldn’t be inspected and repaired at my local 1-link agent (a very good independent garage) but had to go to a main dealer.

My first port of call was the contract hire organisation who told me to call out the breakdown company. So when they arrived on site they confirmed that it wasn’t safe to drive and that it would need to be recovered into a main dealer. No real problem so far except the breakdown guy tried the local dealer who couldn’t take the vehicle for eight days. This was going to cost me £50.00 per day in hire fees so just wasn’t an option.

The next nearest dealer was contacted who would be happy to do the work if they were presented with the vehicle in three weeks.

Three weeks!

When I suggested they could pay for my hire charges it didn’t go down too well. Eventually I got the vehicle booked into another main dealer a bit further away the following day. This meant that I only incurred one day of additional costs. Bearing in mind this whole process took some time because I was involved, the recovery company, the contract hire company and the main dealer.

Ultimately the problem on the vehicle was sorted by the dealer fairly quickly although a call to tell me it was ready would have been appreciated. Also the recovery people sent a truck too small to take the vehicle away at first attempt so then had to send another one the next day.

It just makes you wonder about how a small business would cope if it lost a vehicle for three weeks. Anyway, the same vehicle has broken again (different fault this time) so lets see if the dealer network can perform any better this time.

I shall let you know next week assuming I’m not still on hold on the phone!