Wednesday, June 05, 2002

(Update) Cat Among the Pigeons:
Guess what. Veeresh stayed true to his word. This morning there were two mails from Hyundai officials promising an audit of the service centre and my car since it was purchased three years ago. The story unfolds...

Sending your car to a service station is so much like putting your life in the hands of doctor. I mean, I wouldn't be able to tell between a saline drip and an injector fluid (just kidding, but you get the idea).

The only difference is at least you can trust your doctor.

Once every four months, I send my car to an authorised Hyundai Service Station. The basic service charge is Rs 450. They call it labour charges. I don't know what that covers because they charge me for everything under the moon over and above that. By the time I take my car back -- after they have tinkered with a bunch of filters, tighetened some nuts and bolts, filled it up with liquids of every shade, and given it a good wash (which our watchman does everyday for Rs 150 a month), the bill has soared to 1500.

Yesterday, it was that time of the year again. And there was bad news. They said the muffler on my silencer (why a silencer would need an additional muffler beats me -- it's a tautology, if ever there was one :) had rotted, and will have to be replaced. Total damages, after service: Rs 5900 :(
Then something happened that made my day. I sent a mail to Veeresh Malik, a car columnist. Frankly, I didn't expect a reply. But I just wanted to do something about my helplessness with cars. The first mail waiting for me this morning in my inbox was from Veeresh (such promptness should put many of our customer service cells to shame). He empathised with my predicament, and felt that the muffler shouldn't have rotted in three years, adding that in equally saline and coastal countries Hyundai offered a six-year comprehensive warranty on its mufflers. He also promised to forward my mail to a Hyundai official.
It was not so much that he took the time -- and trouble -- to answer a personal query that made me happy. But the fact that there are very few people who are willing to share what they know -- with people they don't know.
Finally, I can't really blame the service centres. But my own ignorance about cars. If you are too lazy or unwilling to learn, you have to pay the price. It's really a tough call :)

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