1st Dec 2002 - Giles Henry-Stogdon (hereafter referred to as GHS) takes delivery of his C3 at Citroen Yser, in Brussels.
20th Dec 2002 - back in the UK, there is an engine fault after 1000 miles - GHS calls Citroen Assist Belux who refers him to Citroen Assist UK. Citroen Assist UK refuse to recover vehicle or provide a courtesy vehicle.
23rd Dec 2002 - GHS makes first of over 50 calls to Citroen UK. They inform him that he needs to register the car with Citroen UK.
23rd Dec 2002 - Citroen Assist Europe arrange to recover the vehicle. The wrong type of pick-up arrives. GHS drives vehicle to W Shirley in Croydon. The vehicle breaks down once on the way. After a rest at side of the road, it limps to the dealership in the end.
24th Dec 2002 - The Lexia system shows various faults in the engine.
2nd Jan 2003 - The technician reports a failed injection pump. The part is put on back order.
3rd Jan 2003 - in one of many calls to Brussels, GHS is told that Citroen Belux will not provide any help, and that the purchaser is not guaranteed satisfaction from Citroen Europe. However, he explains that I should expect at least the same level of service from Citroen UK!
3rd Jan 2003 - the vehicle is registered with Citroen UK. W Shirley provides a courtesy car (Renault Clio). Christmas was ruined, but at least GHS and his family now have the use of a Renault Clio with a petrol engine- and it works.
17th Jan 2003 - The fuel pump part arrives. The faulty part is replaced, but there are further faults that are difficult to identify. The technician is sent away on a course and asks lots of questions. On the Citroen course, attended by the technician, there was talk of a general problem with the quality of the injector rails. It turns out 2 injector rails are faulty. The parts go on back order.
During the month of January, GHS makes a series of calls to Citroen UK in an effort to find out why there is such a delay with the parts.
Sometime in Feb 2003 - 12 injector rails arrive in UK, but fail to reach W. Shirley in Croydon. They are distributed elsewhere.
27th Feb 2003 - Brussels state that there are no problems reported on the thousands of C3s they has sold. The high demand for the injector rails tells another story.
27th Feb 2003 - 15 more injector rails arrive in the UK, but are held up in Coventry.
February has been another month of lengthy phone calls to Citroen UK, Citroen Yser in Bruxelles, and Finally, Citroen Europe in Paris. No one can tell GHS the reason for the hold up with the injector rails. Citroen UK blames the suppliers. Citroen Europe blames the manufacturers. Nobody admits there might be a general problem with the C3 injection system.
3rd March 2003 - GHS contacts Citroen UK and eventually gets to speak to the UK Customer Relations Manager, who promises to make sure the injector rails reach W. Shirley this time.
6th March 2003 - The parts arrive at W Shirley. All four injector rails are replaced. The vehicle appears to run correctly in two, short road tests.
7th March 2003 - As a gesture, Customer Relations in Slough offers that Citroen pay for all regular services of the vehicle under warranty. It has to be said that the warranty may not have long to run by the time GHS gets the C3 back.
8th Mar 2003 - GHS picks up the vehicle from Croydon. He drives it home. On the way to the shop with his wife, the vehicle shows an engine fault again. GHS drives the vehicle (limping horribly) back to W. Shirley. This is one and a half hours after the vehicle left the garage.
March 13th 2003. The vehicle has been in working order for 19 days, plus one and a half hours. It has been under repair for 80 days. W Shirley in Croydon have done everything possible, but they see no way forward.
March the 14 2003. GHS calls Citroen and speaks to another representative. He says Citroen UK will advise W. Shirley on some more tests to run on the C3. He tells me that Citroen UK will then uplift the car to their own centre in Slough if this yields no results. He insists that Citroen will be able to correct the fault. Failing this, they will speak to Citroen Belux about a refund or replacement.
17th March 2003. W. Shirley say they have ordered a new manifold (inlet?). There seems to be a problem with a fluctuating manifold inlet.
21st of March 2003. I call Citroen UK and speak to someone. He doesn't like my turn and threatens to terminate call. Later I speak to the previous contact. When I point out the ridiculous nature of the situation, he tells me "this line of conversation isn't getting us anywhere". I'm beginning to wonder if this is some kind of training research project for the technician.
23rd March 2003. My car has been W. Shirley's for three months today.
26th March 2003. Spoken to Citroen UK. They tell me my previous contact will get back to me.
27th of March 2003. I call Citroen twice this morning. I am told that my contact has called W. Shirley's and is waiting for them to get back to him. I call W. Shirley, and they tell me they have received no calls from Citroen UK. I call Citroen UK again, and point out the lie. My contact tells me that the Slough workshop is full up with "various" cars. He will not tell me how long these vehicles have been there. I suggest that I come down to Citroen UK in Slough to find out how long the various vehicles have been in their workshop. He tells me that he will call W. Shirley's. I call Citroen UK again and speak to the Customer Relations Secretary. She tells me the UK Customer Relations Manager will call me back at work.
29th March 2003. I call W. Shirley in Croydon. They tell me that someone is coming to uplift the car on Monday, but they will not take it to Slough. Citroen UK will take my car to another dealership. Another training opportunity perhaps? I would like to know why my C3 is not been taken to Citroen UK in Slough as promised.
1. I believe it is reasonable to expect a product to fulfill the purpose for which it is purchased. A car, for example, should transport its passengers from A to B and back again for a reasonable amount of time. Nineteen and a half days is not a reasonable amount of time. My C3 does not transport anyone from A to B, or from B to A! It is hard to believe I laid out third of my annual income on a product that has given me nothing but grief.
2. We no longer have any faith in the product we have been sold. My wife now refuses to get back in the C3, as it has broken down, en route, the last two times she stepped into it.
3. The costs and inconvenience to all concerned have been enormous. The warranty bill for Citroen so far is £1400, plus car hire for 8 weeks. GHS has lost out on two and a half months of road tax and green flag cover while the C3 languishes at the dealer's. I am currently driving over 2000 miles per month, so increase in fuel costs are considerable with the Clio. Mr Henry-Stogdon has spent hours of time and money in phone calls to Citroen. The whole situation has been extremely stressful for both Mr Henry-Stogdon and his family... and it's not over yet. A lot of my valuable time has been wasted on trying to sort out problems that it is not his place to sort out.
4. It is appreciated that Citroen UK is paying for a hire vehicle whilst the parts are on order. However, if I had wanted to, I could have bought a Renault Clio, rather than a top of the range C3. I would have paid less money for it. I wanted an economical, roomy, diesel-powered vehicle, made by Citroen that would belong to me. I did not want a less economical, pokey, petrol-powered vehicle, manufactured by Renault that does not belong to me.
5. I think it is also reasonable that someone in your company takes responsibility for this mess. Everyone has been very sympathetic, but this does not solve the problem. It is not my job to cajole and pester your staff into taking care of their customers. It should also not be up to me to make up for the shortfalls in communication across the various departments and sectors of the Citroen Group.
6. I would like Citroen (UK, Belux, or Europe - you choose!) to provide me with a new C3 1.4 Hdi V16 Exclusive - in proper working order.
7. Alternatively, I want my money returned to me... all of it. I do not want to pay VAT or TVA for a car I have never really owned, and that has spent 80% of its short life in the repair workshop.