What is it about a dealership that makes you bad?

To get a set of replacement keys for the ones I lost, I contacted the dealership. They told me that they could sell me a new key along with a “Emergency Key Access” code (EKA code) which would disarm the alarm and immobiliser allowing me to drive the vehicle for a short time for £30. A surprising turn of events for someone who once charged me £50 plus VAT and fitting for a “Genuine Land Rover” LCD clock. All I had to do was turn up with my V5 logbook (as proof of ownership).

So I arranged to have some time off work and a lift down and off we go. After waiting for while for someone to finally be free[1] the chap takes my details, asks me to take a seat and grab a complimentary coffee and he’ll be back in a few miuntes. Nathan is, as usual, entertained by the capsule-based coffee machine for a few minutes while I grab a bottle of water and try and ignore “Chuckle Brothers” on the TV.

The chap comes back with the bad news. Apparently, there is no EKA code for my car. They’ll have to replace the ECU[2]. Probably. Well, maybe. He has no idea of price as he hasn’t priced it up yet. He goes off to find someone else.

So I’m left here a little upset and pissed off now. Eventually he comes back and says that they don’t make the ECU anymore. What?! There is however light at the end of this particularly long tunnel. Apparently if I get the car recovered to them, they may be able to plug a computer in and sort it. Maybe. They can’t guarantee this, but apparently it works 80% of the time.

At this point I thank them and walk out, albeit with a key they’ve cut for the lock. It doesn’t have a chip for the immobiliser, but it will at least let me get into the car.

My next step is not what they expected me to do. I call Ian, of Promec Engineering, an excellent local Land Rover specialist where I take my Discovery to get work done. When I tell Ian what the dealer said his retort was that the dealer was basically talking shit. Ian was incredulous that they suggested it would need a new ECU and said that they cost £275 + VAT plus fitting – if it were really that bad that is, which he seriously doubts. There was some confusion over exactly what needed to be done, as not only do Discovery’s have 3 different types of alarms, but my year was a changeover year between several different revisions of systems. On top of that, last night I went back to http://www.remotekey.co.uk/ who I bought the keyfob from in the first place. Their site suggests that I can get a few bits from them to sort everything out, although I may need to connect it up to a computer to get it all coded up properly. Depending on the system installed I may or may not be able to get a spare key too.

So why was the dealer so crap? They gave me inaccurate if not plain wrong information, would have happily charged me silly money for a job that didn’t need that done…surely they realise that the best method to keep business is customer satisfaction. They know about Promec because if they have an electrical problem they can’t fix, they take them to Mike, the genius electronics guru at Promec who was talking to me about building a CB out of spare parts at home in  an hour or two last time I was there.

Gah. Once again I leave the dealer with a bad taste in my mouth and a distrust of the company who made my vehicle and its representatives.

(If anyone from Land Rover manages to find this and wants to comment, feel free, users not on my friends list will be screened)

[1] This is another, separate rant, but 4 people sat at a desk. None are particularly busy, all are chatting with other people as they go by, yet none of them can be bothered to find me someone to get a key sorted. Pathetic. They just sit there “Someone from parts will be here shortly to deal with this gentleman sir, they’ll see to you then.” You only have one person in parts?!
[2] Electronic Control Unit – the computer that runs the car

2 Responses to “Landrover and car dealerships”

  1. mumsey_onroad says:

    My sympathies. Cars have become so technologically complex now that it’s hard to tell when the technicians are telling you the truth and when it’s all just bafflegab.

    I had a ‘check 4×4’ light come on in my former vehicle, which they told me was just an electronic glitch. They kept swapping out the electronic module, and couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Right up until the transfer case seized. “Oh! The light was RIGHT!” Eight weeks in the shop and a new transfer case later … Fortunately it was under warranty. Otherwise it would have cost me approximately $3000.00.

    My husband has solved a similar problem with the ABS on his truck. After spending almost $1K on replacing the ‘sending units’ from the brakes, he was then told it wasn’t the sending units at all, but the control module, which would be another $1,500.00. If it solved the problem. Which it might not. He solved the issue by pulling out the ABS module and putting a piece of black tape over the idiot light on the dash. No ABS, but he still has ‘regular’ brakes.)

  2. bronchitikat says:

    They’re dealers, right. Nuff said really. They make their money by actually selling whole vehicles, new ones. Not fiddling around with itzy-bitzy bits, or keys, for ‘customers’. They aren’t interested in ‘servicing’ vehicles, that involves them in doing work. They (apparently) are only in it for the commission they get when they sell a new vehicle.

    Cynic? Moi? I don’t even know how to drive. I do, however, know how it is with bicycles. Halfords? Don’t make me laugh. Fortunately I know a good bike repairman locally, & a reliable shop a bit further away.