MG Hector: Horrendous dealer experience makes me cancel my booking
When I called back and said I want to cancel my booking, the SA said oh, I’ll let you know the process.
BHPian Evyas recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
This will be a bit of a long read about my strange and demotivating and ultimately horrible experience at an MG showroom in Mumbai. A writeup of what led me to finally cancel my booking for the Facelift (New Generation) Hector Sharp Pro MT 5 seater.
I and my wife really liked the car. It was staggeringly the most ‘VFM’ at this price point, the space inside was outstanding, the gadgets quite interesting, the ride-quality (90% city) exactly what we were looking for.
But there is one and only one reason for this change of heart – the absolutely lacklustre dealership/showroom and SA experience.
From the first time that I stepped into the dealership, till today, that is the one big flaw in the dealings with customers is what I have felt: lack of transparency and a very ‘hands off’ attitude. I know most people here highly recommended the car and the company – in fact I did a TD and even considered the Hector only because of the TBHP reviews and conversations on the forum that I read. About how the service centre is so thoughtful and how the showroom experience is so good.
Sadly, I encountered none of it.
But then I wasn’t buying the showroom experience, I was buying a car. I didn’t consider the sub-par experience as a drawback – I liked the car and put down a 50K deposit on it, cancelling my Skoda Kushaq 1.5 MT booking for this as it was ‘more car’ for almost the same amount of money. It’s not like I was going to spend time in the showroom/dealership once I bought the car. So that was that. But I should have listened to my instinct.
The day we booked the car I was given an assurance that the model we wanted would be available in a couple of weeks, as it was an MT and those are very few so it’s easy to get one allotted. I was also told that there are certain days of the month on which the allotment comes in so I will be informed in the next 10-odd days. Max to max, within first week of the next month I’ll get it.
Very promptly I was put into the ‘MG Hector’ group by the SA.
And then, everyone just disappeared.
From Jan to today, I was the one constantly calling up, asking about updates. There are a few conversations of mine here too, where I was learning about most dealerships not giving deliveries but in most cases except mine, the SA was updating customers. If I would call the SA, he would tell me ‘tomorrow’ and then ‘next week for sure’. A while later when I asked him why he can’t give me a timeline, he said ‘the company isn’t giving me one so I can’t give you one’.
That bothered me.
I was going to buy a 24L car and when they wanted the 50K booking amount, everyone was calling up. Now they didn’t even have the basic courtesy to call me and tell me about the delay and an alternate timeline.
My experience at the Mahindra showroom was the direct opposite where the SA was wonderfully forthright and gave me an exact time frame, which put it out of consideration for us since we wanted a car quickly. (And the bizarre thing is if I had booked it then, I would probably have been getting an allotment by mid this year!)
My wife and I even gave up on the ‘2-3 week’ and the ‘one month delivery’ promises and resigned ourselves to getting the car as and when it is allotted. We know every car has a waiting period, so we resigned ourselves to that wait. The car was worth it we felt.
Then I read the wonderful ‘how to get a fancy number’ thread and decided to look up the numbers I wanted at the Parivahan website. Happy to see that the numbers we wanted were available, I contacted the SA to ask if it would be possible to get them via the registration team at MG, as someone on that thread had suggested. The SA got back a while later and said there will be a 5K ‘service charge’ on getting that number.
Again, that irked me a bit. I’m buying a 24L car, and you’re going to charge me a ‘5000 service charge’ for something I can just spend a day and get it done myself, something you will have to do in some form for the car’s registration to begin with? But that’s OK, I felt it’s not a service they are offering, I’ve read the TBHP thread, I’ll get it done myself at the RTO. Not an issue. But it rankled. Not because of the ‘service charge’ but because it was a message just forwarded to me. It’s not like the SA called me and had a chat. It was all very ‘hands off’.
Again I messaged a week after the SA said he would give me an update and didn’t. He called back the next day saying there are 2 colours available for ready delivery. I gently reminded him that there was a certain colour and variant preference for which we had given the booking. Why will we change that? He said he’ll try and get back with a timeline.
And then again, radio silence. I know I was being a bit impatient, but it was almost a month now, the delivery was a bit time sensitive due to our travel plans. But the SA NEVER called me with an update, never informed me about why there was a delay. The ONLY time he messaged me was when the new generation Hector had come for a TD in the showroom. I told him I’ve done the TD 4 times and decided, why again?!
I am the son of a salesman. I know how hard my father had to work to keep customers happy, always made them feel they are important and that he has their best interests at heart. He had to call people and visit at odd hours to talk to them if they were feeling upset. That’s the job of a salesman, his duty towards every customer. Here it was very weird that in this case it was almost as if once they got the 50K, the dealership didn’t care. Guess that is what this market has done to most car makers – there are too many people waiting for cars, so no one is important.
Elsewhere on this forum I had asked a couple of things regarding getting my booking amount refunded on the Skoda Kushaq. That too took more than 6 weeks of constant calling, emails, Whatsapp messages and had to finally escalate it to the dealership manager and then I got my refund.
But I realised these things had started to add up in my mind and making me question the car buying itself. So I thought I’ll go down to the showroom and have a chat and try and figure out what is going on and tell him what is bothering me. I go to the showroom, sadly the SA is not there so I leave my name and number and tell the other SA there to ask him to call me and give me an update.
So today, my wife and I decide to review the booking. We had a few work travel commitments because of which the delivery timeline was important (and we were told it will happen in that time) and there is no point in getting a new car and then it stands outside for 2-3 weeks collecting dust and rodent nests and bites. There is still no update from the SA on anything. So what should we do? Given my horrible experience with the Kushaq refund, till yesterday we were out 75K in just booking amounts with no car in sight! It is hard earned money and I genuinely didn’t like the way the MG SA has taken this approach with me. Is it really worth it?
The thing with me is, I go with my gut feeling in life, I usually trust my instincts. And by now, something had soured in my mind about buying the Hector. Nothing wrong with the car. Just the way it was playing out didn’t feel right to me. It was a big stretch for our budget since we started with 15L and nothing felt good in that slot till the Kushaq pushed us to 20 and then first the Alcazar, and then the Hector to 24. So it is a big leap we’re taking financially, and it is scary, and the MG SA has kept us hanging.
My wife told me it’s primarily going to be driven by you, so you decide, think about it and what your gut says and then we take a call.
And then suddenly, as I’m at a work commitment in the afternoon, the SA calls me. I ask him where he’s disappeared – he says I wasn’t being given an update, what could I update you about? I said but you could at least tell me there is delay.. he says, forget that sir, now your car has been allotted, let me know when you can make the final payment as it is month end, and I need to invoice it. And there is a slight price increase I’ll tell you in detail about 48K…
I tell him I’ll call him once I get home in a couple of hours, I’m at work, but in those 2 hours, every 20 minutes someone from MG is calling, saying take finance, how are you paying, we need to invoice – months end etc. And this is with me saying please, I’m in meetings, let me call you back!
So for 6-odd weeks no one even bothers to say hello, sorry sir, there’s been a delay. And today, they want me to pay and invoice it literally today!
And that was when my instinct took over and just said ‘no’. If this is how the dealership is treating you now, think what will happen in case something goes wrong with it later.
Some of us are sensitive people, some of us are thick skinned, some of us deal with attitude and behaviour in a different way. I know people who can wait for 8 months to a year for a car and not complain. But here I felt if only I had been told what was in store, I wouldn’t have had a problem even with the delay. I would have told them to then allot one for me in May. But I was being forced to figure all these things out on my own.
I’m not saying I’m the ideal customer, but I’m a customer. And no one in my entire family has ever owned a car worth 24L! So it is a big decision for me even financially. And I felt the dealings with me were not commiserate with what I was expecting. My fault entirely, but what I am feeling cannot be denied or dictated. So this is what I felt, and I cancelled the booking.
And the best part?
When I called back and said I want to cancel it, the SA said oh, OK, I’ll let you know the process.
And cut the call.
He didn’t even ask me once why, what happened, please reconsider. It was a 32 second phone conversation! I’m sure there are many in line waiting for a car, so they don’t care if anyone cancels. Guess I’m not worthy of the MG badge.
Until then, I felt I probably was being a bit impatient, that’s on me, but I was given false promises. But that last call just made me realise : good I cancelled. That was purely disrespectful.
And again, I’m not saying the company is bad or the dealership. This is my experience. I’m sure everyone else will have a different experience, maybe with the same SA too! I know I did because I read a lot of good reviews of the same place here! But sadly it was not to be for me.
So today we bid adieu to the dream of owning a car in this financial year. We haven’t had a car since lockdown 2021. So for us buying a new car is a deeply emotional topic, as it might be for a lot of BHPians. But this experience has really put us off MG for life.
Here’s what BHPian mayankk had to say on the matter:
Honestly, in your place, I’d do the same. In fact, I did do the same with one dealership, but went with another for the same car, and that was with a delay of only about a couple of weeks, and mostly due to the pushy nature for making full payments.
I even discarded Tata and Kia because of the shoddy showroom experience even before a TD.
Here’s hoping you find a silver lining somewhere, and a car, more importantly. The price the Hector is at the moment, it’s very nearly out of the vfm space, and that price point brings a lot of other manufacturers to the table.
Here’s what BHPian AtheK had to say on the matter:
Sad stuff mate and the right decision. The car is good no doubt, but if the initial experience is not great, it hardly matters, hopefully your search ends soon and you get the car you want soon. That said a friend of mine who had booked thar with Mahindra has been having a horrible experience, it’s a seller market, but tide will turn soon.
On the other side, we now know that price hikes will be steep, I am guessing the savvy pro that I have booked will see even steeper hike. I might have to reconsider my decision as well soon.
Here’s what BHPian shancz had to say on the matter:
Good decision, I would’ve done the same.
Although I would’ve checked at other dealers, if available at my location once the radio silence phase started.
Second your thoughts about sales but I always wonder what is the sales manager doing if not checking up on every booking made by his team ?
Now that you have some time before starting your next hunt, I suggest a read of this exhaustive but valueable thread by Poitive.
Good Luck for your next purchase.
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