Brand New CITROEN DS5 with miss-coloured bumper and steering problems
Hello and thank you for your time
First of all I would like to thank you in advance for your eventual support, advice and your honest opinion. What follows is a true story, my story. This is not an attempt to badmouth Citroen or any other manufacturer. This is about how some car dealers choose to treat their customers, about gross negligence and, why not, fraud. Everything that follows is supported by, I believe, strong evidence - phone conversations recordings, e-mails, pictures and video recordings.
Some of you will probably say that this expected when you buy a car from X manufacturer instead of Y manufacturer. Sorry but you are wrong and there are enough stories to prove that this is not the case.
This kind of Car Dealers are hurting the entire industry by denting consumer's trust and this is not acceptable.
Here is my story:
After much consideration and a crazy amount of courage I have decided not to buy a Seat Leon Touring FR but a brand new Citroen DS5 2.0 HDI manual. Very soon this proofed to be a huge mistake.
The car was purchase by finance, PCP. The OTR price of the vehicle was 17000 pounds, heavily discounted from 25000 pounds. This big discount of 8000 pounds made me choose this car. Big mistake. This kind of discounts are not something out of the ordinary in the industry, specially in March.
Also relevant is the fact that this was a distance selling purchase. This vehicle was advertised via AutoTrader home page and all the correspondence between me and the dealer (Sutton Park Motor Company Ltd - Stourbridge) was via phone or email.
I have recorded each phone conversation with dealer representatives, I kept the email correspondence between us and also I have detailed and relevant video recordings about how the car behaves.
Friday (21.03.2014) I took delivery of a brand new Citroen DS5 which I bought with finance by PCP provided by Barclays Partner Finance. As soon as I drove the car from the dealer I've noticed Steering and Braking faults with the car. The most obvious defect was the fact the car suffered from a bad wheel alignment, the steering wheel stayed all the time lean to the left and the car was pulling constantly left, no matter of the camber of the road.
I immediately turned to the dealer to report the issues with the car. The dealer briefly inspected the car and they told me that they used some kind of brake spray to clean the brakes and also test drove the car and informed me that the car is fault free. This seemed very weird to me because no spray cleaner in this world will cure a bad wheel alignment but I was too tired to argue (been travel for 4h by train to reach Dealer's location)
I've set up again on the road and I noticed that nothing has really changed with the car's issues, obviously.
When I arrived home (more than 140 miles away) I have contacted the dealer by phone explaining that none of the problems with the car have been fixed. I've been told that on Monday (24.03.2014) I will be contacted by the Dealer's Service Manager who will discuss with me this matter.
Nobody contacted me and I decided to take the car to an independent tracking specialist. The wheel alignment job print out clearly shows that the car's tracking was off.
This was not the only problem with my brand new car.
Here is full list of faults:
1. Bad wheel alignment and tracking causing the vehicle to constantly pull to the left.
2. Steering wheel was off centred, it stays leaned towards passenger side.
3. Steering wheel vibrates at motorways cruise speeds 60 – 70 mph.
4. Steering wheel shakes under braking.
5. The car is very unstable on uneven and slightly bumpy roads, especially when braking, causing the car to change trajectory towards incoming traffic or pavement.
6. The steering wheel is twitching and jerking back and forth every time the front wheel goes over small bumps and cracks on the surface of the road, also causing the car to change trajectory towards incoming traffic or pavement.
7. Miss coloured front bumper – painted in a different shade of grey.
8. Rattling noise coming from the right hand side rear passenger door.
Tuesday ,25.03.2014, morning I've contacted the dealer and told them that I'm willing to return the car to them so they can have a full check of the car. They agreed to bring the back to them, which I did.
They kept the car for one and a half day before calling me to come pick up the car. They did offer me a courtesy car with almost identical mileage, a Citroen C3 which drives flawless.
I went back to the dealer to pick up the car and noticed that there was an improvement to some of the issues but most of them were still not fixed. There was no more steering wheel vibration at motorways cruise but still the steering wheel was shaking under braking sometimes.
The steering shake under braking was pointed out by me to dealer's Service Manager when we test drove the car together but he informed me that this was normal because of the road condition which I strongly rejected. He also tried to convince me that the steering wheel jerking and twitching from left to right was absolutely normal. I've explained to him that maybe this is normal with an used car with many miles on the clock but not with a brand new car with 3 miles on the clock.
Every time my car goes over small bumps and cracks on the road the steering wheel is abruptly twitching and shaking back and forth, making the car to suddenly change direction to the left or right very rapidly. I have tried to explain to the dealer that this is not normal or safe but he disagrees with me.
On 31-03-2014 I phoned the Dealer and Informed him that I want to reject the car. I’ve been informed that they have to speak with Citroen UK. Later that day they come back to me and told me that they opened a case with Citroen and also informed me that I have to book in the car with another Citroen dealer for an independent opinion, if this can be considered independent opinion. I agreed with that and on 01-04-2014 the car was with my local dealer Freeborn Garage Ltd.
One of the mechanics has test drove the car with me and immediately noticed that the car was pulling left in a very strange way. He also noticed that the steering wheel is twitching and jerking every time the front wheels go over small bumps and cracks on the road. He told me that they have to check the air pressure, disk brakes and something like connecting the steering rack to a device that will tell if the wheel alignment of the car changes while driving the vehicle. This part is very technical for me.
Later that day they called me to tell me that I can take the car back. They gave me a job report that says that while the car was pulling left when during the test drive, they couldn't find anything wrong with any of the steering and suspension components so the car is OK at the moment of the testing.
On the evening of 01-04-2014 I emailed a formal Complaint Letter to the Dealer. On 02-04-2014 I have received an email confirming that they have received the letter.
On 03-04-2014 I have noticed that the front bumper is painted in a noticeable different shade of grey then the rest of the car!!!!!
06-04-2014 === Officially rejected the car and returned to the shocked Dealer, who didn't want to touch the keys. I've left them on the reception desk. Also left them a letter explaining them my actions and the reasons behind them. Everything was video recorded by my trusted phone.
=== Later that day I've posted on Citroen’s Facebook pages and on Tweeter.
07-04-2014 === Citroen UK Head Office has been contacted me, aground 11 AM. I've been told they are working on my case.
Here are some links to YouTube and Flickr:
This is the story so far.
Is the steering behaviour normal for a new car or I'm just crazy ?
Is there enough evidence to support my case ?
Without driving the car it would be impossible to say if the steering issue is normal or not. Maybe take it to a specialist garage with 4 wheel aligning equipment to check it out.
The bumper does appear in some photos to be a different shade. My first thought was it had some scratches and the dealer had it done but who knows? However, if you take it to a good paint shop they will tell you for definite and most can measure the paint thickness around the car to tell if it has been resprayed.
Welcome to the site -mbrad26, I did see a difference on one of the photos, where three panels join on the front, but it is difficult to see on that metallic paint?As for the steering, like Hometune says, I would have to drive it to comment on that. It's a lovely car you have there, we have recently bought a Citroen C4. On a 09 plate with 21K on it, and it's a great car as well. I think you have done the right thing by rejecting the car, as it has too many faults, and after our house, a cR is the second most expensive thing that we buy, so it has to be something we like and enjoy driving.Good luck, with it and I hope you win your case.
Last edited by smudger; 09-04-14 at 21:29.
I personally think the car has been in a collision either on delivery to the dealer or at the dealers. The paint is most definitely two shades and no car should be driving like that. Reject it outright and ask for another car. Perhaps a VW !!!
I got news. Citroen UK called and informed me that they've been in contact with the Dealer all this days. The Dealer's Customer Service Manager is preparing an answer for me together with their legal team. I should expect to receive their answer later today.
Citroen UK will receive a copy of their answer as well
I'm so curious...
Citroen UK agree with me that there is a serious colour mismatch. They also told me that if during the transit a car is damaged, the transportation company usually informs Citroen about the damage and the repairing costs and so Citroen has a database with all the vehicles damaged during transit. However Citroen UK doesn't have any information about my car in this regard. This a proper mystery because clearly there is a colour mismatch.
That's all for now.
It's not unknown for a car to get damaged in a dealer's showroom.
Some years ago, when I was a fleet manager, I went to test drive a car at a well known dealership in Birmingham, but when I arrived the car I wanted was still in the showroom. The fleet sales manager asked me to wait and went off, presumably to shout at someone for not getting it out ready.
A few minutes later a guy in a suit started moving cars around to get mine out. He just wound the windows down and pushed them, steering from the outside. It was pretty cleat that he was pee'd off at having to do it. He moved one car, and then, when he gave the second one a good shove, it rolled gently into the side of the first one, making a big dent in the passenger door and (no doubt) damaging the bumper.
I have a letter from the Dealer Customer Service Manager. According to their letter I have no grounds for rejecting the car and they are all-ready charging me for car storage.
Here is you can find the letter
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Well, what now then? Are you going to take it further?I bet if you took it to another Citroen dealer, and tried to trade it in, I wonder if they would pick up on the faults, to try and give you less money on the trade in deal?
Park outside the dealership's premises (NOT on their property) with a list of the problems and brief history of your story. Years ago, when it was the Routes Group, a dissatisfied customer did this with a brand new Humber Hawk he had bought. They finally climbed down and changed the car. And all this before the Internet and legal advice groups available via the media. "Persistence dilutes resistance!"
Was the vehicle pre registered by the dealer? What was the date of First registration?