Holden, What a Bunch of Bastards

UPDATE: (29/12/2014 – 11:26) After asking to speak to the manager at the dealership to try and find out why we still can’t get our car, they actually called us back as promised (hold me up while I faint). Apparently the car is also suffering from an electrical problem and can’t start. Going off past experience, we now don’t expect to get our car back any time soon so we are still without. This has also screwed us with getting a new car as we were hoping to take advantage of the end of year sales and had even gotten a quote on a vehicle we were interested in.

For the most part, this is directed at Heartland Holden since they have been complete bastards from the get go but by the time of this entry being typed up, some of the excrement has now been smeared onto Holden Australia as well. I also must warn you that this might go on for a bit as it is turning into somewhat of an on going saga for us at present with no end in sight.

After my motorcycle accident, my girlfriend and myself realised we were going to require a car. We had been informed by the doctors that my recovery prognosis was not looking all that great and as it turns out, they considered it a miracle that I kept my leg at all, further re-enforcing the extent of damage I had suffered (as if massive loss of blood and going into cardiac arrest was not enough). At the three week mark of my internment in hospital, my girlfriend had gone over a number of different car brochures with myself and after discussions had approached Heartland Holden about the purchase of a brand new base model Holden Cruze SRi hatch.

My girlfriend, whilst putting the order in enquired about the time it would take until pick up of the car was available and naively mentioned that she needed the car within the next few weeks so it would be ready for when I got out of the hospital. This was most likely a mistake since Heartland Holden jumped onto this tid-bit and informed her that the car would not be ready for about 3-4 weeks but they had the more upmarket model, a Holden Cruze SRi-V in stock which would be ready for pick up within one to one and a half weeks. Since we were worried about time and the idea of a little bit of luxury for a little extra money after the crap we had already been through was appealing so we agreed.

Most people will already have guessed that this was a flat out lie and that the dealership had taken advantage of my girlfriends mental state due to the stress she had been going through and the situation at large to take us for the proverbial ride.

Anyway, one and a half weeks had passed, nothing from the dealership. No call, no emails, no SMS’es. There was a complete lack of communication from them so my girlfriend rang them and was given a weak excuse about delivery problems and that it would take another 5 days. Another 5 days pass, AGAIN nothing from Heartland Holden AGAIN we had to chase them up and AGAIN the same pathetic excuse. To speed up the narrative, this went on for so long were heartland would not contact us with updates even after constantly requesting them that after I had been in hospital for about two and a half months we still DIDN’T have the car as promised. That’s right, the car promised to arrive in less than two weeks had not arrive in over a month and a half! In stock my arse, they had to build it from scratch is the more likely reason.

At this stage, I could not walk and was stuck in a wheel chair so this was not a good position for us. On top of that, my girlfriend was totally stressed out and felt she had let me down. She had at numerous times explained our situation to the dealership in the hopes it would help only to receive silence from them and arrogant and aggressive responses from the dealership when she had to contact them for an update. Her father ended up helping out by calling up and demanding a courtesy car from the dealer ship.

After about two months, we finally get the car. It seemed nice. It was a nice ride and we put the whole crappy car buying experience behind us. What a mistake.

Within less than 3 months the first problem struck. We had booked the car in for its first service and then a few days before it was due to go in, coming home it was experiencing problems with changing gears. We were lucky, as we entered our street, it couldn’t change gears at all but thankfully we managed to nurse it to the front of our house. It turns out that the gearbox had failed. Heartland Holden claim it was a defective part.

Three weeks later after a handful of phone calls from us to Heartland Holden who again exhibited to us their continued excellence in crap customer service, the car was still not fixed and was waiting for the part to come from overseas. So much for trying to do the right thing and support Australian business since a large amount of the parts turned out to be manufactured overseas and not locally. Again, my girlfriends father rang the dealership to help us get another courtesy car which was needed since I needed to consistently visit a number of specialist due to the accident.

Roughly two to three months later (yes months) and constant calls from us to the dealership we finally get the car back. Again, stupidly thinking the worst was behind us we move on.

Move forward another 12 months and ~13000 kilometres on the odometer, after a visit to her parents, my girlfriend was coming home on the motorway late at night, only to have the car suddenly lose all power, forcing her to cross two lanes of traffic to get to the side of the road. This was not a pleasant experience. This all occurred about three weeks before Christmas.

After a couple of calls to Heartland Holden, again putting their excellent lack of customer service on display, we were informed that the entire clutch assembly needs to be replaced. To top this piece of excellent news was the fact that it was not covered by what we have discovered to be Holdens totally useless warranty since it is classified as wear and tear and to make things even better will cost us $4000 to fix! After a few calls where we trying to get to the bottom of the problem at hand and where we received no calls but got to enjoy the always consistent aggressive and belligerent attitude from Heartland Holden we have learnt to expect when calling them, we put in a complaint to Holden Australia.

At the same time, we had also requested from Heartland Holden a list of what they believe needs to be replaced and told they will send it through when they have the time. The attitude I received with this request was totally dismissive so I pressed them for an actual time frame and was promised by close of business that day. The time of the call I had made to them was before lunch so I can’t see who it would be hard to fulfil but to date, no, we have not received said list.

Since the dealership claims the damage was caused by us riding the clutch, I have spoken to a few mechanics and two points seem to pop up; The Holden Cruze has a reputation where their clutches tend to go way to easily and to have burnt the clutch out from riding it within less than 15000 kilometres would basically require you riding the clutch 100% of the time you were driving.

Due to the fact that we can’t rely on the car and yes, I am still disabled and still attending specialist appointments due to my accident, we have decided that once we get the car sorted out and once we have it back to get rid of it. To this end, we have started to look into a potential replacement and I can guarantee we will never get another Holden again after the experiences we have had with this one.

Holden Australia got back to us just before Christmas and surprise surprise took the side of the dealership. They also informed us that the car is ready for pick up. Well today, we thought that due to past experience before getting the father in-law over to give us a lift to pick the car up it would be best to confirm it really is ready. No, it’s not. In fact, heartland Holden still can’t tell us when it will be available. Seriously, WTF! To improve our disposition towards Heartland Holden even more, we were going over our finance agreement and discovered they had put Balloon Insurance in even though, when they asked my girlfriend if we wanted it she gave them an unequivocally no. Unfortunately, due to her state of mind at the time, she didn’t notice they had slipped it in anyway. Way to take advantage of someone Heartland Holden.

This whole schmozzle has definitely had an impact on us and has also dredged up bad emotions linked to my accident. Anyway, as I mentioned, from the beginning, we have had nothing but constant lies,  extremely poor and totally pathetic customer service and aggressive/belligerent treatment from Heartland Holden. I could not in any conscience recommend them to anyone and at this point in time, even though they (Holden Australia) were a lot nicer on the phone, recommend Holden as a car choice either. We bought a new car for reliability and in the worse case to be covered by warranty, and to date, we had neither of these things.