Slavia maintenance package woes: Had a harrowing experience with Skoda

During the delivery of the vehicle, I specifically requested the sales rep to provide me with documentary evidence of the SMP package.

BHPian amit1agrawal recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

It has been a few months since I posted something here. It has been quite busy in the office plus I was dealing with an SMP activation issue that I wanted to write once it’s over.

I had a poor experience with a Skoda dealer in Bangalore that could have turned into another horror story from Skoda. The Skoda Slavia was launched with a 10-inch infotainment system and a subwoofer in March 2022. However, due to a shortage of the 10-inch infotainment units, my vehicle was equipped with an 8-inch infotainment system instead, and the subwoofer was removed. Additionally, the ex-showroom price of the 1.5 TSI AT model increased by Rs 60,000, resulting in a higher on-road cost in Bangalore of approximately Rs 75,000. To compensate for these changes, Skoda India offered a complimentary Skoda Maintenance Package (SMP) for a duration of 4 years. This offer was communicated to me by the sales representative and confirmed through various in-person and phone conversations prior to the delivery of the vehicle.

During the delivery of the vehicle on June 23, 2022, I specifically requested the sales rep to provide me with documentary evidence of the SMP package. He assured me that the package would be updated in the backend system and that I could simply present my vehicle at any Skoda dealership in India for service, where they would be able to verify the package in the system and provide the complimentary service. He further stated that my dealer does not provide any documentary evidence nor is it required.

However, when I went to drop off my vehicle for its first complimentary service at the Raja Skoda service center in Mahadevapura (6th July), they informed me that the SMP package was not activated for my vehicle. They showed me the backend system, which clearly indicated that the SMP package was missing. They suggested that this issue might be a result of the SMP package not being activated by the dealer I bought the car from. I immediately contacted the sales representative, who informed me that he had left the dealership. Nevertheless, he assured me that he would resolve this issue and requested me to cancel the service appointment and retrieve my vehicle. After that, he stopped picking up my phone. I reached out to a Customer Relationship Executive at my dealer. He assured me of resolving the matter, but I didn’t receive any satisfactory response for 3-4 days. It was then that I raised the issue with Skoda Auto India. After about a week, my dealer agreed that it was a miss on their side, and I was miscommunicated by the sales representative that SMP would automatically get activated; it was supposed to be paid by the customer, which would be refunded by the dealer. They asked me to buy two 2-year SMP packages (the first one for the 1st and 2nd year and the second one for the 3rd and 4th year), and they would refund both amounts. I paid and got the SMP for the first 2 years activated. As my car was due for service for more than a month, I dropped my car for the now free service at Raja Skoda service center on 20th July.

One more surprise was waiting for me. The 2-year SMP package got activated for the 2nd and 3rd year free service; the first service was to be borne by me, contrary to the resolution provided. The car was already serviced, so they were not able to release the car without receiving the payment. I immediately called up the my dealer CRE, who talked to the service advisor from Raja Skoda. After the discussion, he informed me that he was not aware that the SMP package would not get activated for the 1st year and requested me pay for the first-year service, which I declined. This was supposed to be the resolution for the failure to activate the 4-year SMP from the dealer, and that resolution led to additional complications .

I escalated the matter to Skoda India via email, Twitter, and also reached out to the CRM Manager at my dealer. My car was lying in the service center. After about 4 days of escalations and various calls which I had to narrate the whole story again and again, my car was released by Raja Skoda without the payment (I am thankful to them) so that I wouldn’t get inconvenienced any more. Two more weeks passed, my dealer couldn’t provide me with a proper resolution, nor were they ready to pay for the first service. A month had passed since this whole ordeal started, so I reached out to a relative of my wife who works at VW Skoda to get things moving. The ASM for the south region got involved in this case. After a couple of days, my dealer offered to cover 50% of the first bill, which I politely refused as they had caused immense inconvenience to me by then. Finally, they agreed to cover the complete 1st service bill and refund the two 2-year SMP packages, and they assured me the refund would be completed in 15-20 working days. With that assurance, I bought the 4th & 5th year SMP packages and provided them with all the details required to start the refund (16th Aug 2023).

My ordeal didn’t end there. I received the refund after 2 months and 10 days on 26th October, and it required multiple follow-ups. The whole ordeal lasted nearly 4 months, caused immense mental agony, and I wasted a lot of time. I totally regret buying the car from the St Marks Road showroom, which is far from my home, rather than buying from Raja Skoda, which is close Mistakes do happen but what differs a good service from bad one is how quickly and smoothly those are rectified and handled. Tafe Access failed miserably here. My advice is to refrain buying from them.

In this ordeal, Mr. Balaji from Raja Skoda service station has been very cooperative and even agreed to release the car without receiving payment for the first service. Even after weeks of delays, he never followed up with me for the payment, understanding the delays were from my dealer’s side. I had a very good experience with them when I gave my car for accident repair earlier this year.

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