Douglas Park of Hamilton Review- A complete scam
A little backstory
So in the past year I successfully passed my driving test. Since I'm a first time driver I decided that with the added cost of insurance that the best approach would be to buy a second hand car. With the large number of car dealerships around, finding the best one with my ideal car was tough. However, with a big brand name such as 'Douglas Park' I felt that it was best to go with them.
I was over the moon when I seen that they had a Renault Clio selling for just under £4,000 which is a great price and included in the price was 4 brand new Bridgestone Tyres (which at retail would cost £384) and they also said they would repair all the scratches on the bodywork. At this price, and with 37,000 miles on the clock this sounded like a great bargain.
As with all car sellers they did try and sell me other products such as the gap insurance for a massive £300 although they did say I would have 30 days after the date of purchase of the car to make this additional payment. All in all, I was really happy with the car as it seemed perfect. Unfortunately not all is as it seems.
The problems start to creep in.
A few days after getting the car I received another call from Douglas Park asking if I would like to take out the gap insurance. Again I stated to them that I couldn't afford to do so. Sadly, over the next 30 days they continuously phoned me to take this out which was getting into the state of pestering phone calls.
Finally I decided that I would go online to do a search on this gap insurance and see if it was worth it. Bearing in mind that the garage wanted to charge me £300 for it; I was able to get it online from ALA (who gave me the most expensive quote) for a mere £64 for four years as opposed to the £300 for three years that Douglas Park was charging me. So if I had bought it from the garage, for five minutes work they would have received a massive profit.
At this point I certainly didn't feel like a valued customer and I honestly felt as though I had been cheated by the dealership. However I thought that this would have been the end of the case. Again, I was wrong about this.
When is a fix not a fix?
As I mentioned at the start, the garage told me they would repair all of the scratches on the body work as part of the agreement that I pay the list price for the car which I thought it was great since there were a lot of distinctive scratches on the car that stood out a mile away.
After a few washes of the car I noticed that the exact same scratches started to appear again! Now, if the garage had repaired the cars bodywork then what are the chances of these same scratches appearing again? The chances are non-existent. After speaking to the manager of the garage he said he would investigate this issue and get back to me. There was some back and forth and eventually the garage agreed to be in contact with me soon and pick up the car to have a look at it.
I did get a phone call back from them saying that they thought it was agreed that a coat of polish would be put onto the car as a good will gesture when the car was bought. Sadly this wasn't part of the agreement although the garage did say that they would contact me soon to have the car brought in. Several weeks went by without them contacting me. However during this time another development cropped up...
The plot thickens.
Unfortunately when I was waiting to get the car looked at by the dealership a wreck less driver came over to my side of the road and forced me to kerb the wheel. This resulted in me taking a huge chunk out of the sidewall of the tyre resulting in a new one being put onto the wheel.
Thankfully the repair garage near me is great and was able to put on a brand new tyre and since they're a thorough and reputable company they also checked over the car as well to make sure it was still safe for me to drive. Now, bearing in mind I had the car for less than three months when this occurred and I had driven 800 miles, this next part of the puzzle is a real heart-breaker.
When the garage looked at all four tyres they showed me that they weren't actually new and in fact the front two tyres were pretty badly worn and that the back ones had been put through their paces a bit too. At this stage I was furious with the garage for knowing misleading me on this issue, especially since the cost of the car was artificially inflated since in actual fact the tyres weren't new. Couple this with the fact that the paintwork wasn't fixed either and yet they got all their money and I genuinely felt as though they had stolen money from me which is technically true.
Going to the top
After this and the fact the garage still hadn't came back to me I felt the only option would be to go straight to the CEO of the company with this complaint. Lo and behold as soon as head office received this letter of complaint from me (it was sent as tracked delivery) I heard back from the garage that sold me that car who pleaded ignorance to knowing anything about me writing to head office.
Of course by this stage they were extremely nice to me over the phone and even offered for one of their drivers to come and collect my car, bring it back to me and also put some fuel into it. I thought this would finally be some sort of progress so I agreed to this.
For some reason the garage took a good few days to come back to me after having a look at it. The conversation was long and drawn out but the just of it was as follows:
- The garage would have never had agreed to repairing the scratches to the paintwork, effectively calling me a liar since it would cost them too much.
- They also stated the they have it on file that the tyres are not new, but conceded I had been mislead about this to the degree that they had actually dressed the tyres to make them look new.
So I was still out of pocket by a fair amount when you factor in the issue I had been charged for a repair that would be carried out by them as well as being fraudulently charged for new tyres that weren't actually new. Perhaps it was my fault for not checking the tyres but when they promised me that the tyres were new, I took them at face value since the looked new as they had been dressed.
Regardless, the garage are still in the wrong for mis-selling me this car under the description that was given to me.
The moral of the story.
The moral of this story is twofold; One, never trust Douglas Park of Hamilton. They have knowingly deceived me and they just don't care about it. Their resolution to this is that they'll give me a £50 service free of charge. That is nothing but an insult since they owe me a lot more than that. Secondly, if you're buying a car whether it be second or not, be sure to get an itemised list of everything that has been agreed to when purchasing it.
In the unlikely event that you have problems with your car after you take delivery of it, at least you'll have a list of things that were agreed upon in writing which can be used to your advantage. I'll repeat though that I would strongly recommend that you don't use Douglas Park when purchasing your next car, the hassle really isn't worth it.