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This is a question Sticking it to The Man

From little victories over your bank manager to epic wins over the law - tell us how you've put one over authority. Right on, kids!

Suggestion from Sandettie Light Vessel Automatic

(, Thu 17 Jun 2010, 16:01)
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Not another Honda Accord
This one is about my wife's Vauxhall Corsa.

In 1996 herself decided she wanted a new car and duly chose a spanking new Rio Verde (green) pearlescent Vauxhall Corsa Premier 1.2. As she's a nurse, the car would regularly be parked on the shonky hospital car park, protected only by poor lighting and convicted sex offenders (a post for another time), so she opted to pay an extra £270 for the official Vauxhall alarm system that was Thatcham category 1 rated.

Unfortunately, the alarm was a dealer-fit item, and we subsequently discovered that they didn't know what they were doing.

The alarm was of the type that automatically armed 30 seconds after you got out of the car, and required you to reset it by going back into the car and pressing a dongle against a dashboard-mounted plate.

In practice, this meant that the missus just had time to park outside the house, lock the car, find her house keys and open the front door to the house, before the alarm set itself and immediately went off. At the end of a late shift, or in the early morning following a night shift, that made us very unpopular with the neighbours.

Over the course of the next couple of months, when we could spare the time from work, the car went back to the dealers five times. On each occasion, they completely failed to find any fault. In the end, I told them I wanted the alarm removed and a full refund.

They removed the alarm promptly enough, but pissed about when it came to giving us back the money. They claimed that they couldn't refund us until Vauxhall had approved the refund. Unfortunately for them, I knew enough of the law to know our contract was with the dealer and it was their responsibility to pay us back. It was irrelevant if they ever got their money off Vauxhall.

After seven weeks of snotty phone calls and snottier letters, we'd had enough. The dealer's premises was adjacent to a small council-owned pay & display car park, so we formed a plan.

As an impecunious, then childless, couple, our weekend days were often spend lazing around doing very little so we decided we'd park the Corsa next to the dealer's entrance and make a small protest.

We covered the car in balloons and mounted two big printed signs on it saying "(name of dealer)'s customer service is rubbish if you have a problem with your car" and "expect to fight to get your money refunded even if you're legally entitled to it" (or something like that). And we stayed there all day Saturday, and returned on the Sunday, passing the time by reading newspapers, writing out our Christmas cards and drinking Thermos coffee - oh, and chatting to numerous potential customers who came to find out what had pissed us off so much.

We were also approached a couple of times by staff asking if they could help, before they phoned someone senior and were obviously warned off. Before we left on the Sunday, we told them that unless we got our money back, we'd be there the following weekend too, and every one thereafter.

By a strange coincidence, the cheque was ready for us on the Monday, along with a letter saying they didn't want our business any more. Surprise, that.

Yes, I know it was a petty and fairly weak protest, but we felt better for it and, hopefully, contributed to them losing the Vauxhall franchise the following year.

Apologies for length, monster drugs, etc.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 16:50, 8 replies)
I like these sort of posts
they give me a warm feeling inside. A bit like heartburn.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 16:54, closed)
I had that too
I put it down to the Thermos coffee
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 18:52, closed)
Good for you...
I love the idea of this, maybe you could have shagged your Mrs in the car outside the dealer too xxx
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 17:15, closed)
or the boss' missus

(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 17:41, closed)
Well done!
I've often hoped I would do the same in similar circumstances.
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 17:45, closed)
Corsa alarm
I've got an admission to make. I am sort of 'the man' in this case.

I wasn't involved in your Corsa alarm but I was involved in selling and fitting quite a few of those alarms.

I was also involved in removing and refunding the cost of quite a few of those alarms!

To be fair, most worked OK but some had a few problem. Especially after a few years!
(, Fri 18 Jun 2010, 22:35, closed)
Petty? Weak?
Don't think so. If somebody owes you money it isn't petty to want it back. If your protest worked, which it did, then it isn't weak either. Top job sir.
(, Sat 19 Jun 2010, 8:51, closed)
can't beat
a good balloon protest, it's like the fluffy Raah of being bitten by a kitten!
(, Sat 19 Jun 2010, 9:58, closed)

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