ublished in Malaysiakini.com
LETTERS : Sept 14, 2000
Stinking service and quality
Recent complaints from consumers on the hassles in booking Proton Waja caused by some unscrupulous car dealers have prompted me to share the harrowing experience I had with our very own "world class" car manufacturer and dealers when I bought a Proton Wira from USPD.
I went to the USPD showroom next to the Federal Highway after being asked to come by the dealer/agent there. I waited for almost two hours for the dealer, who was the one who set the time of appointment.
While waiting, I asked for permission from a sales personnel to view the interiors of some of the Proton models in the showroom. I was asked to only view from the outside as the car was already sold. What is the point of having the cars in the showroom then? USPD might as well call it a storage.
Finally the dealer came, without apologising or offering any explanation. During the discussion, I was told that the car is already available at their store but only those with full accessories and there were only two colours to choose from. He said that the car will be delivered as soon as I get the loan approved from the financial institution of their choice. Since I have already sold my previous car, I decided to book the car and paid the required deposit.
In less than a week, the loan was approved and when contacted, the dealer said that he was waiting for original documents from the financier before handing over the car. For two weeks, I tried contacting him, but never got a reply. I got him on the third week after booking the car and was told that the delay is due to the customs department which has yet to release the car.
What has the customs department got to do with the car, can anyone explain?
I called the branch manager who revealed that they are still waiting for the car to be delivered from Proton!
Finally, after one and a half months, I received a call directing me to JPJ in Wangsa Maju to register the car. After spending almost two hours there, I was directed to the Federal Highway USPD branch to collect the car. I waited at the showroom for almost four hours. There was no sign of the car or the dealer. When he appeared, again, he did not offer any apologies, merely mentioning that the car had been sent for a wash.
It was almost 10pm when I finally got hold of my car at the back portion of the showroom. There a man approached and offered me the bargain of the day which was a security alarm system for my new car. He showed me how he could break into my car in a matter of seconds and offered me a discount if I were to purchase it on the spot. I was shocked and at the same time thankful for the man's "revelation"; otherwise, I would not have known that Proton cars are not secure.But I am surprised that USPD allows others to operate within its premises, selling a security alarm system for Protons. I am also shocked that Proton which proudly claims that it is a world-class car manufacturer can ignore the lack of security in their cars.
The USPD agent/dealer I dealt with was rude, selfish and untrustworthy. In the one and half months, he only called me thrice while I had called and tried calling him at least 20 times (not an exaggeration).
I still wonder why Bank Negara and the government has acceded to the dealers' demand for commission from financiers. They certainly don't deserve a single sen for doing almost nothing.
As if rubbing salt into the wound, I was told that it will take at least a month before my deposit is refunded. What is USPD doing with the money? Isn't the deposit supposed to be refunded the day I collect my car?
I am sure many consumers have gone through similar experiences and were left wondering how Proton, EON and USPD would be able to survive after year 2005 when Afta comes into effect.
Proton and USPD Tak Boleh!
Recap : 8 years on, Proton lost their market share and no longer the No 1. USPD don't exist anymore. Proton has certainly improved as they are designing their own cars and have their own engine, of course with some help from Lotus Engineering.
I have also sold off the proton in 2004 and have been using Non-Malaysian car ever since and have no plans to own another, for now at least, until they prove they can deliver the same quality and service levels.
Future seems bleak for Proton unless they seek some form of partnership with established car makers and move away from depending on the government. They just don't have the economies of scale to continue investing and developing new models.