Saturday, February 28, 2009

Volkswagen Cirencester: Making fake marketing offers like this SUCKS

My wife plonked a letter in my lap today that she had received from Leo Lucey, Sales Manager at VW Northfield Cirencester. This is what it said (I've taken appropriate excerpts from the letter):

It starts

"We want your Golf"

Great, this has grabbed our attention as it should do. Next:

"It is not often you receive a letter that brings you good news, but that exactly what this is! We are writing to make you an offer, which you will find very hard to refuse."

I like offers like this and being from VW we were both quite excited about what was about to be offered:

"Over the past two weeks, we have received numerous enquiries for vehicles of the same specification and colour as your own."

Ok our car's in demand, we're not really sure why but its a funny old time right now so we can always find out why later but heh thats positive isn't it?

"... is great news for you as we are now in a position to offer you a very generous amount for your Golf registration number VN07 XXX against any new '09 registration or Approved Used Volkswagen."

Ok the letter's stating a "very generous amount". Perfect, we're onboard and we decide to head to the local showroom - VW Northfield Cirencester around 10 miles away to enquire about their offer. The letter continues:

"However, as demand for selected models can change at any time, we can only offer this enhanced part exchange offer until Saturday 15th March 2009, so the sooner we can discuss how you can benefit, the better for you."

Great, they want us to react quickly so give us a time limit to act upon. Exactly what I would do in any marketing campaign either online or offline. They seem to be honest talking about "discussing" rather than "selling" or "buying" which is all positive.

The letter continues:

"Should you have any outstanding finance, please remember that you are entitled to take up early settlement, saving you a considerable amount of money."

Words like "saving" and "money" always get my attention. :)

The final sentence:

"Hurry though, as I have people who want your vehicle, and it would be unfortunate for you to miss out on this opportunity to maximise the value of your current vehicle."

Brilliant. We're convinced this is a fantastic time to trade our 2 year old Golf GT in for the new version on an '09 plate. Everyone wins, sounds good, lets go head to the dealers.

On arrival we wait 15 minutes before anyone approaches us. I admit I am known by the staff already there for driving a hard bargain so I wander off outside and advise the wife to engage a salesman in conversation.

On my return I find her chatting to one sales employee and we head off to his desk to go through what this great offer is going to be.

The figures are put into the computer and we're told that not only can we get a great deal today its "only" going to cost us a £4000 deposit and the monthly payments are "only" going up by £60 a month.

My visions of VW's great offer disappears and once again I am sat here thinking why is it the general car buying public are treated with such contempt by dealers?

So we mention the fact that the letter states we've been offered "a very generous amount for your Golf" at which point the salesman scoffs and mentions the thousands of letters like that which have gone out to customers.

We're offered exactly the price in the Glasses Guide, as mentioned by the salesman for our Golf, not the "very generous amount" we were told we would be offered in the letter we received from VW Northfield Cirencester.

We were told that this was the best offer on the table and at that my wife and I both refused to take up that offer and left the VW dealership extremely disappointed.

I fully intend to pass the letter to Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Agency and will do my utmost to bring this to the attention of VW's head office. If this is the way VW customers are tricked into VW Dealerships then VW UK needs to look long and hard at the way VW Northfield Cirencester, part of the Inchcape Group, operates.

If anyone else wishes to complain about other VW dealers behaviour then let me know, I'd be interested to hear what else is going on.

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