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Lack of support for a new a owner from A/S

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Post by Alastair0811 Fri Jan 12, 2024 11:19 am

Hi all,

We have just joined the forum and wanted to know if anyone has experienced the same issues from A/S as we have. I will try and keep this short.

We bought our 2022 / 18 month old van from a non A/S dealer exactly 4 weeks ago. Good company up in Yorkshire. Over 100 years established as a business.  The van had covered 2700 miles from new when we bought it. We went away for Xmas and added another 400 miles. This is when the problems started......

To keep it concise, on returning from our inaugural trip over Christmas in our new van we have had a complete electrical meltdown where something in the system is killing the electrics. The van is now completely paralysed. No power anywhere. Sargent EC700 unit won't even flicker. Key fob won't work. Key sticks in ignition (its an automatic so needs power to release the key).  On top of this the habitation door now won't open from inside but will from outside. So basically not a good start to A/S ownership after 3 years completely trouble free with Auto-Trail.

I contacted A/S using their online facility when we got home on Dec 28th. This being 16 days after we bought the van. I used online as the offices were closed until January. I assumed these issues would be covered by the manufacturers warranty but was advised by A/S that the dealer we bought it from had not transferred warranty ownership to us within the 14 day window so was now invalid. I have taken it up with A/S as I am pretty appalled by their reaction bearing in mind their offices were closed from Christmas before the 14 day deadline had expired. It's not that they are legally wrong in standing by the small print but more so their attitude. Basically it's our problem to resolve.

I have contacted Fiat re the electrics and have booked an appointment with them to assess the issues which we hope the Fiat (Ducato) warranty will cover. Their reaction was helpful, informative and supportive during my call. Unlike A/S who were completely unhelpful, unsupportive and 100% inflexible. I didn't know about the 14 day warranty transfer deadline but I do think to not give any grace especially when we were 2 days late with Christmas holidays in between is incredibly poor customer support. We realise the dealer we bought it from is at fault and to be fair they have stood up to be counted. They are trying to support us.  Nevertheless our first experience with Auto-Sleepers has been incredibly negative which is a shame because on the surface we love the van. 

Am I alone in this situation re A/S simply basically turning the other way and showing me sloping shoulders or do we simply need to learn from this for the future. It is very upsetting as our excitement towards the Broadway has become one of trepidation as to what happens next knowing that A/S will face the other way.

Be assured everyone that we are positive people and not prone to moaning. The van is delightful to travel in and and drive but we now feel very nervous about our multiple EU trips booked for 2024.....which is a shame.

Best wishes to all for 2024 and safe travelling !

Alastair
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Post by Tinwheeler Fri Jan 12, 2024 1:06 pm

What a mess! I think you need to go back to the dealer you bought the van from as your contract of purchase is with them and, in law, they are responsible for sorting the faults - both to the Fiat base vehicle and the AS conversion. The matter of warranty transfer rests with them as well.

I'm not sure AS could have taken any other stance in view of them not being officially aware of the ownership/warranty transfer.  shrugg

I’m not sure whether you might find this link useful.
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Post by Alastair0811 Fri Jan 12, 2024 1:42 pm

Hi Tim. Thanks for taking the time to reply. 

I know that you are right in what you say regarding the warranty situation but would possibly slightly disagree in the respect that A/S could have been more customer friendly by recognising that they were un-contactable from Dec 24th until Jan 3rd during which period the 14 days deadline elapsed. Had we travelled 3 days earlier and the same problems had inevitably occurred then then they would have (hopefully) pointed out that the transfer of warranty had not taken place and we could have sorted it in time. There is no doubt that the original dealer is culpable and whilst we are probably being naive, we do think that a little bit of flexibility over this matter from A/S over the Christmas period would have been the right thing to do morally. Having invested around £80k in one of their products and missed a deadline  by "only" 2 days (over Christmas) it feels a bit harsh especially as the eventual response was very patronising and not the least bit helpful. I won't bore you with the details. 

It's a lesson learned and thankyou again for your constructive input and suggested link. Both are much appreciated.
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Post by Tinwheeler Fri Jan 12, 2024 2:16 pm

Did AS receive the warranty transfer request but it missed the 14 day cut off or did the supplying dealer completely fail to send it? If the former, then I agree with you about flexibility over the Xmas period but, if the latter, I can see that the hands of AS were tied. Either way, the responsibility lies with the dealer.

Good luck with getting things sorted.
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Post by Alastair0811 Fri Jan 12, 2024 2:33 pm

They didn't say, Tim. I will check this with both sides as it is all a bit grey in terms of detail. A/S have dismissed the claim out of hand and basically don't even reply to my messages now which is part of the issue. Any business can show a bit of flexibility if they so choose. In this case they choose not to. Certainly going forward we won't be putting another penny A/S's way on principal if nothing else as frankly they have been uncommunicative and unhelpful.
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Post by Tinwheeler Fri Jan 12, 2024 2:49 pm

I don’t think communication is a particular AS strong point from what I hear.

Btw, It’s Tin but no worries.   agree3
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Post by Peter Brown Fri Jan 12, 2024 3:00 pm

I'm sorry to hear about the problems with your van but I have to say that you made a fundamental mistake in trying to contact Auto-Sleepers direct, the process for dealing with warranty claims is described in the warranty documentation:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


You are new to the forum so are not aware that the vast majority of those of us who have dealings with AS are very happy with the process and outcome although every couple of years we become aware of a case such has yours where contact has started wrongly and then become acrimonious.

My advice to you would be to limit any future communication on this subject to that with your supplying dealer.  Please also be aware that if the problem is with any 'fitted equipment' such as the Sargent system, fridge etc. the AS are not in the warranty loop, your dealer should be liaising direct with that supplier under the suppliers warranty terms.
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Post by Paulmold Fri Jan 12, 2024 3:27 pm

The OP stated in his opening post that they bought from a non-AS dealer , so how should they contact AS in such a case?

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Post by Peter Brown Fri Jan 12, 2024 3:32 pm

Via the dealer he has the contract with - there must be a process as many near new vans are passed through the hands of dealers who are not part of the AS new vehicle supply network.
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Post by Alastair0811 Fri Jan 12, 2024 3:49 pm

Thankyou Peter for your message and suggestions.

It is slightly comforting to know that there are A/S owners out there who have had a better first experience than we have had but in fairness that would not be difficult. All A/S had to do was constructively indicate where we have gone wrong and why (as you have) and then point us in the right direction. Taking 6 days to reply or not replying at all to 2 messages has not endeared us to them.  

I have another somewhat naive question regarding your point about fitted equipment. If neither A/S nor the non A/S dealer in question have any warranty obligations for these parts (e.g. Sargent) then why would we not just contact the product brand owner directly as they will presumably be able to trace point of original supply through vehicle reg, chassis no etc? I'm not sure what value the dealer adds to this point as opposed to contacting them directly?
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Post by orac Fri Jan 12, 2024 3:57 pm

Contract Law. Your contract is with your Dealer/supplier. Same with anything. If a brand new TV packs up, you go back to the retailer you bought from. Mind you, many will try and fob you off and divert you to the manufacturer but that also breaches contract and consumer law.
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Post by Peter Brown Fri Jan 12, 2024 4:01 pm

The retailer (dealer) has the obligation under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 to provide a product that is Fit for Purpose, As Described and of Satisfactory Quality.

If what you’ve bought doesn’t satisfy any one of the three criteria outlined above, you have a claim under the Consumer Rights Act.

If you want to make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act, you have several possible ways of resolving your issue, depending on the circumstances and on how you want the retailer to remedy the situation.

Your rights under the Consumer Rights Act are against the retailer – the company that sold you the product – not the manufacturer, so you must take any claim to the retailer.  

What you can claim depends on how much time has passed since you physically took ownership of the goods.

Once you take the retailer out of the loop, you lose the ability to seek redress from him under the Consumer Rights Act and the manufacture has no obligation to you direct.
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Post by Alastair0811 Fri Jan 12, 2024 4:04 pm

Okay Peter. Thankyou. That makes sense
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Post by Fixer Sat Jan 13, 2024 11:47 am

I can understand their position with refusing to take responsibility if the warranty transfer has not been completed as any manufacturer warranty claims cost them directly.
Your contract is with the supplier and it sounds like they will willingly assist you but in either case you are protected by your consumer rights.
I’m sure it’s a pain especially as being total failure but is likely something quite simple like a main fuse failure
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Post by Alastair0811 Sat Jan 13, 2024 12:05 pm

Thankyou Fixer. Hopefully you are right in that its a simple fix. The vehicle is booked into Fiat for an inspection. I am sure their diagnostics facility will soon find the problem. On the surface they appear to take the view that as it is an electrical issue it will be covered under their warranty. Hopefully there is no reason why not. Its a bit of a mess but through out all of this my wife and myself are constantly reminded in rhe background that we have just invested a lot of money in a very young vehicle which has thus far only caused us issues. Hopefully after the Fiat visit all will be sorted.  Let's hope so......
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Post by Tinwheeler Sat Jan 13, 2024 12:56 pm

Let’s hope you don’t get into the round of Fiat blaming AS and AS blaming Fiat. However, as we keep saying, the whole issue is the responsibility of the dealer you bought the van from.
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Post by babian Sat Jan 13, 2024 1:12 pm

Good luck with all this, I'm sure it will be a new battery or two, then a quick look at the A/S handbook regarding habitation settings / charging settings.
Just read all of this , but have I missed something?
This "very good dealer in Yorkshire " , have you spoken with them?
What has been their response?
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Post by Fixer Sat Jan 13, 2024 1:28 pm

Alastair0811 wrote:Thankyou Fixer. Hopefully you are right in that it’s a simple fix. The vehicle is booked into Fiat for an inspection. I am sure their diagnostics facility will soon find the problem. On the surface they appear to take the view that as it is an electrical issue it will be covered under their warranty. Hopefully there is no reason why not. Its a bit of a mess but through out all of this my wife and myself are constantly reminded in rhe background that we have just invested a lot of money in a very young vehicle which has thus far only caused us issues. Hopefully after the Fiat visit all will be sorted.  Let's hope so......
The habitation power feed for the control panel (and therefore everything from there using the habitation battery) comes from the vehicle electrics. As the vehicle electrics are also not working it’s fair to assume that one the vehicle is operating properly, the habitation side will be perfectly fine.
Any Fiat warranty rejection is unlikely as they supply to Autosleepers as an approved conversion.  
Maybe just a simple blown fuse
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Post by Askit Sun Jan 14, 2024 10:50 am

Alistair, sorry to hear of your woes with the MH, I completely understand your frustration.

This is a shot in the dark so my apologies if I'm wasting your time. I don't have your set up but IIRC, several people with vans of your vintage, with the EC700, reported having problems with habitation electrics. It appears that the resolution was the 20A fuse being replaced by a 25A one, again I think AS contacted their own dealers to this effect. Perhaps some of those who had these issues could offer more clarity.

Whatever it is I hope you get it sorted soon.

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Post by Alastair0811 Sun Jan 14, 2024 11:11 am

Thanks Askit. I appreciate you taking the time to input (as I did with everyone who Has done so(.

Yes, very frustrating to have had the van so little time but jave had these issues which make the van unusable. I "hope" it is something as simple as a fuse blown or needing replaced as often electrical problems can be quick to diagnose and repair. I am optimistic that Fait will quickly get to the route of the problem but I will have a look at the fuse box so see if there could be a quick fix. Shouldn't do any harm either way but thankyou for suggestion
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Post by Ready to go Wed Jan 17, 2024 3:54 pm

Hi.  I bought a 2021 used Broadway in October 2022 and a month later the electrics dies completely - and i had no power.
Transpires it was a problem with the alternator which drained the batteries.  Mine was the Peugeot variant and the local dealer took it in, checked it out and repaired it without a quibble.  Note that your underlying vehicle warranty is just linked to the VIN number - and not via AS.  
Good luck!  Also, if you are a member of one of the clubs like the Caravan and Motorhome Club, speak to their (free) legal helpline team.  I've found them  to be very helpful when I've had problems.
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Post by gassygassy Wed Jan 17, 2024 4:08 pm

Sorry, posted in the wrong place!
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Post by Alastair0811 Wed Jan 17, 2024 4:13 pm

Thankyou Ready to Go. Your own experience completely resonates with what is happening this end. It certainly could be the alternator. Can ask if you have been trouble free since then?
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Post by gassygassy Wed Jan 17, 2024 6:48 pm

............ wrote: I don't have your set up but IIRC, several people with vans of your vintage, with the EC700, reported having problems with habitation electrics. ........
Yes indeedey, How about this?
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]   
In fact the engine battery is at 13.4 volts and the Sargent is lying. Again. When it first did it, a piezo alarm inside the control panel went off like a screaming banshee. I removed the panel, dismembered its innards and ripped out the piezo alarm. Ever since then all has been peace and quiet. Bliss. If I want to know the engine battery voltage I can either stick a meter across it, or stick the probes into the cigarette lighter. However, if I have just driven 100 miles and no dashboard warning lights come on and everything works then I couldn't care less if the engine battery is 13.4v or 13.6v.

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Post by Ready to go Fri Jan 19, 2024 8:16 am

Alastair0811 wrote:Thankyou Ready to Go. Your own experience completely resonates with what is happening this end. It certainly could be the alternator. Can ask if you have been trouble free since then?
Yes, no problems with the electrics since then
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