Update: To give credit where it is due, a member of the senior management of Hyundai's service division has been in touch with me personally to apologise for the experience I've shared below. He tells me that they know there are service issues and that they are implementing new systems to try and improve things. And I think I believe him, he was very sincere.
Warning: A long rant is coming up.....
How many of you own a Hyundai vehicle here in Muscat, and use the dealership service centre? I purchased my Santa Fe from my employers nearly 2 years ago and have had the displeasure of having to deal with Hyundai service ever since. Now, a Santa Fe is not a car I ever would have chosen to buy, it's just not a vehicle that ever appealed to me, but I got one as a company car, which my wife was driving around, and after being stopped by the ROP a few times because the car had red plates, my employers said I could just buy the car from them, which I did. It was a good price!
I have to say that our Santa Fe has turned out to be a great family car, it is large enough to fit the kids in their car seats in the back comfortably, plenty of space for strollers and shopping and it's a comfortable ride on the highway. I actually like the car, it's grown on me. Unlike this terrible gold/brown dodge minivan I was driving for a while in Canada. That thing never grew on me, it was terrible, I was glad when I didn't have to drive that thing any more!
But all of the good feelings I have with my Hyundai are rapidly lost just as soon as I have to deal with their service centre. You see, for some inexplicable reason, the service centre at Hyundai in Ghala is an absolute farce. Recently, someone from Hyundai reached out to me here on ze blog to see how we could work together - that happens from time to time, and as I've said above, I'm actually a fan of my Santa Fe - it's a great family car. I replied back saying I'd like to but first I really need some help with the service centre because I can't even get them to answer their phones. This person was very good and got back to me very quickly with the name and number of the service manager.
Now, you may be asking at this point why I'd be asking for some help. Google "Hyundai Service Muscat" and go to their website. You will be presented with a map of Oman and you click the nearest location to get your car serviced. For me this is Ghala, the booking number is 9763 0779, yet you see, a lot of the time you call it, it's either "Afwan" or simply doesn't get answered. So you can't even make an appointment to get your car serviced!
So, back to the service manager and his phone. I called him on Thursday (this was actually a holiday day), then again on the following Saturday, and again on Sunday morning. No answer, no call backs. I also sent him a WhatsApp message (because WhatsApp told me this number was a contact). No response, but 2 blue ticks. So late in the morning on the Sunday I got back to the nice guy from Hyundai that reached out and said perhaps I had the number wrong, I couldn't get any response from this service manager. Again, within 20 minutes the guy gets back to me and tells me to call him again now and the man will take the call. I do, and he does.
"When you bring car"? Thats how he answered the phone! I said, when will there be space in the workshop because I didn't want the vehicle to be tied up for days and days. I explained to him the issues I needed fixed with the vehicle and that it was important to me to have the car with service for as little as possible. He asks me to send him the VIN number of the car and I agree to text it to him. I got home from work that night and forgot to check the VIN on my wife's car (a 3 year old and a 1 year old are pretty good distractions). I sent him the details via text message the next morning just before 8am as I left to go to work.
No call back, so I call to follow up on Monday afternoon and he tells me to bring the car on Sunday morning. Great, we have a booking and a time, hopefully I'll get the car back the following day!
Sunday morning comes, I meet my wife at the dealership to drop the car off. It's 9am and it's utter chaos. Complete and utter chaos, there wasn't even anywhere to park, so we did what everyone else did and block someone in. In to the service lounge where we were told by the service manager the week before to see a man called Ronaldo. The problem was that there were only 2 service people working and many customers, and no queuing system, and those two service guys were totally and utterly overwhelmed by the demand. Eventually one of the two guys starts handing out tokens to try and create some sort of order to get people seen to in a fair order.
Eventually we get our turn, I say eventually because it was about an hour and a half to get our turn to see the service guy. who was clearly stressed. Now, this is technically my wife's car, and so she started to list the issues wrong with the vehicle only to be told "shush - whatever" by this guy. Mrs Sythe doesn't take too kindly to being told shush, especially when trying to list problems with a vehicle when dropping it off for a service! The man back peddled and to his credit brought a workshop test driver over and had the test drive done right then and there to identify the problem. 10 minutes later the test driver confirms it was the 4 wheel drive thing that was broken and needed to be replaced. We also reminded them for a third time that the seatbelt in the middle seat on the back row needed replacing.
And then it happened. "OK you come here on Tuesday afternoon after 4pm". Somewhat shocked I asked, "The car won't be ready until Tuesday afternoon? We made an appointment last week"! Nope, the car wouldn't be ready on Tuesday afternoon, thats when we can come and discuss the cost of fixing the issues we've just identified with the test drive. I remind you that at this point it's 11am on Sunday.
What. The. Fuck.
Make an appointment to get your car serviced, have that appointment ignored by the very company you made that appointment with. AND THEN be told you have to wait 3 DAYS before you can even DISCUSS the cost of service, and then however many more days to actually get the work done!!
Simply unbelievable! Back to the nice guy from Hyundai again, and I explain my experience - he's again very quick to respond and is apologetic. He tells me he rang the service manager who told him that a) he didn't see us there that morning, because no santa fe's were taken in for service, b) that I never sent him the VIN number details. I responded with the suggestion that the service manager was telling porky pies and sent him screen shots of the text and whatsapp messages I'd sent to this guy with no response, plus the names of the two service guys who were working there.
Suddenly I get a response and I'm told the car will be ready on Thursday morning, and that the bill will be RO 910. On Wednesday morning I get a call and am told that the front axles are also damaged and should be replaced, the bill is now at RO 1320. Thats a lot of money! Reluctantly I go and pay the bill on Thursday and wince as I hand over such a large amount of cash. It's an investment into the reliability of my family car I tell myself. When I do leave Oman, I will be selling this car, so now you know how well I take care of my vehicles!
I'm inspecting the work done on the car when I go to check the seatbelt that I'm told is fixed. Nope, not fixed, still the same old broken seatbelt. So I've been told something is done and now it's not. I have not only been given the run around by Hyundai service, I had to rent a car for 5 days due to their slow service AND now the work for which I'd paid so very much for hadn't even been done. Great. I've now got to take this vehicle to another mechanic just to get confirmed the work they claimed they did has actually been done. More time, more cost.
A few days later we get a call from the service manager to tell us to bring the car back so they can replace the seatbelt. We did, and then he asks for another RO 18 for replacing this seatbelt. It's like being spat in the face after already being knocked to the ground and stamped on repeatedly.
Now, let's do a contrast shall we, just for comparison. I've also got a VW, I love it, and I am fairly obsessive about it. It is a very well maintained vehicle, I've got the service history to prove it! Google "VW Service Muscat" and go to their website. You can request a service by filling in a form online, by sending and SMS to 9982 5454 or by calling them on 2450 0400 between 8am and 5pm. I called at 8:15 on a Sunday morning and got through to a receptionist who asked me for my plate number, which I gave her. "Ah, Mr Sythe, is your number still 1234 4312"? (it was), next up she asked me how many KM's on the clock and any other issues I wanted the car to have checked whilst in for service, she noted everything down and repeated it back to me. Then finally, the best bit: Would you like to be dropped off anywhere after leaving your car with us? Why yes, I would, I need a lift to MQ.
Great, please drop your car off at 8am this Thursday, your car will be ready on the same day by 5pm.
Thursday morning comes along and I walk into the service reception to see a TV screen facing the door with peoples names, appointment times, and which service person your appointment is with. I go to my appointed guy, the ever smiling Emerson, and he's already got my job-card printed up and vehicle details on his desk waiting. A quick inspection process where he checked all the electrics in the car as well as the spare wheel and tools etc and then we're done. Would I like a cup of coffee while I wait for the customer drop off car to be brought round? I was at work in MQ by 8:40.
And of course, the car was ready by 5pm that evening.
Now, how is it that VW can handle the service of their cars so much more efficiently than Hyundai? Knowing what I know now about Hyundai, I simply won't buy another Hyundai here in Oman purely because of the absolute ridiculous state of affairs that is their service centre. The service manager should be fired or at the very least sent for training, and there should be a total overhaul of their service management. Make appointments, honour them and don't treat your customers like garbage. It's not rocket science.
And it really is sad. I like my Santa Fe so much I might actually buy another one in Canada when I return there, they're good family cars. I'm already dreading my next service appointment, actually after this post, I wonder if they will even service it. Considering they milked me for RO 1350 this time, they probably will.
Have you had good or bad experiences at Hyundai service here in Oman?