Aaron, did you get my PM?
Okay, I had a discussion with head of the VOSA division which includes the VSB, and quite frankly it was only a mediocre conversation.
A lot of what I had to say was in the letter I sent to him (which it sounded like he didn't read / review yet!).
Regarding the handling of my case by VOSA, I explained that I felt that he did not have an accurate picture of the events surrounding my case - relating to how VOSA handled it! I highlighted three points; 1) I didn't receive any correspondence advising me of the outcome of my case from VOSA as he had implied in the 20th Dec letter (it was only last week I received this!); 2) that it was me who insitigated all forms of communication with the VSB, not the other way around! 3) I explained that the very mention of a subsequent meeting in Jan - meant I wasn't being told the full story by VOSA (in Dec, I was told that there was one last meeting sch in Dec and an outcome would be made from this meeting). He said he would look into these points, and requested me to document them (ummm....I had already, prior to the call!). I implied that he should review the letter I sent to him last week which details all of these!
This then led on to my views on the case itself, regarding the issue of the bonnet catches. He did agree that it is a two catch mechanism and that any sane person (that includes most of us then!), would check that the bonnet is secure by tugging it. I explained that this was the case, and based on the conversations with those who experienced similar incidents, there was nothing to lead me to think that this was not the case in the other reported incidents! Even if it were I explained to him, I would find it incredibly hard to believe that the bonnet wasn't "secure" in ALL of the 250+ cases (plus the additional 130+ cases reported on Watchdog this week).
He explained that although they felt that had reached a conclusion based on the 34 reported cases to Renault and which VOSA has been aware off, there are still open-minded in the other incidents, and once again requested more reports to be filed to them! I explained that I was no mediator or "middle-man", and said it's VOSA's responsibility to talk to Watchdog - which he agreed that would be doing! he did say VOSA's position could change upon the review of other subsequent cases. I questioned how many cases would it take, I can't recall his response to this query!
I also explained that I don't believe their statement (of no "safety defect in accordance to the Code of Practice") would stand in all of the reported cases. He didn't want to confirm this until VOSA had reviewed all of the other cases.
Also, regarding the technical report (that Renault completed on my car), he indicated that he would follow this point up with Renault.
Regarding the FoI act, he said that VOSA would look into any request and respond accordingly.
Regarding the other cases and the comment I made that the VSB declined to inspect any cars themselves - he sounded very surprised by this comment, and said that if I summarise the circumstances, he would also look into this. I know definitely know of this happening - where VSB said that they would not carry out any inspections - and it was for the owner to get this down themselves. Sounds a different comment now, hey?
I commented that I was aware that the Alfa Romeo had a similar "bonnet catch failing" issue (will submit a separate post on this point), and this resulted in a Recall. His view, without being drawn in to the details of of that particular case(s), advised me that in some cases, the manufacture wants a Recall to happen to allow them to communicate to the owners and address any known issues. I asked why Renault didn't share the same line, he didn't want to be drawn into this, apart from saying any responsible manufacture would want to address any known issues.
Lastly, we went back to the incident itself, I explained that a bonnet can only be flush if the safety was "engaged" fully. He acknowledged this. I also explained that the only comments Renault made on my car was that the "catches weren't broken". I advised him that I found the only way this would be possible would be either the bonnet wasn't closed AT ALL (no catches engaged - which would mean I was driving some 15-20miles with a bonnet just resting! - hard to believe!) Or due to the safety not being fully engaged and then the main catch released itself, as well! Hard to believe too, but the only plausible response I can think off!
His last view is that it does seem to be down to maintenance which is the responsibility of the driver, I interrrupted him advising that actually it would be the responsibility of the servicing garage - which until only last week Renault UK did not "mandate" the servicing of the catches in question with its dealerships. He sounded a bit concerned that this was not the case prior to last week. I still implied that my biggest concern was that if a safety catch has the potential of not being engaged "fully" in 100% of the times, the there is a potential issue with the design of the catch - he tried to push me back to the maintenance point, but I stood firm and mentioned I still felt it was a safety issue. I guess we had to agreed to disagree on this point.
Lastly, he acknowledged that the matter has now been drawn to his attention (not sure the point he making by this comment, personally!), and that he would get back to me based on the comments he had previously made in this earlier letter - in which I questioned, as well as getting a response regarding FoI and my Technical Report.
Ummm....not good news, not bad news....I just hope VOSA does the right thing and captures all of the 380+ cases reported to Watchdog.
Your views then?