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post #160 of (permalink) Old 29th May 2006
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Originally Posted by brigatti
Yeah there were a couple of reasons why I decided to "take on Renault UK".

1. I could have been killed! I wonder how many have. Dead men tell no tales, n'est-ce-pas?
2. The car (reg 53) was within the 3 year warranty. Neither here nor there really. If the design, material or manufacture is faulty they are liable (especially where they have caused injury or death). The design is no different from those in use 60 years ago when cars did 50 MPH not 150; only then, they were made better. Compare this with the bonnet of a Citroen C5 that has a lock, a safety hook and a hydraulically pumped retainer that works as third bastion.[/
3. I felt the issue was not of my making, and therefore felt it a maintenance, design or safety defect which should be addressed by the head-office.
4. My dealer was a franchise and therefore I felt that they would have no interest in the root-cause of the issue (and proof is they didn't!).
5. If I claimed through my insurance my non-claims would have been affected, lose my excess, premiums would notably increase and even if the insurance pursued the case on my behalf I might not get the results I expected! Precisely a point I made in earlier postings.

After filing my case to Renault, it was rightly escalated to the Senior Customer Management Team (Alex Phelan who then forwarded it off to Lisa Moxon). (It was also escalated to Peter Tilbury (Lisa's boss) - a name which I believe I saw featured on previous postings too! This didn't make any difference in my particular quest to find the root-cause! (N.B. I also reported to my local Trading Standards, but since the issue is now "nationwide", they commented that VOSA are the organisation that should ultimately deal with this - so please file your cases with VOSA!) - try to speak with Stuart Jenkins! Unfortunately, I am beginning to wonder how senior these C.R.Os are. Has anyone ever seen a power-train tree for RCS? It seems they may be minions who are told what to say and may even be selected for this job because of their incapacity to think for themselves what might be the cause of an engineering failure. In other words, they are mouthpieces of a pre-set policy or pro-forma response. I would be interested to know, for example, what engineering qualifications or insight Ms Moxon has that enables her to take such an adamant stand on cause and effect. I honestly believe that the reactions of RCS are pre-determined and applied in tiers, i.e. first contact is blunt rejection, second contact is "yes we see your point and sympathise but sorry can't help... and so on, rather like a good-cop-bad-cop philosophy. It is a cheap and abusive psychological practice if I am correct. BTW, they all call themselves Senior but I don't believe it is because they suffer from illusions of grandeur; rather they are repeating what they have been told to say and hope "they'll go away quietly eventually". I concur 100% with your appeal for people to report to VOSA.

I also found a website with some useful "contact" details -- - it seems Renault are notably cagey when anything seems to go wrong! As Kristine Keeler once said to the judge, "Well! They would, wouldn't they?". I shall be reading and digesting the content of this RAGE site with due diligence.

My personal opinion Ms Moxon was incompetent. She failed to deliver on her promises, she failed to "write anything down" (everything was over the phone - even though I summarised our discussions in writing and sent it off to Renault!) -(Good Move... nice one!!!) she blatantly accused me of causing the issue, rather than accepting any blame for the root-cause. Remember, they can be had over a barrel if they put anything in writing, so no surprise at their being cagey. It makes me wonder, "How many unexplained accidents have there been where this sort of thing has left someone maimed or dead?" How many cases are there that could be re-investigated that might show that such a failure was probably the cause of a serious RTA? Can you begin to imagine what Renault would be faced with if a court were to accept that this could have caused loss of life or serious injury. Dead men tell no tales, so it would be up to the live ones to discover the true cause of an unexplained RTA. I'm sure that surviving victims and bereaved relatives would demand their pound of flesh. What potential cases would a manufacturer have to defend?

I decided to escalate to the Renault UK MD - Mr Philippe. Talou-Derible, the Servicing and Quality Director - Mr Selisik Ergin and the Company Secretary - Mr Simon Tippet. Regardless, Ms Moxon (representing the above folks) continued to take the stand of accusing me of "not closing the bonnet properly", "leaving it on safety only" and commented that the "safety-catch is not meant to withstand speeds of excess of 40mph". Ummm....okay, so what's the point of the safety-catch then? Yet again, they are hiding behind a mouthpiece that they can blame for inaccuracies or wrong decisions if things go pear-shaped for them. They don't disclose their engineer's findings. (An independent engineer's assessment would have been useful here.) I also believe that the safety catch should be able to withstand the force of the velocity that the vehicle is capable of, even if for a reduced period of time that allows for safely bringing the vehicle to a halt.

About Ms Moxon... not in any way wishing to be unkind to her, on what evidence does she base her assessment and her deliberaton that YOU did not close the bonnet properly? As a matter of interest, I don't suppose you had had the bonnet opened immediately before that particular trip, did you? In which case, why didn't it fly open the first time you had reached Mway speeds, immediately after the last time you had had the bonnet opened and then shut "improperly" as they are accusing you of doing? Is she really suggesting that you are deaf and blind to the outrageously obvious symptoms on offer if you had left the bonnet on "safety only"? Unless of course, she has you down as Kamikazi owner.

They also failed to grasp that as the catch mechanism works in a two-catch approach, BOTH catches failed to function! My dealer even mentioned that the "safety catch had not been lubricated recently and was found to be stiff. If the bonnet lock had not engaged correctly, the safety catch may not have worked for this reason". When I closed the bonnet, it was flush, there was NO WAY I could tell that the safety-catch was not enabled! I would like to see a test carried out of the effect of the vibrations/resonances of this particular car at the quoted speeds of 65/70mph which was what two of you have said they were doing when the bonnet flew open. About the stiffness, read the effect of high temperatures on some plastics in an earlier post for an insight.

Back to your question, yes I was part-exchanging the car to a new Renault Clio (new models - which do not feature the "design safety-defect"!!) on 31st March, some 4 days after the incident happened - how annoying to say the least!

Renault UK also gave me an ultimatum, sign a letter to close the case or they would withdraw the repair settlement 'gesture'. At no time when the gesture was initially made were any conditions noted. Only after I continued to pursue the root-cause did they add the conditions. Also, the gesture was linked to the "new car" purchase, rather than due to the incident. Ms Moxon actually confirmed that it would have been very unlikely that I would have received the gesture if I had not been buying the new car! (How insulting hey?) Obviously, as I wanted to get my new car, I had no choice but to sign (that is the saddest thing... they bullied you into submission and in some circles that would be seen to be defineable as coercion. Usually companies that apply this practice also insist on a non-disclosure clause. These are not gestures of goodwill but an attempt to pacify and pre-empt bad publicity or potential damages cases. When that doesn't work, bullying and coercion will follow close behind.)the case away, but I believe I signed it under duress ( a court of law would take that into consideration in pretty much the same way as criminal confessions are if obtained by similar sinister methods.) and under the pretence that mine was a "unique" case. Obviously this is not now the case, so gives me a reason to go back to them (which I have now done!). Yeah right!!! They have only ever heard of one case.... your's, whereas Watchdog has at least a hundred, I understand. There are a few on this forum too so how do they define "unique"?

Personally, I am after the following:

1. a frank statement that they admit some shortcomings in the way they dealt with my particular case - especially as they had not provide a full accurate account of past reports presented to them (they lied!) The value of this eludes me and they are not likely to say, "Hey yes man, we have a merde customer service". Corporates will try anything because they think their word is stronger than ours.... I recently had an insurer who presented a pro-forma declaration that a car had been stolen from a place different from the actual, just to strengthen their position in court. An outright lie, but are they 'bovvered'?
2. Summary of the root-cause of the issue. Ultimately, they still have failed to identify this, and still push the blame directly at me for "not closing the bonnet properly". Never mind summary... a full report from their appointed engineer and challenge everything he puts in your way to discredit you.
3. Summary and acceptance of some remedial actions - i.e. improve their servicing checklist - and ensure ALL safety catches are checked as a mandatatory action (using VOSA to assist me in my quest on this point!) I would leave it to VOSA but put in an appearance asking for an update say once a week or so. Public opinion is useful in this.
4. Some support to cover the inconvenience caused (i.e. compensation) - and esp. to cover the fact that they had failed to provide a full and accurate summary of the history of the issue. I cynically suggested to Paulo that he insists on a nice bunch of flowers for his girlfriend who was in the car with him when he had his mishap. Maybe a new set of underwear for them both would also be appropriate... I think punitive awards need to be decided by a court.

Hopefully some comes out of all of this, cos at the end of the day the repair settlement figure goes to the garage and not me! The consumer still loses out!!
I erroneously said in an earlier post that my only experience of such a problem was a frayed cable. In fact, my son had the same thing happen to him in 1989 on my Chrysler Horizon which I believe had a similar setup for bonnet safety as do the current generation of French cars. If anyone has a Haynes book of the Horizon, they may be able to verify this if they please because I am just going by memory here. The outcome was that because I was abroad and had left the car with my son for him to use in my absence, he thought it was only proper that he should have it repaired before my return. Bless him; he probably thought I would do my nut or something!!!

I do hope that VOSA will have something substantial to add to all this even if we have to wait for Watchdog to report. The up-and-up of it is that one hundred plus owners reporting to the latter cannot be frivolous... so what will Trading Standards do about it. With some manufacturers it may be a case of KMA. Luckily, this forum and its few thousand members (on the increase BTW) can eventually vote with their chequebooks.
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