The Good and The Bad

Let’s start with the good. I got a lovely review of my book, which is released on Thursday 26th, so that cheered me up. I seem to be getting consistent feedback that says that I am great at characterisation, which is one of the best compliments you could pay me, because I tend to read books for strong characters rather than plot (although obviously a decent plot is also essential), so it’s good to hear that people are enjoying my characters.

Since so much of what Bethan goes through is based on personal experience, it’s also fascinating hearing what people do and don’t like about her. The general consensus is that she’s a sweetie, probably too nice for her own good, so she puts up with things she shouldn’t. When I was her age, although I don’t think that anyone would have exactly described me as nice, I did put up with things for a lot longer than I should have and I think that’s one of the points I was really making – even the most independent of people sometimes find themselves in situations where they’re making the best of it and don’t realise that the best thing they could do is walk away.

I’m really looking forward to hearing what YOU think about my book when it’s out!

The bad concerns my car. It has a few minor issues. Nothing that means I can’t drive it, but things that, if left, will render the car unusable. The petrol cap doesn’t open when you press the release button, the driver’s seat doesn’t move backwards or forwards (which is fine since it’s usually me driving it, but I have short legs, so anyone else wanting to use my car will have a problem) and the driver’s door makes a clunking noise when you open it.

Since my car is under warranty, I took it back to where I bought it, which involves traipsing down to the other side of Cardiff.

This is when I discovered why it is the car dealers have such a poor rating from Google. It seems that those who purchase a car from them have a great experience. I know I certainly did. But when it comes to actually repairing cars, well, that’s when the trouble starts.

I booked a ‘while you wait’ appointment and duly waited two hours in the reception area. To  be fair, this was quite a pleasant experience. I had the TV to myself, so watched Countdown in between reading chapters of The Provincial Lady in America and generally relaxed. It was almost as though I was back on holiday.

However, my good mood instantly evaporated when they told me they were done. As it transpires, they were far from done.

Despite my having purchased my warranty from them, they apparently have no idea what is or isn’t covered under the warranty, so didn’t fix the door because it requires a part they didn’t have in stock and don’t know if it’s covered. Fair enough. I told them not to order the part until they could determine if the warranty covered it, because if it didn’t, it would be easier for me to get this done locally.

Then they told me that there was no fault with the petrol cap. Nonsense! says I and a mechanic duly accompanied me out to my car where, lo and behold, the petrol cap wasn’t working. We subsequently found out that this is a known issue with my particular vehicle, so why on earth they thought they could fob me off, I don’t know.

Finally, they claimed that the seat wasn’t working because of debris and that they hadn’t charged me for clearing it out, even though it wasn’t covered by warranty. Now, I had a local mechanic friend look at it for me and he couldn’t see anything blocking the runners and I hadn’t been able to find anything either, but when I got in the seat, I was able to move it forward a bit, so I figured that one out of three was better than nothing.

Not so fast. When I took my daughter to Rainbows that evening, I tried to move the seat back. (I wait while she’s at Rainbows because it’s easier than coming home and going straight out again.) The seat wouldn’t budge. Watching my husband sitting in it this morning trying to move it, you can see it trying to move, but it can’t. So they haven’t fixed the seat either.

All in all, it took them two hours to do nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada. At the most, it would have taken half an hour to clear out the seat (assuming, of course, that they did anything to it at all), and since they didn’t have the part for the door and reckoned the petrol cap was fine, it does make you wonder what they were doing for the other hour and a half. What’s even more irksome is the fact that I was right there, so if they really couldn’t find a problem with the petrol cap, why didn’t they just come and ask me what the issue was?

I let my husband loose on them. That was an entire afternoon of mine wasted, not to mention the fuel in getting down there, and it’s difficult right now for me to get away since my husband isn’t always around to look after the children. They apparently tried to weasel out of things by claiming that they were just looking at the car, not necessarily guaranteeing a fix (two hours to look at what they claimed were non issues??), but eventually conceded that they should fix it and offered the options of getting the car back to them early in the morning (an absolute non starter), having someone come out to collect my car or getting it done locally. Given how much they’ve lied to me, I’m loathe to trust them with my beloved car again, so we’re going for the local option, but I’ll be darned if I pay for the repairs.