I found Family Cars Bristol online and visited them. They were friendly enough. I’d told them over the phone which car I was interested in before I visited them. When I got there, they had the car all ready for me and it had been cleaned too – I should have guessed that this attention to superficial detail was their forté.
I took the car for a test drive and although the smell was a little bit wet-dog, I tried not to worry about that. The car drove just fine so I trusted my gut (and not my nose) and went with it.
One problem with the car was that the blowers didn’t work. This sounds superficial but trust me – in the dead of winter – this was suicide.
When I test drove the car the blowers were working just fine. I learnt though that the blowers wouldn’t work “from cold.” The car had to warm up for ten minutes before the blowers would come on. So imagine me: freezing on a cold black morning in the winter with a frozen windscreen and an immediate mist on the inside from my own breath.
I always had to leave for work early and get the car humming before I set off – a real nightmare scenario.
Family Cars Bristol: Customer Non-Service
So of course, I called Family Cars. I told them I was having a nightmare with the blowers. I told them how dangerous I was finding it. I asked them if they could take a quick look at it – tell me if it was something serious or a quick-fix. They said, “Sure, bring it down on Saturday and I’ll take a look.”
So that’s what I did. I took the car down on my day off and presented it to them. The mechanic slouched into the portacabin that serves as their office and said to me, with a shrug, “It sounds electrical mate; how can I sort it?” He was shaking his head the whole time like he was dumbfounded that people ever need after-sales advice.
So they had invited me down for nothing. I called back a few days later, pleading a little this time. They told me, “It’s got a good engine and gear box. We can’t help you,” and he hung up on me. I was gobsmacked.
Other Problems with my Family Cars Car:
- The driver’s window was off its rails: you have to stop the car and support the window from the outside to close it (I could just avoid opening it but sometimes you have to – toll roads and parking gates)
- The under-chassis and windscreen both leak. Under the driver’s pedals there’s always (always) a pool of water
- The sun-roof had been sealed with silicon sealant (presumably because it leaked)
- The rear-window stop-light had been carefully put back, even though it had long been broken. One tap from me and it shattered back into its original broken form.
- The fog-light indicator on the dashboard blinks. Constantly. This is the most dangerous part. I didn’t even know it was doing that but on the motorway, people would flash me; they thought I was indicating to pull out. Either that or they would flash me endlessly to warn me.
So – just a few months after buying the car from Family Cars: the MOT is up and I have to spend more on the MOT than I paid for the car.
Thinking of buying from Family Cars Bristol? Buyer beware.