A Gaborone business man and the Audi Centre in Botswana are caught between a rock and a hard place following the former’s accusations of unacceptable customer service after they failed to repair his company’s luxury Audi S5 two years after it stopped functioning. While the businessman Ajit Singh Ahuja maintains that he received a raw deal from the motor dealership and that they should compensate him by replacing his car with a new one, Audi Centre is denying any wrongdoing but rather says the businessman ‘story is baseless and devoid of truth.In a letter that this publication is in possession of signed by Ajit Singh Ahuja – the Managing Director of A.S.A. Enterprises (Pty) Ltd – he narrates how sometimes during the mid-year in 2015, one of the directors of A.S.A Enterprises drove the car through a pool of water on a rainy day after which it refused to start.According to Ahuja, after Audi Centre in Gaborone was called in to attend the problem and the vehicle was taken in for service, a few months passed with them saying they were trying to identify the fault. Later on, he said, he was told to fork out P40 000 as money to replace some parts.“However every time we followed up, we were told the workshop personnel were trying to diagnose the fault,” he said, adding that at one point there were told that they (Audi Centre) were expecting a specialist from Cape Town who they said would perhaps be able to know what was at fault, but only to be told at a later date that the car was sent to Johannesburg, South Africa for the second time.But Ahuja says under the circumstances explained, with no clear resolution in sight, on 15 May 2017, A.S.A Enterprises then requested the top management of Audi South Africa/Germany to make a candid decision as to how they intend or wish to compensate them.“Our position which we clearly elucidated to them was that a replacement new vehicle with similar extras was paramount and should be given to A.S.A. in spite of the fact that there were several extras fitted to our vehicle that was also handed over to them. Indeed, by our calculations, the cost of these extras well exceeds Pula One Hundred Thousand Pula. Furthermore, A.S.A. also had to keep paying the vehicle insured during this long period of non-use,” he said.
The cost of the Insurance / Road Tax he said also exceeded one hundred thousand Pula. In addition to this, he said, the depreciation in the market value at the rate of 25 percent per annum hence the residual value of the vehicle was considerably reduced and therefore, their demand for a replacement vehicle of similar standard with additional extras is a fair demand.Unfortunately Audi did not yield to the demands made by A.S.A enterprises. In their corresponding email memo of 23 May 2017 and later reiterated their stance in another memo addressed from Audi South Africa.“We wish to reiterate the contents of our letter dated 23 May 2017. We regret that we cannot meet your expectations. Your concern received the necessary attention and further escalation or analysis will alter our position,” read part of the contents of the letter signed by one Alex Kagande: Office of the Managing Director.A.S.A enterprises, however, maintains that the service rendered by Audi was unsatisfactory and did not address the core of their argument which was the fact that A.S.A. Enterprises had not used the vehicle in question for over two years and the vehicle has had to remain in the custody of Audi during the entire duration of that period to date. Furthermore Audi only confirmed to them that the vehicle was now repaired and was now drivable after much hustle from them (A.S.A). “To further compound the audacity of their pathetic customer service, they requested that A.S.A. pay for the cost of moving the vehicle to South Africa,” he said.They have since vowed not to take this lying and reckon the multinational car dealer has to be held accountable for its ‘unsatisfactory service’.
“It seems clear to A.S.A. that Audi is not at all taking any responsibility in any way, shape or form of what is clearly their responsibility for their poor customer service conduct including a failure to communicate and subsequently their abysmal and pathetic response in resolving the matter. In essence, AUDI deprived A.S.A. access to the vehicle for well over TWO YEARS. This is what we cannot and will not accept. In a nutshell, AUDI have fallen well short of the standard and principles that govern AUDI worldwide,” Ahuja wrote.However Audi Centre representative in Gaborone Clement Motswagothata has dismissed Ahuja’s story saying it is lacking in truth. According to Motswagothata, besides the car being in a perfectly good condition now and drivable, Ahuja owes them an outstanding balance of over P45 000 for the service rendered to him.According to Motswagothata, contrary to the gloomy picture that Ahuja paints, Audi Centre Botswana has gone out of its way to assist him. In fact, he points out that the businessman came to them claiming that his car switched off after he replaced its battery but after they took it in and the problem was properly diagnosed that is when they discovered that it suffered water damage.Motswagothata pointed out that although Ahuja wanted them to use his version of story to vouch for him in insurance claims papers, as an ethical company they refused to comply and that’s when he gave in and let the centre to proceed with repairs on his car. The poor service delivery complaints he said only started when the issue of paying his outstanding balance with them came. He also dismissed Ahuja’s claims that he was only told the car was in good condition after he complained.“We have now handed this matter to our lawyers to find a way forward as this matter has been dragging on for far too long,” said Motswagothata.