Rapide – a life-threatening experience

An old friend of mine sent our yahoo egroup an email that tells of his horrible experience with Rapide. I am posting that email here with his permission. Before i post his message, allow me to briefly tell you about my own bad encounter with Rapide years ago. They lost one nut from my rear right wheel when I took my vehicle out from their shop. As a result, that wheel wiggled as I drove. I heard the loud noise it was making after driving for about a kilometer at the speed of 20-40 km/h. It was a good thing I wasn’t on the highway yet. Needless to say, they tightened the nut when I asked them to come to where I was. Their excuse was that the serviceman who attended to my car had an emergency call because his wife was having a baby. My point was, a quality control person/supervisor should have made sure every car that goes out of their shop drives away safely.

Anyway, here’s my friend Jun’s story:

I brought my car to Rapide and I nearly got killed because of their negligence: I’m sharing my story so others won’t be vicitimized.

My experience with them can be summarized into three phases:
A minor problem became a major problem.
The Rapide mechanics tried several times for several days to solve the problem.
When they couldn’t solve the problem, they blamed me and said it’s my fault. Duh.

Talagang Nobody beats rapide. Nobody. Especially on criminal negligence and incompetence.

I had been planning a long drive, so i wanted my ensure my less than five-year old vehicle is ok. So on 27 August, i went to several Toyota shops for a tune-up, but unfortunately they were closed
as it’s a holiday. Then i remembered seeing a rapide shop nearby. I went in, was greeted by the service manager, and saw that the shop looked professional. Not bad, I thought.

I had three concerns: tuneup, not as responsive brakes, and the car moved slightly to the right when i let go of the steering wheel. I was charged 17k for tie rods, ball joints, items for brakes, plus services and I agreed, as it’s small amount to pay for my peace of mind. Or so I thought.

When i picked up the car, they seem to have done an ok job with the tuneup and the brakes. The third item though was the start of a nightmare. They said at least one of the tires should be changed, so I did and on the same day, had it realigned. I was assured by the service manager that the car is now ok.

I noticed that the drive was unstable, but thought that it must be the road. I was wrong. I was driving along the Quezon avenue flyover at around 40kph, when the car suddenly and violently swung
about 60 degrees to the right. i zigzagged violently along the flyover and it was only after ten or fifteen seconds that i regained complete control of the vehicle. You could hear the screeching tires, and I saw that a lot of cars behind me had stopped. Luckily I was on the middle lane else I could’ve hit the flyover, or worse fell from it. I went home driving at around 20kph.

The following day,28 August, i bought another tire, and brought the car to the Rapide. I explained what happened and they immediately concluded that it’s not their fault because one of my wheels is
“oblong.” Take note that these new symptoms never appeared before i had the car checked by Rapide. They said that an oblong tire can cause that violent 60-degree movement. I had my doubts, but I took their word. I had the “oblong” tire replaced by a spare tire and was again assured by the service manager that the car is ok.

The following day,29 August, I drove it to work when the symptoms appeared again. It was so bad that I probably drove 10kph just to get to the office. I called them and they went to makati from qc. They arrived about three or four hours later. before taking away the car though, the service manager told me that it’s my fault, that the two new tires may not have been aligned, that there is no problem with their service, but in the spirit of customer service, he’ll have it checked.
After another two hours, they returned it after having it checked by Rapide Pasong Tamo. Yes, they travelled far to have it checked, but yes, they blamed me for all the problems in the car. And they also charged an extra 500 php, for which I never got a receipt despite several requests.

Relieved after being reassured (again) by the service manager that the car is now ok, I drove home. At 60kph, the symptoms started appearing again. After about a third of my journey, I had to
drive at 10 to 20 kph again, just to get home as the car was just difficult to control beyond that speed.

The following day, 30 August,I’ve had enough and had the vehicle checked by Toyota. I also got a call from them, and they told me to bring the car back so they can “validate my complaint.” Duh.
The guys from Toyota test drove it and we almost hit other cars even at 20kph. Later, they discovered that the tie rods and other spare parts were not installed properly! By the end of the
day, the car was already ok. In short, despite assurances by the Service Manager, Rapide didn’t know what it was doing.

I went to Rapide last 05 September to file a formal complaint. At that point,I still thought I was unaffected by Rapide’s negligence, but when I saw the service manager, I was simply filled with rage. I was still polite and civil, though had he insisted once again that it’s not their fault, I would’ve lost control. Fortunately, he was silent and just received the complaint. When I got home, I sent a soft copy of my letter to the email address on their website. As expected I did not get a response from their customer service. Rapide Kalayaan though offered their “sincere apology” and a refund of the 2k plus that I paid Toyota. And the funniest thing is, once more they
mentioned their commitment to customer satisfaction. Duh. After nearly killing me and blaming me for their incompetence, they still believe they are still kings of customer satisfaction. They’re
guilty of the worst crime against customer satisfaction: dismissing complaints outright and blaming the customer for their shortcomings.

I refused their offer and told them I don’t want to hear from them again. First, they now have zero credibility. Second, the response was an insult given the gravity of their offense and their
illusions about customer service, and third, I feel that it is more important to share my experience to people so that they won’t be victims of Rapide.

I don’t need even a centavo of Rapide’s money. If I can save someone’s life from the negligence of Rapide, my ordeal would’ve been worth it.

Take it from me: if you need your car checked, bring it to casa.

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