Elinor Rollo was being driven around the bend for months by a recurring and increasingly expensive problem with her car.
In mid-January, the 48-year-old from Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, had to call out the RAC after the steering column on her 2015 Dacia Duster suddenly jammed when she turned the key, rendering the vehicle immobile.
“The breakdown man managed to unlock it but he advised I drive straight to a garage and have it repaired,” said Elinor.
She left the car with Park’s Nissan in Irvine, where she had bought it when it was new.
The next day she got a call from the dealership to say the issue couldn’t be rectified.
The vehicle, she was told, would need a new ignition barrel and key blade.
“Because the car was out of warranty it was going to cost in excess of £350,” said Elinor.
“I agreed to this, and was advised a key would have to be made that was specific to the car, and it would take around 10 days.”
Meantime, she was using a hire car at a further cost of £600.
“It was already becoming a very expensive exercise,” she said.
However, six days after getting her Dacia back at the start of February, Elinor ran into further problems when she stopped for petrol.
“I discovered that neither of my keys fitted the fuel cap,” she said. “At this point, I tried the spare key in the ignition and realised it didn’t fit that, either.”
Elinor made another trip back to Park’s to advise of the latest issue.
“While waiting in reception it occurred to me that if neither of my keys fitted the fuel cap, they might also not fit any of the doors or the boot.”
When this was checked out, it was discovered that Elinor was right. Neither key would open any of the other locks and only one worked in the ignition.
“I do quite a bit of driving on country roads so this could have been a serious issue for me,” said Elinor.
“Because neither of my keys would work in the doors, if the battery went on the main key which is operated by a remote control, I would be locked out of my car and I could have been stranded.
Park’s staff gave Elinor a non-locking fuel cap and said they would raise the issue of the keys and locks with Dacia.
After another few frustrating weeks of to-ing and fro-ing with Dacia and Parks, Kim was shocked when told that it would cost a further £700 to fully rectify the problem.
“I thought I was going to explode,” she said.
“I had already paid £350 for a new ignition barrel and it also cost me £600 for a rental car while mine was in being fixed.”
At the end of her tether, Elinor contacted Raw Deal and we asked Dacia to look into the issue. The company thereafter agreed to cover the £700 costs.
Dacia UK said: “The issue with the ignition barrel did fall outside of the manufacturer warranty period, and is therefore not covered under warranty.
“However, upon further investigation it is clear that the key should have not have arrived in the way that it did and should have matched the other locks on the vehicle.
“For that reason, Dacia UK will ensure that the other locks are replaced at no additional cost to Ms Rollo.
“Our customer relations team have discussed this with Park’s Irvine, and we understand that they will be contacting her to arrange for the work to be done at her convenience.”
Elinor said she was thankful to Raw Deal for helping to bring the stressful saga to an end.