In this month’s Shopping with Campaign, Eleanor Trickett vents her
concern at the apparent ease with which one can make a major purchase
over the internet.
I’ve seen the Vauxhall ad and, frankly, I’m worried. The one in which
Griff Rhys- Jones and his offspring buy a clutch of Vauxhalls over the
internet by mistake.
Is it really that easy? It is a particular worry to someone like me who
is likely to drunkenly surf the net, end up at Amazon and promptly
forget about it until the following week when it transpires that I have
bought all six volumes of Chicken-Sexing, Intermediate Level.
So I check out the Vauxhall site, armed with the company credit card,
while taking some time out to see if it is the only car manufacturer
that allows you to buy cars online.
The first thing that occurs on entering the site is that you have to be
good at following detailed instructions and know how a website works in
order to buy a car. (On the other hand, if you are not au fait with such
things, perhaps you shouldn’t be put in charge of a moving vehicle at
The site formulaically takes me through a process of customising my
chosen car (three-door Corsa, Star Silver with Regurgitated Fish Pie
trim*), then takes me through to the finance bit alarmingly quickly.
Can’t they tell I’m only joshing?
Er, yes, apparently they can. After about one hour trying to get through
the financing page, only to get the ’bad URL’ message - even trying on
our internet editor’s PC, I give up.
Unlike the online car supermarkets - masters of the pile-it-high,
sell-it-cheap method - I expected something a little more personal from
I never really had the feeling that they were trying to build a
relationship with me; it all seemed so ... sudden, somehow. A girl wants
to be wooed before she jumps into bed with someone, but this felt a bit
like a one-night stand followed by a dawn flit.
At least Vauxhall’s claim was right.
It does appear to be the only car manufacturer that sells cars over the
net. But I decide to check out some car supermarkets for my Vauxhall
Autobytel, which is staggeringly quick, easy and efficient, gives me
more information about Vauxhall cars than the Vauxhall site. The
financing instructions are also much quicker and more straightforward,
with more options. This site knocks Vauxhall’s into a cocked hat.
As does Autohit. It has independent reviews of the car and a cute little
menu called ’kicking the tyres’. Forget the specialists, I say, head to
the big guys.
PS. To update Claire Beale’s Shopping with Campaign (5 November), may we
congratulate Pret a Manger, Hammersmith, for addressing her complaint
about the lack of milk in her filter coffee. They now give you little
espresso cups full of milk so you can put as much or as little in as you
like. Now that’s customer service.
*Not strictly true.