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 Post subject: Friends Green Porsche - Extremely Bad Experience
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:27 pm 
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Hi all,

Longtime lurker here, unfortunate that my first post has to be a grumble! However, I feel obliged to write up the following as I'm feeling pretty aggrieved at the experience I've just had with Friends Green Porsche over the last week.

For those of you without the inclination or the patience to read the rest of this post:

TLDR: Luke at Friends Green Porsche is refusing to refund my £500 deposit after I chose not to go ahead with the purchase of a 996 due to a major engine issue identified by my pre-purchase inspection.

So I’ve been looking for a 996 for a number of months now. I’ve seen five or six in total, some in significantly less delightful condition than others. Here is where our current story begins in earnest: I went to see a car at Friends Green Porsche in Hitchin on the 31st January (found on the venerable eBay, no less, and most likely advertised incorrectly as having a ‘factory fitted' aero kit). To my generally ill-trained eye it appeared to be in reasonably good condition - mostly good bodywork, a little rust around the arches, pretty reasonable leather interior, the engine appeared to be fine, etc. After whatever due diligence that I could capably perform myself, I informed the seller that I’d like to have the car inspected properly, but would make an offer contingent on it passing the inspection with no major issues. We agreed a price, signed a contract stating that if any issues were found, either they would be fixed by the seller before the sale, or the deposit (500 of my hardest earned Pounds Sterling) was to be fully refunded - I left a happy man, dreaming excitedly of European road trips in my magnificent new wheels.

Fast forward a few days, and the results from the inspection were in (carried out by no less than the inimitable staff at “Porsche Inspections”, having considered that only the best and most thorough inspection would be fitting for my soon to be acquired mechanical beauty). The results were, mortifyingly, not good. The ECU was reading out a camshaft deviation value of -12.8 degrees (spec range +/- 6 degrees. Actual cam angle -1.1 degree at idle, spec +/-1 degree), in addition to a range of other smaller issues (one of them - the rusty brake-pipes responsible for a recent MOT failure had been ‘rubbed down’ and waxoyled, rather than replaced). Ouch.

Being wholly unacquainted with the vagaries of the internals of the M96 engine, I set out to understand the following day exactly what the camshaft timing results could entail. Concurrently, I had a number of phone calls with the seller, and the mechanic that he generally uses to understand whether a) it could be fixed and b) there was a way that the seller and I could come to agreement on fixing it c) whether that was an option that I wanted to pursue. The seller also at this point told me he wanted to order parts for the car as soon as possible, which I requested he defer from, being unsure as to how to proceed.

The seller’s mechanic suggested a range of actions that could be taken to try to identify the root causes of the issue and *potentially* fix it. These ranged from cutting open the oil filter, examining the IMS bearing, pulling the chain tensioners, checking the cam timing, and examining the variocam wear pads, although none of these he suggested could necessarily be identified as the ultimate cause or solution to the measured camshaft deviation, which I have been told is just as likely to be due to a multitude of other factors including a worn timing chain, worn or slipping sprockets, etc etc etc.

The eagle eyed reader will remember that the seller had promised, contractually, to fix any major issues identified with the car before sale. However, at this point, the goalposts shifted somewhat. Absolutely, the seller would have his mechanic look at the car, but only on the condition that I pay for it upfront, collect it from his premises, and subsequently take it back to his mechanics garage to have the engine looked at when the mechanic could book it in (two weeks away). Not only this, but I was to pay extra for the privilege (“it will be worth more having had the engine work carried out on it”, I was told). Many people would probably have flatly refused the (made in dubious good faith) offer from the seller at this point. Mea culpa!

Exploring the issue further that day, and having talked to another Porsche garage (whose reputation for comprehension of Porsche engines is second to none) it became clear to me that it there was a chance it be would impossible to correctly diagnose or fix the extremely out of spec camshaft deviation issue as a result of the suggested investigation (which was to take place with the engine in situ in the car), and that it was potentially due to worn components that would require a full engine stripdown and rebuild to properly identify and rectify. Due to the sellers insistence that I purchase the car first, before any further investigative or remedial work was to be carried out, I decided against this as a course of action.

No problem, I thought - I’ll tell the seller of my findings (approximately 1.5 days after receiving a copy of the inspection report), and he’ll be more than happy to void the agreement that we had and refund my deposit in its entirety. Young chap, seemed fairly reasonable, specialist dealer, not a bad reputation on the forums, how could he reasonably refuse, I pondered.

The answer is - apparently with consummate ease. According to the seller, because I’ve breached an agreement with him (the terms of which are not entirely clear to me), he is now withholding my £500 (although he did, for clarity, offer me a partial refund). This is, I will remind you, after I decided that I didn’t want to take the risk of buying a 996 with an engine potentially requiring a full rebuild (at an estimated cost of £5k - £10k) in the not too distant future, something which I’m perfectly entitled to do, both contractually and under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This is obviously on top of the £410 that I paid out for the inspection. Ergo, I’ve now thrown away the very best part of £1k because of a fault identified by my inspection, before sale, on a car offered by a professional trader?

Unfortunately, my protestations with the seller have fallen on deaf ears, so unfortunately I’m going to have to pursue less pleasant avenues to reclaim the money that is due to me.

I certainly haven’t appreciated being treated with such contempt and disdain, having acted in entirely good faith during the entire process. Luke at Friends Green Porsche is entirely aware of who I am (and has threatened to report any post I write for 'slander'), but to comply with the forum regulations my name is Jerome Dilley. The car is a 2000 silver 996, aerokit cup, registration W352 VLC.


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 Post subject: Re: Friends Green Porsche - Extremely Bad Experience
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:26 pm 
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Umm interesting. Not a lot to add apart from I see Ray Northway has done quite a few of the services. I've always been impressed with Ray when he has worked on my car. Have you had a word with him?
If what you say is 100% correct then a county court summons for the deposit should see it back.

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 Post subject: Re: Friends Green Porsche - Extremely Bad Experience
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:07 am 
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How did you pay the deposit?


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 Post subject: Re: Friends Green Porsche - Extremely Bad Experience
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:25 pm 
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tr7v8 wrote:
Umm interesting. Not a lot to add apart from I see Ray Northway has done quite a few of the services. I've always been impressed with Ray when he has worked on my car. Have you had a word with him?
If what you say is 100% correct then a county court summons for the deposit should see it back.


Thanks - no I haven't been in touch with Ray, although I have heard he has a very good reputation. I've made the seller aware that I'm prepared to pursue this through civil action if necessary...


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 Post subject: Re: Friends Green Porsche - Extremely Bad Experience
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:31 pm 
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sam wrote:
How did you pay the deposit?


Bank transfer, unfortunately - the seller doesn't accept card payments, otherwise it would have gone straight onto the Mastercard!


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 Post subject: Re: Friends Green Porsche - Extremely Bad Experience
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:33 pm 
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A very interesting first post and if 100% accurate, then I am sure that you will get your money back. Maybe worth contacting Trading Standards.

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 Post subject: Re: Friends Green Porsche - Extremely Bad Experience
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:39 pm 
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If you are still struggling to get your deposit back then the small claims procedure in the County Court is a very simple and quick process by which to rectify these things. Once someone receives the court paperwork I find they instantly buckle.....


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