The story so far: The heated driver's seat of my VW Golf MkIV malfunctioned and burned through the upholstery, scorching my thigh. VW UK told me this was simply a sign of the vehicle's age (8 years) rather than a safety issue - even though there was a recall of some VW Golf Mk IVs because of a safety issue affecting the driver's heated seat. They completely failed to investigate whether there was a link. so I emailed a link of my last blog post 'Driver's Seat Burn Alert!' to the President of VW in Germany.
I guessed that while the UK distributor may be too arrogant to investigate customer safety alerts the Germans would be much more concerned. My instincts were correct. A week or so after emailing the most senior man in Volkswagen I received an email advising me they were looking into the matter. The German parent replied:
We refer to your e-mail dated September 3rd 2009, addressed to our Chairman Prof. Dr. Winterkorn. As you will have noted from our interim reply, our department has been requested to reply and we were sorry indeed to read about the disturbing experiences you have made, which prompted you to write. In view of these, we like to liaise with our importer Volkswagen UK in order to look for an appropriate and satisfactory solution. Either our importer or we will get back to you then.
Three days later VW UK's safety liaison officer phoned me to apologise and explain that correct procedures had not been followed.
He understood that I had been quoted for a new seat, when I was actually concerned about safety.
A safety report should have been completed by the servicing retailer, and this would have come to his attention.
By way of apology and as a gesture of goodwill VW would like me to take the vehicle to any dealership - where they would carry out the report and at the same time replace the seat at no cost to myself.
I've found emailing my blog posts to the relevant company Chief Executive produces a remarkably swift result.