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SMG Tonbridge Review (recommended)

LemonDrop

LemonDrop

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
470
Location
Hampshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
We picked our new Beach up from Matt Weller at SMG Tonbridge on Saturday and I would definitely use them again.

From first contact at the end of October 2018 to pick-up on 2nd March 2019 Matt has been nothing but helpful.

I was pretty high maintenance with multiple changes to the order, loads of questions, various after-market add-ons and Matt was always happy to chat and advise.

Handover was very thorough, no trying to get us out the door asap.

Great service from SMG and Matt Weller was a pleasure to deal with. Thanks Matt if you're reading this!
 
Reef21

Reef21

VIP Member
Messages
17
Location
Surrey
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Couldn't agree more. Bought our Ocean from Matt a couple of months ago, and he was a pleasure to do business with. Nothing was too much trouble, and the handover, as yours, was brilliant; spent a long time going through my checklist so that I was satisfied everything was just right before driving off.
 
blondebier

blondebier

Messages
787
Location
Sussex
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Just to balance this out a little.

I get the feeling people have when they collect their vans and are on cloud nine. You're delighted with the van and are most likely happy with the dealer. Positive reviews follow.

I've taken both my vans to SMG Tonbridge for routine servicing. Parking is a nightmare and I'm always relieved to get out of there without any bodywork damage. They've even started doing a vehicle appraisal at drop off to record any existing damage. (Presumably because all the vehicles are so tightly parked damage is inevitable)

For anything other than routine servicing I wouldn't recommend them at all.

I did notice that when I had "SMG" on our first van's number plate the service was better.

Our latest van's plate had "Eurovans" on it. A sarky comment followed and the subsequent service was appalling.

They made a complete hash of a warranty job (took 4 visits to resolve) and this was done by their in-house "cali-expert". The whole job seemed like a hassle from start to finish.

Thankfully SMG Cowfold are not too far and know how to offer good aftercare - regardless of which dealer delivered the van.
 
LemonDrop

LemonDrop

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
470
Location
Hampshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Just to balance this out a little.

I get the feeling people have when they collect their vans and are on cloud nine. You're delighted with the van and are most likely happy with the dealer. Positive reviews follow.

I've taken both my vans to SMG Tonbridge for routine servicing. Parking is a nightmare and I'm always relieved to get out of there without any bodywork damage. They've even started doing a vehicle appraisal at drop off to record any existing damage. (Presumably because all the vehicles are so tightly parked damage is inevitable)

For anything other than routine servicing I wouldn't recommend them at all.

I did notice that when I had "SMG" on our first van's number plate the service was better.

Our latest van's plate had "Eurovans" on it. A sarky comment followed and the subsequent service was appalling.

They made a complete hash of a warranty job (took 4 visits to resolve) and this was done by their in-house "cali-expert". The whole job seemed like a hassle from start to finish.

Thankfully SMG Cowfold are not too far and know how to offer good aftercare - regardless of which dealer delivered the van.
My review is based on my experience from the first contact to picking up my van so is nothing to do with being on Cloud Nine.

I had a good experience of SMG Tonbridge and that is why my review is positive..
 
Last edited:
Amarillo

Amarillo

Tom
Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
8,783
Location
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Just to balance this out a little.

I get the feeling people have when they collect their vans and are on cloud nine. You're delighted with the van and are most likely happy with the dealer. Positive reviews follow.

I've taken both my vans to SMG Tonbridge for routine servicing. Parking is a nightmare and I'm always relieved to get out of there without any bodywork damage. They've even started doing a vehicle appraisal at drop off to record any existing damage. (Presumably because all the vehicles are so tightly parked damage is inevitable)

For anything other than routine servicing I wouldn't recommend them at all.

I did notice that when I had "SMG" on our first van's number plate the service was better.

Our latest van's plate had "Eurovans" on it. A sarky comment followed and the subsequent service was appalling.

They made a complete hash of a warranty job (took 4 visits to resolve) and this was done by their in-house "cali-expert". The whole job seemed like a hassle from start to finish.

Thankfully SMG Cowfold are not too far and know how to offer good aftercare - regardless of which dealer delivered the van.

You are spot on about the parking at Tonbridge. It is awful.

However I’ve had a positive experience with their service department. They wouldn’t replace my awning canopy under warranty due to it creasing in hot temperatures, but as the most serious damage was caused by my then 3 year old tossing gravel onto it, and me then winding it in causing a neat line of punctures, that is hardly surprising.

They are going to replace my tailgate chair bag under warranty on 8 July.
 
J

Jack Slade

Messages
52
Location
Kent
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Smg Tonbridge
1st time dropped van off on a Saturday for a service. Most surprised to get a call on the Monday asking why I had not brought the van in. Had to call them back to be told they had found it in the end. When I picked up the van someone had spent considerable time trying to unsuccessfully peel off a camping site sticker from the windscreen. It took me ages to finish the job. Wife and I noticed both seats had been moved (understandably the drivers) but both sets of armrests were in a different position, all very odd.
A couple of days after another service I had vehicle on tickover for a few minutes while waiting for someone and noticed the engine started smoking. Looked under bonnet and my engine had oil dripping everywhere. The oil dipstick had not been pushed home fully.
Also I had paid for the service plan which I later discovered should have included the first MOT. They had charged me for it at the time. I never noticed this until years later and when queried they never phoned me back to explain.
 
Last edited:
Borris

Borris

Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
5,221
Location
Canterbury
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
I know this is an old thread but my experience with SMG Tonbridge goes back to 2015 so it's probably appropriate to add a comment.

Why did we end up going to SMG Tonbridge in the first place?
After a lengthy period of research during which we had visited at least half a dozen dealers, SMG were one of two that we found to be both knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The other dealership that were excellent was South Hereford Garages in Hereford. All the rest were truly awful. All these bad dealers had one thing in common: they showed between little and no interest in our custom and made little effort to sell their product. One even recommended that we went elsewhere!

What did SMG Tonbridge do to make us feel valued?
We dealt with Laine Watts who is genuinely a very nice chap. Since then we have met their whole sales team on other occasions and they are all a very friendly and accommodating bunch. Laine spent several hours explaning every facet of their California SE demonstrator even though we had gone there to look into buying a Caravelle! He is extremely knoweagble and quickly persuaded us that the California was right for us. We bought that demo. Since then we have purchased two further Calis from SMG Tonbridge, both Beaches and both from Laine. Every time he spent a lot of time explaining everything and on all occasions he gave us a very good discount. All three vans were faultlessly prepared and the handovers were always comprehensive.

What about other SMG Tonbridge services?
On our current van I wanted to retro fit the chrome pack which is quite an involved thing to order. SMG's star parts chap is Chris who went the extra mile to sort things out and give a very healthy discount. He is also a very nice chap. We have had cause to use him on several occasions and he has always been extremely helpful.

Servicing - has always been straight forward with no issues so far.

Warranty claims - Here's where we have had some issues. During our ownership the three vans have needed very little attention but there have been several warranty issues:
1. Alloy wheel centre caps delaminating.
2. Airbag warning light. The passenger seat wiring harness pulled apart when swivelled.
3. Rattling sound from somewhere near the sliding door.
4. 3 x picnic chair failures.
In every case SMG initially claimed that these weren't warranty items. However, after referring items 1,2 and 3 to VW Customer Services, items 2 and 3 were warranty items and were fixed accordingly. Item one was classed as a wear and tear item but after I argued that it clearly wasn't they coughed up the full replacement costs as a good will gesture. They replaced the chairs without quibble after initialIy stating that they weren't covered. I get the impression that the servicing department has to run at a profit and if items aren't genuine warranty claims then VW won't cover the cost so the service department ends up footing the bill thereby reducing that profit. I might be wrong on this but their first line of defence always seems to be to tell the customer that the issue isn't covered under warranty. If you read the advertising blurb, with few exceptions, the original factory warranty and the extended factory warranty are quite clear on this. If it goes wrong or breaks then it should be covered.

So our experience of the team at SMG Tonbridge is excellent and we would thoroughly recommend them. However, be prepared to fight your corner over warranty stuff. I agree about the parking and suggest insisting on a before and after walk round with the service staff with notes being taken on the condition of the vehicle when you drop it off. Any damage will become obvious when you pick it up and difficult to deny. Personally, I always present them with a clean van to make this task easier and I always instruct them NOT too wash the van.
 
Last edited:
J

Jack Slade

Messages
52
Location
Kent
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Is is an old thread I agree but I am waiting a call back from last week that I know they will not make.
I understand a garage not wanting to pay for items that are not covered by the warranty that is only fair. The garage has a far better understanding of what is and what is not covered and to deny that an item that is covered is appalling. You certainly should not have to fight your corner to get what you paid for. Imagine if it was a high cost item.
I appreciate we all have different experiences when we go to a garage, for me servicing was not something I looked forward to.
The purchase of the van did go well and Matt on site looked after any queries I had.
 
Borris

Borris

Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
5,221
Location
Canterbury
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Is is an old thread I agree but I am waiting a call back from last week that I know they will not make.
I understand a garage not wanting to pay for items that are not covered by the warranty that is only fair. The garage has a far better understanding of what is and what is not covered and to deny that an item that is covered is appalling. You certainly should not have to fight your corner to get what you paid for. Imagine if it was a high cost item.
I appreciate we all have different experiences when we go to a garage, for me servicing was not something I looked forward to.
The purchase of the van did go well and Matt on site looked after any queries I had.
Our current van hasn't had it's first service yet and I agree with you, it's not something I'm looking forward to either. Nothing to do with SMG as I'd feel the same where ever it was serviced. I always make a note of the mileage when I drop a vehicle off. If the mileage doesn't correspond with the work carried out then I would always ask questions. I short test drive is fine depending on the work carried out but I want to know why if is was anything more.
Our youngest daughter received a speeding ticket recently. When she looked at the time, it was when her car was in for servicing (not at SMG or even a VW garage ). The chap responsible was on a personal errand in her car whilst supposedly on a test drive. He was sacked.

I've had no such concerns with SMG Tonbridge.
 
Last edited:
GillianC

GillianC

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
1,284
Location
Basingstoke
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
If I can't easily park when I arrive at a dealership I stop wherever is safe to do so, go in, give them the keys, go outside with them and look at the condition of the van and then leave them to deal with it.
Why should I have to drive round and squeeze myself into a space (where it could be damaged by another van) when I am the customer?
Agree about the sales staff at SMG Tonbridge but the parking is rubbish, as it seems to be at other dealerships I have been to ie Breeze Poole and Totton and Martins in Basingstoke.
 
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