Buying a car in tears…

Screenshot-4Last night I watched Inside Out South on BBC TV about a Mrs Phillips who had a nasty car shopping experience involving an unscrupulous car dealer in Hampshire.

Her husband suffers from dementia, they drive a smart and immaculate low mileage 59 plate Citroen C3 and they’d been tempted by a VIP invitation to attend a car showroom sales event. No harm in that, surely?

When they got there the wife was sufficiently impressed by the promotion to say she was interested in a new car and to pay £1000 deposit towards a new car. I didn’t catch the model concerned.

A little later on the car in question was delivered to her door. It wasn’t new, it had higher mileage than her C3 and there were considerable signs of wear and tear. It looked much worse than her own car. Needless to say she said she wasn’t happy and didn’t want to buy this. “Can I have my money back?”

Out came the verbal thumbscrews.

“You said you wanted this.” “I got this car specially for you.” “The deposit is non refundable”… as this unscrupulous salesman digs in for his commission here.

Then we heard about the price. A car that was worth £4240 as a trade price had been valued at £2700 when used in part exchange. A £1500 rip off and that’s before they marked it up on their website to £5800. Outrageous.

Happily she had family to turn to (often they don’t) and presumably the son or daughter alerted Jon Cuthill at the BBC. Needless to say, in the face of this publicity, the dealer admitted defeat, said they would not take things further and gave Mrs Phillips her money back.

She’d learned a big lesson. Don’t pay a deposit for a car you haven’t seen. Or when you’ve got a perfectly nice and fairly new one…

Stress had taken its toll of course. She doesn’t get compensation for that of course.

“I never thought I’d buy a car in tears.”

“I wake up in the morning and wish this would go away.”

“I’m scared they’ll come and take our car away.”

“It completely ruined a special anniversary.”

But as the likes of consumer programmes know, to get the customer out of tricky situations like this often involves promising not to tell others the name of the business. That’s what irritates me most because I fervently believe in naming and shaming – especially in an industry where salesman don’t have to be licensed to sell us cars ethically. And where too many salesmen are totally unprincipled here, targeting vulnerable ladies like Mrs Phillips.

Yes, we’ve had to remove public blogs to get members a settlement too… but only after we’ve told local ladies the facts and who the offender was. We can get away with this within the Members Area of the Club website as this is reserved for Club members alone.

And if the business doesn’t budge, we award them Red Cards and keep poking them via blogs like this and using social media. I wish I knew the car dealer in Hampshire that used such bully-like tactics here. I’d be delighted to give them a good poke today…

FOXY Steph

How to impress women with your driving skills

Road-Rage-Dump-E-card1The IAM have just sent me details of recent research from a behavioural psychologist confirming what I/we know to be true.

That male and female motorists are different and respond differently to behavioural triggers.

What intrigued me most was that 80% of women found bad driving to be a real turn off (ie they are talking about men here) whereas only 48% of men felt that way about women drivers.

Now I’m not sure that these percentages are borne out of driving ability by gender (let’s not go there, I’m not feeling that brave today…) but it does suggest that if you want to impress the opposite sex, more men than women need to drive better than they do.

In this study, 50 participants – 25 women and 25 men – took part to detect the impact of bad driving on their levels of attraction. Reactions were measured in terms of pupil dilation, blink rate, pulse rate, body language and a questionnaire. Here’s how they fared…

Key findings

+ 80% of women found bad driving a turn off
+ 60% of women displayed an increase in pulse rate indicating stress levels watching footage of bad driving
+ Attraction levels in women dropped by nearly 50 per cent after watching footage of bad driving
+ Women showed signs of anxiety while watching a man driving badly –furrowing their brows and shaking their heads
+ 88 per cent of women said they’d prefer to date someone who is always late, than one who breaks the speed limit
+ After footage of good driving, 24% of women felt more positive towards the driver.

Women’s top five driving turn-offs

1. Illegal overtaking
2. Road rage
3. Bad parking
4. Texting while driving
5. 3-point turn

Driving that impresses women

Fortunately guys there are ways to check out, improve your driving and impress her in future. If you are as good a driver as you say you are (there’s the FOXY gauntlet guys) why not take a totally free driver assessment from the IAM to be sure it’s not you behind the wheel she’s turned off by.

And ladies, this offer is equally as appropriate for you because it’s often the confidence boost we need to prove our safer driver gender record.

And whether we are good, bad or indifferent drivers, EVERYONE can improve their skills so what’s not to like about this IAM offer?

Here’s how to claim this offer

You can claim this totally FREE offer and be sure there’ll be no follow up spam or efforts to sell you more training.

Here’s the information and link you need.

Clearly the IAM hopes you WILL want more trainin afterwards and if you do, I suggest you read my review of the Skill For Life programme that sorted my driving out and gave me back my driving confidence after being injured in a road accident.

This free offer is valid until the end of the year and comes with no obligation in terms of future driver training. Although it sounds to me as if a lot of male drivers could do with taking this further, if they want to impress their date in future…

Fiddled emissions whilst VW burns

VW 15921The VW share price is plummeting. Credibility of the many VW brands is affected. Perhaps their F1 ambitions have just gone up in smoke?

“We screwed up”, “we’ve been dishonest” and “we’re truly sorry” says their US CEO Michael Horn. But is that good enough?

Clearly the emissions scandal will run and run with lots of new whistleblowers adding to industry flames. VW Group testing software in the US appears to have been tinkered with resulting in certain diesel engines appearing to run cleaner than they really do – when tested by agencies appointed by manufacturers that is.

I’m relieved to read the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) saying this couldn’t happen in the UK because of the EU’s independent testing regime. Let’s hope they’re right.

VW BoardInterestingly the main VW Board is all male. And what has the likes of McKinsey been telling us for years? That women matter because we bring ethical values, a collaborative approach and environmental awareness to Board room decisions. In short, where gender balance exists organisations are healthier from the point of view of finance and efficiency. This isn’t rocket science guys but it’s clear you weren’t listening to the gender message when you should have been.

It looks to me that the VW Board could do with female Executive Board Directors to teach them business values and ethics. They were too busy studying the wrong metrics – now see how this negligence affects their beloved balance sheet…

But an equally worrying issue is surely, if the likes of main Board Directors at VW can be THIS unethical, no wonder the global motor industry suffers the image it does. Because it seems to be TRUE of the very top?

Will any of those male Directors held to account be replaced by women?

Let’s hope so but I’m not holding my breath…

Finally let’s hope this is a scandal purely involving the VW Group… but let’s not forget the potential reach – their prestigious brands include VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche.

How could this happen in such a family, unless high level individuals knew and condoned this… That’s shocking.

FOXY Steph


Tyre Safety garage evening in Swadlincote

white_overallsFOXY Lady Approved Elmbridge Tyre Services is holding a tyre safety evening for local motorists in Swadlincote on Tuesday 29 September 2015 from 5.30pm to 7pm.

The event includes:

·         Welcome talk & a few tyre care tips from MD Gareth Williams and industry expert Phil Brookes of Micheldever Tyre Services.

·         Under bonnet checks (oil/water levels) by a qualified & experienced mechanic followed by a question & answer session.

·         Demonstration on how to safely change a spare wheel with your car’s own equipment. Gareth does the explaining & tyre technician Hannah does the practical demonstration.

·         Wheel alignment demo using new state-of-the-art equipment, performed by one of our technicians.

Usually attendees form 3 small groups & rotate between the demos.

The whole event lasts around 1.5 hours & light refreshments are included – that’s savoury bites from Birds the Confectioners & drinks. Finally goodie bags are usually given out with some useful driving/tyre related freebies at the end.


NB: Any ladies having their tyres checked on the night and getting a clean bill of health are entitled to claim a free gift membership from FOXY Lady Drivers Club, worth £23, entitling them to preferential car insurance terms and many other time and moneysaving support services.

All they have to do is claim this freebie, courtesy of Elmbridge Tyre Services via the FOXY Lady Drivers Club Facebook Page between 1 and 31 October 2015 ie during TYRE SAFETY MONTH.

Ladies who’d like to attend can take their friends, partners or husbands too. The event is at Elmbridge Tyre Services, 16 Hearthcote Rd, Swadlincote DE11 9DR on Tuesday 29 September from 5.30pm to 7pm.

Please call Gareth first, as a matter of courtesy, on 01283 221 288, to check that there are spaces.

Pushy car salesmen are a female turn off

female new car shoppingDidn’t the automotive industry see us women coming? That’s the gender buying the cars of course as in influencing between 80-90% of all new cars bought? And if not, why not?

I’d suggest this is because few women are as happy as they should be with the traditional car shopping haggling experience in dealerships.

This is what car buying compare and contrast service CarWow found after carrying out a recent survey.

1/ 77% of women are put off by a pushy salesperson.
2/ 33% of women are put off by long waiting times for car delivery in a dealership.
3/ 36% of women were annoyed by the lack of knowledge displayed by too many showroom staff.


These are all the reasons why we introduced our FOXY Lady Approved new car network. To identify the businesses that are getting service levels right for women drivers versus those that simply think they should treat men and women the same.

But these findings confirm that treating men and women the same is not good enough guys. Clearly we expect more. Hadn’t you realised women are different? Just spend some time thinking who does the shopping in your family and how he or she goes about this compared to you…

It’s also the case that women working in the UK car industry are rarely like women that aren’t because they’ve got used to cars, working in a masculine environment and jumping into/driving new cars without a second thought.

But without wanting to be seen to patronise the growing number of women who know more about cars and their workings than many men, most of us are happy to admit we know little about cars and garage services. Which is why we need and rely on professionals getting things right for us – we expect to be understood and treated with respect as a minimum. And because we’re increasingly spening our money or influencing where he spends his…

And if you think this is a one-off gender attention-seeking survey think again. Check out the recent Good Housekeeping survey re car dealerships perhaps. Or talk to us at FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

This is not what women should be thinking after a recent car shopping experience. But, looking on the bright side, this does mark a BIG opportunity for those genuinely female friendly businesses to promote their female friendly services to women thus stealing a lead over lesser and complacent others.

Thank you for this CarWow.

FOXY Steph

A blog for women about motoring