It’s never good news when you read what seems to be a case of a garage attempting to rip-off a female.
And tackling a female that knew more about tyres than the Kwik-Fit fitter in this instance.
Being charitable, perhaps he was a new member of staff, doing his best?
Not realising that £360 to fix a puncture was a tad outside the customer’s expectation
But at worst this was a cynical ploy to exploit a motorist who just happened to be female and motoring savvy.
And therein lies the difficulty because female motorist perceptions are such that we imagine this sort of thing happens more often than it does. Although this IS an industry where it does…
The Ripple Effect
When I set up FOXY 11 years ago I did so because I was horrified to think that any Tom, Dick or Joanna could set up a garage and profess to know what they were doing when my brakes needed sorting. Or that I’d be sold expensive tyres when I didn’t need them. My stepdaughter had been well and truly ripped off by a garage rogue and showed no remorse when we tackled him together…
So I wanted to identify the genuinely good garages from the mediocre and worse, requiring the ones we promoted to women to sign the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell motoring services they don’t need.’
The majority of UK garages would never do this I feel sure but that isn’t the point. The point is that too many women think they WILL be ripped off and, despite their independence, numbers and wealth, feel very uncomfortable in macho garage environments. This results in too many women not getting their tyres checked as often as they should and not going to garages to get their cars serviced as often as they should.
So their cars aren’t as well maintained or as safe as they should be – and could be dangerous as a consequence.
And many good garages are missing out on this business, because local ladies don’t realise they have a FEMALE CHOICE.
Sadly some fast-fit businesses cannot sign the FOXY Promise because they pay their staff minimum wages, knowing they will respond to a sales campaign to sell specific services and products to earn commission. So, in a nutshell, some motor industry businesses WILL sell motorists services they don’t need. Female and male customers alike. I do not like this…
FOXY Lady Approved standards
Any FOXY Lady Approved garage joins our network on the basis of FOXY’s pre-determined minimum standards. This could be one of the following – a listing on the IMI Professional Register, a Chartered Trading Standards Institute Code of Practice scheme and other evidence of being better than the rest.
Our standards are based on quality, value for money, cleanliness and customer service although some are more modest than others, to keep prices down. Otherwise this wouldn’t be a FOXY Choice. In addition to an initial compliance visit, we expect all garages to provide a minimum level of good female feedback each year to secure their network place. Most do this easily.
I would rather not comment further about Kwik-Fit other than to say that I honestly think they are working hard to up their game. There will always be weak links in a massive organisation and, providing Kwik-Fit acts upon this negative feedback then that will surely strengthen their internal culture?
But will they be given time to change their spots without changing their brand name? The minute there is a bad story (and where do sensationalist headline hunters head for to get one?) the same old bile is unleashed again from motorists and trade professionals alike. And bad news reflects on us all.
Buying cheap garage services is a risky option
Another risky area in the motor industry is to do with comparison websites and garage brokers who market what they do on the basis of price. We are all conditioned to compare prices and buy the cheapest insurance, and or goods on supermarket shelves. But in an unregulated motor industry where servicing check-lists can easily be ticked (without the check-list ticks being checked ie sometimes the ticked jobs haven’t been done) how can it make sense to buy cheap? When you could be up-sold expensive services (like £360 for a puncture perhaps?) or not realise when safety corners have been cut.
A lady I spoke to yesterday thought she was being ripped off because her MOT garage tried to sell her a car service after 3 years of not having one. I was able to explain that the MOT doesn’t look after her potentially expensive and neglected engine – she then realised that these are complementary nor competing checks and her garage was simply being honest and transparent. But she didn’t know enough to realise this at the outset…
Finally, another area we should all be wary of is when you buy via a garage broker ie you pay a central organisation without knowing which garage (or their credentials) will eventually repair your car. Obviously a broker has negotiated a cheap price to add his cut on top, before selling to you. Yes, you might get your car collected and returned to your doorstep after car servicing, but you mightn’t know how to check the work they have – or haven’t done.
I could write a lot more because this is my subject but I think I’ve probably said enough. So perhaps it’s sufficient to round up by saying…
Here’s how to steer clear of bad garages (and help other motorists)
1) Join the Club and see what else we do here.
2) Help us do a better job in future by posting recent garage feedback here, good, bad or indifferent, for us to share. If you are female and the business is a FOXY Lady Approved one you’ll get a free Club membership (online lifetime one) as a thank you from the business, for your time and comments.
3) If you want to see where your nearest FOXY Lady Approved business is, follow these links.
To see your nearest FOXY Lady Approved tyre service (tyres, wheels, that sort of thing)
To see your nearest FOXY Lady Approved garage/repairer/car dealer for any MOT, servicing and/or repair work.
And by all means call the office on 01903 879988 for more details if we can help you.
PS: Here’s the link to the offending Kwik-Fit story if you’ve read this far.