Last night Channel 4’s Dispatches programme broadcast a report about car insurance and what happens when you need it most, at claims time and following an accident.
During it the OFT described the industry as dysfunctional and Malcolm Tagg, the CEO of VBRA (the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association), said that some insurer practices were immoral which gives you a clue about the tone of the programme.
We were looking at a purported culture that puts insurer profits ahead of doing the right thing in many cases and if some of the examples of cavalier management dismissing safety concerns are in any way typical, I’d be very very depressed indeed.
But they aren’t of course; they’re simply exceptions to do with the very small percentage of bad businesses (insurers and repairers alike) that are allowed to survive in their respective industries.
And we must now leave the Competition Commission to do its job re the all too common, short term and highly unsavoury mutual back scratching referral practices that are never in the long term best interests of the motorist – we who are expected to foot the bill for such folly.
Coincidentally this programme was aired on the same day as we launched our new FOXY Lady Approved© Accident Repair Centre network at the FOXY Choice website. Rest assured there are some fabulous and caring bodyshop and SMART repairer businesses out there who deserve more support on the basis of their investment in quality and processes to improve customer service.
We’re promoting them to women drivers and members of the Club of course via the FOXY Lady Drivers Club website as well. Accredited technicians, Kitemark licensees, manufacturer approval and those that operate to an OFT Approved Code are the standards we see as a cut above the rest.
We also welcome the sight of women in customer facing roles and, whilst quality is no guarantee of a genuinely female friendly business we’ve found, all FOXY Lady Approved© businesses have to sign a promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need’ before we’ll consider any application to join us.
Yes, I can hear some of you thinking… ‘none of this should be necessary’ but the problem is that the perception it will is there in the female mind. Too many women think the motor industry is out to get them by baffling them with jargon and ripping them off. A perception based on the scattergun promotion of industry complaints schemes we’re not used to seeing elsewhere perhaps but regularly topped up by real life negative (but well-intentioned) programmes like Dispatches…
Instead, I’d like to see more good news about the motor industry making it onto the public radar on occasion. How about some publicity about FOXY Choice giving motorists a female friendly choice so that all motorists, not just female ones, can rely on higher, more ethical and caring standards from tried and tested repairers after an accident that inevitably leaves them out of pocket, inconvenienced, considerably stressed and sometimes with very serious injuries and consequences to cope with afterwards.
Now that would be welcome news to hear for a change.