Tag Archives: FOXY Lady Drivers Club

Women drivers charged for accident car hire

I know it’s a minefield and I am not an insurance expert but I have just been talking to a women driver who wanted to know her entitlement to a hire car; she was very distressed with the progress of her car insurance accident claim. Very often we find that the policy stated entitlement to a hire car is too short a period whilst a car is either repaired or the woman needs to buy a replacement – clearly this is a way to cut back on operating costs and reduce premiums/increase profits?

In this instance I was talking about an apparent ‘no fault’ situation ie where the motorist had been asked to pay for costs which she thought were unfair.

The legal precedent here is Clark v Ardington (2002) where female motorist Mrs Clark was driving her Vauxhall when it was hit from behind by a vehicle from Ardington Electrical Services. The case was to do with who should pay for the vehicle hire for Mrs Clark when the accident car repair took longer than it should have done, according to the insurance policy wording ie its terms and conditions. Should it be the motorist or the insurer (to then reclaim this from the guilty party). There were added complications because she had asked her husband to sort it all out for her and perhaps one thought the other had done something and so on.

On this occasion the Court of Appeal determined that Mrs Clark had done nothing wrong and that she should be put back in the same financial position as she was before the accident damage took place. The actual wording of the judgment was

“the fundamental principle is that a person whose car has been damaged is entitled to compensation for the loss caused. In a case where such loss includes loss of use and he (she) establishes a need for a replacement, he (she) is entitled to the cost of hiring a replacement car. He (she) can go round to the nearest car hire company and is prima facie entitled to recover the amount charged whether or not the charge is at the top of the range of car hire rates. However the basic principle is qualified by the duty to take reasonable steps to mitigate the loss. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances.”

As I see it, the emphasis as always is on behaviour that is reasonable BUT any innocent female motorist should not be held liable in these circumstances by a motor insurer if delays to the repair of her vehicle take longer than expected for reasons outside her reasonable control.

She should, however, do her best to minimise these costs ie to choose a comparable car to hire, not the top of the range just because it was there.

But the problem is that many insurers will hide behind their policy wording and use junior staff to try to fend off any claims outside the written word no matter their reasonableness. That’s a summary of FOXY’s experience at least…

Whereas car insurance providers for women who go that extra mile can actively demonstrate providing more than the policy states – that surely adds to customer loyalty and is by far the wiser business strategy in the long term…

If you are shopping for female friendly car insurance soon, you can find out more about female feedback about car insurance for women here.


Record complaints in UK car dealerships

I picked up a great foxy tip from a lady driver I met this morning at a Business Link ‘Access to Finance’ seminar in Burgess Hill this morning.

She told me how she had been able to prove that she had been been treated unfairly and patronised after having her car serviced in a car dealership in Sussex.

I attend a lot of networking events as part of my job and more often than not, as soon as I say I run a motoring association for women I get told lots of stories (by men too) which remind me why FOXY Lady Drivers Club is needed and how we fill a genuine service gap for women who often find the UK motor industry to be a long way short of female friendly.

On this occasion however, a lady told me something I hadn’t thought about before and I am sufficiently impressed to want to add it to FOXY’s motoring tips in future.

Whilst we rarely blame and shame businesses in a public arena (because they clearly need our constructive help more than a poke in the eye) we will always make feedback about serious service shortcomings available to local members within the Club to be sure they don’t suffer the same plight. And in this way we all learn what is and isn’t acceptable here.

Where possible we welcome the chance to sort things out with the business but if they won’t listen we simply tell other females in their area to steer clear (we are foxy as in shrewd, canny and astute by nature, don’t forget…). And in the unlikely event that the garage or dealership had signed the FOXY Promise and/or was listed at the new female friendly approved website, we’d reserve the right to remove them from any FOXY listings (and we would if it was the right thing to do, trust me).

In this instance the car was a fairly new LandRover and I think it was still in warranty. Within yards of the dealership and after an expensive servicing the car developed a fault which the driver associated with the work carried out during the car servicing. The dealership staff maintained that this was a new problem and that it would be a separate job and therefore chargeable. No deal in short and no compromise either.

Now this lady knew her stuff and made it clear that she wanted things sorted out for free and some compensation into the bargain for her inconvenience. When she arrived at the dealership in West Sussex to explain what she knew to be true,  she was shown into a meeting room where a male panel of senior bods closed ranks on her, told her she was wrong and, in her words, tried to intimidate her.

At the back of this room sat her two daughters one of whom she had given her mobile phone to, to entertain her whilst Mum sought a solution.


After their meeting, when there was no sign of any compromise from the dealer team, they retired to compare notes and Mum went back to sit with her daughters.

Imagine her surprise when the daughter with the phone told her that she’d discovered that the phone could record messages so she’d recorded their conversation and as they played it back together Mum and her daughters all had a laugh at how poorly she had been treated.

This exchange was disturbed by a member of the dealer team who abruptly left the room and told his colleagues they’d been recorded. The long and the short of it was that our very foxy lady driver did a lot better than she imagined and was asked to promise not to publish her tape on YouTube.

Oh that she has kept this recording for FOXY dealership training purposes…

The moral to this story is, when you are in the right and you are dealing with unreasonable people, take someone with you to witness or record proceedings. Or if you aren’t as confident as the lady in this story, join FOXY first and we’ll hold your hand through the experience.

Our lady now has an alternative garage provider who is also servicing her farm equipment including tractors ;-).

FOXY Choice has yet to contact this dealership, despite them being well known and within a reasonable distance of FOXY HQ but when we do I shall explain that their need for female friendly staff training is a whole lot more urgent than they probably realise.

Good on you Mum (and her telecom-savvy daughter of course…)


“Don’t let a man put anything over on you except an umbrella.”
Mae West

Get your car checked before winter sets in

I have just returned from a business lunch where one of the women had to leave early because she had booked her taxi in advance, after her car hadn’t started this morning.


This reminded me of FOXY’s latest top ten motoring tips and advice for women drivers, should your car break down. It’s always a most stressful time when this happens and often when you need your car most.

To make sure your car is as fit as it can be, with winter on the horizon, FOXY advises members to take advantage of their free seasonal car fitness check (worth £15) and make sure that their car (and in particular the car’s battery) is up to full strength for the coming months.

I would imagine the lady I met would have her car serviced regularly but in case your last car service was some time ago, all members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club can claim a free seasonal car check from a FOXY approved female friendly garage to include tyres, lights, oil, coolant, CO2 and battery levels. All this takes is 20 minutes.

This will keep you safer on the roads and you may even save money too because a garage professional is more likely to identify a serious mechanical problem than an amateur and before it gets very expensive to repair.


With apologies to Mabel Lucie Attwell at Autumn-time:

Please remember, don’t forget

…have you had your car checked yet?”

How to tell if a garage is REALLY female friendly?

To be genuinely female friendly in my book any garage, dealer or dealership has to be one of the very best there are and be able to prove this to discerning foxy ladies in their area.

It’s all too easy to say ‘we are female friendly’ or ‘we are a good garage’.

What’s to stop bad and unfriendly garages, dealers and dealerships from using this as a marketing ruse? And some do, believe me 😉 without understanding what women want (which is not colouring a male product pink…).

Well I thought long and hard about this before I set up FOXY Lady Drivers Club and again before launching the female friendly FOXY Choice garage website last year because whoever sets out these standards must be totally independent and not influenced by an owner or sponsor that has a vested interest in spinning the marketing message in their direction. Which must be tempting.

You could say, for example, that Forte Oils has a vested interest in signing up any garage that will sell a lot of their oil and fill in gaps in their UK network. But they have a brand image to preserve so presumably they are weeding out any chancers as they go…

Similarly you could also say that the Motor Codes service and repair scheme, sponsored as it is by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders who represent the new car manufacturers, have a vested interest in promoting franchised dealerships over independent garages, which this scheme does in the ratio of some 80:20 still, despite knowing that dealerships carrying out garage services will charge motorists up to 30% more than they’d pay otherwise in a quality independent garage. But you could also say it was a brave attempt, they have tried (albeit long after the dealerships got their towels down first) and this ratio might be improving slightly by now…

But the real way to judge a quality or female friendly business is surely by giving the customer (in this context the female motorist) the information they need to make the right buying choice for them. I find that women drivers want to be reassured by ‘feeling’ the quality and customer service in advance, be this in terms of doing their homework online concerning business facilities, services, amenities, awards, values and other female satisfaction levels.

The only problem with testimonials, I find, is that they can so easily be written by anyone or those with a vested interest again, and to order. I know this happens because we follow up the many recommendations we get and very often the surnames are the same as the business owners so it isn’t rocket science to spot this!

The best way for the moment is surely through self-certification where the business promises quality performance which is much higher than just ‘work completed as agreed’, ‘invoices that match quoted prices’ or ‘we use a job checklist’ <yawn>.  These should all be minimum standards in the motor trade and if one thing has shocked me as an industry outsider it was the low standards in this area when our personal safety is at risk, should a mechanic be one screw short in his personal tool kit for example.


What FOXY does instead is to ask garage and dealership subscribers to sign the female friendly FOXY Promise© to ‘never knowingly overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want’. They then get marketing materials from FOXY Choice to prove this.

We also share female feedback within the Club, act as a backstop if anyone needs our female ‘welly’ to get things sorted out and ultimately we are prepared to eject any ‘couldn’t care less’ or worse behaviour from our network of female friendly garages and dealerships across the UK.

The next stage will be to prove that a business is female friendly, much in the same way as the OFT Code of Practice (stage one ‘I promise’, stage two ‘I can prove’) and this is what the femalefriendlyapproved.com website will do in 2010 including consultancy advice, female friendly training, a managed and approved status scheme and ongoing monitoring of standards including mystery shopping and a home for stressed out and confused women drivers – all looking for independent and trustworthy advice and tips about where the best value and female friendly businesses are to be found.


Car insurance information for women drivers

Stats from the ABI (Association of British Insurers) show that 107,000 fraudulent insurance claims were detected and exposed in 2008 and that their value, £730m, was up by 30% over 2007

£360m of this referred to fraudulent motor claims, about 4% of total car insurance claims.

In a separate survey of 3,000 adults carried out by YouGov, one in five people, including women drivers, admitted that they would not rule out making a fraudulent claim in future. That seems extremely high to me although I haven’t seen the question asked.

Nick Starling, the ABI’s director of general insurance and health added the following car insurance information for women drivers stating that

“Fraud thrives in a recession, so insurers are intensifying their crackdown on insurance cheats.  Fraud adds an extra £40 a year to the average premium, which is why the harder we make it for the cheats, the more competitive premiums will be for honest customers.”

Examples of bogus motor claims affecting car insurance premiums for women drivers who may well be members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club include

1     A policyholder claimed that his car had been stolen from a car park. His car was found at the bottom of the cliff, with no signs of forced entry however his local newspaper had carried a photo of the wrecked car two days before the alleged theft. Finally he admitted that he had pushed the car over the cliff, and planned to use the insurance payout to pay off his debts.

2     A woman reported her husband for exaggerating his injuries following a car accident, and after he received a compensation payout of £385,000.

As always it’s the good eggs that pay for the bad ones.  I’d have no hesitation in shopping someone I knew was cheating the rest of us.

How about you?


PS: If you know of an insurance claim that is dishonest, please do the rest of us a favour by reporting it to the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s Cheat Line on 0800 328 2550.