Tag Archives: FOXY Promise

The female friendly FOXY Promise is a unique business commitment to “never knowingly overcharge, patronise or sell services that customers don’t need or want.”

FOXY lays down Kwik-Fit gauntlet

It can’t just be me that links bad media PR with the brand name Kwik-Fit.

But is this because they’re more likely to be targeted in national ‘sting’ operations, as one of the biggest UK garage groups, when a publication wants national not local coverage?

Maybe the time is right to bury that bad PR once and for all Kwik-Fit?

If you want to walk the FOXY walk we’d be happy to work with you to defend your business and promote that message.

Here’s why we’re suggesting this matters, as an example of how damaging this sort of PR can be. Here’s the latest rip off tale of customer woe about Kwik-Fit along these lines…

So what are you doing about this, Itochu (who owns Kwik-Fit)? Probably lots is happening behind the scenes that few motorists know of.

So I’d like to invite you to join our network of FOXY Lady Approved garages so we can police your quality standards and together we’ll put the record straight – one way or another.

To join the FOXY Lady Approved garage network

To join us and start the ball rolling you’d need to…

1/ Get Kwik-Fit staff to sign the FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell us anything we don’t need’.

2/ Demonstrate EITHER staff on the IMI Professional Register OR that branches are members of a Chartered Trading Standards Approved Code of Practice scheme like The Motor Ombudsman, Trust My Garage or Bosch Car Service.

As such, Kwik-Fit Directors and Centre Managers could not incentivise retail staff to sell certain products or services motorists’ don’t need.

3/ Confirm performance levels by regular female feedback.

PS: FOXY has its own complaints handling processes which it’d happily share with Kwik-Fit re women drivers.

Is this too much to ask of Kwik-Fit?

Undoubtedly Kwik-Fit does a lot of good work but it’s a big operation and wherever staff are involved, there’s room for human error. But if Kwik-Fit wants to do a better job, we’re here to help them move the bar upwards in terms of customer service.

They’d need to make a commitment to better motoring services for women, by working with us.

And we’d then be in a position to stick up for them when the media turns on them again.

As I see it, this’d be good for the automotive industry as well. Because they get tarnished by customers’ bad tales, fairly or otherwise.

By all means give me a ring on 01903 879988 to get the ball rolling.

You really should do something Itochu and standing up for your business values, working with us, sounds like a positive way to make a difference.


To have your say about Kwik-Fit. please use Twitter and our @FOXYTweets feed.

When is wheel alignment necessary?

wheel_alignment_machinery_400I received a worrying email from a well known member of the motor trade last month suggesting that many wheel alignment services were unnecessary.

Granted this person isn’t part of our FOXY Lady Approved network so this could have been schadenfreude, but any suggestion of rip off practice (that I’m not already aware of in the motor industry) deserves FOXY’s investigation.

So I asked our Helpdesk team to give me the benefit of their considered technical opinion. Which is in the pipeline for the Information section of the Club website but in the meantime here’s the background to this debate.

What is tyre alignment?

FOXY Lady Approved garage group, Protyre, explains wheel alignment as follows:

“Wheel Alignment can also be referred to as ‘tracking’. Either name relates to the alignment of the wheels to your car and is very important to the lifespan of a tyre as well as the overall handling of the vehicle. If the wheels are mis-aligned, the tyres will wear unevenly and may result in changing tyres long before they need to be.”

What does tyre alignment and tracking involve?

Clearly a good salesman will make a compelling business case for tyre-fitting garages to have an alignment system installed on the premises.

“It’ll cost you £x and you can expect to charge motorists £y. So, assuming industry figures, you’ll be into profit in Year z.”

This is often a clever system that you drive over and/or using equipment that tells the operator if your wheels are correctly aligned to prevent your tyres from wearing unevenly.

And the garage then charges you some £30 for this diagnosis, possibly leading to other chargeable services and solutions.

Of course, if your wheels really do need aligning then this is going to save you a lot more in terms of premature tyre wear.

How to tell if wheel alignment is needed or not?

It is normal to assume that there is nothing wrong with your wheel alignment if your car drives in a straight line with no steering input from you (other than a bit of a wander to the left due to road camber).

And it’s also reasonable to expect the nearside (that’s nearest to the kerb) front tyre wearing a wee bit faster than the offside tyre, due to a combination of annual mileage, road camber and the effect of the UK having so many roundabouts.

But if you get a vibration through the steering wheel at certain speeds, the problem is more likely to be wheel balance (not alignment as such). Professional tyre fitters will always balance the wheel/tyre assembly accurately when new tyres are fitted and whilst that SHOULD last the lifetime of a tyre it is possible that one of the balance weights might fall off ie gets lost. Or he wasn’t a professional tyre fitter in the first place of course.

So, the need for wheel alignment SHOULD be very rare but is most likely to arise when your car has suffered trauma (yes they get stressed too) by a case of bad parking ie hitting the kerb aggressively or suffering a severe pothole jolt. After which tyre wear can be rapid, reducing braking efficiency and affecting your safety if neglected.

You will find more information about this at the National Tyres & Autocare website.

Who can you trust to take care of your car tyres?

In short, come the day when your tyres need attention, all motorists need to decide for themselves whether to trust the advice of the individual giving it. One way to give you that peace of mind would be to choose a business from our Tyre Services Register https://www.foxyladydrivers.com/female-friendly-tyre-services.php or garage network where listed businesses have all signed the FOXY Promise to ‘never sell women anything they don’t need.’

Either way, I’d hope that the fab feedback we received about Tyreland in Southampton this weekend might be typical of the customer service given by staff in other FOXY Lady Approved garages now and in future.

“Isaac was extremely professional. He made the experience much less daunting as a female because he was so friendly. He was really thorough. I’m pleased he also suggested I get my tracking sorted. There was no pressure to get anything done & as a result I felt like I totally trusted him. He should be used as an example to others, as to how to make females feel comfortable. An asset to your team.”

Well done Isaac.

Otherwise, if none of the above scenarios apply or ring true in your case, you probably do not need wheel alignment. So just say ‘Not this time, thank you’.

Finally, remember that Club members can always ask our Helpdesk for a second opinion about their tyres. Which is one of many good reasons to join the Club before you need us of course.

We know what we’re talking about when it comes to tyres, so, where in doubt, you can trust us.


Why choose a female friendly garage?

Q: Why should women choose a FOXY Choice approved female friendly garage?
A: Because they are better than the rest.

The UK retail motor industry is surely one of the last male bastions employing c90% men and only 10% women. Whilst most other industries have identified the power of the female purse, this industry continues to be slow to recognise that the gender spenders, women, are not men in skirts; in a misguided attempt to treat both genders as equal.

This is despite women influencing some 80% of all household purchases including buying new cars and garage services like MOT’s, car servicing and repairs. And despite women being wealthy yet wary shoppers in workshop and showroom environments, which we correctly describe as ‘too blokey.’

What a business opportunity for those that get female service levels right, ahead of others.

We’ve all heard stories about frighteningly shoddy garage workmanship, offensive predatory Swiss Toni tactics and a shocking tendency to overcharge us because we are women and don’t (always) do mechanical jargon and such like. Like many men too of course.

And those motorists who are in the know, know that UK garages aren’t licensed and mechanics don’t have to be qualified to repair our cars. Imagine allowing an unqualified electrician or gas fitter loose in your home? But we often do on our cars…

Then there’s the huge divide between the competence of garage businesses based on the equipment they use, their ethics and the prices they charge.

Which is where FOXY Choice steps in – a shameless plug but OK because what we do is unique and someone who sees it from the point of view of the motorist has to do it!

FOXY Choice expects all approved garages to sign the female friendly FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need.’ We give them marketing materials and a whole lot more to promote themselves to women and encourage that marketing gift – word of mouth. We also encourage their female customers to tell us what they think so we are forever monitoring our subscribers and  their customer service  standards.

Over and above this we are the only independent consumer organisation to explain and identify quality signs women drivers can trust such as ATA (Automotive Technician Accreditation), BSI Kitemark and OFT code approved schemes. In FOXY’s opinion these are measurable ways that all motorists can steer clear of garage cowboys where women drivers are likely to be ripped off.

We’re also the only organisation to steer a clear course between the independent vs franchised dealership choice. Unlike trade bodies funded by manufacturers (who will sell women franchised dealer garages) or ones representing independent garages, we give you the information so you can make your choice.

If you want franchised dealership expertise (they have to train their mechanics to manufacturer standards and are likely to do this to ATA standards too, to repair all makes of cars) or like their customer services and facilities then that may well be worth paying a bit more. On the other hand, you are likely to save money if you pick a good independent where their overheads are less resulting in lower hourly rates. In short, the choice must be the motorists alone but in both categories be dragons because complaint stats consistently confirm that a similar percentage of good and bad garages whether they are dealerships and/or independents….

So the FOXY Choice UK garage network helps you shop around and tells you which garages (fastfits, independents and franchised dealerships) have signed the female friendly FOXY Promise and their evidence of measurable quality including awards.

And which ones employ women in customer facing roles (because women trust women).

And which ones have been recommended by women.

So all women can make an informed and female friendly choice in a male dominated industry that thinks equality for women means treating us like men. Big mistake guys.

We’re looking for the best.


New in 2011 – Female friendly garage feedback invited here.
New in 2010 – See which FOXY Choice garages employ women in customer facing roles.

Women and garage evenings

I’ve been involved in several well intentioned garage evenings for women and have reached several conclusions.

  • Firstly that they are time consuming to organise and often disappointingly attended.
  • Secondly that it is the best and female friendly garages that do this as part of their caring philosophy.
  • And finally that the attendees are often women who have nothing better to do of an evening, some who are clearly only interested because it’s free and others who are obviously loyal customers already…

So what’s the point?

The reality is that few women are interested in the workings of their cars and even fewer are going to ever change a wheel if their car breaks down – why otherwise would we have breakdown cover and eyelashes to flutter?

But should women know how and what oil to change, how and how often to check our tyres and the signs of low brake fluid. I have to say yes of course, and yet I know that few motorists including men, women and yours truly (who knows how) don’t do any of this as often as we might. So I can’t expect others to do as I say when I know better and still don’t do what I should do often enough. Yes I’m busy and yes I rely on my car for my independence so why am I not a paragon of virtue here?

I think it might be because I don’t enjoy doing car maintenance so I keep postponing it, forget when I did it last, worry that I don’t do it well enough, often enough or to spot looming problems and have a husband who seems to enjoy this sort of thing more than me. But does he really, or do it regularly enough or well enough either…

And all the time I keep thinking ‘why do garages want to teach women what to do for themselves when they want to see more of them and their cars for business reasons?’ Maybe the answer is a network of FOXY approved garages for women offering free and no obligation car checks for women to pop in uninvited, say on a Saturday morning or a mid week evening.

To be approved by us would require them to sign the female friendly FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need or want’. Which truth be told counts out most of the national chains who encourage their staff to sell special promotion tyres, wipers and oils to earn commission knowing full well that this can result in motorists being sold stuff they do not need.

But if garages want to encourage women into their workshop/showroom they’d be better off surely getting involved in events that women like and attend – fashion, beauty, leisure, family and household-related. That’s what women enjoy and it might be a good way to get their name and offers noticed. And ultimately so women can start to enjoy visiting garages they trust in future. Steady on…

In the face of adversity there usually is a business opportunity to be found if you look closely enough but in this case it would be the sort of service that busy women like me who want to be able to trust a local female friendly garage might be interested in. And which could produce new business. Well worth a try for mutual benefit I’d have thought.

Garages that pay commission are rarely female friendly

Whilst it’s easy for UK garages to claim to be good and/or female friendly without having to prove it, surely there should be some substance behind these claims as well as a means to monitor the situation if things go wrong.

No matter her age, most females today are shrewd, canny and astute when it comes to shopping – which is what the brand FOXY is all about of course. They are looking for evidence of quality, value for money (not necessarily the cheapest price), ethical behaviour and female friendliness.

And whilst you might think that all businesses should be able to sign the female friendly FOXY Promise, sadly many national garage groups can’t because they pay their staff commission as part of their income. This means that the likes of the big garage names we see on TV can’t promise that their staff won’t sell us tyres we don’t need, for example, simply to top up their wage. Whereas if they were earning a decent flat rate salary, they’d be operating to female friendly FOXY Promise standards like you’d expect them to be doing.

So, when it’s to do with national or regional garage chains, selling tyres and fastfit services in particular, you need to have your wits about you and to take a second opinion if you think you might be being ripped off here.

But at least you can choose a FOXY Choice listed female friendly garage because it will have signed the FOXY Promise to ‘never knowingly overcharge, patronise or sell customers anything they don’t need or want’. And if any listed garage doesn’t get this right, you can tell FOXY Choice and we’ll help you sort it out.

Ultimately we reserve the right to expel any garage subscriber that clearly isn’t good enough AND we’ll help spread the word to members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

Keep us posted please.