Tag Archives: Kwik Fit

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.

Why are women rip off targets by some garages?

woman_ventingIt’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.

Women drivers face increased bills if annual MOTs scrapped

FOXY Lady Drivers Club supports today’s research findings that the cost to the UK of scrapping the annual MOT could be as much as £1.5 billion.

Government claims that reducing MOT frequency will also reduce the financial burden on motorists are challenged today in a report which shows the opposite – that proposals to scrap annual testing will hit both motorists and the UK economy hard.

The report by Pro-MOTe is titled “A cost too far” and includes research that the average female motorist would be more than £57 worse off under a less frequent MOT system than she is today.

It also shows that the overall cost to the UK in increased costs of road deaths, injuries and damage, as well as 40,000 lost jobs and reduced tax revenues, will be some £1.44bn.

The research compares costs of the existing 3-1-1 MOT system (where cars over three years are tested every year) with the 4-2-2 system more commonly used elsewhere in Europe (where cars over four years old are tested every two years).  It estimates that under 4-2-2, the average motorist would incur annual SAVINGS of £24.44 a year made up of:
– £20 a year in saved MOT fees
– £3.30 a year in saved personal time
– £1.14 a year in saved fuel costs as a result of fewer visits to a MOT station

But the average motorist would incur annual INCREASES of £81.81 under 4-2-2 from:
– £30.59 in additional repair costs
– £46.05 in additional insurance premiums
– £5.17 in additional fuel costs of £5.17

The research was carried out using data from the DfT and the Treasury, and motor industry sources.  Pro-MOTe is supported by the RAC, AA, road safety campaigners, industry groups and insurance companies to campaign against plans to reduce MOT frequency.

Commenting on the report, Pro-MOTe co-ordinator, Bill Duffy, said:

“This research shows that scrapping annual MOT testing would not only be dangerous but prove very expensive too, to both drivers and taxpayers alike. The Government has suggested that reducing the number of safety tests would reduce the financial burden on motorists.  Yet the truth is exactly the opposite.  Moving to two-yearly tests would mean extra repair costs, extra insurance premiums and extra fuel costs for already hard-pressed motorists. And the cost to the UK economy in lost jobs and higher costs arising from the additional accidents that we would see due to less frequent testing would be significant.”

Hear hear Bill. This is a poorly considered proposition and it’s time it was scrapped. This is also costing road safety, consumer organisations like ours and directly affected motor industry businesses a lot of unnecessary time and money attempting to do this research for our Government.

An interesting and possibly previously ignored dimension here seems to be that insurance companies plan to respond to the scenario of an increased number of unroadworthy cars by raising premiums for us all.   Then motorists would surely hold the Government responsible for another rise in the cost of motoring…

So it’s time to shut the UK’s back door to this proposal now. Heaven knows we all have more productive things to be getting on to benefit not threaten the UK economy and its motor industry.


For further information go to the Pro-MOTe website or contact Ed Owen at EdO@pro-mote.org.uk or on 07774 759653. Pro-MOTe was launched in October 2011 to press the Government to drop plans to reduce the frequency of MOT testing. The launch report “Dangerous, expensive and unwanted” is available at http://www.pro-mote.org.uk/assets/download/PRO-MOTE_launch_report.pdf

Supporters of the Pro-MOTe campaign include AA, Andrew Page, Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel, Autoglass, Aviva, Brake, British Cycling, Confused.com, Driver’s Edge UK, Euro Car Parts, FOXY Lady Drivers Club, Garage Equipment Association, GEM Motoring Assist, Halfords Autocentres, Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation, Kwik Fit, MOTEST, MOT Trade Forum, MOT Club, National Tyre Distributors Association, Parts Alliance, RAC, The Retail Motor Industry Federation, Road Safety Analysis, Road Safety GB, The Scottish Motor Trade Association, Tyre Industry Federation, UNITE.

Dear Justine…

Dear Justine Greening…

We know you have a lot on your plate and you probably didn’t expect to get the transport job in such a hurry but, on behalf of  motoring mums and daughters across the UK, can you please reassure us VERY SOON that the UK will be maintaining its MOT status quo in favour of safer roads in future.

This means saying NO to the EU; opting for the UK’s 3-1-1 MOT model and not the EU’s 4-2-2 version in the face of previous government figures showing that this will cost us lives and ‘000s of jobs.

Just to remind us all, this is what the MOT industry experts are saying to encourage motorists and motor industry colleagues alike to sign the Pro-MOTe petition

Edmund King, AA President
“All too often you spot cars driving with a headlight, tail light or brake light out. The only time many of these drivers do anything about it is when the car goes for an MOT test or if traffic police pull them over. The Government’s idea to extend the MOT test intervals may be portrayed as an olive branch to drivers by reducing the burden on them, but the AA and three-fifths of our members believe it is a false saving which could lead to more expensive repairs later, and that’s before the safety argument. The Government should state that they will not change the frequency of MOTs.”

Jonathan Fox, of the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel
“At a time when we have the lowest rate of road deaths in any equivalent developed country, conversely our MOT failure rate has increased by 12% over the last five years. Moving away from our current annual examination to an MOT every two years is misguided and this can only result in even more defective vehicles on our roads than at present. The only conclusion that can be extracted from these poorly thought out proposals is that we see an increase of injuries and deaths on our roads at a time when they have never been safer.”

Nigel Bartram, Senior Motor Underwriting Manager at Aviva
“We believe MOT timings should remain unchanged. The MOT is the only time some vehicles receive any safety checks and maintenance – this applies particularly to older cars which are often driven by younger drivers – and to reduce the frequency of this check could cost lives.”

Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive at Brake, the road safety charity
“As a charity supporting families whose lives are devastated by road death and injury, we are aghast that the Government is proposing such an appalling backwards step. We should be doing everything we can to stop people being killed and injured on roads, to prevent families suffering so terribly, and to reduce the economic burden of these casualties. That means having a robust system to ensure vehicles are roadworthy. Downgrading the system so MOTs are only required every two years is a nonsensical and inhumane policy that would mean many more needless tragedies.”

Martin Gibbs, Policy and Legal Affairs Director, British Cycling
“We would be concerned at any changes to the MOT system that is likely to increase the number of unsafe vehicles on the road. Cyclists, perhaps more than any other road users, rely on the Government to create a safe environment on the road and the MOT system is a key part of that.”

Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at Confused.com
“Driving is one of the most dangerous things people do on a daily basis. It’s vital that all drivers are doing regular maintenance checks of their vehicle to ensure our roads are kept as safe as possible. Currently, more than a third of the vehicles presented for their first MOT fail the test. Confused.com is passionate about road safety as shockingly, five people are killed and a further 65 are seriously injured on UK roads every day. For us, a yearly MOT is a must. Many may argue that cars are more reliable now than when the test was first introduced in 1960 and as a result, yearly checks are not needed but why take the risk? No amount of car safety or reliability features will make the roads 100% safe and the importance of regular car checks should not be underestimated.”

Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman & Managing Director, Euro Car Parts Ltd
“If this crazy proposal is adopted, many millions of motorists will abandon preventative maintenance and drive for up to 2 years with dangerous tyres, brakes, lights etc. The cost to the nation in death, injury, car accidents, breakdowns and increased emissions will be truly massive … all for a measly £15 to £20 annual ‘saving’ per car.”

Steph Savill, Founder of FOXY Lady Drivers Club
“Many women rely on the garage industry alone to keep their cars safe. Not just the ones we own but also the vehicles that other motorists drive. We know from experience that many motorists (male and female) are scrimping on car servicing to save money today so an annual MOT might be the only time a garage professional can spot a potentially dangerous car. On behalf of all motoring mums and daughters we want to be reassured that our cars will be MORE, not less, SAFE on UK roads in future. We are supporting PROMOTE and the UK 3-1-1 MOT model because the 4-2-2 EU MOT version could cost us lives and motor industry jobs.”

Dave Garrett, Chief executive, Garage Equipment Association
“The GEA has an interest in retaining the integrity, quality and consistency of the MOT. Although motor vehicle technology has improved over the years, MOT failure rates remain high, with many vehicles failing their first test because of inefficient brakes and worn tyres. Therefore in order to meet the European object of reducing road deaths by 50% by 2020, the MOT frequency for cars must remain the same at 3-1-1. It may also be advisable to reduce the MOT frequency for Vans to 1-1-1, as many so called “white vans” have covered over 250,000 miles before their first MOT.”

Bill Duffy, Chief Executive of Halfords Autocentres
“Halfords is a friend of the Motorist and we want to help them reduce costs and to travel as safely as possible. We believe that extending the MOT frequency would be bad news for drivers and bad news for road safety and the environment. We know, from the tests at our own garages, that without an annual safety check up millions more cars would be driving in an unroadworthy condition. We also see the financial consequences for drivers who don’t get repair work fixed in a timely manner. It always leads to higher bills later and that isn’t what we want for our customers. There’s no doubt that the MOT test is an affordable and basic component of road safety, protecting road users and pedestrians. It saves lives, keeps people safe and it saves motorists money. We welcome a review of the MOT system to make improvements to help the motorist. But reducing MOT test frequency is a bad move for motorists and society as a whole.”

Brian Spratt, Chief Executive, Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation
“The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), representing manufacturers, importers and wholesale distributors of vehicle components, and independent garages, service centres and MOT stations, welcomes the PRO-MOTE campaign to reject government proposals to reduce the frequency of MOT testing. The IAAF is certain that these proposals will have a serious adverse effect on road safety, the environment, and employment in the independent motor trade, and we can see no merit in the proposals. The IAAF is committed to ensure the effectiveness of the MOT system and its benefit to road users, and will continue to lobby the appropriate authorities and work with other organisations to achieve that end.”

David White, Customer Services Director at Kwik Fit
“A reduction in MOT testing is going to hit many businesses hard, particularly local small and medium-sized companies. The industry as a whole takes on about 10,000 new apprentices every year and it seems inevitable that this will be significantly scaled back if MOT frequency is reduced.”

John Ashton, Director of the MOT Club
“If 4-2-2 is adopted who will check the one million vehicles that hit the market after a three year lease contract, many of which have extremely high mileage?”

Jim Punter Chairman of the MOT Trade Forum
“On average, every day, MOT Testers inspect over 72,000 vehicles to make sure they are safe to drive on the road, and are fully roadworthy. Of these, over 2,200 vehicles are found to have defects, which, Testers consider, render them dangerous to drive. These vehicles are either repaired or scrapped by motorists which ensures that significant numbers of deaths and serious injuries on our roads are avoided every day. Any action on the Government’s part to reduce MOT Test frequency would leave these vehicles uninspected and still in use on the roads despite their dangerous condition. I would urge the Government to seriously re-consider, and abandon this dangerous, unwanted, expensive and irresponsible policy.”

Richard Edy, Director, National Tyre Distribution Association
“The NTDA is proud to support the PRO-MOTE campaign to maintain the current frequency of MOTs. Tyres are safety critical items which constantly wear. It is imperative that they are regularly inspected and properly maintained. Many motorists rely on their annual MOT for the inspection of their tyres, any extension or lengthening of the MOT frequency is likely to have a major impact on road safety and contribute to increased deaths and major injuries on our roads.”

David Bizley, Technical Director, RAC
“The current MOT testing regime has stood the UK in good stead and ensures that there are relatively few accidents directly attributable to unroadworthy vehicles. RAC therefore supports the retention of the current arrangements and is an enthusiastic supporter of PRO-MOTE.”

Richard Owen, Finance & Operations Director of Road safety Analysis
“In our work with the road safety profession we regularly carry out detailed analysis of collision records. It is clear through the statistics that vehicle defects cause a tiny percentage of all crashes with fewer than 2,000 crashes in 2010 attributed to defective vehicles. With less frequent vehicle checks we would undoubtedly see large increases in these types of collisions.”

James Gibson, spokesperson for Road Safety GB
“Road Safety GB is keen to support the PRO-MOTE campaign – the evidence shows that changing the testing regime will reduce safety on our roads. The MOT test has been in place for over forty years, we all know that vehicles have become more reliable in this time but many components still require regular safety checks. An annual check for vehicles over three years old isn’t excessive, especially when we think of drivers who fail to carry out even basic safety checks like checking tyres or lights from one MOT to the next!”

John Ball, RMI MOT Chairman
“Our members’ garages constantly see the worsening state of cars and vans as motorists are cutting back on maintenance. Three-year-old vehicles at first test are also a concern, despite their improved design, with high failure rates on safety critical items like tyres, brakes and lights. What’s more, reducing MOT frequency will add to the financial burden on motorists and undermine thousands of small and medium-sized businesses putting at risk thousands of jobs, including many apprenticeships.”

Douglas Robertson, Chief executive, Scottish Motor Trade Association
“At the SMTA Annual Dinner in November 2010, Scotland’s First Minister, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP, publicly supported the SMTA’s opposition to any reduction in the frequency of MOT Testing that may be proposed by the UK government. In welcoming this support the SMTA acknowledged that much work to garner all party support within Scotland and the United Kingdom was still required and that would take place once the UK government’s review proposals were formally made public. Rather than opposing a reduction in testing frequency, the SMTA will be proposing an increase in frequency following confirmation by VOSA that failure rates have increased since the last UK Government Report on MOT Testing in 2008. The SMTA with over 800 members is the leading trade association for the retail motor industry in Scotland.”

David Seward, Chairman, Tyre Industry Federation
“25% of MOT test failures are for tyre-related causes. Putting two years between MOT tests will greatly increase the number of vehicles being driven on unsafe and illegal tyres.”

Granted the UK MOT industry can do a better job in future but that’s what we should all be concentrating on – making our garage industry a better place for motorists by highlighting all evidence of measurable quality and outing the bad apples that continue to let the good garages down. And not having to spend all our time attempting to fend off a crazy EU proposal that should have been dismissed as such ages ago.

We are sure you understand and appreciate our concerns Justine…


Keep the UK MOT and save lives

British women say no to the EU MOT planOn behalf of all women drivers… FOXY Lady Drivers Club is supporting the PRO-MOTE campaign to keep the safer British MOT model in the face of a real EU threat.

The UK MOT industry is seriously threatened by a lesser EU alternative. Despite one in three cars failing their first MOT after just 3 years on our roads and most of us too busy to maintain our cars in between annual tests thereafter, the EU is attempting to impose a regime that tests our cars every other year, starting once they are 4 years old.

Instead of what is known as the UK 3-1-1 model the EU is attempting to sell us their 4-2-2 version yet their roads aren’t as safe as ours. That’s madness.

Which will mean many more unsafe cars on our roads, an increase in accidents as a result (there are illustrative statistics to prove this) and ‘000s of jobs lost in the UK’s motor industry.

After banging on the drum and getting nowhere with protests made by FOXY Lady Drivers Club to our Sussex MP Nick Herbert (and tweets to Philip Hammond who was in charge but just about to change platforms) we now have a new Transport Secretary, Justine Greening. I don’t envy her having to get to grips with this and red herring issues thrown into the mix, like increasing the speed limit on motorways. Whilst VOSA is changing the existing UK MOT model to include other items…

This is the perfect scenario for this BAD CHANGE to come in through the UK’s back door whilst no-one is standing guard, so to speak. In which case, mark my words, the cost of this apathy will be lost British lives on our roads and MOT industry jobs.

Which is why FOXY Lady Drivers Club is supporting the new PRO-MOTE campaign alongside other road safety groups, motoring organisations and industry bodies.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION to show your support and pass it on as a priority.

Please don’t think that others will do the right thing for you. You have to do it for yourself. If not, and the EU MOT model is introduced, the cost could be a life or the job of somebody you know. Because nobody bothered to do the right thing. That includes YOU…

Go on, sign the petition now please!


By all means see what I wrote about this earlier when I was canvassing support about the UK MOT model in my blog at confused.com. And see why women need their own motoring club to add their voice here…

Supporting organisations include FOXY Lady Drivers Club, the RAC, the AA, Brake, Aviva, Halfords, Kwik Fit and the Retail Motor Industry Federation.