Tag Archives: used car dealer

Then along come three buses…

three-london-busesYou know the transport analogy about famine and feast in that you can wait for ages for a bus then three trundle into eyesight together…

Such seems to be the case for FOXY this month. After months of typically spasmodic PR, March is to bring us three potentially big events (as in buses…) that all look likely to land at about the same time…

Here’s what I am talking about.

1 ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Motor Industry’ Award

The first of these was my receiving the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Motor Industry’ on 12 March which was presented at the IMI Annual Dinner in London.

This matters because it has been awarded by The (industry) Professionals – the body of individuals who support the case for licensing, invest in training and collect qualifications to demonstrate their commitment for ongoing improvement. Those industry luminaries that perhaps didn’t know of my work in the past are likely to want to know more about me and what I do.

This makes me feel very proud and of course it endorses my work and is likely to get me in through doors that might previously have been closed to me. Which will be good for the industry, says she!

I received this award on account of of my work to raise awareness of measurable quality standards to do with garages, repairers and car dealers among women drivers – this means they can enjoy better services than they might on their own. We do this from within the Club’s membership of 12,000+, by identifying and promoting genuinely female friendly businesses/services and ultimately by encouraging more women to consider a motoring career.

And after years of being a lone campaigning female voice in these areas I feel encouraged, supported and revitalised…

2 The Mary Portas Secret Shopper TV series

Back in October I was invited to appear on the Mary Portas Secret Shopper Channel 4 TV series which will air on 17 March at 8pm. This features a used car dealership in Aylesbury and whilst the episode has yet to appear I understand that this business was a long way short of being female friendly at the outset.

I was then involved in a wacky car park setting at Silverstone where, together with three equally foxy female driving instructors, we told the car dealer team what we all knew women wanted when they went new car shopping. But was the business getting service levels right for us? We weren’t convinced at this stage.

Forward three weeks and we then met at the used car dealer for the big female friendly reveal… Then time to forget all about this afterwards because it has taken nearly six months to reach our TV screens.

You’ll have to see what it looked like on the night and make your own mind up. Did the dealer do enough to get the FOXY Lady Approved female friendly sign of approval – and certificate on the wall? I can’t possibly say.

3 Come In Japan…

The third (bus) came out of the blue when I was invited for an interview by The Yomiuri Shimbun. No I didn’t know it was Japan’s largest and most influential daily broadsheet newspaper either. Or that it had a circulation of more than 10 million making it the biggest newspaper in the world!

Interview mission accomplished in the FOXY Lady Approved London Morgan car showroom in Kensington last month, we now await publication on 24 March of what was a very comprehensive review of the FOXY business, Club, garages and insurance, as well as our ethos and ambition.

Who knows what further opportunities this might bring other than a clear impression to anyone interested that what we are doing is something the paper thinks their female readers will be interested in and might want a similar model made available there perhaps?

So that’s what’s happening behind the scenes for us this month. The opportunity to advance the FOXY cause in the UK for starters then who knows! Bring it on for summer I say…


Used car log book scam in Herts

All women drivers need to be on the alert when buying a used car.  Hertfordshire Trading Standards officers have uncovered a new second-hand car scam; fake service logbooks which are readily available on the internet. An up to date logbook can convince you that a car has been well looked after when it hasn’t and you might pay more for it.

Trading Standards officers posing as customers were able to buy a number of forged car service history log books online varying in price from £9.99 to £35, as part of an investigation within the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) ‘Know Your Consumer Rights’ campaign.

Each book had a variety of different miles and service checks for different car brands. In two cases officers were even asked how many stamps they wanted, including a pre-delivery stamp at the beginning of the book to certify that the vehicle had met inspection standards. These make it relatively easy to fake a vehicle’s service history; just write in how many miles the vehicle has travelled, with a dealer stamp.

In addition, two of the service history books had been illegally reproduced, infringing the car maker’s trademark.

Herts Trading Standards also report that their most common complaint is about used cars bought from independent dealers. In the first eight months of 2010 they received around 1,350 complaints. Whereas OFT managed Consumer Direct reports considerably more complaints to do with independent car dealers (c50k in 2009) than franchised ones but you are not immune here (c15k complaints).

Remember that this is an unregulated part of the motor industry; anyone can sell cars. Typical complaints include selling dangerous cars, charging misleading prices, quoting incorrect warranty terms and employing aggressive sales tactics and chatting up and patronising women of course. In addition, motorists have little or no protection in law if the used car they buy from a private individual turns out to be an expensive dud to run and repair.

Our advice to women considering buying a used car is to
choose a female friendly approved dealer who has signed the ethical FOXY Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need.’

  • Don’t buy one ‘as seen’ – this will negate your customer rights afterwards. This often happens at car auctions.
  • Always carry out the equivalent of an HPI used car history check in case of outstanding finance, theft or an accident write off
  • Consider commissioning a vehicle inspection (where this is not included – check what any ‘Approved’ status means if stated)
  • Check the authenticity of stamps in the service history book (where in doubt ask TSI for help here).

If you have any problems and are a member of FOXY Lady Drivers Club we’ll help you sort it out and, where the business is clearly disreputable, we’ll spread the word to other FOXY Ladies within your area – in a feminine way of course ;-).

Name, shame and blame seems to be the only way forward when TSI, Which? and other consumer watchdogs can’t tell consumers who the bad guys are ‘for legal reasons.’


Join FOXY Lady Drivers Club to know who and where the best garages, dealers and dealerships are in your area. This matters because otherwise your car could be unsafe without you realising this. And for a whole host of other good reasons too…

Same, same – dodgy used car dealers thrive

Dodgy used car dealers are thriving in tough economic times, often at the expense of innocent female motorists. Used car complaints are up by 18% in the first 6 months of 2010 and motorists are paying an average repair bill of £425 for faults that develop soon afterwards, says the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The majority of complaints are always about independent dealers but in 2009 23% of complaints were about franchised dealerships so they will not be immune here.

Despite these statistics and a 9 month study, the OFT feels that the law is adequate to protect motorists as is. It has launched a campaign to tell motorists their rights instead. A sort of caveat emptor marketing communications campaign really.

And after decades of same same, the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) supports this action.

But hang on a minute, haven’t cowboy dealers been selling dangerous cars, making misleading claims about prices and warranties, doctoring service records, issuing MOT certificates regardless and employing aggressive sales tactics in this area pre 2010?

Probably as long as we’ve known about dodgy garage mechanics – about 60 years now.

So what has the industry done to make things better for motorists buying used cars? Nothing that has worked clearly, otherwise things would be better and they aren’t.

Sadly after a small and indignant response from motoring associations who are not best placed to weed out the cowboys, nothing much will happen again.

Whereas FOXY wants to know who these used car cowboys and dodgy garage mechanics are, so we can tell women drivers behind closed doors, via the Club. I think it’s time for a ‘blame and shame’ culture in the absence of industry regulation. So that the offending businesses can either clean up their act or get out of the industry (garages, independent dealers and franchised dealerships alike…).

Does it need to be more complicated?

An added complication, as I see it, occurs if a car in a dangerous state is involved in a fatal accident, the motorist having been sold it by a cowboy dealer or despatched with it after a dodgy mechanic service. I think the legal liability/responsibility lies with the motorist. Who may or may not be able to claim under their motor insurance as insurers tighten up their rules when a car is in a dangerous condition. This all seems unfair to me, from the motorist’s point of view. Surely it’s the offending business, its owner and even the ongoing weak industry standards that should be blamed here.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has recently contributed its experience and views; now we’d like to add ours. Rather than a campaign of consumer advice we’d prefer to see the onus and blame placed firmly on the trader so

  • No trader/dealer or auction site can sell ‘as seen’ vehicles and forego responsibility for their condition
  • All dealers/auction sites to carry out HPI and/or fully documented vehicle inspection visits/reports
  • All MOT certificates issued whilst the car is in the dealer’s possession to be mystery shopped for accuracy

We’d treat faking service histories in the same way as clocking a vehicle – both equally misleading practices designed to boost a selling price. And finally sentence serious and serial offenders to jail* and make sure their misdemeanours and names are well published locally.
*perhaps this happens already?

Only private cars would then be truly caveat emptor, giving the good car dealers the opportunity to be seen as the safer used car buying choice.

And whilst it is small fry compared to knowingly selling a potentially dangerous used car, I can report that Swiss Toni clones are alive and well, chatting up women whilst knowing very little about their cars or what women want.

Fortunately foxy ladies know to go to female friendly used car dealers where they’ll not get overcharged, patronised or sold services they don’t want or need.

Please help us spread the word to women. The dealership you choose to buy from is as important as the car you decide to buy.