Following a tip off from someone working at Kwik-Fit, BBC’s ‘Your Money, Their Tricks’ mystery shopped and hammered the garage chain in a recent programme.
The programme made twin damning claims; first that Kwik-Fit are sometimes tricking customers into paying for work on their cars that they don’t need urgently and secondly, that on an inspection staff may cut corners, leading to dangerous problems going unnoticed.
In all 10 cars were sent into 10 Kwik-Fit branches across Britain for a “free brake check” and “free tyre check” with all the cars examined by an expert before and after.
BBC claim Kwik-Fit tried to ‘trick’ the mystery shoppers into paying for over £700 worth of work by exaggerating the urgency on 4 of the 10 cars. In addition, full tyre and brake checks which should have examined tyre pressures, tread and measured the brake pads and discs were not completed properly on a number of occasions.
Staff also failed to spot nails in the tyres or notice some tyres were dangerously under-inflated. The expert suggested Kwik-Fit had failed to do the full checks on seven out of the ten cars.
Kwik-Fit responded strongly saying: “We seriously disagree with most of the BBC’s findings, we fully accept that in a few instances our staff could have been clearer with their communication; for this we apologise.
“Any recommendations we make on replacing parts take into account manufacturers’ information and advice from organisations. We believe that this is a professional and responsible approach which focuses first and foremost on our customers’ safety.
“Our policy on recommending unnecessary work is very clear; we have zero tolerance and any proven cases result in disciplinary action. We have a whistleblower line on which staff can anonymously report any aspect of malpractice from their manager or colleagues and a senior management team will investigate and act on any reports.
“Our centre staff are regularly audited and rewarded based on levels of customer service and compliance, measured through our own mystery shopping programmes. We expect high standards to be delivered across all areas of our business, and continue to make significant investment in training our staff. We take customer feedback very seriously and guarantee to take any remedial action required, should our procedures be less than satisfactory, which was the case in a minority of the BBC’s mystery shop exercise.
“It is notable that our customer complaints have fallen by 28% over the last year and we are proud of a customer satisfaction level of 98%.”