Halfords Autocentre fined £47,000 following undercover sting

The company failed to fix 11 out of 20 defects deliberately left by Trading Standards

Halfords Autocentre fined £47,000 following undercover sting
The national company failed to find more than half of the faults on the car.

An illegal Vauxhall Astra with broken or missing light bulbs, irregular tyre pressures, oil leaks and faulty windscreen wipers was sent to the Halfords Autocentre in Filton, Bristol by South Gloucestershire Council for a major service at a cost of £235.

Lee Reynolds, for the council, told North Avon Magistrates’ Court: “It became obvious that not all the checks were done.

“Things were ticked as having been done that had not been and the consumer was not made aware (of the defects).

“This is a national company. A consumer puts a lot of trust and faith in a national firm to do a proper job to ensure a car service is conducted thoroughly and professionally and in these circumstances it was not.”

Halfords pleaded guilty to eight counts of breaching consumer protection laws and the technician, who carried out the service, resigned.

Reports suggest the investigation was sparked by a rising number of complaints about the car industry in Bristol.

Magistrates fined the company £32,000, ordered them to pay £14,862.04 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

182 Comments

  1. That’s what happens when you pay ‘technicians’ poor wages – you pay peanuts you get monkies!

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    • Halfords should keep to what Thay do best , sell push bikes.

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      • Man we don’t want that rubbish, they should stick to selling overpriced children’s car seats and items such as oil that you can find for half the price elsewhere. I would NEVER let someone from Halfords touch my car, never mind my bike, the bikes worth more :’)

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        • maybe you buy the half price stuff cause it’s cheep ! Do you realise that a cheep car seat has not had half as many safety checks as an expensive one and that’s what you pay for . Half the cheep ones go to family’s who can’t afford to ask some who cares if fits a car or a child correctly . And as for bikes , you buy a bike in a box for cheaper , yes , cause somebody hasn’t cared enough to work for ‘ peanuts ‘ and made it for you ! I guess your job has got monkeys working at it or you wouldn’t know what they are !!!

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          • Halfords are renowned for being expensive in the motor trade. Same brand and quality items can be found else were up to nearly half price. Just shop around a little. But I have to say that Halfords do have some quality tools. Not by far the best but by no means by far the worse. They have too many overheads to pay that’s why they can’t keep the prices low.

          • You don’t get half the safety checks just because you are paying half the price. All child seats have to meet the same uk (and EU) standard by law, however much you pay!

          • As someone who works in the engineering industry, I can assure you that ‘meeting regulatory minimum requirements’ is not necessarily a good thing. Not bad, but not always good. In all facets of engineering, higher quality products are subject to far more standards and harsher testing, resulting in much safer, long-lasting and robust products. This extra engineering is reflected in the price, always.

      • And they stuff that up given half the chance… still battling to get partners bike back

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    • They pay their technicians poor wages because they are poor technicians. No mechanic of any worth would in his right mind work for an outfit like this

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      • Peter , I applied for a job with them a couple of years ago, was told indirectly that I was not of their standard, I always wondered what they mean’t seeing as I have taught the subject at two local colleges. I realise now I must have been too good for them …..close call

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        • You must be terrible if Halfords didn’t want you!

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          • Rubbish. Halfords just think they have higher standards than they really do.

      • Please peter don’t call every mechanic who works for Halfords monkeys just because one stupid mechanic couldn’t be arsed to do his job ,we have some of the best mechanics going and remember we have to work on all make of cars not like dealers .

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        • I work for a small independent garage and we work on all types of vehicles too, it’s not hard to do the same checks on every vehicle. You wouldn’t believe how many MOT’s I’ve failed because the headlight bulbs aren’t fitted properly, only to find a nice Halfords sticker on the cover.

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          • Halfords have a bad reputation because of the frankly terrible customer service, poor mechanical skills and rip off prices.

    • You think that’s bad. Melksham failed my partners ka on a rear bush. We fixed that and it passed. However a month later. Both front suspension struts are off the body bouncing around. Engine block leaking oil badly…..

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      • I do not work for halfords or like them at all, but I will say David that an mot only means that the car was upto standard “at the time of the test” anything can happen within a month you could have gone full chat over a speed ramp damaging both struts and your sump causing the oil leak… I am a tester and get this problem from time to time “my vehicle past it’s mot 6 months ago and now my wheel bearings noisy” blah blah.

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    • Unfortunately people will always jump too there own conclusions on the motor industry, halfords should have stuck to the retail industry as they haven’t a clue about the garage industry is fact.
      Halfords still have a few good honest staff although most left because of working conditions so they employ yes men !! ( people who do without question )
      As halfords is owned by shareholders it’s all about ££££££ . They have implemented a online diary system that as a centre cannot refuse a booking , so it’s possible for a centre to have 9mots and 5 service booked and other work on going but only 2 members of staff to work , if a job gets refused in comes the threats of dissaplinary action because they have lost money .
      There is no excuse for shoddy work, the wages are better than most, but take a step back and think of the poor honest staff of garages tarred with the same brush and the working conditions. People in the public sector and workers all have a union voice . No voice in this trade , if you voice you find another job ….it’s the dark ages and most thankless job there is fact!!!!!

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      • Don’t forget the AA had strong links with them at one time

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        • The AA brought Halfords garages years ago but sold them to nationwide service centres who in turn got brought out by Halfords. Nationwide used to be lex which was once part of the rac.

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    • a lad I know who works there makes 25k+ a year…hardly peanuts mate

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    • the technician new the salary when he signed up to do the job.
      if he didnt like the wages he should have gone elsewhere.
      he was just lazy …….
      his probable attitude was ….’i get paid X at the end of the month no matter what effort i put in.
      …… L A Z Y … got halfords a bad name too.
      not here in Eastbourne tho

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      • Wrong, the wage is 17k plus bonus and he needs to make his set target every week and if he does not make it the following week he will only get basic pay. The wage for them is poor, i was a ast manager there and had enough pay was 18k, left and on more and get no crap were I am.

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    • paying peanuts doesn’t stop the idle technician checking a car to a check sheet it’s just stupidity iv been a low paid technician but it never compromised any job so no excuse

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    • I am a City and Guilds mechanic I have been with a Halfords through different owners — I have had enough — The biggest problem they have BY FAR is the upper management — ex Mcdonalds — Thomas Cook — Mobile phone companies — Cosmetic companies I could go on — people with absolutely no idea how a workshop operates — primarily sales driven RETAIL! — They don’t care about their staff — who they treat disgustingly — all the good ones have jumped ship { I stay because of my age } they are replaced with ex Kwik Fit employees etc — so please don’t tar the few good technicians left with the same brush — the blame lies with the STUPID decision makers

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    • I worked for Halfords autocentre when I was made redundant from my old job and it was the only one employing and I’d rather do that than go on the dole. When I worked there they pushed and pushed us to get jobs done as fast a we could. I hated that as I always took pride in my work and only worked to the highest standard I could. I was there for a year where I wasn’t allowed to take any breaks or rest time and had to eat on the job without washing my hands as it would take too long. I had to take my own car to collect customers cars and leave it there all day without a choice. I would do over my hours everyday but never got paid overtime as against company policy. Worst place I’ve ever worked and so glad I got out of there!

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    • That’s wrong buddy. I’ve been a technician for the last 11 years and been paid poor money. There’s just too many people who don’t care enough. At the end of the day. You have to decide. Would you put your family in that car with those problems? Having worked for Halfords, I know what they’re like. They are just a fast fit place and not brilliant at that. They charge the absolute earth. They should just close in my opinion.

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    • Poor wages!! You having a laugh, I know how much techys are on at halfords, poor they are not.

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    • In my experience they’re rubbish. Damaged my car last time (literally the last time for me) and refused to pay to correct it. I know for a fact they caused the damage but can’t prove it. The only thing they ever give customers is free oil (on the seats, the steering wheel, the carpets etc.) Rubbish company. Never go with them for anything.

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    • I took my car to Halfords ,frog island, Leicester for a front bulb replacement which should have two minutes on my Vauxhall Astra club .They didn’t have a clue the guy they sent out started unscrewing covers from under the bonnet and caused damage to the wing causing a gap in it a plastic bracket under the wing was damaged also scratch marks was caused .I took the car to my main dealer and they qouted £280 to put it right. Halfords did repair the bracket the next day but couldn’t put the gap in the wing right or remove scratch marks after much complaints to there main head office the wanted to take my car from Leicester to Nottingham for the paintwork to be repaired but there driver would drive the car there 30 miles away and bring it back.because I would not allow this as this driver could have thrashed it up the motorway or anything plus it was insured only for me on my insurance and how would I know that they had my car insured .well I never did get anywhere my car still has the faults they did .absolutely disgusting the way I got treated .

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  2. its called pressure selling and not the allocated time to do the work techs been under immense pressure from managment

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    • agree with this comment, I work in a service industry and the pressure to cut corners at “any cost” is immense from management!

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    • Halford s hierarchy aren’t interested in their staff . They pay poor wages and apply the pressure when targets aren’t met by fair means or foul .I’ve been there and got out . Spent many years with the company who started out a fair but over the years have become a bad place to work .

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    • These guys are jokers.
      I only get my tyres from this company, anything else isn’t in my radar.
      Steer clear from any major work from this company, it’ll nearly always end up with a complaint.

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  3. Wages have nothing to do with it.Most mechanics take pride in there work.obviously these don’t Shocking

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    • Well said!!

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      • Yes they do take pride in there work but poor wages for a highly skills job to under take will cause cut corners . As a tech my self feel that the trade in general get a poor wage when it’s a skilled job that can cause death and injury to others ???

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  4. I have always been aware of Halfords skimping from the many customers who would come to me complaining of high bills and suspicions about the work charged.

    The management need to be more accountable for allowing it to happen as it is not the first time and is a standing joke in the trade.

    I do not fully agree with Rob Day my take is :
    YOU PAY MONKEYS AND GET PEANUTS!!

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    • I work for a large breakdown company and these halfords lads are dangerous I’ve been to 3 cars where brake callipers have come loose and caused serious brake problems alternators insecure they should be all sacked

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  5. not surprised halfords sold me a broken car seat as it was ex display the manager knocked £10 off but no returns so I sat my daughter in a broken car seat for a month until I washed the covers to find It broke in several places!

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    • Irrespective of what they said about no returns, the item must be fit for purpose and your statutory rights are not affected.

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  6. Don’t get me wrong they’ll make a better job than the main stealer but it’s true workshop labour time audits put mechanics under a lot of pressure to get jobs in and out as quick as possible. Garages don’t want to pay the wages of good mechanics they’d rather pay minimum wage make as much money as they can quick and then the owners plead poverty while rolling round in there £90,000 Range Rovers and have 4 holidays a year and still tell the mechanics that they’d rather shut the doors than give anyone a pay rise.

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    • You cant be serious! Their mechanics are better than main dealer techs? Halfords employ fitters not technicians. You would be lucky if you could find 1 Halfords fitter that could use and read an oscilloscope on a k can bus system

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    • Better than a dealer,what you sniffing??

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      • Firstly regarding quality of mechanics there, with that many sites you cant generalise all of them i know of centres that have level 3 techs (one of the highest levels) and ex dealership techs and techs that have ended up at main dealer. It’s wrong they missed these defects but just remember, this happens everywhere. It shouldn’t but it does. As a tech it is annoying when people have no real concept of vehicles but still try and have an opinion. Go to any garage and you’ll quickly realise they never truly commit to any fault. It’s true though that it needs to be better regulated at government end because any single person can claim to be mechanic, trained or not. Why do electricians have to be qualified but a mechanic doesn’t? Mechanics can kill if they get it wrong!

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        • A very good response. Level 3 unfortunately doesn’t really mean a lot these days. As an A1 and V1 holder and also FIMI. I can tell you that the qualifications don’t stand for squat anymore. Bring back quality apprenticeships. I served 5 years before I was even allowed to attend an OND. You will always get good and bad in any establishment. The fact is OUR industry have been left to rot unregulated and will never regain the credibility it had in the 60s and 70s when engineering meant something.

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          • Halfords Autocentres is a shocking place to work, techs ill-treated by management who continually push for sales to push their own bonuses. I worked at a Halfords Autocentre where the best technician was a level 2 apprentice! Seriously, the best paid tech was earning 24k plus techs bonus and still did not know the difference between a single and double fidament bulb! The manager even had a scam where he kept a corroded exhaust system in the stores and when single women came in with a blowing exhaust/noise issues, leaving the vehicle unattended while the customer went onto the retail park to shop etc, the manager would then order the tech/ fitter to remove the entire exhaust system and lay the corroded exhaust next to the customers vehicle making it look like it had been removed from the vehicle. Once the customer returned the manager would show them the damage of ‘their’ exhaust and the customers would most likely pay for a whole new exhaust system. Complete robbery! This was on one occasion. I have also witnessed managers covering up technicians shoddy mistakes by claiming that parts from suppliers were faulty, managers manufacturing customer feedback scores from multiple devices so they receive an NPS bonus in their monthly wage packet, MOT testers pulling parts from vehicles under managers orders so the customer takes the decision to get their car through the MOT ultimately allowing the manager to achieve his daily sales target. These problems was what I witnessed during my time at Halfords Autocentres. Stay away

          • Hear Hear!! Could not agree more

    • I work for a main dealer and ill put you right now the idiot who wrote they are better than main Stealers ,Its a matter of pride for me some jobs I make money others I loose but I take great pride in my work and treat every car the same be it a 500 pound run about or a 30k 4×4 .its got to be right first time and safe if it takes me longer so be it ,my wife or kids could be facing that car on the road tomorrow !

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      • Best response yet mate. Totally agree

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  7. Boils down to budgets too high and pressure from above to make good time on jobs rather than quality of work. Quality of work will always bring people back… Customer retention should be priority that’s how you make a successful business not CFO’s from retail businesses that haven’t got a clue about the industry.

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  8. There not really life threatening problems. 47,000 thousand way to much to be fined

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    • Not life threatening problems??? Blown brake lights bulbs!? No need for them when you have to apply your brakes suddenly on a motorway, the car doing high speeds behind you doesn’t need to know your coming to a stop! All the issues listed have possible safety related issues and could end up being life threatening. It’s a legal and moral responsibility of anyone who works on a car to make sure that it’s safe in the roads. People need to realise that we drive around in potential lethal weapons and a blown tyre or having no brake light bulbs could end up in someone losing their life!

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      • Don’t forget it’s actually the drivers responsibly to ensure things like tyres and bulbs are up to scratch. You don’t need to be a mechanic to know if your brake light bulbs aren’t working. People don’t take enough responsibility for their own vehicles these days.

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        • True, but a non-technical driver will discharge his responsibility by employing a professional to do any checking required. If the latter screws up that’s where the buck stops.

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    • Are you mad?? They haven’t listed all the problems that were missed…
      Blown bulbs and faulty wipers that’s enough for an accident to happen during a rainy night drive.
      I seriously hope you don’t own any form of motor vehicle.

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      • I also hope you don’t own a vehicle if you think you need a mechanic to tell you if your wipers and bulbs are faulty. It’s YOUR responsibility as a driver to carry out basic checks before driving your vehicle on public roads.

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  9. The halfords in Warwick on the emscote rd is the same ripping people off all the time they should shut them down

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  10. these also charge for replacing things on your car where I work I do it for nothing as they have brought the item from my place of work so I see it as kindness to help the motorist these days and not charge them for easy fixes no matter how long something takes to replace

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  11. I use Halford auto centres whenever I need a slightly dodgy mot, their guys will let things like no front plate and pulled dashboard bulbs slide, it’s hardly bad when you run classic cars.

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  12. How can anyone defend this. People say targets and figures etc then the extra work if checked properly could be towards these targets. Shocking!!!

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  13. im not surprised. I worked at a well known manufacturer ( it was a franchise) the technicians had to work 8 hrs but sell 10hrs a day. If they couldn’t manage this I had to sack them on the Friday.

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    • Lucas Autocentre ?

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  14. nothing new,worked for most of the fast fit centers,all have one thing ing in common,makin money by ways they can get away with customers,the worst offenders in my opinion are k— f–t,terrible company

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  15. unfortunately it is instances like this that give the garage industry a bad name and make it very difficult for the smaller hard working and honest garages to make a living. A service is one of the easiest jobs to do and even has a check list to follow. It should not be expensive and should ensure the basic stuff is done so the customer at least notices some changes. The minimum that should happen is that the mechanic at least points out any defects even if they are extras that are chargeable, like oil leaks…with the cost of service items for an Astra being under £70, a set of wipers and some free air still doesn’t justify £235….I feel ashamed for all mechanics and only hope this doesn’t affect the smaller garages in the area.

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    • Rubbish. Halfords have given themselves a bad name not any other garage. Its not difficult to make a name and reputation. Its about being honest and open and giving value for money. Im proud of me and my guys our reputation and what recommendations we get by word of mouth. People travel from far and wide. Im certainly not ashamed by halfords. They have shamed themselves not I or my guys.

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  16. Similar thing happened to me 10+ years ago at halfords! Took car to be fixed and described problem, they held it all day to look into then told me I needed a whole new exhaust. I asked directly if they had examined car and they said yes the exhaust had completely gone. They had no explanation when I then informed them it had been replaced 2 weeks earlier!!! Bunch of cowboys!

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    • Halfords didn’t own a chain of garages back then.

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    • Halfords didn’t have garages 10 years ago

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      • I worked there 1990 to 1995 in the garage, at a time they poached tech’s from main dealers and paid top wages

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    • On 18 February 2010, the company { Halfords } announced a deal to purchase the Nationwide Autocentre

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  17. I used to work for them they used come round with a list first thing in the morning n say I want you to sell these today ie 10 shocks, 12 bridge stone tyres, 5 lots of discs and pads. The place was, is and always will be a con and rip off!

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    • I have read a lot of comments made and I can assure you, as a centre manager ,I DO NOT rip off any of my customers. There are many so called mechanics who blag their way into the Halfords Autocentres and it’s those who make the mistakes. The moron who missed those basic checks resigned instead of being sacked. We ALL make mistakes as humans but it’s how you put them right that counts. So ALL YOU GOOGLE mechanics out there who are perfect, think again because you will screw up in your job at some point and there will be someone who will cover up for you!

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  18. No excuse. The staff get paid wages to carry out the work tasks they are given. If they can’t check tyre pressures and wiper blades then they shouldn’t be allowed in the workshop.

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  19. Every car that goes into any workshop needs a vehicle safety report carrying out on it. It has nothing to do with wages or allocation of time, the vsr needs to be carried out regardless. The customer needs to be at least made aware of any faults, especially safety related issues, that need to be worked on. It’s then the customers responsibility to authorise the work or not! Only then does it come down to whether the correct repairs are carried out or not, and then the “pride” of the tech or the quality of their work. If they’re not carrying out the first and most important checks then the management need to take a look at themselves and their quality inspections and training of staff. Of the staff don’t match up to the right expectations then it shouldn’t get to a point where they resign, they should be relieved of their duties. But that’s what you get with companies like Halfords, it’s all about charging less and getting more through the door, quality is way down the list of priorities!

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  20. That’s what happens when you put so called ‘technicians’ in front of a vehicle after doing a 6 week Fast Fit course! I’ve been a mechanic for over 10 years and you should treat every car as if it’s your own. Customers will only return of honest and reliable work is being carried out, Halfords have a reputation for high prices and poor work ethic this is known across the whole trade.

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  21. It’s not a case of paying poor wages. I’ve MOT’d a few cars for a local main dealer in the last few weeks, the amount of leaking oil filters, missed items that have failed the MOT, dirty marks and oil spillages etc is unbelievable. Poor quality control and management is the problem.

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  22. As an ex employee of nationwide auto centres before it became halfords the company was reducing staff ,rising costs and turning to fast fit and not replacing staff .leaving their centres short of valuable skilled technicians only to replace them with unskilled fitters and trying to sell unnecessary work shortly after I was told to subcontract simple engine repairs I left the new breed of kwik fit rapidly behind me . Don’t get me wrong there will always be cowboys but they can also be found in main dealerships charging over 100 pounds per hour labour charges . Don’t knock the little people and always check the reputation of a smaller garage who’s lively-hood depends on quality of work .

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  23. Don’t like Halfords any way, my mom went to have an mot and then when she picked it up was footed with a big bill because they had fixed the problems it failed on without even asking her! By law it’s illegal to do that, my poor mom just paid up and left feeling ripped off but to scared to say anything. They also did my poor nan out of a load of money on her mot and did work again that was not discussed with before doing it. I don’t think wages have anything to do with their poor work and rip off tactics, I know a few Kwik fit workers and have been a customer there many many years and they have never ripped me off, never done Unnecessary work and are Always honest and that company is basically the same as a Halfords. I think it’s more down to training and the sort of people Halfords hire where the problem lies.

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  24. I worked for halfords for just under a year I took pride in every job and even if the time given wasn’t enough I took more time. It is your responsibility as the mechanic to make sure the car you worked on is safe BOTTOM LINE. I did not agree with the ethics of halfords so I left and now work on prestige cars for a reputable car specialist so it goes to show not all the mechanics the work for halfords are monkeys but some chose to be

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  25. They should sign up to the army then let them complain about being under pressure and payed peanuts.

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  26. Techs are under pressure yes and they are made to work from job to job but diligence is a must when your dealing with lives, ive worked in the trade most of my life and for most of the main competitors in the UK but these problems occur in all the places for the same reason. All these companies are greedy they’ve turned fast fit into open door trying to complete 2hr jobs in 10 mins (mistakes WILL happen)
    and to be honest don’t make out garages rip people of just think how much you pay for a phone or laptop/tablet for luxury, your cars can kill if not in a safe maintainable standard!!!!

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  27. Halfords have always employed people who no nothing about the job that’s why they call them technicians not machanics wouldn’t trust them to change a bulb never mind a service

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    • When they were owned by Boots, in the 1990’s they employed fully skilled technicians, that they poached from main dealers. We had Mercedes, VW, Citroen and Ford trained tech’s at the site I worked at, and they paid top wages at the time. The wages stagnated and the top guys left only to be replaced by semi-skilled fitters on lesser money

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  28. i had a similar experience last year.. Completely screwed over by HALFORDS in Taunton Somerset.. Who pasted an mot on my Mercedes with flying colours and no advisorys. For me to find out my car was unsafe for the road as my ball joint was so badly worn and I had been driving the kids round in it. Had to get vosa involved who took my car off the road as it was so bad. I had several extra advisorys as well. Halfords took my car back to make it road worthy then it broke down the day after collecting it. Got towed back there but they refused to do anything more after looking and saying it had nothing to do with them. I took it to another garage and it cost me £2,200 to fix.
    NEVER EVER TAKE YOUR CAR TO HALFORDS.
    This story has made me very happy.

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  29. Why people keep taking their cars to places like this I don’t know??
    Yes its cheaper but you get what you pay for…
    This is nothing new it’s been happening for years in places like this!!

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  30. A cheap service isn’t good and a good service isn’t cheap ! Unfortunately the public are generally after the cheapest deal possible and that’s how Halfords and Kwik Fit etc are still doing business . We constantly get calls asking ‘how much are you ‘ but never ‘how good are you’ .

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  31. I had mot done at this exact place they said this failed that failed took it elsewhere and passed says it all should be shut down

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  32. The techs involved with this need to take a step back and evaluate their actions and so do managements for pushing techs to their limits to reach targets ! quantity and quality dont go together !!!!!!

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  33. I worked for them briefly. They’re awful. Too little time allocated, hours are long, breaks are frowned upon and never offered and the techs are always to blame. 17 booked hours per tech per day aren’t unusual. I left as soon as I could and will never work for or use them again.

    I’d rather clean the nations toilets with my own toothbrush.

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  34. This does not surprise me at all places like halfords, kwik fit and most dealer even are target driven the managers that run these places put pressure on employees to make sales but at the same time fire cars out the door fast as i used to work for a main dealer and was pressured into firing cars out the door fast as so they could just get the money in i was told many times to just bring it in wipe its ass and pap it out quite regular there would be memos put on the canteen wall threatening wages and jobs when unrealistic targets were not met thankfully i had the sense to move back to the independent garages.

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  35. I work for halfords autocentre, in a different town.
    We are paid a laughable wage which does influence a f**k it policy just to get the job done and bonus earned.
    However i am a car guy, love cars, admittedly some I hate, but they still get treated with the same respect. I treat customers cars like my own, no matter how long the service or repair takes I want that car to leave in the safest condition.
    Unfortunately the management do put a lot of a pressure on us to finish services as fast as possible. They are all driven by bonus. Rather than per job it’s on a weekly sales basis, so if the target is for example £3,000 that would be 10 x £300 services that week to be on par with the bonus scheme.

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    • totally agree . All these things happen cause of the people not the company . After 8 years in the industry , it all boils down to the same point , ‘ the guy accused stopped caring long before ‘ they then brought shame on a lot of hard working people and now and ‘ industry’ suffers . Bring back proper trade interviews and bring up the standards to ‘ one strike your out ‘ standard and stop getting qualified guys to line up tyres and count spark plugs !!!!!!!!!

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  36. As an owner of a small local garage, I find this shocking, yet have heard of similar incidents in and around our area, with regards to repairs and quick MOT stations… I would urge anyone to use The Good Garage Scheme to look for reputable garages for repairs, MOTs etc. It’s customer feedback sent directly to the scheme and then fed back to the garage. You can check their scores and customer feedback online. In this game, safety should be the most important aspect…..These larger organisations are more interested in targets and figures, than the actual customer and vehicle.

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  37. It doesn’t excuse poor workmanship. In every aspect of the motor trade we are under pressure. At the end of the day imagine if this was a family members car and they took it back on the road and caused a serious accident. Would you all be sitting here now saying they are poorly paid. Ridiculous comments. To have your vehicle worked on in the motor trade you pay high prices. The least you could expect is to get your car back in working order. The centre should be ashamed and I hope this is awake up call to all garages who think it’s ok to cut corners

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  38. I took my car to Halfords aka halfrauds and they said I needed new tyres I refused to let them fit them after seeing them take another customers car round to a local budget tyres place and charge them double what they had paid… iv also used kwik fit for brakes where my pads were but on upside down and on the wrong sides…. all fraudsters luckily I can do general maintenance on my car myself and have never stepped foot in these places since!! Halfords also did my brakes wrong too both places risked mine and my passengers life’s they all need to be shut down!!!!

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  39. i used to work at their new “super centre” in croydon. As a master technician with five manufacturers myself, ill happily say i know my stuff without wanting to sound big headed. I also staffed all the techs there so i know there amazing techs. The management and reception staff, and even the regional manager are a useless bunch. I could of told them a defibrillator had gone on the rear brakes and they would try and sell it to the customers. The diagnostic equipment they’ve been given makes windows 97 look up to date, the organisation of the place is non existent, the only technical thing the girl out the front knows about is a selfie stick, the centre manager was the Ikea manager.. Says alot on its own! And the regional manager was the regional manager of Thorntons CHOCOLATE… So obviously knows how to run a workshop. The techs are good at that branch, but if you want to know whats wrong with your car there, unless your talking to them, you’ll get nothing but lies.
    All the best!

    Reply
    • Spot on comment couldn’t of put better myself , they use managers from a retail environment and not a tecnical/mechanical background in sight.

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  40. I’m a mot tester for halfords admitted iv only worked for them a few months. Firstly can’t speak about anyone else but I’m on reasonable money secondly iv had no pressure selling or failing a car if it needs failing it fails if it’s good it passes and as dvsa say If u are unsure u always get a second mot testers opinion if possible and if not you pass and advise. Iv had no pressure for targets or volume maybe I’m a lucky one but I know mistake will be made if jobs are rushed. I’m on a time limit to to a mot every 45 mins but some can be done in 30 mins some can take over a hour with the atl. So if u were my last mot of the day there is always a chance your mot may not get done if I run out of time. Frankly I dnt care if it don’t get done as long as I know all my mots were done according to dvsa standards. But I’m sure if you were that last person u would understand or wouldn’t u???
    All garages mess up even kwick fit lol who are pro the worst.

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  41. I have to comment on this…. As an ex employee, and it wasn’t for bad reasons I left, if you get bad service, it’s because of bad technicians…,
    The staff aren’t put on a quick course and allowed to work on cars, myself and the other members of staff were all fully trained, myself being pro tech qualified at a well known prestige brand!
    As for wages, well, I left a prestige dealer to go to Halfords for a rise!

    As I said, the fault lies with the technician. Yes there are time constraints, but there are in any garage, there are upsell targets, but there are in dealers…

    If you want proper service find an independent who’s livelihood relies on recommendation and repeat custom, they will look after you!

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  42. The mechanic would not have been told to ‘Cut Corners’ The Motor Trade is in a bad state at present because of crap mechanics like this guy. Putting peoples lives at danger.
    Barry

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  43. I worked for Halfords autocentre for 9 years and not all centres are like this there’s a lot who are honest and good at there job but because of the few that are gives every other centre a bad name. There was a lot of pressure on the staff from the senior management team with very little support it the way of training and equipment for the centres. It was all targets and not enough time in the day due to the poor online diary where customers could book appointments even when low on staff which every centre suffered with because of the poor wages they pay.

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    • I have worked for fast fit centres since the 80s as a fitter and manager and seen all of the above happening I gave verbal warnings to fitters spraying shock absorbers and telling customers they were faulty to be laughed at by the rm telling me it’s all part of the game. nationwide ,fitters advising extra work on service that was not needed and missing things that were I resigned after the am took the side of a fitter and threatened me with a warning could
      go on and on only use small independent garages that have been recommended by regular customers who use them yes they have to make a profit but haven’t got head office and shareholders to pay for now out of the rip off game a Lott happier

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  44. Most manufacturers set service times now. It’s not uncommon to get 0.4 or 0.5 (24 or 30 mins) to service a car, that doesn’t then get seen for another year. When you complain about the time, it’s up to you to make your own time by upselling items such as tyres, wipers etc…..it’s all rubbish.

    Job times are there for a reason. It’s how long the manufacturer says that job takes to do. The same job on one car will not always take the same time on the next, ie seized bolts/components. It’s unreasonable to expect technicians to book 110/120% per day, but it’s commonplace in the trade. Especially as you can find yourself in court if someone is injured for so much as leaving a bolt loose etc.

    I feel for the guy who serviced the Astra. Can’t believe they actually named him! Nobody knows what pressure he was under and was probably hopelessly overbooked.

    No wonder nobody wants to be in the trade.

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  45. If you live in Wolverhampton the only garage I trust is Neils Auto’s in Newbridge best garage and very trustworthy

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  46. If you’re a decent mechanic why would you work at Halfords, you wouldn’t. A £47,000 fine is nothing to them. Putting people’s lives at risk should have shut the place down, that would have hurt them more.

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  47. A garage is only as good as the people who work there unfortunately for halfords they have employed monkeys as stated by many others

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  48. Kwikfit are just as bad! I was offered a job at a kwikfit branch…I was then told by someone I knew who took his car there that they had sprayed his shocks with oil then told him they needed replacing for MOT to make a few quid. I now work for a small independent garage and have never been happier. We take pride in everything we do (time served level 3 mechanic)

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  49. I’m an ex Halfords employee (store albeit), and I agree with the part about all management are interested is bonuses, quick turn around and hitting targets, luckily though, my local autocentre are one of the decent lot, their assistant manager being a highly qualified mechanic, but I have had problems with another local autocentre where I wouldn’t let them touch my car with a barge pole, though saying that, I won’t even let Evans Halshaw touch my car again after they sold me the car with a new mot even though the horn didn’t work and numerous other problems.

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  50. Its gone to pot since changed to Halfords auto centre never had any problems when it was called nationwide autocentre

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  51. I am a fully qualified mechanic and mot tester and every aspect of a car contributes to safety weather its a light bulb or not!
    We follow a service schedule on every service we do so things cant be missed! We also advise to the customer on any other non related service items if they are faulty!
    On occasions things do get missed due to human nature but usually this is rare! Halfords have a lot to answer for as this reputation has been know for years.

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  52. I always thought the name of the company was “HALFRAUDS”.

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  53. I work for halfords and I can tell you I’m not paid peanuts. I am way above national avge salary. I take pride in my shop and everything I do. I work in the retail side, but get my car serviced and mot’d at the autocentre, never had a problem. There’s alway know it alls out there in all walks of life

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    • I have worked for Halfords for 8 years and will confirm to you that we are most certainly NOT paid over the minimum wage, 95% of people in stores or on or slightly above it!! You are either a liar or a manager!

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  54. I currently work for Halfords (13 years) and can say that this type of problem is becoming more common due mainly to a very poor business plan. Centre managers have no say in what work is booked and at what time! A customer can book online for a major service and mot, drop off at 1 o’clock on a saturday, the system may book the mot for 1.45 (finishing at 2.30) that tech now has 2 hours to carry out a service changing every filter on the car plus brake and anti freeze changes etc etc book time for this job is around 2.5/3 hours if done correctly. Now factor in that, that centre only has 2 mechanics and that is only one of 5 services, 8+ tyres, 9 Mots 3/4 free checks plus any number of mot failure work from that day.. no wonder people rush and miss things. Hand on heart all the staff in know in local branches to me are honest people but the sheer numbers of jobs you have to get through day to day is stupid, and will only lead to mistakes. It is a joke how this company is heading, all upper management come for retail and have NO idea how a garage is run and ask for no input for their managers before bring out there next crap plan. All the “real mechanics” are now leaving to find a “proper jobs” where they dont get rushed through the job they are on to get the next in. This company can not employ staff (due to poor pay and working conditions) and spend a massive amount a month on agency workers, some of which hardly speak English! Every day is like having a one hand tied behind your back with no control over staff levels and the most basic of things.. daily bookings, how does that make ANY sense?!
    Halfords is going down the pan fast and they only have themselves to blame, i just hope the hardworking centre staff keep their jobs when/if we get sold off!

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  55. No one here seems to know anything, Halford was nationwide auto centres, the garages and people they bought out were nationwide staff, they’ve taken the grunt from this but it’s fairly obvious the standards for this company were indeed set by the incompetence of the original staff. No exceptions plus not all of them are this bad, the ones in leeds are actually ok but again the wages are completely shit and most staff move on.

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  56. Payed them to fit new rear bulbs before because it was raining 20 mins of the girl tryin to get boot trim off I got out changed bulbs and quickly got my money back joke outfit

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  57. I used to work at Halfords in the 90s and we had a great shift rota of 2 x 12 hour days on and 2 off. We took pride in our work and never mis-sold anything to anyone. It was owned by Boots at the time.
    Later on things changed. Shifts went and they wanted us to sign a new contract to work more hours for less money and become more ‘Kwik Fit’ orientated. Sell sell sell….
    So the ones with a conscience left.
    There are still some good guys left in the industry but you’ll never know who unless you try them.
    Unfortunate.

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    • Probably about the same time as me Mike, I worked there 1990 to 1995 and agree, it started to go downhill when Boots sold it. The wages stagnated and the best tech’s left…. The wages were good when I started.

      Reply
      • When I worked for Halfords the time was easy to manage, I had 3 technicians working 12 hours a day, so 36 hours. I would book only 25 leaving 11 hours for the walk in work a extra repairs on MOT and servicing. I would pitch in when needed (I was the service receptionist) and we easy sold 45 hours labour a day and usually be finished by 7.30 in the evening. The trick for good customer relations UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER. Nearly all vehicles were completed before the customer expected and the invoice less than the quote. That was the philosophy I was taught.

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  58. I work for a large national fast fit company none named above. Not all fast fit company’s operate in this manner I have been running a centre for nearly ten years for this company and not once am I pressured to oversell not carry out work or rip people off. If this did happen within our company and the employee at fault would certainly be made to leave. I have known of this happen once the customer was unaware but due to are procedures in place it came to light the customer was contacted to be informed and was given a full refund plus compensation. I have also worked for some smaller independents and dealerships they can be worse not all it’s the individuals not always the brand.

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  59. we the consumer have driven the trade to cut prices to keep motorist on the road. The high street car repairers unfortunately don’t have techs that are able to work on a Multi franchise of vehicles that cannot specialise in all makes this where the main dealer comes in. The main dealer is then constantly price compared to these non specialised companies and have now been force to cut there prices to compete. This has in turn suppressed the these highly skilled techs that spend hours training and specialising in a certain manufacturers product from earning the wage they deserve. This style of company don’t specialise in anything the dable in bikes,car seats,car parts, bike servicing, car servicing camping with such a wide variety of products how can they possibly carry out something as complex as modern day car servicing they would have been okay 20 years ago but for the same reason this is why we don’t see as many independent village style garages as the garage owner have excepted they just cannot do the properly and safely well done to these is say.

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  60. I served my time and finished in 1985. It was just as bad as this then, it’s the worst paying of all the trades, this despite a high level of skill needed with significant responsiblity. Never let your children go in the motor trade.

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  61. Many have said people go to Halfords because they are cheap Is ten pounds cheep to swop a battery or 5 pounds to change a pair of wiper

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  62. Hi everybody I have read most of these comments. Will tell you this has happened to this technician more than likely because he has been told his efficiency is to low. This makes him look bad and has lost all respect. The sad truth is Manufactors are reducing labour times to keep the cost of motoring down. For I basic service you can pay and est £150 to £300 for a service in which the technician that works on your car will be lucky to get £10 out of plus he has to buy his own tools it would take him 10 to 20 minutes to right or type in all the defects in which the manager would don’t worry about it because the customer won’t have all that done I want hours out of you. Trust me I know the whole Motor trade is corrupt some one makes a lot of money and cares nothing for safety. Main dealers are a lot better than they used to be but a lot more has to be done. It takes a lot of red tape to get a body like trading standards involved so this has been going on for a very long time. Technicians and managers are under a lot of pressure to rake in cash bonus for this and bonus for that. If your want to look at what really goes on look on you tube British Leyland quality connection, it is an old film but the unfortunate truth is this still goes on today right through out the industry. Alex tovey is very very unlucky has lost credibility but the management have to be blamed they let Alex hang out to dry to save themselves resigning is the best thing he could do. This is the will be the start of a big complain now by trading standards a crossed the whole country and it is along time overdue.

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  63. I currently work for Halfords Autocentres. The pressure you are put under to meet targets and KPI’S! The moto from the top is good honest reporting, no over selling as disciplinary action will be taken against you. This is what is preached in emails, (covering their own arses if it comes on top), because the truth is you are pushed to sell and they want to know why if u don’t. Halfords have destroyed my career and any chance of moving elsewhere, because I’m now branded as Halfords through working there. There are some good guys that work there but have fallen foul of the Halfords brand.

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  64. They also advertise dealer equivalent mechanics and diagnostic equipment, ha ha got techs that don’t know how to use diagnostics properly , and the equipment has been bought at the cheapest possible price that it crashes all the time. God help them when the new mot system comes in, with the use of hand held tablets, you can bet they will be the cheapest tablets/software on the market.

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  65. the point is some halfords stores/autocentres do cut corners but at the end of the day what business doesn’t all big companies care about is ££££ I work for halfords and I can honestly say that the store that I work at is the best job I’ve ever had we are always helpful and want to help not make people’s life worse anyone can sit there in front of their computer or phone and say how bad a business is but the point is not all the people who work for the company will cut corners some of us will get the job done properly the first time

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  66. Well it’s a shame they only concentrate on the well named garages instead of the big one garage owners as there just as bad!!!!

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  67. I work at Halfords my self. Not all centres are like this.

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  68. Halfords aren’t the only garage chain guilty of this practise all the big “Fast Fit Companies” have been caught out at one stage or another as have even Main Dealers …. It’s best to find a small independent garage and stick with them although even they screw up at times too.

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  69. Halfords always been iffy. Going back a few years I took my car in for a service, pointing put that my brake light needed replacing. Saw them put it on sheet as a to do, got billed for it and wasn’t replaced. Told me my gearbox was about to pack in but took it somewhere else and they said it was fine. Then more recently when under new management, I took a newer car for cam belt change. Fitted the wrong one on they confessed and knew about it, once the belt slipped and came flying off causing engine damage which they couldn’t fix and they had to send it off to Renault dealer for repairs.

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  70. Booked a mot with the a free brake check and wheel alignment and it fail the mot for number plate light bulb and handbrake not having enough reserve. I ve been told is a easy fix, and will be done by the end of day and retested… Only that at the end of day when i picked the car up and drove of at first traffic light…. No brakes, no hand brake and had to stop the car buy selecting 1 on the automatic and going against a kerb to stop, lucky enough was low speed and streets empty… As soon as i stopped brake light on empty fuel reservoir… But no leaks, had to top up brake fluid by 0.5 L and rebleed my brakes on the side of the street Saturday after 5pm… Ps i am not the type of guy that neglects a car does not check oil or fluid levels and especially does not run around with blown light bulbs… This is my experience and i can say: halfrauds is a very good garage, spot on for charging work they have not done or messed up…. Someone can imagine if a child would of run in front of my car and needed to stop after i picked up the car? I understand that mot is only reflecting a status when test is done but brake fluid does not evaporate…. Few hours later..

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  71. i do my own servicing and i have a trade acc with carspares .dont trust anybody else halfords are very over priced….

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  72. I’m not a great lover of Halfords as they ruined profit margins and product confidence through poor installation in my industry (Parrot bluetooth) but my local workshop in Cheriton near Folkestone are actually quite good.
    I bought a Ford Ka that had failed MOT on both front suspension bushes, no other advisories (done by independent garage). Had the work done and took it to Halfords Cheriton where it passed but had three genuine minor advisories so my tester was obviously more thorough than the independent in this instance. I guess it’s a bit of a lottery and depends on the staff at a particular workshop.

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  73. Had a new clutch kit and duel mass flywheel replaced 3 years ago by paisley branch it has only done 40.000 miles and now is starting to fail phoned them up and was told what do you want us to do about it it’s out of warranty but I told them the mileage it had done and it really should not be failing dose not matter thay said its past the slowed mileage and years of the warranty conditions now I am left angry with them so I phoned head office and reported there behaviour thay said thay would look in to it still waiting for a reply from them I am not a happy bunny

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  74. I was briefly a manager for these people and it was the biggest mistake of my career. The pressure to hit a high sales target was enormous and the online diary/booking system just keeps pouring the work in regardless of how many staff are working that day and that makes it impossible to do a quality job on every vehicle and get them all finished inline with customer expectations.
    Halfords also have a menu pricing system for nearly every job on every vehicle and most of the costs are absolutely eye watering.
    I was absolutely embarrassed to work there and having been in the trade for longer than I care to remember handed my notice in after a short period of time. There is a high staff turnover with Halfords Autocentres and it is generally the senior management and their company ethos that is to blame and not always the technicians as the ones that worked for me were good guys.

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  75. it’s about time there were more checks done on garages, and I’m not talking so much about the standard of work, but checks on how much garages are charging, for instance if the customer is a women and charged or rather ripped off for work done, you garages are all the same, if you think you can get away with it then you will, not many honest garages left nowadays and if you happen to have one then consider yourself luck. Stop ripping us off.

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  76. I would not use Halfords for an Mot as I prefer to use a trusted local garage. I did use them to fit an after market Headunit and Battery the other day though while I was taken shopping . Jobs were done well by a very pleasent young man at what I considered a reasonable charge . This was in Taunton ,Hawkridge.

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  77. I personally use a local garage, it takes a bit of time to find a decent one but when you do use them and recommend them, all businesses add mark up on parts etc but 5% to 10% is reasonable in my eyes not, 500% like most major chains and then try add on cost on for unnecessarily work. I work in the service industry not motors but the gas industry. i have worked for company’s that try and make you do things that aren’t quiet right lets say, but in my game its me who can end up in jail or fined not the company you work for, even with that said i have found some shocking workmanship.
    To that end you cant tar all the mechanics that work for them with the brush.

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  78. The problem with retail as a whole (Halfords being one of the worst culprits) is that profit is the only driving factor. Staff are as good as untrained (of trained to the minimum/inadequate standards), they are paid peanuts for the work and effort they are expected to commit, the workplaces are often poorly equipped, badly maintained and generally unfit for the practices that need to be carried out there and the culture within the country is to make money at all costs… NOT a good breeding ground for thorough and fair customer service!!!

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  79. As a motor industry professional, with 30 odd years experience this story doesn’t surprise me one iota. I’ve worked in the higher end of management and on the tools in stealerships and fast fit. ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY simple and if Joe public thinks anything else he’ll mend them. There is a perception that the bigger chains will take care of you and your vehicle, and there is a comprehensive guarantee and complaints system in place so everything is Rosetta, utter nonsense your just a mark! With the advent of google and the likes there is no excuse anymore do your research use sites like the goodgaragescheme. The one man bands and independents represent far better vfm because these guys have to offer a better and more professional service to compete. Ok you may not get a nation wide warranty, but if anything does go wrong the chances are you can go right to the top and speak to somebody that does want to keep you as a customer. It has sickened me for years that anywhere else in Europe vehicle technicians are treated the same way as doctors dentists etc while in the UK we’re just grease monkeys. Somebody needs to organise a one day national mechanics strike it would literally bring this country to a halt, them we all might get the respect we deserve including the poor sods that work for nationals. Rant over.

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  80. I agree with what you say about how we are viewed Rick. When I am in Germany and people find that I am both a business owner and 33 year experienced mechanic they regard you with respect. In this country I am a grease monkey back street garage…

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  81. Some of the best technicians i have ever met have worked for Halfords and also some real monkeys too. You get a mixed bag where ever you work.

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  82. I took my wife’s Micra for a service to Halfords, when I picked it up later the rear screen wiper was void of a blade, so they hadn’t checked that a few weeks later I had a go at a neighbour because his old van was leaking oil/diesel all over the road outside our property only to later find it was my wife’s car because Halfords hadn’t tightened the sump plug properly. Wouldn’t I use them again. No way.

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  83. We asked Halfords to fix a bulb on a Toyota Celica 2003, they charged £3 or so. The guy just pushed the headlight in side and closed it, he didn’t know how to lock it back he just put the rubber seal on and for him it was good job.

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  84. about time the authorities caught up with them. I worked for them for a short period. It’s shocking how they manage to convince people that they are providing a service equal to main dealers. The management is appalling and some of the main culprits guilty of “maximising profit”. The techs in some cases are not skilled and tie up their horses outside the workshop. I do not advertise my short stay with them and you will find no details on my C.V

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  85. The thing is all defects on any motor should be fixed even if its just a bulb if it was a hgv and pulled by vosa the truck would be parked up driver and company fined heaverly all because the garage failed to fix the defect or failed to pick up on the defect that it went in for

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  86. As well worked for these jokers for a small amount of time! It’s all about the sell sell sell! They haven’t got a clue about the motor industry!!

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  87. A customer of mine decided to Halfords to fit a headlight bulb on a BMW after 90 minutes the girl told my customer that she had trapped her hand behind the lamp and he had to go in the store to get another person to come out and loosen the headlamp so she get her hand out
    All this when she could fitted via the purpose fitted flap in the under shield under the wing

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  88. I worked for one of halfords autocentre and think that your comments against all technicians are unfair as people are tarring them with the same brush as the bad techs and store techs. Yes I agree that methods used by centre managers and front desk staff are very questionable but I pride myself on my worked and always gave that little bit extra to provide my customers with the best job and care possible purely because I thought that they were paying far too much on labour prices for anything that was extra that was found to be wrong when checked. Staff are underpayed but then so are most motor trade businesses these days and given that I worked for many different companies in the past halfords are far more fair when it comes to giving money back and extra services free if a customer so much as complained about a tyre pressure being wrong after service where as other companies fight tooth and nail. Not all centres are the same so ease off

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  89. Why would anyone take the cars there is beyond me,
    Halfords/Quick Fit don’t employ Technicians but fitters,,,, and bad ones!!
    Find your self a good Interdependent garage by recommendation in your area and you good to go.

    Also there is someone above mention the “Good garage scheme” ( obviously someone owns a garage that it belongs to this scheme. I don’t say the garage is not good, but GGS will not publish any bad reviews for any garage, so it’s a pointless scheme. Sorry.

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    • Not strictly true about the good garage scheme John.
      I am a member, if highly negative feedback is produced. The scheme allows you to rectify the issue with the customer to reach a satisfactory outcome. If this cannot be achieved the feedback with go on the website regardless.
      So in my opinion the customer is protected against poor service since most independents will rely on the positive feedback & returned custom!!!!

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  90. I had windscreen wipers put on by them and 1 fell off in the rain, took it back to be told once it leaves the garage it’s on me!

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  91. We have all our cars serviced at halfords as its cheaper than dealers , I had a new tyre fitted , got it back , drove Home then noticed the fitter had not replaced all my wheel nuts had to go back the next day to have a new one fitted as they had “lost the original ” , we have approx 50 cars in our fleet ………. I’m worried !!!!!

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  92. I worked previously at Halfords Autocentres Peterborough and the manager Dan continued to disrespect all members of staff by hurling abuse at them whenever he could. He would never praise them but took the praise from customers himself to make him look better for regional manager. The centre was a shambles and a high turnover at the centre was/is solely down to the managers poor man-management skills. I feel sorry for the guys that still work underneath this clown and this two-bit shambles of a company!

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  93. And did you know !! That those who sit behind the desk at these auto centres have area managers up there backsides pushing them to get better sales each month . Easy targets the mugs that use halfords !
    How do I know you may ask . I used them once got told I had faulty springs .. So took it elsewhere and there was nothing wrong at all .

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    • The Butts tried selling me new batter at £98 saying my battery was unservicable but there was nothing wrong with it. Even left hazzards on for hours to test it after their comments and still started first turn. Thought only RAC used rhis trick and got severely fined for it.

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  94. I just had major service done in March and several of the things were not done. It was took back to get rectified and also I had a lot of work done on it costing over £2000 and been conned with that too. Just contacted trading standards to pursue this case.

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  95. What a load of crap, one person commits a murder so hang every human!
    I work for Halfords but not for much longer, most technicians are good hard workers just because there’s a couple of rotten eggs in the barrel doesn’t mean they all are, however spare a thought for the staff who on average earn 18-20 k, in the last year I have never and I mean never had a lunch break or any kind of break despite being told we gave an hours unpaid break each day, recently we were told we were working an extra hour each day, so we could work a 5 day week, but in the last month I have had one day off, seven day weeks suck! Were pressured into working and we are exhausted, that’s how mistakes are made!
    A month ago our garage was broken into and around 25k of employees tools stolen, since then Halfords have not offered us a penny to replace any of the tools we worked our tits off for, Halfords as a company don’t give a toss about the real workers but shine asses in suits get a small fortune for bullying us.

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  96. It’s not the point of bulbs being the responsibility of the driver – the point is THEY FAILED to check them even though they said they had

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  97. I use to work for Halfords well before Halfords took over and from that time it went downhill they wanted a hard sell approach.

    I had worked my way upto running the branch and being a fully qualified mechanic and qualified MOT tester class 3 , 4 , 5 , 7 I had been in the trade a lot of years and I have morals where I would never sell anything to anyone if they did not need it.

    Sadly the regional manager was chasing his bonus and all he was interested in was figures.

    I remember one Christmas he walked in and in the back office there was like cases of beer bottles of wine and biscuits etc. His exact words where have customers been paying with them I told him strait I can’t post my exact words as he got a right mouthful but in short he got told it was customers who appreciated our service we gave them at the branch.

    I left myself not long after and have not looked back I was on good money but I have principles and I wasn’t going to go against them.

    Not all the mechanics are bad but you have two types in a branch you have the “mechanics” and the “fitters” they are totally different the fitters being like rushed through training at places like quickfit and unless it hanging off or simple they can’t do it.

    Then you have the “mechanics” those who have have been apprentices and have all the qualifications and can actually diagnose a fault correctly but sadly all the good mechanics are slowly leaving that company and you basically left with a load of fitters who are young with little experience.

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  98. To all you people who are shocked at whats going on at Halfords i say get yourself a mobile mechanic like me. They do the work on your premises and will leave the old parts with you if that’s what you want, so you know the job has been done. He’s an ex VW mechanic and hes never let me down. Very honest. I would never let anyone else service my vehicle. I was once done by a franchised dealer and took my complaint to trading standards but they did not prosecute and I was left out of pocket. There are some excellent mechanics out there but at the end of the day i’m afraid its just the luck of the draw.

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  99. I took my Jaguar XJ8 in to Halfords for an MOT test, they failed it on the usual headlight alignment and brake union corrosion that they often, find to make more money, what they failed to see was where the floor was parting company with the sills and needed welding on both sides! I got it sorted by a Jaguar specialist. I will not go back there!

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  100. I’ve worked at Halfords and it was all about the selling of parts, discs and pads, that’s how you earned your bonus. I wouldn’t recommend to friends and family. Needless to say I have worked in other service centers and there’s not a lot of difference. Maybe DfT/DVSA should have the power to intervene.

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  101. I wouldn’t say there over priced!
    But I would say they don’t pay there technicians enough to care…
    Fixing cars is hard graft and technical but you get paid the same as admin staff or someone stacking a shelf in asda!
    I think a lot comes from £20 mots £99 services if people want cheap expect problems, go to a proper garage that charge a reasonable price and pay there staff well

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  102. My experience of recent motor trade issues I think sums it up
    I took a 2002 Fiat Brava for an MOT recently having decided to keep it on the rd for another year It failed brake discs, a cracked rear lens & inner sills req welding
    By the time welding was done I was out of the free re test period by a couple of days. As test stn was busy I took it to another that could do MOT that day. Test station No 2 couldnt pass it because of the front subframe being riddled with rot. One rust hole was large enough to get your hand through
    So my conclusion is your MOT isn’t really worth the paper it’s printed on
    That subframe was so bad the car was a death trap

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  103. I work for halfords a few years ago due to redundancy and recession I started on the Tuesday morning after May bank holiday and walked out I the Thursday as I had serviced a BMW m3 and noted and a vehicle check that the brakes where 50% worn, the manager then sold pads and discs all round charging £950 for cheep aftermarket parts!!! The customer was a pensioner and poor guy paid it trusting that the manager wouldn’t lie to him ! I refused to do the job and packed my tool box away and walked out! If they won’t to rob OAP’s I was not prepared to help them !!!

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  104. I have worked in the trade for 33 years, I have seen plenty of bad workmanship in IMT and Francise Dealers , however fast fits and these national companies always seem to be worse. This is down to one thing and that’s upper management all they are interested in is PROFIT, not customer service. The biggest problem by far in the motor trade is there is NO regulatory body, anybody can open a garage! You wouldn’t let a joiner or a bricky install your gas central heating, so why do you let non time served mechanics work on you car? Believe me you DO.

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  105. My daughter booked an interim service with Halfords as the car was misfiring. They charged her £400 for other work they deemed necessary, but could not fix the problem of the misfiring. To reduce her stress I paid ‘Under Protest’ .
    Sadly the nightmare continued, as Halfords did not inform my daughter (as their menu of services state) that as her car had done in excess of 90,000 miles, her cam belt should have been replaced. Yes, the cam belt broke a few months later.

    What I find disturbing about Halfords guarantee policy, is if you pay for high priced parts, which should last at least as long as manufacture expectations, sudden failure, is not Halfords responsibility and customers becomes a cash cow for Halfords Autocentres.

    Therefore, if you want a professional motor engineer, a quality service and value for money, go elsewhere as, Halfords is incapable of achieving these outcomes.

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  106. I had a major service with Halfords Auto centre, three weeks later my timing belt was gone!!I had to write off the Car.
    When i contacted Halfords to ask them why it wasn’t mentioned in my service report and yet its included as part of their major service, no clear answer was given. Do i have a case??

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  107. I was quoted £294 per side for rear brakes and bearings….. thats £588 total lol I went to the local garage and they charged £230 for everything….that was a couple of years ago and had no problems since. What really gets me aswell is seein a EuroCP Van parked in the forecourt. That means cheap parts that r gonna make a profit margin of around 50-75%. Chuck in the labour thats still making money…….I mean extortionate money lol

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  108. mot fail @ Autocentre.The reason…..wiper blades worn! They were fitted day before at Halfords branch.Refused to release the car until fixed.They Autocentre fitted new blades @ cost of £32 each side.(smaller blade on passenger side).Packaging left in car was same as blades on sale in local pound shop.RIP OFF MERCHANTS

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  109. Ok, so I’m a bit late finding this story, but I’d like to offer my opinion…an it is just my opinion! To me, Halfords have been an invaluable source of bits over the years…oil, bulbs, fuses, filters and any other part I’ve needed have been readily available. Sure, they haven’t always been the absolute cheepest, but they have been competitive with online sellers and they are a real shop where you pay the money and instantly have what you want. That said, I do think they may have become too ambitious in the last few years. If it comes to changing a wiper blade…:if you can’t do that yourself, you probably shouldn’t be on the road anyway. Bulbs? Older cars are easy, but these days, manufacturers realise that bulbs are going to fail and making them impossible to get to means more money for the dealers. And therein lies the problem here…..car makers are building ever more complex machines that require specialist knowledge and tools to fix. Halfords are an institution on the high street, but perhaps they should stick to selling bits as a retailer, rather than pretending to be able to work on all the cars out there these days.

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  110. I am a fully trained motor technician being doing the job for 30+ years.
    I visited Halfords to pick up a part (I have a trade card) on leaving the store I noticed a bloke who has worked there a few years trying to fit a headlight bulb to a mondeo mk3 he had bits of the car all over the place, the customer was staring with a “what’s he doing to my car look on his face” I just said to the tech Hi pal you ok? he replied I hate doing these bulbs there is no room to get at anything! I looked at the customer who said yeh they seem a real pain. I then said to the tech I change bulbs in these in 2 mins he said well do this one then in 2 mins and I will pay for that part you have in your hand. Deal on. Out with the 2 locating holding pins slid headlight out disconnect connection remove cover swap bulb reassemble push light back in position back in with holding pins and hey presto done. He said fair enough mate I didn’t know they came out like that I got trained on a Vauxhall! The customer of there’s said thanks mate and where do you work? yeh we have a new customer. The trouble is training on one car doesn’t give you the know all on all cars even after all these years if I get a job I never done before I take my time and do it correct, example any one who knows changing a steering rack on a fiesta is easy changing one on a espace is a total nightmare. The pressure from above and this ridiculous system of never refusing a booking on the day so 2 staff can be rushing there nuts off to avoid area managers moaning or worse at them is causing short cuts-forgetting to do things-feeling sick and tired of the job and general I don’t care attitude which is wrong but I can see why the techs get fed up.
    I worked in a fast fit centre tech and managed and never ever ripped anyone off I would fire staff if they tried to there is enough honest work on vehicles if you check them correctly and give the customer quality service and 100% honesty. It was against company policy to rip off. Hence the company started down the sell sell sell route like KF and a few others so I left after an argument with my area manager in front of a packed managers meeting saying I wouldn’t sell if it wasn’t required, his answer was well maybe your in the wrong job!!!! Me done exit stage left. A few more managers left shortly after too.
    There is honest people in the trade and there is cowboys but all human and mistakes like any trade will happen. Don’t tar everyone with the same brush after one simple mistake. Continuous mistakes yes. In this story above the tech was at fault he didn’t carry out his duty correctly he knows why we guess why. And when I asked the Halfords tech if he was going to pay for my part as promised he nearly cried! I just smiled and said no need to mate as long as you have learnt how to do them from now on.

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  111. Come on, let’s be honest. Most Halfords garages see any car coming into the workshop as a sales opportunity. When booking in a car the customer will be assessed by the clerk. I mean no disrespect but younger female drivers are less likely to be mechanically savvy and a prime target. These are the customers garages like Halfords love. They trust the garage and if the garage says it’s broken they usually will say just go ahead and fix it. Just to be clear, it’s not just Halfords who employ this practice. These garages just employ fitters who just take one item out and fit a new one. They have no idea of diagnostics, and if the computer does not pull a fault code they are stumped. What is needed is proper regulation and the re introduction of proper apprenticeships, not these stupid fast track nvq’s and rubbish like that.

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  112. Hi all
    Just reading all your comments about Halfords, I have been working for the autocentres for 12 years now and you lot are talking utter rubbish, all of our tech’s are graded before
    we employ them to asses their technical experience and if they dont meet up to the criteria required we will not employ them and as for those of you who think we rip off young ladies again you talking utter rubbish, I personally treat people as I would like to be treated and if i find my tech’s trying to over sell on their reports they are questioned about the report and as for being to expensive, compared to main dealers and other tyres / exhaust centres our prices are much cheaper, what people do not understand is the nationwide guarantee we offer, as for paying peanuts to our tech’s, their pay is based on their knowledge and experience and can earn up to 30k a year which is more like gorilla nuts than monkey nuts as for the retail shops I agree they can not fit bulbs correctly so they should stick to car seats and push bikes
    Hope this helps all

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  113. Halfords fitted breaks to my wife’s car, which in the words of the mechanic, were substandard and din’t fit properly which subsequently led them to fail twice at major junctions. They fixed them when reported BUT this company needs to take responsibility for putting lives at risk

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  114. Halfords failed my car for the hazard light not working properly despite telling them it was faulty and wanted it fixed before MOT ing the car. After several days of head scratching and wrong switch being ordered I took it to my local back street garage where he pulled up the gear stick gaiter and pointed to a loose wire. Soldered it straight away and didn’t charge me anything. Been using him now for the last 5 years.

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  115. My car was serviced by Park Royal Halfords / July 2017
    they charged me for new brake pads, that they never fitted,
    and even told me directly they had done the work.

    Customer services put this down to an honest mistake?!

    Just to summarise, this Halfords garage obtained money for safety-critical work they didn’t carry out and in so doing jeopardised my family’s safety.

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  116. I have my clio dci winter health check done buy them and all I can say is WOW reason for check was I was not too keen on my shockers so after 2hrs I come back to a £800 plus repair bill all which is a load of crap on the bill was my coolant renewal £48 and then coolant change £42, a rear wheel bearing and they removed my drum (which in their words was I can not let you drive out of here with a faulty wheel bearing) a rear brake cylinder which they said was leaking (no sign of oil around seal or and drum) airbag fault(which is due to me turning it off for child seat £65 fault finding for air bag at which point all I said was put my drum and and wheels back on you f idiot the car had water pump,timing belt and coolant done 2k miles ago showed him receipt, air bag watch this I’m a wizard (I turn it back on with key in the switch on door) and I’m not paying £120 for a wheel bearing which I think you messed up as it was new 6 months ago. They are clowns, go to your local garages.

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  117. I just found out my daughter went to Halfords in Swansea for a MOT it failed on wheel bearing and number plate light missing so she left there for work to be done . 6 days later collects car , all work done ( 2 jobs ) that’s £260.00 + cost of the MOT. Happy daughter got MOT i popped out side to have a look no number plate light fitting no bulbs no nothing but they gave her a MOT and a £260.00 bill on top . Absolutely shocking I’m off to see what they got to say tomorrow this will be interesting no car for 6 days and a £260.00 bill for a wheel bearing which costs £10.00 to buy. Plus they gave a MOT which is dodgy

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