A self-employed driving instructor has claimed she’s been left out of pocket after Kwik Fit fitted the wrong battery to her car on two occasions, Derbyshire Live has reported.
Sammy Thomas said her problems started in November when her car battery failed while on a family trip to Devon.
A roadside recovery operator from Green Flag jump started her Ford Focus, which is equipped with start-stop, and directed Sammy to the only garage open on a Sunday in Paignton – Kwik Fit.
A new one was fitted and Ms Thomas made her way back home to Derbyshire.
Just a few days later she found herself calling Green Flag once again because her car wouldn’t start.
The car was again jump-started, allowing Ms Thomas to drive to Kwik-Fit in Burton where another new battery was fitted.
However, the following day her car failed to start.
Ms Thomas took her car elsewhere and mechanics Arnold Clarke Garage in Burton spotted that the wrong battery had been fitted to her car.
Vehicles equipped with start-stop systems require an AGM battery, rather than a traditional SLI battery.
A spokesperson for ECOBAT Battery Technologies previously told GW: “The AGM battery is a formidable piece of engineering that, unlike a traditional SLI battery, is designed with a high cyclic (charge/discharge/recharge) capacity and the ability to recharge extremely quickly.
“Over their design life, which was projected to be around four years, they are expected, due to the vehicle’s start-stop system, to make 350,000 engine starts, compared with the 30,000 expected by an SLI battery in a non start-stop vehicle.”
Ms Thomas claims Kwik Fit’s mistakes left her £3,100 out of pocket in lost earnings and expenses just before Christmas.
A spokesman for Kwik-Fit has accepted that the wrong battery was fitted on the car twice and has offered £2,500 compensation.
But Ms Thomas has turned this offer down, she says, claiming it is £600 short of what she lost.
She said: “I had to cancel a driving test which I was still charged for.
“One pupil majorly affected by this stopped having lessons with me as she said she was dissatisfied by the service.
“There has been a loss of students as there was a lot of ill feeling.
“I am living in my overdraft and Christmas was dreadful due to the money but we managed.
“It was a disastrous time to have no income.
“I am still providing students with free hours they are owed as an apology as a consequence of that week.”
A Kwik-Fit spokesman has accepted that the wrong battery was fitted to the vehicle twice and apologised for what happened.
They said in a statement: “We accept that incorrect batteries were fitted and we have apologised unreservedly to Ms Thomas for this.
“We have based our compensation on her claim for expenses, the loss of earnings of 33 lessons at £27 each, the compensation she offered her own pupils, plus a gesture of goodwill.
“We regret the inconvenience caused to Ms Thomas and her pupils, but feel this is a very fair offer.”
Ecobat has predicted that a fifth of battery replacements will be AGM by 2020 and warns that garages require special tools and fitting procedures to prevent their premature failure.
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