Automotive parts replacement specialist Kwik-Fit has come under fire from the BBC amid claims of dodgy dealings.
The BBC’s Your Money, Their Tricks consumer show has accused the company of tricking unsuspecting customers into paying for work they didn’t actually need, with mystery shoppers reportedly left with repair bills for more than £700.
Ten cars independently checked by a top expert were sent into ten different Kwik-Fit outlets across Britain for a free brake check and free tyre check. In the case of four cars, staff allegedly exaggerated the urgency of the work needed to justify the cost.
Mechanics also reportedly failed to take wheels off to measure brake pad and disc wear, examine tyre pressures and check tread wear on a number of occasions. Even nails in a tyre and dangerously under-inflated tyres were missed.
“Our expert found that Kwik-Fit had failed to do the full checks on seven out of the ten cars,” a BBC spokesperson said.
Your Money, Their Tricks reporter Rebecca Wilcox commented: “I was shocked by what we uncovered and disappointed that we found such a large well-known company on occasions exaggerating the urgency and quoting for unnecessary work and not carrying out all the checks they promised and as a car owner and car lover this story was very close to my heart.”
“In this time when every penny counts it’s really disappointing that some companies might mislead and trick potential customers into spending more than they have to. I consider myself to be a minor petrol head and was very surprised by how easy it can be to be misled,” Wilcox added.
Kwik-Fit has responded to claims from the BBC, stating that it thinks the investigation was flawed.
“From the limited information the BBC has provided in advance of its broadcast we, and an independent expert, seriously disagree with most of its findings,” a Kwik-Fit spokesperson said. “As a result of our detailed response to its allegations, the BBC has accepted that a number of its conclusions were wrong.”
“In a few cases we fully accept that our staff could have been clearer with their communication; for this we apologise and are intent on improving how we communicate our advice to customers.”
Kwik-Fit says its mechanics regularly undergo mystery shoppers as part of company policy to ensure good working practices.
Car supermarket Carcraft also comes under fire in the programme, which will air on September 2nd at 8pm on BBC One. The BBC found some staff members had been lying about pre-sale checks and used other nefarious methods to get punters to part with their money.
A sales manager for Carcraft reportedly said on the subject of securing a deal, ” “You’ve basically got to beat people up without them knowing you’re beating them up and get them to love you for it.”