Coventry garages have joined the UK’s only female-friendly garage network, Foxy Choice.
Samantha Bailey took her low-mileage three-year-old VW Polo for an MOT four years ago and thought it would sail through, but she was told that she had a broken brake pipe and the car was dangerous to drive.
She asked to see the damage: “The car was in the garage forecourt but instead of showing me the damage, they took it into the bays for 15 minutes, then drove it back out to the forecourt,” she explains. “To me it was clear the garage had deliberately slashed the pipe. I was completely taken aback. Because I was a woman I think they thought I was naïve, could be fobbed off, and wouldn’t understand what was being talked about. I knew something was dodgy as soon as I asked to see the damage.”
Samantha reported the incident to Trading Standards but no proof could be found that the mechanics had deliberately cut the pipe.
“Trading Standards said it was quite common to see this. They said my brake pipe was definitely cut with a Stanley knife, but they could not prove the mechanics did it. By then I’d lost faith in the mechanics and immediately changed garages,” she says.
Samantha now takes her car to Independent Automotive UK in Longford, a member of Foxy Choice, a sister company to the Foxy Lady Driver’s Club. Foxy Choice asks garages to pledge that they will never to “overcharge, patronise or sell women services they don’t need”. The garage is one of 700 garages throughout the UK who have signed up.
Samantha said: “They are fantastic and will show you what needs to be done. Unlike all other garages I’ve been to, the waiting room overlooks the car bays, so you can actually watch and check technicians working on your car, which is invaluable,” she says.
“There have been times when I’ve thought there was a problem but they’ve said there was nothing wrong and taken the time to check my car over for free.
“Because there are women working there I don’t feel like I have to take a male companion with me.
“I’ve recommended a lot of people to the garage, and hope other garages in Coventry follow its example and sign up to Foxy Choice.”
Keresley’s Wyndon Motors has also signed up to Foxy Choice. They have two female members of staff including trainee technician Siobhan Adams, aged 21, and managing director Sue Taylor.