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KwikFit Erith - not a company to be trusted

Our correspondent writes ...

Dateline: 4 April 2012

My car - a Nissan Qashqai - was due for its annual MOT test so I booked online for the special joint MOT and service deal offered by Kwik Fit. This is a deal where - according to one page on their website - you get charged only 20 for the MOT. On another page it mysteriously increases to 29.95 but it's still cheaper than the full price. So I booked online and paid 148 by credit card.

KwikFit Erith On 3rd April I took my car to Kwik Fit's Erith depot and the manager pointed out that I could have my air conditioning serviced as part of the special deal for only 29.95 (normal price 49.95). I agreed to take this offer as the car had started to exhibit the awful smell that cars get when the AC is not functioning properly. And, the manager added, they could also change the pollen filter which would cost about 15 or 16. When he checked on the computer it was actually 25 but I still agreed to go for it. So, all in all, the total deal had crept up from 148 to just over 200.

I left the car with them and went home. A few hours later they rang my home but I was busy so my daughter took the call. Apparently all four tyres needed to be replaced, and the front brake pads and discs were so badly worn they were below specification. But KwikFit could seemingly do all the extra work for another 750. I went back down to their premises in my wife's car to see for myself as the main reason I buy Japanese cars is that they are generally more reliable. I couldn't believe that a four-year-old car with just over 40,000 miles on the clock could possibly have badly worn brake discs.

When I arrived, an employee called Michael Messer told me the car had been failed on the brakes and the certificate they gave me said the vehicle was **DANGEROUS**. Messer also told me one of the front tyres was illegal and the other was close to the legal limit. So it didn't need four tyres as they had told my daughter. I was on the point of agreeing that one tyre should be changed but I asked for a price. 140 I was told.

 140!!! For one tyre!!

That made my mind up. They were not getting any further work from me. I told them to make the vehicle ready for the road and returned to the forecourt to collect my wife's car. At that moment, the Qashqai appeared from the back of the depot and was driven out of the yard by a fitter. Wondering where he was going, I followed as he headed towards Belvedere and turned onto the dual carriageway that leads through to Woolwich. Although the speed limit on Bronze Age Way is 50 mph the Qashqai was driven much faster. At the Picardy Manor junction it turned back towards Erith and I was not able to keep up with it. So ... for a car that was officially certificated as **DANGEROUS** it was apparently not so dangerous that a mechanic needed to drive it cautiously.

When I returned later to collect the Qashqai I was given another invoice for 29.50 to cover the cost of a pollen filter. It appeared the air conditioning service had not been carried out so I paid the bill and left. I went immediately to Dartford Tyres on Burnham Road - the suppliers I have used for many years - and asked them to check all my tyres. They found no problems with any of the tyres and forecast they could perhaps need changing in another three months but could go on for longer given that my usage was quite low.

On their recommendation I then took the car further along the road to Reeves Garage to have the brakes checked. They told me the front pads were worn but were not **DANGEROUS**. They also said the discs did not need replacing. I asked them to fit new pads on both front wheels which they did. They could also have MOT'd the vehicle for me but suggested it would cost less to take it back to Kwik Fit for a retest.

I booked the retest with Kwik Fit and took it down to their premises at the appointed time. The retest appeared to consist of one fitter strolling out of the workshops to glance at one wheel before returning. They did not remove either of the front wheels and did not ask to see the invoice I got from Reeves. But they did have the nerve to charge me a further 22.50 for the retest. So the MOT they advertised on their website for 20 had now cost me 57.50. Having told Mr Messer the whole thing was nothing more than a scam, I paid up reluctantly and left.

The moral of this story, and the advice I would offer, is that if you live in the Bexleyheath area DO NOT take your car to Kwik Fit for one of their special service/MOT deals. They are absolute con men.

In total, my 148 deal had ended up costing me 293.44 but that was a lot less than the 900 Kwik Fit were trying to extort. In future, my business will go either to Reeves Garage, Burnham Road, Dartford or S and J Motors, Northend Road, Erith. They are good companies that I know can be trusted.

Footnote: I should have known better for, as the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! And I even wonder if they actually replaced the pollen filter they charged me for.#

Addendum 2014:

MOT reminderDespite my critical article in 2012, KwikFit Erith actually emailed an MOT reminder to me and sent me the letter on the left. Click it for a larger image.

At the time of the initial incident, I made it perfectly clear to the men on the spot that they were nothing more than conmen who tried fraudulently to elicit money for work that the vehicle did not need.

I also made a complaint to KwikFit's head office and told the regional manager who contacted me by telephone exactly what I thought of KwikFit. And I made him aware of this website article. But there was no further communication. Until today!

The fact is that I have no intentions of ever using KwikFit again but I don't know what it takes to make them understand this. Perhaps they think a two-year gap will have made me forget what a crooked bunch they are. But it certainly hasn't.

What I have realised is that companies who offer discounted MOT prices are going to make their money up some other way. And, I understand, they often overlook any serious problems the vehicle may have because they are only interested in tyres, exhaust systems and brakes.

Tim of Brighton writes (on 10th June 2012):

Another Kwikfit scam I encountered ... THE CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT.

The exhaust on my Laguna fell off its mountings at the back causing the exhaust to snap in the middle section hence large amount of noise. So I took it down the Kwikfit place in Hove for them to replace it which they did charging me around 60-70. Great i thought... then a few months later it comes to MOT time. I take it to my local garage and when testing the emissions they could not get the car to pass, after a bit of head scratching and trying various things they realise THERE IS NO CATALYTIC CONVERTER. (and yes it was there at the previous MOT).

Kwikfit although replacing the broken section of the exhaust had removed the old CAT (which no doubt they kept and gained money for the precious metals it contains) and did not inform me they were doing this / tell me i would need a new one / tell me the job was going to cost more and a new CAT needed. They must have known it would fail its next MOT on emissions by removing the cat and now i know what the perceived dodgy look on the bloke's face at Kwikfit reception when i paid the bill was all about...

Moral of the story ... always check that Kwikfit don't steal your cat and profit from it.

Editorial Comment:

Nothing surprises me about this company and they certainly do have a bad reputation amongst other reputable companies in the motor trade. Not only am I now convinced they did not replace the pollen filter they charged me for (it smells awful), I don't even think my Nissan got a decent service since the performance is very lumpy. I was contacted by a Kwikfit regional manager but he wouldn't concede any fault on their part. It was a bit like talking to a brick wall.

Alan Bass of Doncaster writes (on 15th June 2012):

About 5 years ago I took my Fiat Brava to Kwikfit's Wheatley Hall Road premises in my home town of Doncaster. I required both front tyres to be replaced. which they did and all seemed fine until I set off for home. I noticed a large bump in the floor below my feet, the car mat wasn't fitting properly so I took the car straight back to Kwikfit.

The stupid tyre fitter had used a large trolley jack and had completely missed the jacking point on the drivers side floor causing it to dent badly. Their area manager was called out and he offered to have the vehicle repaired at Kwikfit's expense. I should have refused and took them to court because the repair was unsatisfactory. The bump had gone but the underside of the car was still damaged.

I wouldn't take a wheelbarrow to Kwikfit let alone a car, the staff are not trained properly and don't take any care in the job that they do.

Tim W of Barnsley writes (on 21st June 2012):

I too was nearly scammed by KwikFit. I had two front tyres replaced and they 'identified' a fault with leaking brake fluid. They took the trouble to show me (having asked to see it) and the saliva they had placed on the hub was unconvincing. They said it wasn't safe. I told them what to do with their diagnosis.

James Martin of Brigg writes (on 2nd February 2014):

AN OPEN LETTER OF COMPLAINT TO KWIK FIT I'D LIKE EVERYBODY TO SEE RE: Complaint in relation to poor workmanship, property damage, and trouble caused by KwikFit, Plot 3, Gallagher Retail Park, Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe. (883)
To whomever it may concern,
In late 2013 my car was brought into KwikFit for a routine MOT check, no faults were suspected. During the MOT test they found out the handbrake did not meet efficiency requirements and that the brakes needed adjustment.
On the day we was given a "worst case scenario" quote of 400 and told it may not even reach that figure. A few days later this quote went up to 800, a couple of days after that it reached 1,400.
On three occasions KwikFit called us up to go and fetch the car - stating it was "definitely going to be ready", but upon arriving and waiting for over an hour we was told it actually would not be ready and therefore had a wasted journey. There was no offer of a hire car for the inconvenience and I was left to insure myself on a relative's car.
KwikFit did recognise this and reduced the final bill to 1,000 due to the inconvenience this caused. The mechanics were demonstrating an absolute inability to do the job and was completely incompetent with the work in hand, repeatedly failing to remedy problems and only making new faults while at it.
After around 2 weeks of KwikFit having the car, we finally got it back and was extremely shocked and disappointed. The state they'd left the car in was bordering on intentional vandalism. The centre console and arm rest had been removed during the work on the handbrake. They'd left this broken to pieces. Screws were missing from the centre console so it was not even held in place, electric cables for the console lighting had been torn out and left hanging under the seats disconnected, there were scratches all over the interior trim of the console, and plastic clips what hold the console in place were broken - clearly because brute force and carelessness had been used, rather than just simply unscrewing two screws which would have released that particular component.
I returned the car to KwikFit the next morning, they had a fiddle with it before saying "it will tighten on it's own over time", an absolutely pathetic answer from what I believe is the manager of the branch.
The following week I had to source a replacement centre console and replacement interior trim myself and pay someone to carry out the interior repairs to my vehicle. Luckily for KwikFit I have a popular model car so the parts were sourced easily and cheaply, however if I wasn't able to source these myself - KwikFit would of had to have paid for a coach builder to remould and install a custom trim to the original specifications which I believe could have cost thousands.
The car is my pride and joy, my most proud asset, I take great care of it and it's always very well looked after. I expected that the staff at KwikFit would have shown respect for other peoples property and cared for it in such a way. Instead a car what went into KwikFit with a showroom like interior came back out in a worse state than most vehicles at a scrap yard.
I have felt very hurt, upset, angered, and offended by this - and it's one of the many motivations why I will seek compensation for this. Furthermore, after leaving KwikFit the rear wheels were making a noise as if something was catching. I did not want to return my car to KwikFit after the damage caused previously so I took the car to a qualified mechanic who told me the wheel bearings which KwikFit had to replace were damaged, and that clearly they'd been hit by a hammer - and this has all been attributed to poor workmanship and incompetence by the staff at KwikFit. I have had to settle an invoice of 180 to have this fixed by someone who is competent - I am also seeking to have this reimbursed by KwikFit, and the mechanic who fixed the fault has produced a report on it.
The staff at KwikFit have been unhelpful, and are clearly incompetent at the work they attempt to do. I feel as though I have been conned and I have been let down deeply, after parting with 1,000 for nothing but trouble and further expenses to have faults remedied which KwikFit has caused. Ideally, I'd like a full refund of the 1,000 - and I will then consider not charging for the damaged interior trim I have had to source and replace myself, or any of the work I'm having to have done to fix the damage caused by KwikFit.
I am currently having doubts over the handbrake efficiency, which was the main job KwikFit was meant to have carried out. Currently the car does not hold very well, even on level ground. I will be taking this to another garage tomorrow to be inspected and I will be billing KwikFit for any subsequent repairs - unless an arrangement is made with me for the refund of the 1,000.
I will also be informing the trading standards amongst other authorities who may be interested to hear about the trouble caused by KwikFit and the incompetence of their staff at Scunthorpe.

Regards, James Martin

KwikFit Invoice Details:
SearchOrderID/Pos Ref: 3102187/88312120269
Invoice Date: 12th December 2013 14:51
Vehicle: BMW 3 Series Compact
Registration: KF** **A

Carl of Rugby writes:

I agree KwikFit are a terrible company to use for any of your car's needs. Don't trust them - they are a bunch of monkeys who have no time for customers. Treat your car like crap too and add more problems to it. They did loads of stuff to mine to make it a bigger problem. I can sum them up as **** I think you know what that means.

Theodore Koulouris of Brighton writes:

Terrible service in KwikFit Hove! I am not the kind of person who knows much about cars. I have to rely on reputable service providers. My local KwikFit centre used to be such a service provider but, since management changed sometime in early 2012, it has been dreadful.
As I said, I don't know much about cars and it does show. The first issue was when I tried to take the car in to change the oil; the guy there was trying to convince me that I had a serious electrical problem because of an intermittent ticking sound (which, of course, was the seat-belt warning). Then just last week they failed my car because they could not open the bonnet - the cable was too stiff! Mind you, my girlfriend can open the bonnet ... no problem. In any case, this fellow, Seb, was trying to tell me that I needed to fly a certain part from Sweden etc etc.
Truly, appalling service. I used Just MOTs in Hove and Sussex Auto Centres in Denmark Villas, Hove. Off his own initiative, the latter asked me when my MOT was due to expire and had the car ready before lunch although I'd only taken it there at 10 am.

Editorial Comment:

See, there are decent garages about. You just have to seek them out.

Samantha Deenajeet of Shepherds Bush writes:

I have just received a phone call form Kwik-Fit in Hammersmith after my Ford Focus Flight has been delivered to the premises for an MOT and Interim Service Deal (as seen online).
My car was collected at 10.00 am and I received the call at 3.20 pm. The total cost for both would have been 118.00 plus two replacement light bulbs and wipers bringing the total cost to approximately 168.00. Those are two issues I knew needed to be dealt with on my car for certain.
I have just been told that my car has failed its MOT so badly that it will cost me 650.00 to fix!!! I told the gentleman on the phone that I could not afford this which I cannot as I am a full-time mature student and all I can do is make the car road worthy. He told me the absolute minimum work to the car would will bring the cost down to 331.00!
I will never take my car to Kwik-Fit again. I absolutely do not trust them and agree that the online deal is a total and utter scam. I booked my car in for the 13th of December and there was a so-called error in the booking, meaning that my car could only be booked in on the 19th, one day before my MOT was due to expire. I also believe that this is deliberate, as I would have taken my car elsewhere if I had time to go to another garage. But as my MOT expires on the 20th of December I had no choice but to let them do the work. Also the mechanic said that the work could not be completed today as there was so much to do - yeah right - and that they had to keep my car until the 20th. Now I know
1. KWIK-FIT is not a reputable company.
2. NEVER have your MOT booked in too close to the date of expiry in the event that the quote is so extortionate and you need to take your business elsewhere.
Those are two valuable lessons I have learnt today!

Holly of Sheffield writes:

I will never use KwiFit for anything again. Recently the clutch went on my car and unfortunately I was far from home and couldn't get my car towed to my normal garage. I took it to KwiFit thinking it would be ok as I needed it sorting ASAP.
They charged me 400 and as soon as I drove away I knew something wasn't right but knowing nothing about cars I though it was just a bit juddery because it was new.
One month later the gear box linkage on my car bent in half and my car would no longer go into gear. Lucky I was home and so took it to my normal garage who replaced the part for 45 and told me to take the car straight back to KwikFit. They had fitted a faulty clutch and fitted it badly which resulted in the damage to my gearbox linkage.
I took the car back and received every excuse under the sun from the mechanic who fitted the gear linkage had broken it to it must be the way I drive and also that I needed a whole new gear box. This was without even checking out the car. After much arguing the guy eventually got in my car, reversed out the parking bay, pulled straight back in and got out and said 'yeah you need a new clutch' without so much of an apology and asked when I wanted it booking in for.
This is after a similar issue when they broke the casing on my rear brakes and told me the grinding noise I was hearing was coming from my front brakes and "that my car was essentially a circle and the noise I could hear grinding on my back brakes was noise from my front brakes and the sound had travelled and could be heard at the back of the car".
Every time I go to KwikFfit I am made to feel stupid and that I know nothing about cars and they don't care at all about what I came in for.

Staceyrose of Newbury writes:

Took my Car to KwikFit on a special 25 MOT deal. Was told the car had failed, front tyre below the requirements, parking brake efficiency below requirements, indicator lights the wrong "colour" and "MAJOR leak in exhaust gases". Surprised at this feedback i telephoned my partner who had fitted brand new brake pads on my car the previous day. As they were squeaking badly i assumed this was what would've failed my car, if anything!
He laughed when i mentioned the indicator lights, thinking i had read it wrong and perhaps meant headlights. Nope, indicator lights wrong colour it says. Confused he picked up my car the next day, took it to a local garage to change the tyre (as the cheapest KwikFit tyre was 89.10 and this garage was offering one for 30!). Whilst we were there we mentioned the other things the car had failed upon and the guy at the garage (really good man!) offered to take a look.
Said the indicator light issue was absolutely ridiculous. They were the original lights that came with the car, had previously passed 8 or so MOT's, and had not worn/melted/flaked. Said the MOT tester was being very petty, and probably just making up the cost of the cheap MOT offer.
Next, he looked at the parking brake. Said it was normal for the brake to be as it was after just having new brake pads fitted, wasn't actually "failable" and it just needed wearing in, which if the KwikFit guy knew anything... should've known that!!!
Lastly he went on to check this "MAJOR" leak in the exhaust... After looking for a long time, finally found a tiny hole, no bigger than a pin prick, which he quickly filled for me at no cost. He also mentioned it shouldn't have failed for a hole that size as it didn't affect anything with the car. He said if they fail me again during my free re-test then come back to him, and judging what he had seen of my car today, would've passed it on all those thing.
Took my car back for the re-test at KwikFit, told the guy at reception everything had been fixed, however had forgotten about the bulbs!!! The reception guy phoned me about 10 minutes later to say they hadn't been changed and they'd have to fail me again. REALLY annoyed this time, i told him about taking my car to another garage and that there is nothing wrong with the indicator lights. He ended up saying "its just the opinion of our MOT tester..."
Eventually i just paid up the 4.99 per bulb to have them replaced as this eventually would be cheaper than taking my car elsewhere to be tested. In total KwikFit although didn't get the 200 quid they wanted out of me, caused me a lot of hassle in having to beg favours elsewhere, and i also ended up spending (in Kwikfit) the price of a normal MOT so it seems taking advantage of a special offer is not worth the time.
Will be going to the small local garage next time for my MOT and anything else i require. (not sure about the name of it, in Newbury, next to the Shell Garage along the same road as the Starting Gate pub)

Sandra S of Bexleywrites:

Took daughter's car to KwikFit in Dartford Town Centre just over a year ago to have a new exhaust fitted. Only went there as it was an emergency repair and she had to return to uni the following day. Cost us 200 and we had a three and a half hour wait.
To cut a long story short the car has, under guarantee, been back at least five times. I don't think the correct exhaust was ever fitted. It knocked over any small bump, blew front and back and has been a waste of time and money. The receptionist has on EVERY occasion tried to tell me that they were super busy and to go away and try another day.
Eventually having been sent away AGAIN we, on their recommendation, went to another KwikFit in Stone, Dartford. They were wonderful. Replaced parts front and back that they said were original and had never been replaced. Apologised profusely for the shoddy service we had received and restored our faith in humanity with a repair under guarantee.
NEVER use the KwikFit in Dartford town centre. They are shoddy, understaffed, dishonest and altogether useless!

"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill

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