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Dispute with @hellofixter


sadconsumer
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Apologies, as this may be a long one! I'm going to paste the contents letter I sent in my complaints letter (minus some attachments) as it outlines everything that has happened so far. I just wondered if there's anything I should/shouldn't be doing right now to give me the best chance of getting this resolved...

 

Reasons for using Fixter
 
I chose to use Fixter as being a single mum working from home, I valued the convenience of having my car collected and returned by a professional company. I felt reassured via their website that I was in safe hands with the garages being pre-vetted, along with the drivers and that any quotes were looked over by experts to ensure they were fair. I don't know much about cars and this was the first time as a single mum I had booked and facilitated my own MOT and service. I knew that there was likely some work to be done on my car (such as brake pads) as it had been acting a little clunky, but was not prepared for the quote coming back in the thousands. I also have diagnosed ADHD which makes it difficult for me to communicate on the phone as I get very anxious so I liked the fact this could all be done online.
 
Timeline of events
 
Thu, 31 Aug, 16:32 Booked in with Fixter for a major service and premium MOT for my Citroen C4 Picasso (2015)

Tue, 5 Sep, 09:30 Car was collected by someone from <GARAGE NAME>. No pictures were taken of my car and I was not requested to sign anything, as stated would be the case on the Fixter website. He asked if he could keep his car up my drive which I agreed to.
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 11:20 I was notified by email and text from Fixter that additional work was required. Full costs attached.
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 11:40 Someone from Fixter called to check I had received the breakdown of the work and asked if I had any questions. I informed him that it was a lot of money and I need some time to have a look over and figure out how much I can afford and where I can get the additional funds from. <see attachment: image 1>
 
Tue, Sep, 12:46 Missed call from Fixter <see attachment: image 1>
Tue, 5 Sep, 12:47 I message my dad saying Fixter keep calling me <see attachment: image 2> 
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 12:53 Call from Fixter checking if I was going ahead with the work as he would need to know asap if I wanted the work completed and returning that day. I informed him that I wouldn't know until after 4pm when my mother was back home from work to see if I could borrow the money. It was agreed that I would be looking at getting the car back the following day and I would update the system on any outcomes following conversations with my mother and father. He also mentioned the parts had already been pre-ordered ready, which I thought was odd as I hadn't yet approved anything but not knowing about cars and garage processes, I didn't question it. <see attachment: image 1>
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 16:11 Missed call from Fixter. At this point seeing the missed call from Fixter again whilst I was trying work had me panicked and pressured. I hadn't been able to either speak on the phone to my parents or properly go through the quotes yet. I felt anxious that people were waiting on me. <see attachment: image 1>
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 16:13 I messaged my dad to say they keep calling and he responded to say my mum says just to book it in and we'll sort the money out after. I then approved the quote before he could call again feeling really anxious about what I was going to say. <see attachment: image 2>
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 16:16 Fixter call again and say they see I have approved the quote. They tell me that they will start the work and some of it will be done tomorrow too and the car will be back by the afternoon the following day. <see attachment: image 1>
 
After finishing work, I took a closer look at the quote and sent it to a few trusted people who know more about car mechanics than I do. The overwhelming consensus was shock at some of the pricing of the parts and costs of labour. 
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 16:49 Fixter attempted to take payment from my account of £1861.51 however there weren't sufficient funds as I was expecting payment to be taken following completion of work.<see attachment: image 3>

Tue, 5 Sep, 17:41 I called Fixter and asked them to halt any work on my car immediately as I had concerns over pricing. The Fixter representative said they would contact the garage and ask them to stop. <see attachment: image 1>
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 18:00 The mechanic from the garage who collected my car earlier turned up at my door to let me know he was taking his car and asked if it was okay to leave his van out on the road in front of my home. I said he's fine to leave his van and also mentioned I'd just been on the phone to Fixter earlier to request any work on my car was paused as I had some queries over the pricing. I was surprised to then be told that all of the work had already been completed, apart from the retesting which would be done the following morning, and I can expect my vehicle back by the afternoon.
 
Tue, 5 Sep, 19:45 I found the garage WhatsApp number via Facebook and messaged a 'Cole Milburn'. <see attachment: image 4 & 5> No response was ever received and I have since blocked the account due to the following events.
 
Wed 6 Sep, 09:43 I called the Fixter complaints department to try and understand how the work could have been completed in such a small space of time. He looked into their system and told me that all of the work had been approved by 11:30 (or thereabouts). I told him that it certainly wasn't me who approved anything at that time and any phone recordings would prove this. He advised me that they take this very seriously and there would be a full investigation as to why the work was started without my approval. I also asked if the pricing could be checked, and I believe he also agreed this was a high amount and would get one of their experts to look it over. He took details of call times etc. <see attachment: image 6>
 
Wed 6 Sep, 10:44 Fixter representative called back again to confirm that all of the information checked out and the work did start prior to my approval and they needed to speak to the garage about why this happened. He informed me that the account was on hold pending investigation. I also asked about when I might get my car back as I would be needing it for school runs and was told he would look into this and get back to me. <see attachment: image 7>
 
Wed 6 Sep, 14:00 I get a knock at the door and to my surprise it's the garage representative dropping my car off. He handed me my key and MOT certificates, I thanked him and closed the door. He then went on his way to the van where his colleague was. I was a bit surprised to get my car back considering I hadn't paid yet but thankful it had been returned. <see attachment: image 8>
 
Wed 6 Sep, 14:12 I noticed them both still hanging around outside and messaged my family WhatsApp group feeling uneasy <see attachment: image 9>
 
Wed 6 Sep, 14:15 One of them knocks on (not the guy who gave me the key earlier. He tells me that something (some bolt or nut) was missing off his van. He then says "It's funny that my van has been parked outside your house all night and this happens to it". (at this point I am home alone and they are aware from my previous WhatsApp message that I'm a single mum). I said I have not and would not touch his van. He then pointed to my next door neighbour's house and said they have CCTV so he can ask them to check. I told him to go ahead and he will see I haven't touched his van. He then walked off and said he was calling the police. Him and his mate hung around outside for another 15 minutes which made me feel really uncomfortable, and then drove off. I'm now terrified that they know where I live and scared to drive the car in case they've done something to it. <see attachment: image 9>
 
Wed 6 Sep, 14:39 I called Fixter to report the behaviour of their garage representative and requested this be added to my complaint. <see attachment: image 6>
 
Wed 6 Sep, 15:10 I reported the incident to the police. Reference: BOS-61034-23-0606-IR <see attachment: image 10>
 
Wed 6 Sep, 16:25 Police called me to take a full statement. Crime reference: CRI/06MM/0015980/23 <see attachment: image 11>
 
Thur 7 Sep, 10:20 A Fixter representative calls me with an update on the complaint. She informed me that they had completed their investigation and concluded that the work had been completed following approval and not prior and the garage had 3-4 mechanics working on it which is why it was completed in such a short space of time. I was given no valid explanation as to why I had been told previously on more than one occasion that according to their system and previous investigation that the work had commenced earlier than the approval. I found this conversation extremely frustrating, with the representative being dismissive and argumentative about any of my concerns. There seemed to be no accountability for allowing a disgruntled mechanic to come to my property to drop off my car either, which I find highly unprofessional. I still fail to see how this work can be done in such a short space of time given the timeframes, and I've been advised that some of the work could not have even taken place simultaneously. <see attachment: image 6>
 
Complaints
 
1. Pressured selling
I felt like getting numerous calls following the quote for additional work was excessive (4-5 times) and this resulted in feeling pressured to make a decision to go ahead before I was prepared to. Having ADHD I can be susceptible to making decisions more impulsively than neurotypical people which would have made this pressure even more difficult to sustain.  
 
2. Illegal commencement of work
I do not believe the work was carried out in the timeframe concluded, and believe work must have commenced that morning as initially confirmed by a Fixter representative.This is for various reasons:
  • I was told by a Fixter representative on more than one occasion that the work had commenced that morning and they were investigating this.
  • The alleged timeframe where the work is said to have taken place is between 16:16 and 18:00 on Tue, 5 Aug, totalling at the very most 1 hour and 44 minutes, and this is without factoring in the time it had taken for the mechanic to drive from Radcliffe to Urmston, which according to Google around this time would be 24–50 min (12.7 miles), which would take this time down to at most 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  • A Fixter representative also mentioned that parts had already been pre-ordered prior to the quote approval which not only added to the pressure of making a decision but, as I understand it, isn't usual protocol for garages prior to having a confirmed acceptance. Furthermore, I would like to know the time in which it would have taken for these orders to be delivered/collected, as I expect this would have added to the timeframe.
  • I also cannot understand why payment was attempted prior to when the work would have been completed (Tue, 5 Aug, 16:49). Your website states that 'We take your card details when you book online, but nothing is charged to your card until all the work has been approved by our in-house experts, and satisfactorily completed.' This suggests that the work had been completed?
     
3. Behaviour of the mechanic who was representing Fixter on delivering my serviced car
I received no notification at all that the mechanic would be turning up at my address on Wednesday to drop my vehicle off. Given that there was already a dispute case open with yourselves, I would have expected due diligence in communicating with the garage to arrange alternative means to deliver my vehicle, or at the very least, prior notification that the mechanic will be dropping my vehicle back so I could have arranged for someone to be with me at that time. Your website states that 'a fully-insured Fixter driver will pick up your car, whenever and wherever works for you...Your driver will then drop the car back when it’s convenient for you.' and this simply did not happen. I also cannot see anywhere on your website that the driver may also request to leave their own vehicles at the customer's address. On your website here your Fixter drivers appear reassuringly professional, with branded clothing, conducting protocols such as taking pictures of the vehicle and signing over the car - none of this ever happened either. I believe the altercation I had with someone who was representing Fixter, resulting in a police crime investigation, was completely avoidable.
 
4. Unfair pricing of additional work
If I were to believe that the work was completed in less than 2 hours (which I don't) as Fixter are claiming, I would like to understand why the labour costs for this additional work come to £697.31 and how this is calculated, as this is an extremely high amount for a relatively short amount of labour. <see attachments: image 13 & image 14>
 
Some of the costs for parts are also extortionate, for example one rear brake disc is quoted as costing £225.00 where I can see on Euro car parts one can be purchased for £36.49? I have attached a spreadsheet <see attachment: Euro car parts Quote comparison> which outlines the cost comparisons from a search on Euro car parts website using my car registration resulting in a difference of £330.11.
 
I've now also had a reasonable amount of time to get some alternative quotes for parts and labour, all of which have come out cheaper so far (including from your own website):

Quote 1 - clickmechanic.com - £1119.29 (VAT inc). Please note this price includes both front shock absorbers so the price would likely be cheaper by roughly £200. <see attachment: Quote 1 - clickmechanic.com>
 
Quote 2 - Fixter.com - £1,297.59 (VAT inc) + price of tyre as I couldn't request this on your online repairs calculator. There was also no way of selecting single rear & front brake discs so I can only assume this is half the price of a pair (so minus £172.41 from the total cost) <see attachment: Quote 2 - Fixter>
 
Quote 3 - (awaiting price from local garage)
 
I would also like to note that I would have been willing to wait longer to have any work done for a cheaper price, but I was never presented with this as an option. Your website boasts that you 'negotiate the best prices on your behalf' and offer 'Fair prices based on real time market data', yet I have not seen any evidence of this.
 
Impact
 
Due to the above, the stress I have been under has meant I have had to take time off work (1 full working day so far) <see attachment: image 12>. The day my car went in for its MOT, I had numerous phone calls from Fixter whilst also trying to juggle work and felt pressured into making a decision on having the work done before I was ready. I feel taken advantage of being a single woman who doesn't know very much about mechanics or MOT/service processes and wasn't even aware that I could go out for quotes elsewhere to get the work completed. None of the labour costs were explained to me and I was never notified of there being numerous mechanics working on my car to get it done (if that was the case) potentially resulting in higher costs.
 
The final insult was the way in which I was treated by the mechanics dropping off my vehicle, returning to my door while I am home alone and accusing me of a crime I did not commit, making me feel intimidated. Last night I barely slept for fear that he might return to my house and I have since ordered a camera doorbell for extra security/reassurance. I do not feel safe in my own home anymore and every time a delivery van turns up or my dog barks, I feel intensely anxious. I have also had to spend a significant amount of time on research, emails, phone calls, police reports, second opinions etc, going against all of the reasons I chose Fixter in the first place. This whole ordeal has left me feeling defeated, defenseless and reluctant to go to anyone but female mechanics in the future. I'm now left with an open investigation with the police, a huge disputed bill, loss of earnings and the stress of fighting my case. I feel extremely let down. All I wanted was an MOT and service done, a roadworthy car at a fair price, and to carry on with my life, focussing on my two children returning to school. I'm absolutely devastated. 
 
Audit trail request
 
1. Confirmation/proof of timelines on Fixter system from booking to work completion (any/all information you have on record regarding my booking/complaints file)
2. All phone recordings
3. Timeline of work carried out by <GARAGE NAME>, including order of which each item of work was completed, number or mechanics working on my car and names of mechanics where possible along with engineers worksheets.
4. As stated on your website, I would like confirmation/proof that your Fixter driver is 'fully insured, has rigorous vetting and training, 3 years' driving experience, holds a clean driver's licence and passed a criminal background check.'
5. An understanding of your process for ordering parts, at what point this would usually be actioned for a customer, and how long it usually takes for these parts to come in.
6. An explanation as to why my card was attempted to be charged prior to work being completed.
7. A breakdown of all parts and costs
8. A breakdown of labour costs
9. The process that was undertaken to ensure you negotiated the 'best prices' on my behalf, and the real time market data that led you to the quotes I was presented with.
 
Expected resolution
 
I'd like to outline my expectation of a reasonable resolution, that'll prevent the need for me to escalate to the ombudsman and Trading Standards my complaint, and the additional detriment I've suffered due to Fixter's complaint handling conduct:

1) My receipt of the audit trail content outlined earlier in this message, accompanied by written commentary as to how Fixter:

i) Justifies (with direct reference to your terms of service) the way in which it handled the services I requested, during the MOT, Service and subsequent activity concerning my vehicle
ii) Justifies the way in which it handled investigation of my complaint, and delivery of its proposed resolution

2) Written confirmation (including revised invoicing) that my only financial liability is the cost of the MOT and service, as ordered by me at the point of purchase

3) Written confirmation of the extent to which Fixter deems it appropriate to redress the material inconvenience, distress and financial detriment I've experienced as a result of your conduct (accounting for any individuals Fixter commissioned to fulfil its service proposition)

jpg2pdf.pdf

Edited by sadconsumer
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Sorry, but this is far too long.

Please could you give a brief summary of events in a bullet pointed chronology.

Skip all the narrative. Try to do it in less than 500 words.

300 would be better

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Apologies, here you go:

  • Booked MOT/ Service through 'Fixter' who allocate bookings to local approved garages
  • Car went in and I was fully expecting some work needed doing following MOT
  • Quote comes back with £1500 work needing doing
  • Fixter pestered me most of the day to check if I was going ahead with the work and I Impulsively just approved as I was anxious that people were waiting on me - then Fixter tried to take the money out of my account before job was completed
  • A couple of hours later myself and family took a closer look at the quote realising I'm being overcharged
  • Work had apparently already been done and I questioned this and was initially told the work had commenced 5 hours before I approved
  • I got my car back (still not paid by this point)
  • Mechanic dropping off my car accused me of tampering with his van that he left overnight outside my house (police report now filed by me for intimidation)
  • Fixter now changed story and say 3-4 mechanics were working on car which is why job was completed so quickly (I dont believe them)
  • They are now saying they will send to debt collectors 

(summary of cost attached)

jpg2pdf.pdf

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First of all, don't worry about debt collectors. They won't send anybody without a court action and a judgement against you and then bailiffs been instructed.

This is somewhere in the future if at all.

Secondly, have you given them a credit or debit card number to take payments? If so you should contact your bank or card issuer immediately and cancelled all payments for the future. Read our customer services guide. A reference number for any court or instruction you give to the bank and confirm in writing.

Has the work been done?
Has it been carried out satisfactorily?
Have you had the work checked by somebody?
Have you paid anything?

I understand that you wanted work carried out following an MOT. Presumably this means that you received a fail certificate but with some advisories and you wanted to have those advisories addressed. Is this correct?
If the work has been carried out then it will be a good idea to go back and get another MOT to check that everything is all right.

You better have a word for yourself and give yourself a slap about being pushed into buying things over the phone without checking. Why do you give into this kind of pressure?
You're lucky that you've got your family on your side and looking out for you but one day you're going to have to learn to become independent.

What evidence do you have other things you say – for instance, that the work had been commenced before you approved it?
Has Everything been done on the telephone or is there anything at all in writing?
Please list out here the work that has been done.
What do you understand that the value of the work should have been?

And also you should probably understand that when you agree a cost for works and the work is ahead, then you would normally be liable. The law exists to protect you in cases of breach of contract but it doesn't exist to protect you from being silly and making a bad bargain.

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Wow. I didn't expect to get such a rude response.

Give myself a slap?

I realise I made an impulsive mistake out of feeling pressured and not coping well with pressure due to having a mental disability.

I came here in hope of help and advice, not judgement.

I'll seek this elsewhere now but thank you for taking the time to respond.

 

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I am sorry you feel the way you do. If you want to come back then of course you are welcome.

If you decide not to come back then at least bear in mind the questions I have asked you.

They are all significant and all important.

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