Lets talk about Lex baby, lets talk about you and me, lets talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, lets talk about Lex! Well I can't talk about sex can I? It's the wrong category for that. Anyway, hands up who has forgotten to get their car MOT done, come on, I can't put my hands up or I wouldn?t be able to write this op; but I am guilty. Never before as this happened to me and I was absolutely horrified being a law abiding citizen and all that. I started to get organised a few months ago and bought boxes that would actually house A4 files. I thought this was a great idea as it meant things could be kept in a proper order, especially important things like insurance and MOT certificates! All was well until we got the car taxed at the end of July. For those of you that don't know the procedure you need the wonderful letter that the DVLA send you to remind you to pay your tax along with a valid MOT and certificate of insurance. Thanks to my newfound order I had no problem locating the said items. The problem I did have was putting them back again. Don't ask me where they are, as I just don't know. I knew that the service was due around August/September as we have it services every six thousand miles or 12 months whichever comes sooner. This made me wonder when the MOT was due, I searched for the certificate but it was nowhere to be found. What I did find was a previous certificate that had December on. I asked my husband and he said he thought it was due around Christmas so this seemed right. We forgot about it for a while and then I had a reminder from the warranty company and it prompted me to look again as they won't insure you until you confirm that date of last service and MOT. Everything was tipped out all over my bed by this stage and I found another certificate, this one was for September 7th, oh sh** I remember the company that did the MOT as it
was the local council and I phoned them to check their records. He phoned me back 10 minutes later to tell me that the MOT had run out on the 6th September, worse still they couldn't fit me in until Monday and that meant being without the car for the weekend. I couldn?t do this as my husband is an amateur referee and I?m doing another car boot on Sunday! By this stage I felt dizzy and a little on the sick side, then! Lightening struck (not literally) and I remember that in my Tesco Clubcard booklet it said that they had teemed up with Lex Autocentres. I could get £10 of an MOT (normal prices £39.25) and 300 hundred Clubcard points. I knew there was one just down the road so I phoned them up to beg for help. It was 1.15 p.m. and I had to be at school for 3.15 p.m. to pick my daughter up, I had already been unknowing driving without an MOT for far too long and I'm not the kind of person who can just brush it under the carpet. I explained my situation to the guy who answered the phone and he was extremely helpful. He asked me where I was coming from and how soon I could get there. We arranged for me to arrive at 1.30 p.m. I drove carefully on the way so as to avoid an accident, it would be sods law to have one now. It was situated on the main road near a roundabout and you had to drive around the back to gain access. If you didn't know you might miss it and have to turn back but as the Citroen garage that I bought the car from was right next-door, I knew! On approach you notice a very large sign that has green background with white writing that says AUTOCENTRE, the name Lex is adjoined to it on the left hand side in Blue lettering with three yellow lines underneath. What I will tell you is that they have now been taken over by Nationwide Autocentres only many garages still have the name Lex. I don't know how long it will be before they start replacing the signs, I can only assume that they intend to. The good thing i
s that the signs are set out in exactly the same way with the green background and white lettering. This makes it easier to spot them and you automatically think that they have a connection. As I drove around the back there was a steep narrow ramp to drive up and enough space to park about 7 or 8 cars. There may have been more room around the sides but that was my initial thought. To the left was the working area and a small office. I parked up the car and made my way to the reception desk. Although the guy was in the back room I didn't have to wait for service or start ringing any bells, he remembered out telephone call immediately and confirmed what I wanted, an MOT, and double quick! He confirmed the price and the special offer available from Tesco and asked for confirmation of the make, model and registration number of the car. He took my telephone number (which was a mobile as I was going window shopping, yeh right!) and said it would be ready in about an hour. I was hoping of course that it wouldn't need a re-test. I went off on my way and sure enough within the hour the nice chap phoned to say my car was ready for collection. I didn't ask any questions as I was assuming that if it had failed he would have told me. I had a bit of a shock when he said as I arrived, "don't you want to know what it failed on"? err, nothing I hope. He went on to explain that the wiring at the back was out of sink due to an incorrectly installed bulb. I bought a break light bulb a couple of weeks ago and my husband put it in. Unfortunately and unbeknown to us when we put on the breaks the sidelights were coming on. I was expecting a comment of how much extra we owed them but instead he said, "we've put a new bulb in, it's fine and we haven't charged you" I know they don't cost the earth but it was so nice that he did this for us. He knew that I needed the car and he made sure that it was ready
without any unexpected surprises. The only other thing that he pointed out was the wipers would soon need replacing. I asked how much this would cost and he said about £7 each, fitted. That sounds good enough to me. He presented me with a copy of the MOT certificate (stamped by Nationwide Autocentres, an invoice detailing the cost (this still said Lex Autocentres) a print off of the omissions and my credit card receipt totalling £29.25 (£39.25 with £10 discount) I also had a print out of my 300 Clubcard points for reference. I will definitely be going back there and telling my friends about it, hence the writing of this review. It's not very often that you come away from a service or MOT without being told that you don?t need to spend any money. It's not a top of the range place with a fancy reception area and an endless supply of coffee; the reception area is small and basic. This doesn'?t matter to me as the more facilities provided the more we pay for it in the long run. More important than that is good customer service and honesty, I got both from Lex. The staff are friendly, informative and hard working. The website doesn't give much away and you will now have to type in www.nationwideautocentres.co.uk as they are trading under that name. They promise: Most makes and ages of car serviced Fixed price quotations for all work Free inspection or advice or help over the telephone 100% guarantee on all work and a 97% customer satisfaction rate. I am one of those 97% They offer most services including repair work. You can save money by having your car serviced and MOT'd at the same time and there are vouchers online for you to print off. There is also a location list online but I have a feeling it is just for the Nationwide Autocentres and not Lex. If you wish to find out where your nearest of any of the two garages are then you can telephone the follo
wing freephone number: 0800 096 4216 Go and give them a try, hopefully they won't Lex you down, they saved my life!
It’s been over two weeks now and I still do not have my car back. I have a Mazda 626 and all I get when I call them is Sorry we are having problems finding the parts. Our Suppliers are late delivering. They simply expect me to pay for it, even though I have had to take trains. I have not been offered a car to take the place of my car while they have had it for two weeks. As it stands now they do not even call me to update me on the car, I have to call them and get told that they are still waiting on the part, or opps more bad news. How do I contact Lex Auto Centres Head Office to complain about this? I will Add, after Picking up my car of Friday, I drove it 40 Miles on the Saturday and the CAM Belt went. The Very thing I had them replace. In fact another mechanic Laugh openly at me when I said I had just had the work Done. Work Done, Thermostat, New Rad, New CAM Belt, all this cost £800 and took over 2 weeks. The constant problem was Suppliers. My car is a Mazda 626 E Reg, not that old or hard to find. ------------------ The Latest - a Lex Mech. talked to my parents about coming to see the car and the Mech that is putting right all the problems that they (Lex in Basingstoke) fowled up. Sorted, Monday, the two Mechs will meet and one can explain to the other. What happens, He does not Show Up. No Call to say sorry, no nothing. The Long and Short of this story is, Avoid Lex in Basingstoke at all costs. If anything avoid Lex, their customer service is the worst I have lever delt with in this country, and that is saying something!!! Maybe it is my accent they thing that they can screw me because I sound like an American. I am a Canadian. ------------------- To continue, I have had a Registered Letter Ignored, Including a List with Questions about what they consider important Ignored. The Following People are responsible for Lex; Sir Trevor Chinn, CVO, Chairman Andy Harrison, Chief Executive <br>Jon Walden, MD - Lex Vehicle Leasing Peter Harris, MD - Manufacturer Support Services Paul Hewitt, Group Finance Director Debbie Howard, Group HR Director Bill Cockburn, non-executive Director Michael Ost, non-executive Director Peter Hickson, non-executive Director Peter Long, non-executive Director Dianne Thompson, non-executive Director As a Note, I had a Registered Letter Ignored by Mr. Mel Cartwright -Customer Care Operations Manager Please Note, Lex is also RAC, is Lex provides this kind of customer service, what can RAC be like?
No, not the strange sci-fi programme you may have seen once on Channel 5 late at night. I’m talking about motor repairs. Yes, that bain of all drivers’ lives that comes around once a year, the dreaded MOT! You’re leaving? Ahhh, c’mon stay a while, it’ll be painless I promise (unlike most MOT experiences). • Who are Lex Service? (dull corporate info – skip if you’re not that interested in the background) Lex was founded in 1928 to operate a small group of parking garages and petrol stations, which it continued to do until the 1960s. From 1949, Lex expanded through the acquisition of companies holding distribution franchises for a variety of car manufacturers. In 1958 the first Volvo cars were imported into the UK by Lex and in 1959 Lex acquired Vehicle Contracts, which became the core of Lex Vehicle Leasing. During the 1960s Lex expanded its car dealerships, while the 1970s were a period of broadening Lex’s base, with the acquisition of truck dealerships and contract hire businesses for trucks and lift trucks. Lex also had interests in hotels, transportation and electronics in the 1970s and 1980s, which were sold to enable Lex to concentrate on its core motoring and business services operations. Lex Service PLC caters for various motoring areas throughout the UK and Europe. They’re split into three divisions: • RAC Motoring Services: providing a range of motoring services including BSM driving schools and an independent nationwide chain of MOT, servicing and repairs centres in 956 locations in England, Wales and Scotland (the bit I’m reviewing here); • Lex Business Services: deals with corporate customers including vehicle management, inventory management and mechanical handling; • Vehicle Marketing: covers the vehicle importing and retailing side of the company, including the UK importer role for Hyundai Car and Isu
zu Truck, and Lex Commercials, a chain of commercial vehicle retailers. Enough of that, I’ll get onto the Autocentres review bit before I bore you to tears. • Lex Autocentres – the MOT experience I’d never used Lex before, and to be perfectly honest I don’t think I’d even considered or heard of them either. So it was with a sense of trepidation that I booked the MOT. They had got a glowing recommendation from a trusted friend so I thought I’d give them a go. After all, they couldn’t be as bad as some places I’d been in the last few years. On booking the MOT they were quite casual about the whole process and weren’t that bothered about specifying a time. Just “drop it in tomorrow morning” and that was it. They took a note of my name, address and car registration and hey presto it was booked. No tutting or sighing down the phone to try and squeeze it in (as I’d had the day before when I tried to get it booked into the local Fiat dealer). Relaxed and friendly from the off, had I really called a motor garage? On the day, I swung the car into their rather unassuming site just off Huntingdon Street in Nottingham and parked in the back. The first apparent thing was the distinct lack of frills. The vast part of the site is taken up with the servicing garage and not the offices (as at some places). On walking into the office this snap judgement was confirmed by the sparseness of the box (office surely?!). The bloke behind the desk was as friendly off the phone as on, and took my phone number down to call me when it was done. Off into the city centre for a spot of window-shopping then. A few hours later (and after a failed window shopping session which resulted in more DVDs being bought on the spur of the moment) I arrived back at the garage with a dark sense of dread hanging over me. Mr Visa was limbering up for a severe pounding. You
see, normally, when you go back to the garage to assess the damage it’s quite a torrid and painful experience (severe stabbing pains in the pocket region). You turn up to see the grimace on the face of the bloke behind the desk and you think “Oh no, it’s going to be even more expensive that last time” and “What have they managed to bump onto it this time.” Ring any bells? If it doesn’t then I suspect you haven’t been driving all that long. This time around I was immediately shocked on my return to the garage to find the bloke behind the desk smiling. I took this as a major sign of a visa-shattering bill to come. Hang on. He’s just smiling, saying something about it passing the MOT with no further work needed, and he actually seems happy at this fact. Now I’m completely thrown. This isn’t normal behaviour. They’re supposed to fleece you out of your hard earned cash! No spark plugs needing to be changed? No wheel re-balancing? Very odd indeed, I seem to have found an honest MOT garage!! I scratch my head and try to act nonchalant about the whole thing, but it plainly isn’t working. The smiling bloke behind the desk hands me the bill. My cool, calm exterior melts instantly as I see an MOT bill (for the very first time ever) come in less than £100. In fact it came in under £50 (including VAT) and that also included an oil and filter change too! Bloke behind the desk helpfully pointed out a few bits about the car that need fixing but weren’t covered by the MOT. He didn’t even try to book me in for further work. Wow! No pushy after sales pitch. In the end, the MOT set me back a healthy £34.00 and the oil and filter change just £13.95, which was far cheaper than it would’ve been at the Fiat dealer. Now all I was expecting was the MOT certificate, as all other garages I’d been to just give you the bit of paper. Not this place. I came out with a n
icely presented A4 gatefold style pack (even though it is bright orange it’s still okay) including all the paperwork (invoice and emissions test results), receipts, MOT certificate, free Autocar magazine, a Lex tax disc holder, a smelly tree thingy, a sample of cockpit spray and a Lex key ring! And still no plugging of their other services or their links with the RAC. I left Lex thoroughly impressed with how friendly and honest they were all the way through the job, and would certainly recommend anyone in the Nottingham area to use this branch (0115 9504148). If the other branches around the UK are half as good then Lex Autocentres has to be the place to get your MOT done next time it’s due. • The website(s) www.lex.co.uk Ah, well, this is where they’re not so good it has to be said. It’s basically just a corporate site with no great information of interest to you or me. It does tell you a few nuggets such as the latest news section. I didn’t realise they had bought out Auto Windscreens, which is now forming part of their tie-in with the RAC and will be called RAC Auto Windscreens (imaginative huh?!). Other than that side of things the website is the usual hotchpotch of useless and irrelevant corporate information. Why companies fill their sites with this rubbish is mind-boggling. What a wasted opportunity, they could’ve filled it with far more useful stuff, such as contact list for all the Autocentres and a map. It wouldn’t have taken too much effort. The only useful bit on it is the telephone contact information for Lex Autocentres customer care (0800 716 862) and another number to find your local branch (0800 028 0250). That’s it. But …… there is a link to the following section of their site if you look very, very carefully http://www.lexautocentres.co.uk Now this one is much more useful, as it has links to f
ind your nearest centre (by either the nearest town or your postcode), just a shame that it doesn’t appear to be completely up-to-date as the one I went to in Nottingham isn’t on the list! Another section on “Tips” is a useful checklist and there is also a section for online vouchers. Just a shame I didn’t find that before taking the MOT as I’d have saved a £5 of it!! Darn. This separate site is far better than the corporate one, but by no means perfect. Still, worth a look before you go even if it’s just to print off the vouchers.