A woman who says she was sold a dangerous car by a Huddersfield dealership is still driving it more than a year later.
And Kirsty Ackroyd claims her attempts to reject and return the car were met with a tirade of verbal abuse from sales staff at Arnold Clark Motorstore on Leeds Road that left her humiliated and in tears.
The second-hand Fiat 500 Pop had spent 80 days in the garage when Kirsty, 23, of Hipperholme, demanded it be replaced. Instead, over the course of an ill-tempered meeting lasting four-and-a-half she says a salesman accused her of attention-seeking and left her feeling “like a piece of dirt”.
Kirsty bought the car, which had been used as a courtesy vehicle by Arnold Clark, in April 2016 for £6,000. Within a month she began experiencing problems as the car continually stalled.
She said: “I could be travelling at 30mph and all of a sudden the car would just stop and cut out, which was very dangerous. I also had a leak into the passenger footwell.
“I rang Arnold Clark and spoke to four different people who told me they couldn’t work on the car.
As the car was under warranty it was seen by a Fiat specialist on multiple occasions between August 2016 and January this year. Despite extensive testing the fault could not be pinpointed, prompting Kirsty to go back to Arnold Clark to ask for a replacement car.
She says she was offered a part-exchange deal on a new car but refused as she would have been left out-of-pocket.
“I was in negative equity,“ she said. “I explained the car was faulty so I shouldn’t be penalised to pay more money.”
She was later ushered into a separate room where she claims she and her parents were harangued by the same “rude and arrogant” salesman.
Her father Philip, a joiner, says: “He belittled me. He made out that we were idiots and like peasants.”
Kirsty claims she was also pressured into saying she had been with her employer for five years to aid sales staff securing a finance deal. In reality it was just a few months. She says she was told this was common practice.
To add insult to injury, she was charged £200 for a cleaning kit that she did not ask for and which she has still not received after more than a year.
Kirsty added: “This vehicle is unsafe and I honestly fear for my safety while using it. We now refuse to deal with Arnold Clark Huddersfield as the attitude displayed was distressing, upsetting and embarrassing.”
Her complaint has been referred to the Financial Ombudsman.
A spokesman for Arnold Clark said: “Firstly, we would like to apologise to Miss Ackroyd for what has already been a lengthy process.
“Regarding the level of care experienced by Miss Ackroyd, an apology was provided at the time from our customer services team. This was also issued along with an explanation that the employee in question would be spoken with. However, due to data protection legislation no further details can be provided in terms of the outcome of this.
“In terms of the vehicle, on the basis that the problems are still being encountered we would be happy to arrange for the vehicle to be collected from Miss Ackroyd and to be fully examined by ourselves. In doing so we would provide Miss Ackroyd with alternative transport whilst her vehicle is with us.
“Alternatively, we would be happy to engage in further conversations with Miss Ackroyd to look at a potential alternative solution. Should Miss Ackroyd be happy to discuss this, we would like to introduce her to one of our senior managers.
“Turning to the actual sale of the vehicle we have considered the documentation dating back to April 2016 and would advise that the details provided by Miss Ackroyd relating to her employment at the time of vehicle purchase covered an 18 month period.
“Our documentation also refers to her employment prior to that. We are satisfied that Miss Ackroyd signed the documentation confirming that all information provided was accurate.
“Customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do as a group. We will endeavour to reach an outcome that Miss Ackroyd is happy with taking all factors of this case in to account.”