Can someone hold my hand and keep me strong please, just made a complaint about someone

(89 Posts)
ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 10:47:05

Just had terrible driving instructor, really bad service, endangered me, didn't give good value tuition. Wasted a fortune on this guy's service.

Today I decided to do something about it and complained to his company.

They are going to phone me back soon and I am feeling very weepy and weak which is pathetic, I don't want to cry, I want to get some of my money back at least. This is my first proper complaint ever, I am usually too terrified to do anything about it, but the sharp intakes of breath when I tell people what he did have finally convinced me to do this.

I could do with a big mumsnet kick up the arse. Or a hug. I dont know which.

EweHaveGoatToBeKiddin Thu 25-Jul-13 10:49:20

Well done!

You know deep down this was the right thing to do.

I wish i had your guts, seriously.

My first driving lesson was with a little old man who decided to take me onto a dual carriageway (yes, my first ever lesson) and began to read his newspaper and just left me to it.

I was too chicken to complain. I paid him, thanked him, then found someone else.

Again - well done!

Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 10:49:52

What happened op? Do you want to talk about it?

Good for you for standing up for yourself & complaining though thanks

I'll give you a friendly punch on the arm. Stay polite, and firm. It's easier over the phone than in person. Explain your complaint clearly, and tell them what you'd like them to do about it. Good luck <punch>

Have a ((hug))

You have done the right thing.

MadBusLady Thu 25-Jul-13 10:57:46

You're doing the right thing. It helps to have a written script for difficult calls, even a very basic "Say hello, say I am calling cos of x". Have you got a very factual list of things he did with rough dates ready to go? Or have you already done that bit?

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 10:57:55

Thanks everyone.

<rubs arm>

The brief version (complaint is five pages long and I was concise)

-He checked his phone whilst I was driving.
-Within twenty minutes of getting in the car I was driving forty minutes on dual carriageway/winding roads etc
-He didn't teach me cockpit drill, mirror, signal, manoevre, how to meet other cars, how to move off. He refused to practice manoevres once I had got it right once.
-He didn't take me on 50-60% of the test routes, including some tricky and dangerous areas where a mistake is incredibly serious.
-After only 18 hours of tuition he decided I should drive to London (I live an hour away). He scheduled no breaks so I drove for 6 hours on the A12 and all round Mile End/Romford with no food/water/toilet/leg stretching breaks. When I asked to stop he said 'in a minute' but we never did. I also drove for 4.5 and 5.5 hours at other times.
-He was aggressive and abusive to other drivers
-He referred to homosexuals as 'poofs' regularly.
-He gossiped about the home life and mocked the mistakes of other pupils
-He was late for every lesson, up to fifteen minutes and we had one ten minute break for him to use the toilet every lesson. This time was never made up.
-Four to six hours of lessons was just driving in the same loop in the same direction around our town, round and round the roundabouts.

Forgetfulmog Thu 25-Jul-13 10:59:17

Fuck, that's really bad. Definitely complain

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 11:00:37

Correction- within twenty minutes of getting in the car for the first time, before even testing my eyes, and knowing I was a complete novice who had never sat in the drivers seat before, he had me driving forty minutes away on busy and difficult roads.

MadBusLady Thu 25-Jul-13 11:01:24

shock

Wow, I'm amazed no-one has complained before! He sounds intimidating, maybe that's why.

You have been brilliant! It's excellent really that he works for a big company. Is it the one that has the first letter of the alphabet in it twice by any chance? If so, I had a bad experience with a driving instructor from there 10 years ago - put me off driving for another 9 years. It's really important. Well done.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 11:04:22

He is. Obese bald man from East London, talking about all his friends who were in prison.

I have now had eight hours with another instructor who is gradually correcting my mistakes, but I had no idea it was so bad until I started telling her about it. I didn't really have much to compare it too, everyone I know learned to drive ten plus years ago.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 11:06:29

No its a relatively large but local firm. Its based in the next big town over, so I don't think he was as familiar with our town but was just happy to take my money and keep taking it. He did keep trying to persuade me to take my test there instead but I would have spent 80 minutes of every two hour lesson just driving there and back.

NatashaBee Thu 25-Jul-13 11:09:01

YANBU. He sounds terrible. I hope they take your complaint seriously.

fuzzywuzzy Thu 25-Jul-13 11:10:40

Oh you poor thing. A friend had someone drive into her during a lesson and her driving instructor tried to charge her for it! She would have paid had she had the money on her, she was so frightened and confused, we stopped her.

There are some chancers out there, it's toguh finding an instructor who is good.

It's 17 years since I had lessons (oh god I'm so old!) My very first lesson the instructor (one man set-up) took me over a major motorway junction at rush hour - I barely knew how to change gear!

I then went with a national company. All was good. The instructor was so friendly and eager to accommodate me if I needed picking up from work (20 miles away). I told him my parents were going on holiday, he told me to call him if I needed anything (i was 18) He was always asking about boyfriends - did I have one.

Gradually I started to become uncomfortable with him but wasn't sure why - he was such a.nice.bloke after all. I started to dress scruffy for lessons, cancelled a few, had a few panic attacks. I didn't know what was wrong with me.

The final straw was when he gently held my hand on the gear stick and smiled sweetly - I was petrified. I was a very sheltered 18 and he was in his 40's.

I never said anything to my parents, I thought I must have led him on. I changed instructor and he was fab, passed first time.

Not long after my experience there was a big hoo-ha in the media about driving instructors behaving inappropriately with learners. One of the girls interviewed (possibly on Panorama...?) described how she had started to dress scruffy during lessons to try and put the instructor off her. I was shock watching the tv.

Good on you for complaining, I wish I'd have spoken up but was convinced it was something I'd done.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 11:25:15

No phone call back yet.

Oh and he also did no independent driving practice. At all.

I am just so so cross that he put me in for tests when I wasn't good enough, my confidence has taken such a battering as well as my wallet. I have another one coming up and I am so so nervous, a million times more than I was before because I have failed several times before.

HotSoupDumpling Thu 25-Jul-13 11:28:45

Good on you. What you're doing is a massive favour for 1) the company and 2) any potential future students of his. Remember that when you're complaining - you are doing them a favour. Their reputation will be much improved in the long run.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 11:36:26

God I feel sick.
Its only been an hour since I phoned.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Thu 25-Jul-13 14:52:13

Its been about four hours and I haven't heard anything yet.

I was told they would get back to me today but the man did say that they had to speak to him first.

Its pathetic, I'm 31 FFS and I'm shaking like a leaf. I managed to eat something but its sitting like concrete in my stomach.

Adding up how much I spent on lessons comes to a shocking amount. I've decided to ask for at least a third of the money I spent back, does that sound about right?

JohFlow Thu 25-Jul-13 14:58:41

The complaint is out of your hands for the time being - so take a bit of time to yourself. You can deal with the response when it comes in. You had a right to complain for sure.

Ask for a high percentage of your money back. They can always negotiate you back. But you are more likely to get more than a third if you start high.

Good Luck

devilcakes Thu 25-Jul-13 15:04:24

Why did you not leave after the first lesson?

hesterton Thu 25-Jul-13 15:06:38

Yes, be clear about what you want. Stick to the facts and persist.

The instructor will be self employed. He will br paying the company he 'works for' to work for them.

They may (and should be sympathetic). At the end of the day they are unlikely to reprimand him in any way. He doesn't actually work for them. They work fot him. I do hope for your sake they think about their company name and reputation. I also hope you get some of your money back but in many ways that (believe it or not) is not the companies responsibility. That money will have gone directly into your instructors bank account. You can certainly pressure them though, and they will have the capacity to offer you a discretionary financial reimbursement.

You could and should complain to the DRIVING STANDARDS AGENCY (DSA). These are the people that allow this instructor to work, and could potentially remove his license. They may need his ADI number which you should find on you test reports. 'Threatening' to report to the DSA could be used when talking to hiz compsny.

Good luck. It is worth fighting and there is more than one angle to take.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Thu 25-Jul-13 15:09:25

You've done completely the right things flowers. I hope your complaints are taken seriously and that you get some form of refund.

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