BBC show ‘unrealistic’ says garage-owner

A car repair garage in Cleckheaton has defended itself against allegations that it has been ripping off its customers.

Cleckheaton Gearbox and Clutch Centre in Scandinavia Court, Chainbar Road, was featured on BBC Watchdog’s Rogue Traders on Tuesday, with the programme saying the garage had been carrying out work on cars that was not needed.

But the garage’s owner, Paul Frost, has hit back, insisting that the programme was “unrealistic”.

He said: “It was clear from the outset they had little or no interest in presenting information which would undermine their programme.

“It is not an experience that has been enjoyable; the show’s purpose appears simply to present an unrealistic image of the business and financially compromise us with the consequent loss of jobs.”

Watchdog showed the owner of a Porsche who said he was charged £1,800 for work to replace his clutch and flywheel, neither of which were replaced, and he was given a second-hand gearbox instead of a re-conditioned one.

Presenter Matt Alwright sent in a Ford Focus which had a faulty seal on the clutch which experts said should have cost just £70 to repair, but the garage said it needed a new clutch and charged more than £300.

The programme-makers also sent in a Porsche Boxter with no faults, but the ‘owner’ was told it needed a new clutch, brake pedals, gear cables, flywheel, gearbox repair, labour and VAT costing more than £1,900. Mr Frost was then confronted by Matt Alwright in the garage’s reception and asked why he was charging for work which did not need doing.

Mr Frost told the Guardian: “He didn’t allow us to put our side of the story to them. We are not robots, we are humans and we make mistakes.

“We have had many tributes from happy customers over the years – since 2008 we have had more than 8,000 customers. We strive to provide a good service to all our clients and are disappointed in every instance that we fail.

“We have built a substantial business over many years and have been supported by referrals from high quality garages in and around the UK.

“We can but apologise again to those where our service has not met the high standards that we set for ourselves.”