Would you work on a car brought into your workshop with this amount of dog hair on the seats and footwell? The issue that faced a Cambridgeshire garage
- Credit: Archant
A garage refused to carry out a safety check on a car because they feared an abundance of dog hairs in the footwell posed a health risk to their staff.
Pam Joyce of Wicken, however, claimed her own health and safety was compromised as a result of the failure by the garage to carry out the work.
She took her car to be checked amidst reports of Vauxhall Zafiras randomly bursting into flames. Consequently, the car manufacturers promised free safety checks.
Mrs Joyce said she uses the eight-and-a-half-year-old car on a daily basis and it is therefore “hardly likely to be in showroom condition”.
But Simon Dodson, Murketts of Stapleford’s after sales manager, said: “The job involves the technician laying his head in the passenger footwell to get access to the heater motor area behind the glove box.
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“The car was extremely dirty inside and the seats and carpets were thickly matted with dog hair.
“The technician, being a dog owner himself, knew that dogs can carry mites and ticks which if passed on to humans can be difficult to get rid of and declined to work on the car until it had been valeted.”
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He added that Murketts suggested Mrs Joyce should have the car valeted and then return for work to be done.
“At the time she seemed satisfied with this but clearly got upset later and made some disparaging comments on Facebook,” Mr Dodson said. “We became aware of this the next morning and immediately made arrangements to collect the vehicle from her house, do the work including a valet and return the car later that day.
“Whilst doing the work we carried out a vehicle health check in accordance with our normal procedures.
“We had never seen the vehicle before, and it had a catalogue of items requiring attention.”
Among the safety issues that needed addressing were a broken road spring and front tyres which had worn through the rubber to the cords below.
“We offered to carry out the work, but Mrs Joyce declined,” he said. “But we did emphasise both verbally and later by e-mail the importance of having these items attended to without delay for safety reasons.”
Murketts of Stapleford said they have had no further contact from Mrs Joyce since the check.
Mrs Joyce said she was “completely shocked” when the garage declined to carry out the check.
She said: “At 12.05pm, over an hour after I had arrived, I was told that they couldn’t do the check due to health and safety issues as there were too many dog hairs in the passenger footwell.
“I was advised to have the car valeted and then arrange to bring it back for the safety check. What about our health and safety?
“The car has been regularly maintained by another garage. Never have they made any comment about the cleanliness of the car.
“Do Murketts of Stapleford believe that we deserve to be burned alive because we own dogs? “
Rory Harvey, Vauxhall Motors chairman and managing director, addressed the fire concerns in a statement on the company’s website.
“Vauxhall is carrying out an investigation following reports of fire in the area of the heating and ventilation system in a number of Vauxhall Zafiras (Zafira B model launched in 2005, not current Zafira Tourer). While the number of incidents is very low in proportion to the number of vehicles on the road, we take this issue very seriously.
“The safety of our customers is our number one priority. Our investigations so far have found that a number of incidents have occurred due to previous repairs being performed improperly or using certain non-genuine parts,” the statement said.