Thursday, 26 September 2013

Three hundred visits

Three hundred visits so far to this blog (and they aren't all me as I have it set not to count my visits).

Not bad.

Lots of people have asked me about learning to drive (one child at school, one child at playgroups and nursery) and I have been honest each time. I have nothing good to

They say that no one remembers a good review, only the bad. Well there are now a lot of bad ones out there about Nippers School of Motoring and Steve Eggleton. Plus I am active on local Facebook groups and student websites (I'm a student too) just happily sharing my experiences if the subject comes up, not shouting about it, just mentioning it, often by private message. Oh and Mumsnet of course.

So far I have definitely discouraged three people from taking intensive courses with Nippers (that  I know) that's £2400 minimum. I have a long memory, won't be long before my daughter and her friends are thinking about driving lessons, older siblings of her friends are even closer to that point.

People remember bad experiences, Nippers and when a business relies on word of mouth, its a mistake to provide a poor service and then terrible customer service.

And the blog? It's staying up and active. It's still there if you google all sorts of things, especially things like Steve Eggleton driving instructor, Steve Eggleton Nippers etc.

I have dabbled with taking this further, I have the small claims court papers ready to fill out but I have a little bit of time still to make that decision.  Steve would lie, his job is on the line if he tells the truth, but as time passes I am beginning to see what a sad little man he is. At the end of the day he has to live with himself and I get to be grateful everyday that my concentration didn't slip on that London trip and I am still here and in one piece.  And anger and shock about the fact that I almost died of course, that's always a bit of a shock to the system ( for anyone who can't be bothered to read the whole thing, Steve got me to drive for six hours around London with no food, drink or rest breaks, with mirrors set wrongly, five days after getting into the drivers seat for the first time).

Friday, 20 September 2013

DSA complaint response

No response from the letter to Nippers, unsurprisingly I suppose. Why would they care about customer service or the well being of customers, they employ Steve after all.

I usually try to be balanced and open minded when thinking about this whole business as I am dealing with people who don't think like normal, well balanced individuals and getting mad does nothing but raise the blood pressure.

But now I am mad, really really cross.
I got a response to my DSA email, well over four weeks since I last heard from them.

Now the normal, well balanced part of me is thinking, well, what did you expect, they don't want to admit to administering a check test to a dangerously lazy incompetent that was so easy that it didn't pick up on any of his lack of skills, common sense and decency. The customer is always wrong in their case.

Also I didn't expect really that Steve would tell the truth, its his job and his licence on the line, so he wasn't going to say 'yes, I am a shit driving instructor, please take my license away', but I am still shocked that he could lie so much ( and I am trying not to think about what he might have said about me, but as I am not allowed to know, I will just have to leave it to my imagination).

So, people of Essex, beware of any car with the Nippers logo, it could carry a fat, bald, short man who is completely unable to teach the basics and is a wanker to boot.

Anyway, here is the reply from the DSA:

Driving Standards Agency
T    0300 200 1122
F    0300 200 1155
(Sarah Drew)
by email: {redacted}

20 September 2013

our ref: 1309/00373

Dear (Mrs Drew)

Further to our email of 12 August we have now received comments from Steve Eggleton in response to your complaint. 

It is difficult to reconcile such differing viewpoints and I am afraid that under the circumstances we cannot take your complaint further.

As mentioned previously in our email of 12 August, in line with our standard practice we will keep all correspondence relating to your complaint on file for two years and add a record of this complaint against Mr Eggleton on the Register.

Yours sincerely

Katie Mountain
Corporate Correspondence

Customer Operations
For information about our complaints procedure, please click here

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

A little extra bad advice

Driving around today I remembered another thing I was told to do by Steve.

To drive as close to the central line of the road as I could.

My second instructor spent a lot of each lesson telling me to move close to the pavement  as I had more than a metre of space between me and the side of the road. Fair enough on country roads with overgrown bushes or with cyclists but anywhere else it puts you at a much higher risk of a head on collision with oncoming traffic.

And with cyclists I had to go right onto the other side of the road with Steve -  not just straddle the central line but right over the opposite side of the road, which obviously is terrifying for a learner and everyone else on the road.

I had forgotten to mention that he tapped my wrist a few times when  I did something wrong.

All things that I wish I had mentioned in the complaint and to the DSA.

No response yet

Title says it all. Not heard anything back from Nippers School of Motoring or Steve Eggleton yet.

Perhaps they are still reading the complaint letter as it was four pages long in the end!

If anyone has found this blog as they have him as an instructor, bad luck, see if you can change. If you want the full story, start with part one and work through, I'm happy to answer any questions.

I had a nightmare last night that I had  passed my first driving test. I was really close to passing as a number of lucky things happened - I got the kind examiner in a good mood, almost empty roads, the manoevre I was best at on an empty street and the examiner ignored many of the little mistakes that I made that I got minor faults for on later tests. However I was in no way a safe and competent driver  as I couldn't

- drive and read road signs (my independent drive on this test was just 'first right, then left, then third exit at the roundabout, no sign reading as on later tests).
-meet other cars
-pull in and move off safely on a road with traffic
-deal with double roundabouts
-use my mirrors safely when manoevring, especially around roundabouts.
-drive at a speed commensurate with the road conditions
-work out what speed I should be doing
-hazard spot competently
-drive without getting flustered and overwhelmed
-deal with traffic lights at junctions eg filter arrows, when I had to stop and wait for opposing traffic. On several occasions when turning right and catching sight of the red light for the traffic behind me, I slammed on my brakes.
-couldn't parallel park or bay park
-didn't know all the things to look out for when reversing around a corner and what to do if I was obstructing traffic.
-couldn't hill start
-couldn't find a comfortable driving position
-couldn't use lights, wipers or indicators properly
-Couldnt deal with any roundabouts that were unusual or didn't fit an exact pattern
-was still coming to a complete stop at EVERY junction, crossroads and roundabout before looking at the the oncoming traffic to see if it was safe to go. Fine when you are in a marked car as a learner, but as a new driver you run the risk of being shunted from behind as the drivers behind are also watching the traffic and if the road is empty they will expect you to react faster and move faster.

Steve was happy to let me potentially pass the test with all those dangerous gaps in my knowledge. My second instructor was shocked as she knew ( as did he) that I have young children and this would have put them at serious risk.

The cynical side of me noticed that the examiner and Steve knew each other and had worked together in the past. But I wouldn't like to say anything more about that as it is a supposition and unfair to both parties (even incompetent Steve) to say more than that.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Found another disgruntled ex pupil

Not of Steve's but of Nippers.

Someone on one of the Facebook groups I visit asked for recommendations for colchester driving instructors. The second or third answer was 'not Nippers'. I contacted the lady and she had a dreadful experience with them three years ago with another instructor. She had a years worth of lessons and had to start again from scratch with another company. No apology from Nippers of course. And refund? No chance, not their problem. I gave her the Watchdog email address.

That was two days ago and as its a fast moving board the conversation sank down. To my surprise someone this morning posted 'NIPPERS OF CLACTON HELPED ME GREATLY ASK FOR STEVE HE WAS FANTASTIC'.


To be fair Clacton has its own test centre so perhaps Steve is better on his own ground (he lives there) but it just amused me.

Just in case it was Nippers and they find me here too - I'd like a refund please.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Posted the Letter!

Signed for.

About twenty minutes ago (1.30pm).

So, now we wait.

The general content was the same as the DSA one, except for the final bit at the end where I asked for money back.

Also this blog now appears on google and can be searched for. It also appears when you type in Steve Eggleton Nippers and Steve Eggleton driving.

The first thing I did when I learned his name was google him but there is nothing about him on the internet. Well there is now.

Pam Sinclair

My good instructor, the one who helped me pass my test, was organised, focused and helpful was Pam Sinclair. She is a Colchester independent who has been an instructor since 1993.

I thoroughly recommend her, she is meticulous, pupil focused and incredibly kind and patient.

I came across her by chance on one of the driving instructor websites, but she packed more into the fifteen hours that I had with her than Steve did in 56 hours. She listened, she asked me what I wanted to focus on each lesson and she explained exactly why we do what we do when driving, what is safe and what isn't. She never made me feel silly or guilty and whilst she talked a lot, she didnt expect constant conversation and chit chat.

Every lesson she turned up with a notepad to make notes on what I wanted to do and we discussed what we had done in the past. She had a big book of resources and laminated roundabouts to explain things. We bay parked and parallel parked until I cracked it and then did it again and again so I could gain confidence. When I did something wrong she didnt shout or moan, she gently explained why it wasnt a good idea and helped me avoid doing it again in the future.

Needless to say, she was the complete opposite of Steve.


I put in my first complaint on the 25th July 2013. I phoned the Colchester number at 10.45am. I listed my complaints and was told someone would phone me back ASAP.

I checked up on my complaint on the 29th July 2013 at 11.30am.  This time I called the Clacton number. The person hadnt heard of my complaint (do they get so many?) but I was told someone would phone me back ASAP.

I was called by Nippers on the 29th July 2013 at 2pm. All of my complaints were refuted, Steve was robustly defended. Apparently he had never been complained about before but my complaint would stay on file for the future. The trip to London was by mutual agreement. They weren't going to do anything about him. I extended my complaint to the fact that Nippers were offering a service (intensive driving course, test standard in 40 hours) and had failed to meet their obligation. They had also failed to find an appropriate instructor or ensure that he was doing a good job. I was told that I had received tuition so that was the end of it as far as they were concerned. They offered me Steve's mobile number and told me to take it up with him.

I have to admit to not sending my complaint letter to them as promised. I was waiting until I had passed my test. It will be done and I will share their response on here.

Amount wasted with Nippers

3 Driving Tests at £62 each- £186

40 Hours Intensive Course - £771

16 Hours Subsequent Lessons at £20 an hour - £320

Plus 15 Hours with a New Instructor at £23 an hour - £345

Plus One More Failed Driving Test at £62 (The fifth was successful)

Total- £1684