Auto Repair Scams Revealed
The largest group of consumer grievances are currently auto repair complaints. Many of these involve auto repair scams. According to the most recent statistics, consumers actually lose billions of dollars each year due to faulty or unnecessary car repairs. Although most repair shops are honest, agencies that conduct undercover car repair stings find deceitful, unfair auto mechanics and shops all over the country.
Protect Yourself - Car Repair Ripoffs
It’s no wonder that most people experience real anxiety when dealing with auto repairs or with repair shops and garages. This seems to come from a fear that they are being taken advantage of because they do not understand the details behind the repair itself. It is no wonder that our opinion of garages and mechanics ranks up there with that of lawyers and used car salesmen.
We no longer live in an age of trust, so how do we ensure that our auto repair costs are legitimate? Information is the key. Knowing what questions to ask the next time your car requires a repair is the best way to alleviate the stress and make sure you receive fair treatment.
The power of competition is awesome and can prove to be one of the best tools at your disposal. For any major repairs, it’s a good idea to get at least two or three quotes or estimates on the cost of the repair. Reputable shops understand this practice and will price their services competitively because they want to gain, not only your confidence, but your future business.
Simple Tips To Avoid Car Repair Fraud
- Use the Internet to research the specific repair and find out the particulars behind it. The most valuable information to have is the cost of the parts and an estimate of the time required to fix the problem. (Parts and labor…) You can also find estimates of regional pricing, specific to your area, which will give you a better idea what to expect as far as labor rates go. This information will also enable you to better communicate with a mechanic.
- Next, ask that the old parts be returned to you at the completion of the work. If a shop protests this request in any way, head for the door. Reputable shops have no problem with this request and are well aware of the reasoning behind it. It’s a sorry fact of life that dishonest shops will often charge consumers for repairs they never make. By asking for the old parts back (and getting that request put in writing) you are protecting yourself, as well as letting the mechanic know that you are going to confirm the work was performed as requested.
- Be sure to ask if the shop will waive any fees for a diagnosis if you have the repairs done in their shop. Diagnostic fees can add significantly to your final bill.
- Get it in writing! Always make sure that any repair, as well as diagnosis or estimate, is put in writing for you to review. Don’t settle for a simple line-item such as “Replace radiator”. Ask that they write out the diagnosis and list exactly what part was replaced. This is extremely useful if you ever have to confront them about a repair or challenge the repair with your credit card company or in a court of law.
Following the simple steps outlined above is certainly not a guarantee that you won’t be a victim of auto repair scams. But, it will certainly alleviate some of the fear and trepidation of having your vehicle repaired and you will at least have become an informed, active participant in the process.
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