How To Avoid Car Repair Scams
Almost every driver hates dealing with any car repairs, especially when not knowing or having any handy mechanics in their circle. No matter where you live, there is always a small (or big) group of car repair mechanics, which represent a source of worry as their deceptive practices can result in you paying thousands to fix a small issue.
Some mechanics are decent and hardworking people who want to do their job right. As in any other industry, though, a few bad seeds that are bereft of scruples see your lack of automotive knowledge as a weakness that can be exploited for profit.
It’s effortless for an unethical mechanic to convince car owners that unnecessary repairs are needed because the average person doesn’t know much about their cars. People often have no idea they’ve been ripped off. This makes proving auto repair fraud difficult. Even those that suspect they’ve been scammed don’t know what to do in order to make their case.
Below are some of the most common auto repair scams. Keep these in mind the next time you need to have your car worked on. We finish with a list of tips that can reduce your chance of falling prey to a dishonest car mechanic or repair shop.
#1. Get Written Proof of Given Estimates
This is a widespread scam that you might come across when interacting with a mechanic from a car repair shop. This is a very convincing first estimate of how much things are going to cost. More often than not, that's the fishing bait they use to lure you into their future schemes. Statements like, "The cost of this part was more than we expected" is one of the common scams.
They'll give you a small amount at first and then raise that number as they work on your car, putting you in an extremely awkward position. They exploit the people's inability to be rude by slipping in tiny "necessary" repairs along the way. By the end of it, you'll be paying triple the original price estimate.
You can avoid this scam by getting an estimate upfront, in writing, from your mechanic. You can also request that no work beyond the estimate be performed without having your consent first.
#2. Don't Fall for Emotional Manipulation Tricks
One of the things car repair mechanics are proficient at, other than repairing cars, is manipulating you into getting different pieces of your car fixed. You'd send in your vehicle for a simple task like replacing your AC filter, and they'd look at your vehicle in a horrified manner, asking you how long it's been since you had a repair done with extreme worry on their faces.
They'd ask you questions like if you're aware of how dangerous it is to ride your car at its current state and if you know that it's extremely risky to continue operating it in this condition. Still, all these questions are meant to scare you into paying more money, even when it's not been necessary.
Remember that they deal with all types of people every single day and that they're professionals in administering the right dose of fear in you for you to comply with their suggestions. So, stand your ground and refuse what they say until you've done sufficient research to determine it for yourself.
#3. Know Your Vehicle
It is easy for a car mechanic to tell you a bunch of car terminologies to confuse you and make you feel like you don't understand what's going on. That's why it's essential that you study precisely why you are visiting the repair shop and what they're going to be working on.
Reading the car's manual along with researching the necessary processes online, will help you learn all about what's needed so that you're able to be informed when negotiating the price. This enables you to stop any attempts to get a few extra money from your wallet.
Car repair shops are one of the few places that a lot of people go to, but not a lot of people understand, and the mechanics know that very well. One thing that will help you get out of their schemes is your awareness of what's going on through every step. Learn all about your car and the usual repair process, and you'll be good to go.
#4. Counterfeit Car Parts
To save money, some unscrupulous repair shop owners cut costs by using counterfeit car parts instead of high-quality replacement parts. The difference in price can be significant, but you won’t see any of the savings. You’ll be billed the full price for the parts and won’t be told.
This practice can put you in danger because counterfeit auto parts are often of inferior quality. This can put you at risk, and you may never even know it. Besides being potentially unsafe, counterfeit parts generally wear out sooner than genuine parts. Detecting counterfeit auto parts is difficult because the counterfeiters often duplicate trademarks or alter them so slightly that it takes an experienced eye to notice the difference.
If you suspect that counterfeit car parts have been used in place of quality materials, don’t hesitate to consult another professional expertise and take necessary legal actions if the initial mechanic refused to do the needful.
#5. Not Grouping Repairs when Calculating Labor
There are some parts, like the water pump, that isn’t always easy to get to, which means removing other parts to get to the one in question. If some of these different parts are old or showing visible signs of wear, changing them out at the same time makes sense. What doesn’t make sense, is charging you for the labor on the other part when it was already part of the procedure for the first piece.
If the estimate doesn’t list out exactly where each labor charge is coming from, that could be a red flag, and it might be worth asking the mechanic.
Tellz Auto is a full car buying service and easy to use resource that helps people find the right vehicle. We believe the car you ride in is just as important as the home you live in. We offer guidance from start to finish and will help you negotiate a great deal on the perfect vehicle. For more information, give us a call at +1 512-400-4243 / +234 (803) 650-2556 or Get Started here today.