Running into vehicle issues can be a nuisance.
From flat tires to collision repair, the estimated cost to repair vehicles always seems to be beyond expectation. This is due to two things:
One, lack of knowledge of auto repairs, and two, an untrustworthy mechanic.
Unfortunately, most of us have experienced the displeasure of visiting the mechanic whose sole intent appears to be getting every dollar they possibly can.
This article will help you recognize common mechanical tactics of deception and give some pointers on how to avoid dishonest mechanics, and offer aid in the event you were taken for a ride.
Common Auto Mechanic Deception Tactics
Auto repair shops have been known to use a few underhanded tricks to get more money out of their customers.
The first, and most common, is what’s called the “switch and bait.”
This is when they show you a damaged or worn part and tell you that it needs to be replaced immediately.
In reality, this part is perfectly fine and doesn’t need to be replaced.
If a mechanic tries this on you, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
You can also ask to see the old part so you can inspect it yourself.
If the mechanic refuses, that’s a red flag.
Another common tactic is what’s known as the “upsell.”
This is when the mechanic tries to sell you additional services or repairs that aren’t actually necessary.
For example, they may tell you that you need new brakes when your current ones are perfectly fine. Or they may say your engine needs a tune-up when it doesn’t. If a mechanic tries to upsell you on something, again, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. You should also do your own research to see if the service or repair they’re recommending is actually necessary.
What Can You Do If You Have Been Ripped Off By An Auto Mechanic?
If you think you’ve been ripped off by a mechanic, there are a few things you can do. First, you can file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office or the Better Business Bureau. You can also contact your local consumer protection agency.
You can also try to negotiate with the mechanic. If you have proof that the repairs they did were unnecessary, show it to them and see if they’ll refund your money.
If all else fails, you can take the mechanic to small claims court. But before you do, make sure you have all your documentation and evidence to back up your case.
If you find yourself in need of auto repairs, follow these tips to avoid getting ripped off by a dishonest mechanic. And if you think you’ve been taken for a ride, don’t hesitate to take action.
Read on for a few more things you should be aware of to make sure that you don’t get ripped off by your mechanic.
Don’t Give Into Mechanic Pressure
Some mechanics will attempt to scare or pressure you into unnecessary repairs just to run up the bill.
They will test your knowledge, or lack thereof, with a lengthy list of things they claim you “desperately need.”
We know there are a lot of great mechanics out there that just want safe vehicles and safe drivers on the road.
If it’s your first visit to a new repair shop, take their suggestions home and do your own research.
Get a few opinions, and make sure you’re not being bullied into a potentially costly repair.
Lack Of Warranty Mechanics
Your mechanic should display an assurance that the work completed is quality. Verbal recognition of completed repairs or the quality of work is never a satisfactory agreement.
Most vehicle repairs are covered under good auto warranties or extended auto warranties, but there isn’t any reason to not be covered in the event of poor workmanship by that an unskilled or untrustworthy mechanic.
Be Aware of Labor Costs
It’s not just the cost of a battery; it’s the replacement of one. It’s not just an air filter; it’s the installment of one.
Before agreeing to a repair, vital or unnecessary, make sure you are fully aware of the labor costs associated with it.
Some repairs require disassembly and reassembly of intricate engine parts just to gain access to the area of repair.
A professional mechanic handling the repairs of your vehicle is always our recommendation, but not at the expense of inflated labor hours to make a buck.
Do your homework on how involved some of your estimated repairs actually are.
Billing For Work That Was Never Done
It happens so quickly. An easy slide of paperwork over the counter and a 30-second explanation that, “we went ahead and…” did something.
Take a long look at your bill and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions.
Air filters, multi-point inspections, and fluid top-offs are a few examples of repairs some shops will claim to have made but never do.
This is ultimately complete neglect or the worst kind of hidden expense, but it happens all the time.
Before your repairs or tune-ups are started, try to have a clear understanding of the cost and what to look for after the fact.
It may be that you’re paying for something imaginary.
Is Your Mechanic Certified?
This is something most people almost never look for in the waiting room of a repair shop.
Did you know that there is a standard for auto mechanics across the country?
The National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence certification isn’t required by all states to operate a repair shop, but that doesn’t justify its absence.
Most shops require their employees to achieve this certification, but we all know some shops aren’t more than one or two people. The checks and balances that exist in corporate-run repair shops may not exist on the local or sole proprietor level.
So, make sure whomever you’re using is recognized as completing this certification (required every five years).
You can check online or in person to see if your mechanic has this certification.
Alternatives To Dealership Repair Shops
The price you pay for repairs and maintenance at a dealership is, on average, going to be higher than at an independent shop.
This is one of the reasons we don’t recommend them as often.
The reason they’re able to charge a higher price is due to the overhead costs associated with being an official dealer.
There are benefits that come along with this, but they don’t always outweigh the cost.
When it comes to getting your vehicle repaired, we recommend using an independent shop whenever possible.
These shops don’t have the same overhead and can pass those savings on to you. That being said, not all independent shops are created equal.
The best way to find a reputable shop is by referrals from friends or family. Once you have a few names, do your research online and read reviews.
It may seem like a pain, but it’s worth it to save yourself time and money down the road.
These are just a few things to help make you a more informed customer when it comes to auto repairs.
One of the most important things you can do is make sure you’re covered by an extended auto warranty, and we can help with that.