The Nightmare of Car Repair Scams
Not quite as bad as ‘The Nightmare on Elm Street’ but just as horrifying is the uncertainty of not knowing the cost of a repair or the extent of a repair. It is a frightening experience to know that the vehicle you depend on for a myriad of reasons needs to be repaired and repaired quickly and reasonably. Do your research, look at the reviews of a shop, speak to the mechanic and make sure they know your budget limitations and time line for repair. A good mechanic can give you a diagnosis on what is needed for repairs in about an hour and present you with a written estimate.
Be aware of your surroundings when you go into a repair shop for your vehicle. Some mechanics either find it difficult or are impatient to explain the problem in layman’s terms to a customer. Be wary, especially if you are a female. If you find that you are getting a run around find another shop to take your vehicle to. If you are in a situation where the vehicle was towed to that shop and you are unable to be provided with a firm estimate then you will need to speak to the Owner in a clear and concise manner and explain the situation. Many states have DMV’s that will investigate complaints in a timely manner, but it is up to the customer to keep a record of any discussions.
There are a few red flags to look for in working with a repair shop. First and foremost is if the shop asks for any portion of the bill paid up front. This is a highly unethical business practice used by disreputable shops with the excuse they have to pay for parts up front. Another red flag is when the customer is presented with an offer to utilize pre-owned, re-conditioned or otherwise used parts. This is another indicator that the auto repair shop might not be working in your best interest. The only exception to this advice is when starters or alternators need to be replaced. These are often reconditioned and work as if new.
That handy list of electricians, plumbers and other contractors you have next to your phone for possible work or emergencies needs to have a good mechanic and repair shop added. As mentioned previously ask around, research through reviews on the internet, check with the Better Business Bureau and go introduce yourself, meet the owner and view the shops working quarters. It’s easy to pick up on the care and pride put into their efforts by the friendliness of the employees and the orderliness of the shop. Your investigations will eliminate future woes and save you money as well.