It takes a bit more than traditional auto repair tips and advice to protect ourselves from auto repair scams. Car repair fraud is rampant, requiring new prevention techniques, and a new way of thinking.
Here’s some conventional wisdom. It’s helpful, but not enough:
- Find an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified shop
- Ask around town
- Check out several different repair facilities first
- Are they clean and neat?
- Do they provide written estimates?
- Check with the BBB.
- Is the auto service center AAA certified?
- Some will even advise to “ask for the parts back”
Traditional tips and suggestions fall short to really helping us save money. There has not been any new advice in decades. More importantly, no one has answered why car repair scams have reached an estimated 40 billion dollars per year. Why is there still no solution to stop car repair scams?
The first hurdle to conquer is the perception of frequency of auto repair scams. Many folks just don’t believe that car repair fraud is all that bad. Some even argue that the vast majority of repair shops do an honest day’s work, and that a few bad apples are making the rest look like crooks. This is an interesting argument, and raises a number of questions.
- If it is “only a few bad apples,” where are they hiding the 40 billion?
- If most repair shops are honest, why does every state warn against car repair scams?
- Why are auto repair shops at the top of consumer complaint lists every single year, in every state, including Alaska?
Auto repair concerns are expanding across the continents. For example, Australia listed car repair scams at number 4 on their top 10 consumer complaint list.
The perception of frequency gets distorted because there are a number of levels to repair scams. There are the blatant rip-offs covered in the news. Then there are the common scams such as exorbitant prices and excessive car repair estimates, as well as aggressive scare tactics to get service customers to perform services.
The repair scams uncovered by RepairTrust not only found the tactics listed above and more, but a powerful undercurrent of overcharging at the foundation of the automotive service industry. In reality, most car repair scams go unnoticed by the service consumer. Service customers have no idea that they were ripped-off. This under-the-radar scamming occurs in dealerships, local shops, and franchises. Affiliation with ASE, AAA, BBB, NADA makes no difference.
An ASE patch on a technician’s arm, or an AAA or BBB sticker on the door of a service center means absolutely nothing in terms of a scam-free facility. Word of mouth recommendations can be just as devastating, as even shops that seem honest, aren’t.
Traditional tips are ineffective in today’s service industry. Service facilities have found new and ingenious ways of ripping people off. In truth, many of the old tips and suggestions have actually become weapons allowing service centers to indulge in car repair scams more than ever.
The auto repair playing field must be leveled. Service customers need solid answers, and they need to be equipped with information, understanding, and an insider’s view of the who, what, when, where, why, and how of price-gouging. To learn how to save money visit Auto Repair Prices