Finding an honest and reliable mechanic to look after your car isn’t always easy – and there are lots of scams to look out for. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those trades which has a bad reputation for ripping people off. Even a confident motorist who knows a bit about cars can be vulnerable when visiting a new garage. So how can you prevent being scammed for vehicle repairs? Follow these tips to ensure you don’t get overcharged for any repair work, or pay for anything which doesn’t actually need doing.
Windmill’s Scam Prevention Checklist
Choose a recommended garage
As with trusting any supplier or contractor for the first time, you should get personal recommendations first. Ask your family, friends or neighbours about which local garages and mechanics they trust – this will drastically reduce your chances of being ripped off, especially if you name drop one of their regular customers. It’s much easier for a mechanic to try and scam a one-off customer who has no other connection to them.
Get a second opinion
If you receive a quote which you think is suspiciously hefty, there’s no harm in getting a second professional opinion. Never feel pressured to agree to the work a mechanic recommends there and then – you have the right to go away and think about it (unless of course your car is not safe to drive). If something sounds overpriced it might be, so take your car to another garage for a quote or make a few phone calls to compare quotes for the work which needs carried out.
Do your research
Read up about the possible problems your vehicle may be diagnosed with before attending the garage. It’s a good idea to try and understand the mechanic lingo, and act confident when talking about the different parts of your car – this way you won’t be as much as a scam target. These key phrases are a good place to start so you’re not staring blankly at the mechanic as they explain what repairs are required.
Ask for a detailed bill
Some independent garages are known for doing cash in hand work or ad-hoc unprofessional repairs which don’t go on the books. Without a receipt or a detailed bill, you can’t be sure what you’re actually paying for. A bill should break down the cost of the parts, the cost of the service and any extras. Don’t be afraid to question anything you don’t understand.
Don’t become vulnerable to vehicle repair scams – try and find a recommended mechanic and be inquisitive about the work being carried out.