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Avoid workshop scams and save money


I receive an abnormal amount of emails from our readers on a monthly basis complaining about the service they have received or price asked when taking their vehicle in for repairs or servicing.

I try my best to address all of the issues on a case-by-case basis, however I feel that some basic advice might help avoid these situations in the future. So here are five top tips to avoid being taken for a ride when servicing or repairing your car.

Use communication resources

Before going through with the repair process, make use of your preferred internet search engine and have a look at a consumer complaint site such as HelloPeter to search for any grievances lodged about the workshop you are using.

A simple Google search using keywords surrounding the establishment you are dealing with will likely yield some useful information too. If you’re not into the whole internet thing for some reason, then ask around; your friends and family can help immensely with a general consensus surrounding the workshop and your particular situation.

Get an idea of what is wrong

I am not saying you should professionally diagnose what’s wrong, but get someone semi-experienced to identify what they think is wrong. Having a basic knowledge of what might be amiss allows you to approach the workshop with confidence.

When the mechanic realises you’ve been trou­bleshooting yourself, I can assure you that they will think twice before trying to con you when providing a quote.

Get a second opinion

If you have been presented with a hefty written estimate for a repair job and have suspicions about it, take the car for a second opinion and ensure that you don’t show the other workshop your original quote.

We are in a tough economic situation at the moment, so workshops sometimes take a chance with overcharging clients, but on the other side of the coin, there are establishments desperate for work who will be able to do the same job for less money.

After taking the two quotes and comparing them, have a look at the labour rate charged per hour, how many hours quoted for the job and finally, the price of the parts while ensuring that they are of the right quality and carry a warranty. After comparing these, you’ll be able to ascertain which business is taking you for a ride.

Ask questions

It might be annoying to the mechanic but you’re well within your rights as a customer to ask what’s going on with your vehicle. When you are given a diagnosis, describing the problem or what needs to be done to your vehicle, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, it’s your car and it’s most certainly your money, so get as much information as you need to feel satisfied before proceeding with the repair or service.

While you’re asking questions, ask the mechanic for the old parts when he/she is done replacing them. This way, the mechanic is compelled to actually do the work.

Use common sense

It is easy for me to tell you to use common sense in hindsight, but I’ve been there when I was younger, a customer at a workshop who is unknowingly being ripped off. So when I say use common sense, I’m telling you to do what I should have done and go with your gut. Use the above points and remember that if you feel that something is awry, it often is.

Have you been overcharged or scammed by a workshop? Let us know


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Article written by Sean Nurse
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