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Auto Repair Scams Can Cost You a Fortune
A lot of people like owning and driving cars, but no one likes to repair them or pay to have them repaired. But cars are like anything else; if you use them, they eventually need attention. Today's vehicles are far more complicated than the cars of a generation ago, so fewer and fewer consumers are able to do their own repairs. That means taking it to a professional mechanic when something goes wrong, and choosing a bad one can cost you a fortune.
While the majority of auto mechanics are honest people, there are more than a few that have been known to take advantage of consumers by engaging in a number of unethical practices:
Padding the price with unnecessary repairs.
Padding the price with work not actually done.
Charging for new parts when using used ones or charging for factory parts when using third-party parts.
Providing higher estimates to female customers than they do to men.
Using the wrong mechanic can not only cost you money, but it can actually endanger your life if the work was not done properly or even done at all. What can you do to make sure that the mechanic you hire will do a good job and treat you fairly?
You might consider the following:
Ask your family or friends for recommendations. People often take their cars to the same shop for years, so a recommendation from a longtime customer would be helpful.
Check with the local Better Business Bureau to see if the shop in question has a history of consumer complaints.
Check to see if the mechanics are certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. These certifications indicate technicians who have passed comprehensive exams and are probably sufficiently competent to handle the job.
Check out the shop in person. Look around. Is it clean? Organized? Does it have a professional look? If the shop is run by professionals, it should look as though it is run by professionals.
Do they provide a written estimate? Most reputable shops will do so; if they don't, you could find yourself with a rapidly escalating repair bill.
Check with the American Automobile Association. They provide members with a list of reputable shops that can take care of your needs.
If you drive a lot, and most people do, it is vitally important that your car be kept in the best possible condition. That means finding a reputable place to have it repaired when something goes wrong. The last thing you want when your car breaks is to take it to someone who will do a poor job or charge you too much money. Taking your time in finding a reputable mechanic is a good start.
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