October 01, 2012 - CAR REPAIR SCAMS -- October 2012
A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently estimated that auto repairs made up a large group of consumer complaints and have cost consumers billions of dollars each year for faulty and unnecessary car repairs. Many of the consumers affected by unnecessary car repair fraud were elderly. So, let’s talk about a few of the common schemes, and what we can do as consumers if we don’t know much about our own vehicles.
One common scheme is “Intentional Misrepresentation of Repair Needs”. This is when a mechanic tells you that you need a new timing belt, when in actuality your original timing belt is fine.
Another common scheme is called “Part replacement fraud”. This is when a mechanic will charge you for labor and new parts when in actuality he put substandard, used, or counterfeit parts, or he didn’t replace the old part at all.
A third common scheme is called the “Bait and Switch Repair Scam”. This occurs when an auto repair shop advertises for a specific repair for a special price. He then finds many other things wrong with your car. What starts off as a $100.00 repair bill now becomes a $2000.00 bill.
Here are the precautions you need to take:
1. Always get a WRITTEN ESTIMATE before you authorize any repairs. Then, take that written estimate and go to different shops (at least 2 others), to see if you really need those repairs, AND if you do, try to get a better price.
2. Perform your own background check on the repair shop. Make sure they are registered with the State, and check for any complaints against them with the Better Business Bureau.
3. If you need big repairs, ALWAYS get your old, replaced parts. That way, you know the work was actually done. This keeps the shop honest.
4. Ask if all the repairs are GUARANTEED. Insist that the shop honors its guarantees.
A good repair shop won’t pressure you into making unnecessary repairs, and they will always answer any questions or requests you make cheerfully and professionally. Everyone benefits from professional repair shops where the employees are honest, loyal, and provide great workmanship to their customers. And if you know that your repair shop is this honest and professional, you’ll stay loyal to them as well. It’s a win-win situation!!!.
From the desk of Officer Jane Constant
Senior Relations Division
Nashua Police Department
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