Safety First: Vehicle Repair Rip-Offs

Avoiding Vehicle Repair Rip-Offs

Every consumer, at one time or another, will face the need to get their car fixed. Auto repair rip-offs consistently rank very high in consumer complaints throughout the nation. How can you avoid these pitfalls and still keep your car in working order? Consider the following.

  • Find an auto repair shop before you need one. This will avoid the pressure of a last minute choice. Ask friends, family members or co-workers to recommend repair shops they trust.
  • Be certain the repair shop honors any existing warranty on your car. If not, you may be paying for parts or labor covered by your manufacturer's or extended warranty.
  • Be certain the shop is qualified to complete the necessary repair. Ask if the shop has experience working on the same type of vehicle as yours and has done this type of repair before. Check the shop for certification from national organizations or groups. If the shop employees are trained and certified they will proudly display the certificates. Many factories and parts manufacturers also provide certification and training.
  • If the repair costs will exceed $50, you should require that the shop provide a written estimate. Be certain the estimate specifically identifies the condition to be repaired, the parts needed and the anticipated labor charge.
  • You should require the repair shop to contact you before exceeding the estimate by $10 or 10% whichever is greater.
  • Shop around for the best deal. Compare the estimates of the shops.
  • After the work is completed, you should require that the repair shop provide: a legible copy of the repair invoice showing the repair work done to correct the problem, an itemized description of parts and labor charges, as well as any guarantees.
  • Review the above document carefully. Ask questions if you do not understand anything contained in the ESTIMATE or REPAIR INVOICE.
  • If you have complaints: Contact your local consumer protection agency