Don’t Get Scammed
You may or may not know this, but auto repair scams make up one of the largest chunks of consumer complaints! The problem is so significant that even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recognizes it; they also agree that consumers lose billions of dollars because of dishonest or incorrect auto repairs. So, we’ve established that it’s a problem. While GarageFly stands 100% behind our network garages, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some less reputable shops out there engaging in some questionable behavior. So, here are some common scams for you to watch out for – the more aware you are, the better!
The Air Filter Swap
When you go for a regular repair, some shops will tell you that your air filter needs an urgent replacement. This can be your engine filter or the filter attached to the car’s AC system. Now, air filters do need to be replaced after a car has run for 15,000 to 20,000 miles. But, not really before that. Some mechanics have been known to keep a dirty air filter on hand. That way, whenever a customer comes in, they pull out that dirty air filter to show the customer and pull more money out of their pockets.
Catch the Con: Make sure that you are present when the mechanic removes the air filter from your car. Also, keep in mind that it is an air filter and it is supposed to be dirty. So, if it’s only a little grey, just ignore the mechanic and only pay for the job that you initially came in for.
The Highway Loot
This is scary because it is not very easy to find assistance on long stretches of highways, so you have to make the best of what you find. The situation makes you vulnerable. When you stop at a gas station on the highway, scamming mechanics can deflate your tires or plant some oil under your fuel pipe or anything in between. The idea is to get you to repair something and charge insane prices since you’re a bit stuck there.
Catch the Con: Talk to people who have already taken that road trip and gather information about trusted stops for gas or resting. Try not to leave your vehicle alone and have a friend or family member stand guard while you leave. If you still sense something fishy, you can always report it to the police.
The Unauthorized Approval
Many auto shops use the malpractice of taking in a vehicle, and getting the paperwork signed by the customers without filling it in. Once you go to pick up your vehicle that is when you realize that the shop has done a lot of other work that you never authorized. When you question them on this, they threaten to keep your car unless you pay.
Catch the Con: Do not sign any paperwork without completely filling it in. However, if you have already done it, no shop owner can keep your car just like that. Report it to the authorities immediately.
The best way to keep yourself safe is to keep a service record of your vehicle. This will allow you to keep a tab on the repairs you actually need and when exactly you need them.