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3 common mechanic scams and how to avoid them

used car

Unfortunately for the many honest mechanics out there, the industry has a reputation for ripping people off.

Whilst most mechanics are honest there are still cowboys out there. Whilst you can’t be guaranteed to not run into one, it will help if you know some of the common scams and how to avoid them.

3 common mechanic scams

1.     Over-servicing.

If you don’t know the first thing about cars then you likely don’t have a clue what your mechanic is talking about when they are reeling off the long list of things your car needs to get it through its service! This can lead to unnecessary work being completed on your car, and unnecessary bills!

2.     Replacing unnecessary parts.

Mechanics can easily say a part needs replacing or had to be replaced whilst they were working on your car. If you don’t question it, you may be none the wiser!

3.     Upselling.

Cowboy mechanics have a habit of upselling you things you don’t need. For example; you go in for an oil change and get told you also need your coolant replacing. In reality, coolant doesn’t go bad in the same timeframe that oil does and isn’t necessary for routine maintenance.

There are many other mechanical scams to watch out for. The best way you can arm yourself is by doing your best to avoid them!

How to avoid repair rip-offs

Ask family, friends, or colleagues where they get their car serviced. If they’re happy and have had a good experience this will instill trust that you will too.

  • Make sure you shop around. If you have been presented with an inflated quote, you can decline to go through with the work. You can ask for an itemised list of the work that needs doing and seek quotes elsewhere.

  • Make sure the mechanic confirms they will contact you before they carry out any unplanned work so you don’t get any nasty surprises or expensive bills when you go to collect your car.

  • Educate yourself on what your car needs and when. Even by referring to the owner’s manual to see what you can expect from upcoming services you will speak the mechanic’s language a little more and know if you are being quoted for anything unfamiliar.

  • If a part is removed, ask to see it. If a part has been removed from your car then it is your right to see it. If the part can’t be produced then you have grounds to suspect something fishy is going on and question whether this work you are paying for has been carried out or not.

A strong regulatory framework exists to protect the rights of vehicle owners. If you suspect something is not right, never be afraid to exercise your consumer rights!


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