Garage Fraud and How to Prevent It Have you ever wondered why it cost you hundreds of dollars to get a belt changed on your car? The answer is simple: Auto-repair fraud. According to Norris and Engel’s book Auto Repair Fraud, the number one consumer complaint in the country is auto repair fraud. Americans pay more than 29 billion dollars a year to service and repair vehicles. According to a three year U. S. Senate sub-committee investigation into the auto repair industry, one-third of all car repair dollars, ten-billion dollars a year, is wasted on inadequate, inept, or corrupt service.
Many people are unaware just how much auto-repair fraud, or “garage fraud” takes place. It can take place anywhere from service stations who may perform light mechanic work, to a Garage which may fix tires, brakes, shocks, or transmissions. People can be taken advantage of in “garage fraud” in many ways. One way this can happen is by an attendant lying about labor, or the actual amount of time he spent on your vehicle. Another method is by huge markups on replacement parts, or cleaning and painting your old part and selling it back to you. Lastly, the attendant may lie about what is actually wrong with your car and charge you for something far more expensive.
These frauds take place because many people leave their vehicles unattended at shops or can’t see what is going on inside the garage. Many times a person has no other option but to leave their car overnight. These instances are when the most substantial amounts of “garage fraud” take place. You should never allow an auto-repair attendant time to come up with elaborate scams. Perhaps the main reason people are fraud, however, is because many people lack knowledge of car parts and their functions.
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Since this pertains to women most of the time, they are the ones most often taken advantage of. Others that may be taken advantage of are travelers. Travelers have no other option but to pay what is charged. They can’t leave their car and so must adhere to whatever price conjured by the attendant.
Plus, they just want to get back on the road. Senior citizens are also taken advantage of. They have to trust the auto-repair attendant, because they can’t check out the car themselves. Many times this requires lifting too much weight, or bending over for periods of time, and more often than not, their just not capable of such work. There are many places and circumstances in which “garage fraud” can take place. America is so lazy that they will take the chance of being cheated, rather than learn how to check their own oil.
The maintenance of your own vehicle isn’t as hard as it seems. You can check the oil, the tires, change your own belts, put your own anti-freeze in, and do many of the other small tasks necessary at home. If people would do these things millions of dollars would be saved every year. The main defense against fraud on the major work is to just be aware. Watch everything done to your vehicle as close as possible. If you do all of this you will finally be satisfied with your auto-repair bill.
Auto Repair Frauds. Norris and Engel. “How Good Is Your Mechanic.” pp. 23, pp. 35-43.
How to Save Money on Car Repairs. Shel Hoch man.