An auto body repair shop is the place where you’re supposed to have peace of mind when your vehicle is being repaired. However, for some, it ends up with horror stories of being ripped off. It’s why some car owners have developed a distrustful relationship with mechanics. But that’s not the case with most mechanics. Sure, there are some unscrupulous individuals out there, but they are in the minority. Just in case, however, here’s how you can avoid getting ripped off.
Before anything else, be informed
The best thing to do before you head to an auto shop is having a working knowledge about how car parts work. That way, mechanics can’t victimize you with false information to lure you into paying more. Read through the manual of your car to get a better understanding of the maintenance required. The better informed you are, the more difficult it gets for mechanics to make dishonest claims. If there are things you can’t understand, do your research first.
Always ask the price first
Here’s an important tip: always ask about the price before proceeding with the repairs. Call the shop first and ask for a quote, as well as the parts that will be used. That way, you’ll have a ballpark of how much they should charge you once you head to the shop.
Although haggling and discussing prices could be uncomfortable, you should do this ahead to avoid being ripped off. Because by the time you’re at the shop, it would be more difficult to say no.
Get everything on paper
Once you’re in the shop, ask the mechanic to put the cost and its breakdown on print. That way, they can’t trick you with hidden fees. And if the staff tell you that you have to pay more than what’s written, ask them why and make sure that they have a reasonable answer. Ask the contract to be revised properly, as well. An itemized list of the cost will prevent a mechanic from squeezing in kickbacks and overpricing.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions
Always ask questions while you’re in the shop. Ask what parts will be used. Is it OEM or aftermarket parts? Also ask about the quality of the paint to be used or the warranty that comes with replacement parts.
In addition, make sure that you demand an ETA for the repair work. That way, the mechanic won’t drag the turnaround time and charge you with hefty fees.
Ask for referrals
If this is your first time to seek the help of a mechanic, we recommend that you ask for referrals from your friends and family members. That way, you’ll know more about the quality of the service and what to expect when you’re at the shop. There’s also a chance that you’ll land decent discounts if your friend knows the mechanic.
Many car owners and mechanics have a love-hate relationship. Still, this shouldn’t stop you from getting quality repairs for the right price. The key here is being smart and in the know of how things work. Also, never be afraid to ask questions and raise issues.