The Top 6 of Tempe Car Repair Scams and How to Spot Them
While most Tempe car repair mechanics are legitimate, some dishonest repair shops will take advantage of naïve car owners. The result can be wasted time and money for the car owner. It can be extremely frustrating to realize that you spent half of your paycheck and an entire morning at your local Tempe auto repair shop and your car still needs to be properly repaired.
The Arizona Better Business Bureau reports that car repair fraud is consistently among the top consumer complaints they receive.
In addition, when you pay for fraudulent repairs it costs you in more ways than you realize. If your car is being repaired due to an accident, inflated repair costs result in higher insurance premiums for everyone, since the insurance company must pass these expenses on to the consumer. In the worst case scenario, it can cost you your life if you are left driving an unsafe vehicle.
Many consumers report feeling intimidated whenever they take their car in for repairs. Just because you don’t know a lot about cars doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself from scams.
Following are some common scams and what you can do to avoid them:
1. The Old Bait and Switch
Unscrupulous auto repair mechanics lure customers by offering inexpensive prices for maintenance services, such as an oil change or tire rotation, but then they tell you that while rotating your tires they discovered that you need new tie rod ends and shocks.
If you are not convinced that you really need these extras, you can always stay with just the service you came in for and get a second opinion from a trusted Tempe auto repair shop about the rest.
Disreputable shops may also offer free towing and loaner cars and then later bill you for those amenities.
2. Get It in Writing
Unscrupulous mechanics may quote a reasonable verbal estimate, but then when you get your actual bill it may be much higher than the original estimate. You always want a written estimate that includes all charges such as parts, labor, storage, etc. before any work is done. Other things to get straight before any work begins include; what type of parts will be used, will they be OEM, aftermarket, used, or reconditioned parts? When will the work be completed? What methods of payment are accepted?
An honest Tempe car mechanic will have no problem providing you with a written estimate and will also agree to contact you for approval before performing any repair work. Beware of a mechanic who asks you to sign a repair authorization that leaves the estimated amount blank, as he can then fill in any amount he wants later.
3. Padded Bills
Dishonest car repair technicians have many different schemes to pad the bill. They may tell you that they have repaired problems that never existed. They may install used or aftermarket parts while charging you for costly new ones. In some cases, your manufacturer’s warranty can be voided by not using OEM parts. In addition, the results of performing substandard work or using substandard parts can endanger the safety of you and your family.
Don’t hesitate to ask your Tempe car repair mechanic to save the bad parts to show you and then to show you what repairs were done and the new replacement parts.
A dishonest mechanic might even go so far as to intentionally damage a vehicle during inspection in order to increase repair costs.
4. Hard Sell Tactics
Occasionally there may be valid reasons for a mechanic to urge you to have something repaired immediately. If this happens to you, ask the mechanic to clearly explain why delaying the repairs could make the problem more costly to fix or why not having the issue repaired immediately could compromise your safety when driving. If you aren’t convinced seek a second opinion.
5. General Dishonesty
If the mechanic offers to install used parts while charging your insurance company for new ones in order to save you money, this is insurance fraud. That certainly is not something you want to be involved with, and is also a sign of how he does business in general.
6. Seek out Professionals
The service desk and waiting area should be reasonably clean and orderly. The service floor should contain modern equipment. Check out certificates displayed on the wall such as a Better Business Bureau rating, or continuing education and certifications such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) or the Automobile Association of America (AAA).
The entire staff, from the front desk to the mechanics should be courteous and happy to answer any questions to your satisfaction.
The best way to keep your car in top-notch condition is to find a trustworthy Tempe car repair mechanic who will get the job done right the first time for a reasonable price. Here at Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive we are a family owned business that has been providing high quality work for decades and we have the loyal customers to prove it. Whether you need routine maintenance, major car repair or even a classic restoration, our team of highly trained and certified mechanics will perform superior work at a competitive price. The reason for our high rate of customer satisfaction is that a family owned shop takes more pride in their workmanship and reputation than a large corporate repair center.
Scottsdale Muffler & Automotive
1710 E Curry Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.