Nearly a quarter of car owners feel ripped off by mechanics

Time 6:00 am, April 21, 2015

mechanic-jobs-in-bristolALMOST a quarter of people felt ripped off by the price they were quoted when they last visited a car mechanic, according to new research from ClickMechanic.

The study surveyed over 2,000 members of the UK public, looking into attitudes towards car workshops and their dealings with the mechanics employed there. It found almost a quarter (23 per cent) are stressed out by the whole experience of visiting a mechanic, and 25 percent feel nervous about even entering the garage.

Of those surveyed, 45 per cent have no idea how much common repairs on an average household car should cost. A third also said they feel uncomfortable with questioning the quote they receive because they don’t know very much about car repairs or servicing.

ClickMechanic found that 23 per cent thought the quotes they received were based on a complete guess of the amount of time the repairs to their car would take. However a further ten per cent gave their mechanic even less credit, believing the quote was based on what the mechanic felt they could get away with charging on the day. Combined, this results in a third of people believing that the prices they received were plucked from thin air.

Co-founder and CEO of ClickMechanic Andrew Jervis said: ‘Most mechanics are reliable and trustworthy, but there are a minority of cowboys taking advantage of the fact that most consumers just don’t know how much their car repairs should cost. Consumers are paying a lot of money to keep their car on the road and in times of austerity there is an obligation on the mechanic to be honest about the average price of repairs and establish a level of trust.’

Trust is a big issue and the research found that dishonest mechanics don’t win out if they are looking for long term customers, as price and transparency are two of the top qualities that people look for when selecting a mechanic. 51 percent of people favour mechanics who are upfront with the fees of their services from the very beginning, while half look for those who charge a fair price based on industry standard guidelines provided by car manufacturers.

Online services can contribute a lot to counter the apparent lack of consumer knowledge, Jervis argues: ‘Price comparison and peer-review websites are already helping consumers find the best car insurers and extended warranty providers, so there’s nothing to stop online tools helping just as much when looking for a respectable car mechanic and how much it should cost. Approaching car repair as you would any other supplier will go a long way towards helping consumers trust their local mechanics more. This is exactly why we have launched our price estimates tool.’

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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