When your vehicle runs into trouble, sending it to the "wrong" workshop may cost you more than what the repairs actually amount to.
These are some ways certain "dishonest" workshops or mechanics con their customers who are unfamiliar with cars and their parts.
1) Not divulging/showing what needs fixing
This is one of the common methods used to deceive customers. The mechanic would tell the car owner that there is something wrong with a certain part of the car, without pinpointing the actual problematic part. Most workshops would show owners the damaged parts and explain what needs fixig/replacing.
2) Changing unbroken components
Assuming an owner leaves the car at a "dishonest" workshop, chances are they will be presented with a long list of broken/replaced spare parts that "needed" to be changed, when the car was just put there to fix a single faulty part. As a paying customer, you are entitled to know what you are forking out money for, so the least any workshop could do is call and check if it's okay for a certain part to be fixed/replaced.
3) Making up complex/unexplainable repairs
If you are not familiar with car parts, chances are you could fall victim to an unscrupulous workshop/mechanic at least once. Once they sense that you hardly know the problem, they would cook up a story that your vehicle has fallen into a complex problem, and it would need a thorough process to fix, which will cost a lot of money. Whether or not you understand the problem at hand, always insist on itemised problems list/billing so that you can at least check with someone who knows.
4) Billing unrepaired/unchanged components
Another outright fraud that commonly happens is the workshop/mechanic billing a part which was not repaired or changed to begin with! When this happens, chances are the vehicle owner will run into troubles with the supposedly changed components months later, when the said part breaks down for good. At the end of the day, the owner will end up paying double the money for the same part - that is if they are lucky enough to not have the broken component damage other surrounding parts as well.
Hope these tips have helped you or will help you identify the frauds and the genuine ones the next time your car starts running into trouble. It's better to be laughed at for asking "silly" questions while at the workshop, and get a thorough picture of what is actually wrong with your vehicle, rather than pretending to know what you are actually not familiar with, and getting conned at the end of the day.
Photo source: istockphoto.com
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