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API Journal Authors: Samuel Scott, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, AppDynamics Blog

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Top Methods Car Repair Shops Use to Squeeze More Money Out of Your Pocket

Is your car repair bill higher than you expected? Many repair facilities use nasty tactics to make sure you pay more than you need to.

NEW YORK, Nov.15, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The Auto Repair Industry is notorious for being industry in which the customer is at an informational disadvantage. Let's face it; the mechanic knows more than you do. Consumers are in the dark the moment they step into a repair shop. While the informational discrepancy cannot be fully nullified, customers can go in there with better knowledge of how repair shops are able to get away with squeezing more money out of your pockets.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121114/CG13857)

Free Inspection

Nothing is ever really free! When a repair facility offers a free inspection, they are really only telling you "Bring your vehicle in so that we can find problems that are really not all that problematic." If you do have a repair that you need for your vehicle, you can take it into a repair shop that gets the problem diagnosed and repaired without having that laundry list sway your decision. If you do not need a repair, as long as you maintained your vehicle, you shouldn't have any reason to get a free inspection. Even if you do happen to find yourself with a laundry list of problems, a mechanic's worst enemy is another mechanic. Take it to someone else to get a second opinion.

Pressuring you to make a decision

Mechanics may give you a costly estimate and then, nonchalantly, ask you "So, when do you want to pick up your car?" This is one of many tactics used by mechanics to artificially and psychologically pressure you into approving the repair without having time to make an informed decision. This prevents you from acknowledging the fact that you are free to get a second opinion from another mechanic. This also prevents you from tying up their lift or space. It is your car and your money; remember to take your time to make a decision!

With a verbal Estimate

Request a written estimate at all times. You want to ensure that you are being charged accordingly. Many times a mechanics will give an estimate verbally without any proof or authentication. Not only is the mechanic able to inflate the true cost of the repair, but you wouldn't know what they are doing to your vehicle. Even if they did the repair, you would have no proof of it. This can cause all sorts of problems when an unrelated part "happens" to fall off a few days after leaving the shop. If the shop is not able to give you a written estimate, then go somewhere else. There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't have a written estimate.

Using your auto warranty company as a way to get more money

Mechanics know how warranty companies work. They know that the amount a warranty company will pay for repair is priced according to national standards. They also know that you are not aware of that national standard. The mechanic will quote the warranty company much more than the repair would truly cost. Warranty companies, knowing better, will end up paying the mechanic less than the quoted amount and any repair amount left over, you will unfortunately have to pick up. Not only is the mechanic able to shift the blame on to the warranty company for not paying out the full inflated amount, but they are also able to get that extra cash on top from your pocket. Speak to your warranty company before approving the repair. Find out why they paid less on the covered items. More often than not, they will tell you about the mechanic overcharging you.

By hiding information from you

Your mechanic may not give you information that may save your bank account. Your vehicle's manufacturer may have posted a recall or a technical service bulletin on your vehicle. After getting your written estimate, be sure to call up your local manufacturer's service center to see if there has been any recall or technical service bulletins posted for your vehicle that may in fact cover your repair.

By hiding information from your auto warranty company

When it comes to warranty companies, they not only cover your vehicle, they also help the customer understand the nature of their repairs. When you give your mechanic that warranty card, make sure that he gives the claim department in your extended auto warranty company the same information that he gives to you. Disreputable mechanics will not give warranty companies the full details of your repair or they'd give blatantly false information so that the warranty company can deny the claim. This allows the mechanic to squeeze you out of either more money for parts that do not require repairs or the purchase of the vehicle itself, all while under the façade that the warranty company is at fault. 

By not providing proof

When a mechanic claims that an engine part is falling off and you haven't noticed it in the slightest while driving your car, demand proof. Many mechanics get away with costly repairs that aren't needed because customers take their word for it. 

By using your theories against you

When you take your car to a shop, do not give them any theories on what the problem is. They are professionals and they can easily figure it out. By telling them that you feel it is the engine that is causing problems, it gives them the ability to find a laundry list of items wrong with the engine and present it to you to justify your theory. Since it was your theory, you are more likely to pay for the repairs.

No matter where you take your car, nothing is more crucial to you than information. The more information you have about your vehicle, the better. It is highly recommended that you do your homework on your car. Ask friends, ask Google, ask anyone who may have more knowledge than you.  Arm your self with an extended auto warranty.

Go to a trusted, reputable repair shop.

You are the only person who can save your own bank account.

Media Contact: Jen McNeil Direct Buy Warranty, 1-888-865-4484, [email protected]

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SOURCE Direct Buy Warranty

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