As a car owner it is inevitable that at some stage, rather sooner than later, your car will need to be taken for servicing or repairs to the vehicle.
Auto repair scams constantly rank as one of the most reported consumer complaints internationally.
In many instances around the world, television programs have exposed various scams related to auto repair and servicing. In the majority of these programs it was revealed how service providers receive vehicles for servicing. After completion of service the client was presented an invoice for work conducted and parts replaced.
Television crews incidentally marked the old parts before the vehicle was taken to the service provider, which now appears as replaced according to the invoice. Upon investigation, it was found on all these programs that various old parts have indeed not been replaced, despite the invoice clearly stating it has been.
HOW DO AUTO REPAIR SCAMS WORK?
Auto repair scams in general are committed when victims are invoiced for parts or services, which in fact were never delivered.
Service providers may, in total, not replace parts during a service to a vehicle, but invoice the client for the replacement thereof.
In many instances service providers may replace parts with second-hand parts obtained off other vehicles and charge a client for new parts.
Service providers in many instances may also substitute parts with so called ‘pirated’ parts.
These are parts, made much cheaper, off the design of the original part and also commercially sold much cheaper than the original part.
Often these parts do not have the same lifespan than original parts and may not perform the same than the original part.
In these instances the victim may be charged the price of the original part and not that of the pirated part.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST AUTO REPAIR SCAMS?
Find a service provider before you need one
Our first piece of advice is to find an auto shop before you need one.
You could always ask friends or family to recommend one that is reliable.
It would always be advisable to utilize your own vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, but not everyone is always in a position to afford their high rates.
Always ensure before hand that the service provider honours existing warranties on your vehicle.
If a service provider does not honour existing warranties, you might be charged high rates for parts or labour covered by your existing warranty.
Qualifications and accreditation
You should ensure that the service provider is qualified and accredited to perform the work on your vehicle.
Ask questions and look for certificates confirming the qualification and accreditation of service providers.
Repair invoice and guarantees
When the work has been performed on your vehicle, you should ensure that the provider issues a legible copy of a repair invoice indicating the work done on the vehicle.
This should include an itemized description of the parts used and labour conducted.
Also ensure that you receive confirmation of any guarantees offered by the service provider.
Always shop around as you could find a better service provider elsewhere.