Today, we’re going to take a look at what to do if your auto mechanic rips you off.
At Hansma Automotive, we stand on sound business principles and uphold high ethical standards. Our goal is to make your automotive repair experience friendly and successful. Contact us today to book an appointment.
Now, let’s examine what you can do if and when your mechanic rips you off.
What To Do If Your Mechanic Rips You Off
Not all vehicle service repair shops offer the same quality of customer service.
Unfortunately, this is a sad reality, and vehicle owners are unknowingly taken advantage of with unnecessary or shoddy work.
Before taking your car to a mechanic, it’s important to read online reviews and ask for recommendations from trusted friends in order to avoid that predicament.
In the event you believe you’re being charged unfairly for work done on your vehicle, follow these steps.
1. Know your rights
The Government of Ontario encourages you to learn about your rights before you take your vehicle in for repairs. In short, before a mechanic does any work, they must give you a written estimate or you must agree on a maximum amount you are willing to pay for the repair.
Related to the point above, the Consumer Protection Act also requires repair shops to display a clear sign that tells you replaced parts will be returned to you if you want them.
Watch this video to learn more about car repair estimate rights.
Here’s what to do if you feel that a repair shop has not followed the law:
Write a complaint letter to the business:
If they don’t respond to your complaint, take your vehicle to another shop and ask for a written assessment that shows that the original repairs were not carried out properly, or that the parts provided were not of good quality.
Send a copy of this written assessment to the original repair shop to ask for an adjustment of your bill. If they do not respond to your complaint, you can take the issue to court or file a complaint with the Government of Ontario.
2. Request quotes for the same work from other mechanics
It’s always good practice to seek out a few opinions before settling on an opinion to get work done on your vehicle, especially if this is the first time you’re dealing with a particular mechanic.
The bigger the sample size of service quotes you can gather, the more authority you have to make your case if and when your mechanic rips you off.
It’s difficult for them to maintain that price point when all indications are that it can be done for less.
If you suspect your mechanic rips you off, get as many service quotes as possible to corroborate
3. Request to see an itemized receipt
An itemized receipt will detail what your mechanic paid for the parts being repaired or replaced in your vehicle.
Matched up against the receipt you receive when called upon to pay for parts and labour, you’ll be able to see the difference and therefore get a better sense of whether you’re being overcharged.
The thing is, it’s difficult to access that information. An owner of a shop put it this way:
“You can ask me whatever you want doesn't mean I have to comply. When I purchase from a wholesaler that part is mine for the purpose of resale I can charge what I please. Just as WalMart does not have to tell you what they paid for an item I'm under no obligation to tell you my cost. Your cost will be found on your invoice.
Very very few shops are going to buy bottom of the barrel and mark up high. Professionals buy the parts they do for good reasons be it design improvements, warranty, availability, etc.”
“Having a good relationship with a competent mechanic is worth a reasonable parts markup,” he concludes.
Expect markup, therefore, but it’s fair to fight for it being within reason.
4. Request to keep the parts replaced
“Here's an easy way to find out whether that job really needs to be done,” wrote Alan Henry from lifehacker: “ask the mechanic before they start the work whether to give you the old parts back when the job is done.”
What’s the point of this?
With those old parts in your possession, you can take them elsewhere to verify if they really needed to be replaced, thereby proving your mechanic rips you off. An unwillingness to give you the parts is also a red flag.
Henry adds, “Once you find a mechanic willing to give you back old parts, walk you back to [your] car and show you what they're doing, and talk to you like you're intelligent, stick with them.”
A trustworthy mechanic likely won’t take issue with a request for parts that are being replaced
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At Hansma, we offer service with a difference. We have worked hard to gain a reputation for honesty and quality work.
Trust the professionals at Hansma to only recommend and carry out the repairs that you actually need. We will let you know what you need done and when it should be done.
Our customers have come to consider us as their mechanic friend. And as your mechanic friend, we promise to give you top-notch service at reasonable and competitive rates.
We are open every weekday from 8 AM to 6 PM. Come see us at 88 Shoemaker St. in Kitchener, Ontario.