You read about auto repair scams online and you watch the occasional special feature on the nightly news. Although the vast majority of auto repair shops run professional businesses, a few rotten apples ruin the reputation of the good guys.
California consumers enjoy some of the toughest anti-auto repair scam laws in the United States. Our highly rated California consumer protection law firm educates clients about the types of auto repair scams and the legal options you have to receive justice.
Types of Auto Repair Scams
Disreputable auto repair shops come up with innovative ways to swindle consumers and insurance companies. However, we encourage our clients to monitor the signs of three long time auto repair scams.
You bring your vehicle into an auto repair shop for brake replacement and guess what: your bill includes work performed on the heating system. Unscrupulous auto repair shops like to charge customers for unnecessary repairs to pad the final bill. Sometimes, the shops do not even perform the repairs, but charge customers for work not performed.
Many auto repair scams involve cutting quality corners to save money. Some untrustworthy auto repair shop owners like to install used and/or counterfeit parts and still charge customers for the price of new original manufacturer parts. Used parts work for some auto repairs, but the rule of thumb is to watch out for dishonest auto repair shops that try to pull a fast one over you by installing inferior auto parts.
Another way for unsavory auto repair shops to cut corners involves providing poor workmanship or worse, no work at all. You leave your vehicle in a service bay and return hours later to find the car sitting in the customer pickup lot. All appears good on the surface, that is, until you turn the key and the vehicle engine stills makes an annoying clinking sound. Chances are the owner of the shop had your car removed straight from the service bay to the customer pickup lot, without turning a wrench or adjusting a timing belt.
Negative Impact of Auto Repair Scams
You can pay a terrible price for an auto repair scam that goes well beyond dollars and sense. Every time you operate a vehicle that received shoddy repair service, you put you and your family at risk for experiencing a vehicle accident. From brake lines that break to steering systems that cause you to veer from a road, you run the risk of incurring serious injuries because of auto repair shop negligence. Auto accidents caused by auto repair scams lead to higher insurance premiums, as do the inflated and unnecessary charges added to your auto repair bills. Finally, auto repair scams cause considerable stress and waste too much of your valuable time.
Take Action to Prevent an Auto Repair Scam
Consumers can take action to prevent auto repair scams. First, ask the mechanic to show you exactly the type of work that was performed on your vehicle. If your automotive repair knowledge is lacking, bring along a friend or family member who can help you determine whether the repair job meets the quality and safety standards issued by the manufacturer. Second, check the final bill to ensure it does not differ from the cost estimate. Deceitful auto repair shop operators like to sneak in padded charges.
If you do not receive satisfaction by being proactive, contact the local Better Business Bureau (BB) to file a complaint. Better yet, research different auto repair shops before you commit to repair service by reading the reports conducted by the BBB.
The last resort for taking action against a fraudulent auto repair shop is to contact our licensed team of California consumer protection attorneys. We offer a free initial consultation to determine the strength of your case, as well as devise a successful plan of action to help you obtain justice.