Motorists feel ‘ripped off’ by mechanics

New research conducted by ClickMechanic has revealed that almost a quarter (23%) of people felt ripped off by the price they were quoted when they last visited a car mechanic.

The study, which surveyed over 2,000 members of the UK public, looked into attitudes towards car workshops and their dealings with the mechanics employed there. It found almost a quarter (23%) are stressed out by the whole experience of visiting a mechanic, and 25% feel nervous about even entering the garage.

The study showed that roughly half of people (45%) have no idea how much common repairs on an average household car should cost. In fact, a third of consumers feel uncomfortable with questioning the quote they receive because they don’t know very much about car repairs or servicing.

Twenty three per cent thought the quotes they received were based on a complete guess of the amount of time the repairs to their car would take, whereas a further 10% gave their mechanic less credit; believing the quote was based on what the mechanic felt they could get away with charging on the day. Combined, this results in a third of people believing that the prices they received were plucked from thin air.

Andrew Jervis, co-founder and CEO of ClickMechanic, said, ‘Most mechanics are reliable and trustworthy, but there are a minority of cowboys taking advantage of the fact that most consumers just don’t know how much their car repairs should cost. Consumers are paying a lot of money to keep their car on the road and in times of austerity there is an obligation on the mechanic to be honest about the average price of repairs and establish a level of trust.’

Trust is a big issue and the research found that dishonest mechanics don’t win out if they are looking for long-term customers, as price and transparency are two of the top qualities that people look for when selecting a mechanic. Fifty one per cent of people favour mechanics who are upfront with the fees of their services from the very beginning, while half look for those who charge a fair price based on industry standard guidelines provided by car manufacturers.

Online services can contribute a lot to counter the apparent lack of consumer knowledge, Jervis argues, ‘Price comparison and peer-review websites are already helping consumers find the best car insurers and extended warranty providers, so there’s nothing to stop online tools helping just as much when looking for a respectable car mechanic and how much it should cost. Approaching car repair as you would any other supplier will go a long way towards helping consumers trust their local mechanics more. This is exactly why we have launched our price estimates tool.’