Women overcharged by UK garages

British women are charged an average of £45 more than men for car repairs, an investigation by ClickMechanic has found. ClickMechanic, the online marketplace for car repairs, examined independent car garages across the UK and found that a standard repair costing a man £571 will typically cost a woman £616, an increase of eight per cent.

Male and female mystery shoppers requested quotes to replace the clutch of a 2011 Ford Focus from 182 garages across ten UK cities. The investigation found that eight out of the ten cities charged women a ‘female premium’ and only six per cent of the surveyed garages gave a consistent quote to both male and female customers.

‘For every female car-owner in the UK this report will come as an unwelcome surprise,’ said Andrew Jervis, Co-founder and CEO of ClickMechanic. ‘While the vast majority of mechanics strive to provide honest and reliable quotes, these results show that there is a worrying minority of garages failing to do so. There is a desperate need across the industry for transparency and consistency in price in order to establish trust with consumers of both sexes.’

Birmingham repair garages charged the highest female premium at 31 per cent, closely followed by Manchester (28 per cent) and Glasgow (20 per cent). Only two out of the ten surveyed cities bucked the trend and charged men more for a repair, with Sheffield and Edinburgh garages quoting males five per cent and 19 per cent more than females respectively.

The investigation also uncovered some price-hiking across the country, regardless of the customer’s gender. On average, garages quoted both men and women £594 to carry out the work, £80 more (16 per cent) than the £514 recommended by industry standard guidelines provided by car manufacturers, parts providers and trade bodies.

‘Customers, both male and female, rely on mechanics to be accurate with their pricing. We recently carried out a study that found roughly half of people (45 per cent) have no idea how much common repairs on an average household car should cost. While there is a small number of cowboys taking advantage of the fact that most consumers just don’t know how much their car repairs should cost, most mechanics are reliable and trustworthy. These results should therefore encourage the car repair industry to focus its efforts on making sure mechanics have the best possible tools in place to provide reliable quotes.’