The view that ‘this industry’ needs to change its ‘negative image’ in the eyes of the public and press is a commonly held belief. But just how many people view this industry as negative?
Whenever an untrustworthy garage is portrayed in popular media forms they are mechanical repairs or servicers who find ‘additional faults’ and use technical jargon to justify costs and cover up their swindling. Honestly, how many times have you heard someone complain that they got ripped off by someone repair bodywork?
And why is that?
How could you hoodwink the public? Okay, as a bodyshop you could use poor quality materials and do a quick bodge job, but that isn’t what the fear and mistrust of the automotive industry is based on; that action is dangerous and illegal, a rare practise far beyond the accepted rip-off merchants at stereotypical mechanical servicing.
Chances are if you’re a customer and you’ve been in an accident (fault or otherwise) an insurer is paying the bill and therefore have to approve the work. No one would be as ridiculous as to think that insurers are working with bodyshops to rip people off, so how could the fear set in? ‘Oh sorry Mrs. Jones, I was repairing your car and found out the opposing side panel needed replacing – we must have missed it, it’s an extra £10k.’ It just doesn’t happen: additional go through insurers and the customer has trust in their insurer not to be ripped off.
As for retail work, a customer who comes in and says, ‘Can you fix this dent’, is not concerned that they are going to be charged for a full bodyshell replacement.
I put it to you, reader, that the bodyshop industry isn’t mistrusted. I say it’s misperceived, people do not know the difference between servicing, mechanical and body repairs. This industry doesn’t need to improve its negative image, it needs to get its own image, separate from the dodgy garages of this world.
So go. Go to your groups, unions, clubs and Kitemarkers, and say: ‘We want to be recognised for the industry we are, and nothing else’.