In 2011, BBB received more than 14,500 complaints against auto repair services. Many of the complaints received by BBB fell under billing, service, and refund and exchange issues.
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When your vehicle needs repairs, you don't need a crash course in auto mechanics, but you should know how to find a reliable shop and mechanic. Better Business Bureau recommends following a few key pointers to ensure that your automobile gets fixed without a glitch.
While many auto repair shops are legitimate, there are always those unscrupulous few that end up sucking thousands of unnecessary repair dollars from consumers. In 2011, BBB received more than 14,500 complaints against auto repair services and fielded more than 1.5 million inquiries from consumers looking to find a reliable business in the industry. Many of the complaints received by BBB fell under billing, service, and refund and exchange issues.
“Consumers may find a significant difference in repair estimates from different auto shops,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti. “It is vital to find a reputable garage and know how to ensure you won’t end up paying for work that isn’t done properly or at all.”
BBB recommends considering the following advice when taking your car in for auto repair services:
Check your warranty - If you have a problem with your vehicle while it is still under warranty, follow the manufacturer's instructions, which may require that repairs be made at an authorized dealership.
Ask around - If you are looking for a qualified, independent shop, ask friends for recommendations, or request a list of BBB Accredited Businesses that do the type of auto repair you need. Be sure to check with BBB about the shop's reliability at www.bbb.org/search. Look for shops that display certification. For major work, such as brakes, transmission or engine repair, you will need to find a shop employing a specialist.
Ask for clarification - Don't be embarrassed to request explanations. Don't rush the technician into making an on-the-spot diagnosis of the problem. Ask to be called and apprised of the problem, recommended course of action and labor costs before any work begins.
Obtain a written estimate for parts and labor - Tell the shop to get your permission before making repairs. Ensure you receive notification by having the service manager write a request on the bottom of the repair order. Be sure you understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees, and acceptable methods of payment before you drop off your car to have the work done.
Get everything in writing - When you pick up your vehicle, get an explanation of all work completed and get all guarantees in writing. Your repair bill should be itemized so, if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by the guarantee.
Ask that any major new parts that have been installed be pointed out to you. Under Connecticut law, upon request the repair shop also is obliged to return to you any old parts that will be replaced during repair.
For more consumer tips you can trust, visit http://ct.bbb.org/bbb-news.