Surveys have found that two out of three British car owners believe they’ve been ripped off by an auto repair shop at some point. With British auto repair shops placing not much higher than used-car dealers in the public perception when it comes to trustworthiness and honesty, the industry has a PR problem.
On the other hand, 91% of car owners, when they find a garage that appears to act in a trustworthy way, go all out, sticking with them for as long as possible. The question is, if you don’t have such a repair shop yet, how do you find it?
Use a specialized search engine: Many people simply use Google to look up a nearby auto repair shop, and read a couple of Google reviews as their vetting process. It’s not a bad idea, but it isn’t as good as using a search engine such as Who Can Fix My Car (whocanfixmycar.com) that allows car owners to find quotes for specific repairs from hundreds of repair garages all over the country. The service has been so successful, Financial Times calls it the Uber of car repair.
Look to a user review search engine: Yelp UK is an excellent way to look up user reviews on specific business types. Garages and car repairmen get plenty of reviews, and you can look for something that’s worked for others in the past.
Do your research before you head out: No matter how much everyone seems to trust a place, there’s no substitute for actually knowing. Whatever you think is wrong with your car, do your research beforehand to find out what those repairs are supposed to cost. Plenty of forums online help.
Ask a professional: Places like AA, Shell Drivers Club, British Racing Drivers Club, Drivers Club Online and others offer their members expert opinion for free. If you have a question that you’d like an answer to, you only need to call up a club.
When you find a place, check their MICP membership: Certainly, looking around for recommendations and reviews is a great idea. It’s also good idea to actually look for direct proof of quality service — in the form of certification.
The Motor Industry Code of Practice has been around since 2008. It was launched after the National Consumer Council released a study that found that auto repair shops around Britain ripped customers off to the tune of £4 billion each year. The Office of Fair Trading and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, then, came together to form the MICP.
All member garages are audited by the AA for quality service. You get to check for MICP-member repair garages on the website of the organization before you hand your car over to someone.
While the car repair industry may have been unorganized before, it isn’t so anymore. There are many services that help consumers find quality service.
Archie Daniels has years of experience as a mechanic. A friendly and honest guy, he enjoys writing auto articles in his spare time.