TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa area man says he's still waiting for his car to be repaired after taking it to the shop at the end of May.
"I'm just stressed out, at my end's wit," Marcus Haynes told the 2 News Problem Solvers.
"And Uber is eating me up, my money's running low, I'm desperate now," Haynes says.
Mechanics are waiting for a part they need to get Haynes's car back on the road amid manufacturing and shipping delays throughout the nation.
"So now, they are more subject to more situations where an independent shop or a local dealer might suggest things they need but really don't," says Reay Shefska.
Shefska is an auto expert and streams an automotive information show through a site called Your Advocate Alliance.
He says there are many, honest and reputable shops and mechanics out there, but it only takes one bad one, to rip someone off, especially when a new vehicle is harder to find and afford.
"But because they want to make sure they don't fall into a category of not being able to get a car they go ahead and spend money that didn't necessarily need to be spent," Shefska says.
He says people shouldn't be afraid to ask questions before agreeing to expensive work and researching parts and services beforehand to sound informed.
He says that can help protect you from being overcharged for parts, inflated quotes, and double charges.
Make sure you're not charged for extra labor when one labor charge could actually take care of more than one repair and be sure to keep a copy of your signed estimate, and insist in writing the shop contact you before going over that estimate.
"That way you can at least protect yourself from agreeing to a $500 expense and finding out they spend another thousand dollars of your money because they could."
Here's more detailed information on tips to save money on repairs, as compiled by Reader's Digest consumer division:
Charging consumers for multiple jobs being done at the same time is a common scam that could cost you extra money when getting your vehicle serviced. For example, says Peter Mann from SC Vehicle Hire, car mechanics typically replace spark plugs and coils at the same time because you need to take out the coils to remove the spark plugs. However, unscrupulous mechanics may double-charge you for the number of hours to do this work. To avoid being overcharged, read up about your car and how it works, and ask your mechanic questions before and after getting service. Knowing more about your vehicle is also important so you don’t accidentally waste money on your car.
Beware of bogus repair-cost quotes when you drop your vehicle off for service. Michael Hammelburger, CEO of the Bottom Line Group, says that repair shops will often give a car owner an initial repair quote that’s on the cheap side, which gets the consumer to greenlight the service. The problem, according to Hammelburger, is that “when they come to pick up their car, they get a surprise—a final bill that’s higher by $1,000 (or more!) compared to the quoted cost.” Make sure your quote is firm before leaving your car in their hands. FYI, these are the car brands that cost the least to repair.
Overcharging for parts
This is an extremely common one, as most people don’t have any idea how much parts cost and where to order them, says Michael Lowe, CEO of Car Passionate. “Many mechanics put pressure on customers by stating that they will buy and replace these parts themselves and add it to the bill at the end,” he says. “[But] buying them yourself might be a more convenient and definitely cheaper option.” He recommends avoiding this scam by doing your own research about the parts that need replacing, even if it means waiting an extra day to get your car fixed.
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