Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – August 16, 2013 - 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. Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recommend following a few key pointers to ensure that your automobile gets fixed without a glitch.
No matter what you drive - sports car, family sedan, pick-up or mini-van - when you go in for repairs or service, you want the job done right. While many mechanics are trustworthy, there are those unscrupulous few who look to take advantage of uneducated consumers. In 2012, BBB received more than 14,000 complaints against auto repair servicers.
Do not just drop your vehicle off at the nearest establishment and hope for the best. BBB and ASE recommend the following tips before choosing an auto repair shop:
- Get familiar with your car and your local auto servicers. Read your owner's manual to become familiar with your vehicle and follow the manufacturer's suggested service schedule. Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed or in a panic.
- Ask around. Always check out the mechanic and auto body shop’s BBB business review at www.bbb.org before doing business. Ask friends and associates for recommendations; even in this high-tech era, old-fashioned word-of-mouth reputation is valuable.
- Scope it out. Once you choose a repair shop, start off with a minor job and if you are pleased, trust them with more complicated repairs later. Look for a neat, well-organized facility with modern equipment in the service bays and vehicles of equal value to your own in the parking lot. Professionally-run establishments will have courteous, helpful staff. The service writer should be willing to answer all of your questions.
- Before authorizing repairs, get a written estimate for parts and labor. Tell the shop to get your permission before making additional repairs. Ensure you receive notification by having the service manager write a request on the bottom of the repair order. Provide phone numbers where you can be reached and, before you leave, be sure to understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees and acceptable methods of payment. Under the Automotive Industry Trade Practices Regulations, Pennsylvanians are protected in that regulations provide that a repair shop must obtain the consumer’s written or verbal authorization before charging for repairs.
- Get everything in writing. When you pick up your vehicle, get an explanation of all work completed and get all guarantees in writing. Ask that any major new parts that have been installed be pointed out to you. Your repair bill should be itemized so that if a problem occurs later, you can prove the item is covered by the guarantee. Ask if the shop customarily handles your vehicle make and model. Some facilities specialize.
If your car is a Lemon or experiencing an issue that you think could be a result of a failed motor vehicle warranty, check out BBB AUTO LINE, a dispute resolution program that can help you resolve your lemon law complaint without having to get a lawyer. Check out BBB AUTO LINE to see if your car is included and for the next steps in filing a complaint. For more helpful tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org.
About the BBB System
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews and BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 113 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 4.5 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.