Car repair rorts

Cars have improved. Have mechanics?
For as long as I can remember, people have complained about getting ripped off by car mechanics. It seems that things haven't changed, as you will see from the summary below of 2 of the complaints we have received.

One of the problems is that you often don't know if you have been ripped off. You don't know if work was done unnecessarily or if you have been overcharged for parts. If you are given a quote and you accept it, there's nothing you can do if the job has been done properly.

Therefore, it is the old story – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And the only way you can prevent this sort of thing happening is to get multiple quotes – in writing!

We would love to hear from you if you have had problems with car repairs or servicing (the 7th most common complaint reported to fair trading departments). Either make a comment below or, preferably, submit a complaint.

Russell Wheeler
CEO and Consumer Advocate

Complaints in focus
BP Castle Cove
The BP service station in Castle Cove, Sydney, charged $1355 to repair two oil leaks but within a couple of weeks one of the leaks had reappeared. Advice from a different mechanic indicated that this was because they had not fitted one of the parts they replaced properly. They also replaced a part at a cost of $399 when they only needed to replace a part which cost $31.53. Then they tried to hide the fact that they marked up the parts by 40%. Finally, they refused to give a tax invoice for some of the work that was done and paid for in cash. They made no offer to resolve the problems.

Col Crawford Motors
A large motor vehicle business – Col Crawford at Brookvale – threw out a brand-new part which had only recently been fitted and charged the customer to replace it without even bothering to check that the part was faulty. Then they charged $66 for a "courtesy" car without explaining in advance that there would be a cost. And, as you probably guessed, they refused to admit that they may have made a mistake and did not offer any refund.

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