Half of drivers think mechanic scammed themSurvey finds half think they paid £500 too much

27 August 2008

A man holding up a spanner

Almost half of motorists reckon they have been ripped off by car mechanics, a survey shows today.

These 'scams' are costing the UK £8bn in over-charged, unnecessary or poor-quality work, according to the poll by insurance.co.uk.

As many as 34% believe they have paid £100 more than they should have for car servicing, while 51% estimate they have been overcharged £500.

Servicing

A total of 12% think their bills have been stretched by an additional £1,000, while 3% put the figure as high as £3,000.

Asked specifically if they felt they had been scammed by a mechanic, 48% of the 1,376 car owners surveyed thought they had.

While nearly three in five drivers would always take their car to a garage for maintenance and servicing, 38% would only take their car to a professional if it needed major maintenance work. Also, 5% said they never took their car to a garage, preferring to do the job themselves.

Overcharging fears

More than half (52%), opt to stay away from professional mechanics for fear of being overcharged for repairs or servicing, while 48% believe a garage will try to do more work than is actually necessary and 34% - and 42% of women - fear their lack of knowledge about cars will be exploited.

In addition, 28% questioned the quality of the work they have received from a mechanic, garage or workshop.

Steve Grainger, head of insurance.co.uk, said: 'While the vast majority of car mechanics and garages are entirely reputable, our research highlights that there are a number of rogue tradesmen trying to exploit drivers and consumer confidence in the industry is low.

'In the current economic climate car owners could be holding on to used cars for longer, rather than trading in for a new model. For the safety of all road users, it's vital we make sure our vehicles are adequately maintained and serviced.'

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