5 Easy Ways to Get Ripped Off by a Mechanic
I’m amazed at some of the things women say in my auto shop.
A lot of the time, a woman doesn’t even introduce herself. She just walks inside and announces, “I don’t know anything about cars!”
I use this opportunity to educate women, but less honest mechanics might capitalize on the situation. If you don’t like to be ripped off, never do these five things.
- Tell them you don’t have a clue.
You’re familiar with the concept of having a poker face, right?
Basically that means you want to stay calm, no matter how bad your hand (set of cards) might be. Otherwise, your opponent could identify concern on your face and raise the bet.
Apply this concept to visiting the auto shop. Don’t assume the worst. Never tell a mechanic how hopeless you are. Stick with the facts. Describe the events that led up to your decision to get your car checked out as accurately as you can. That’s all there is to it.
- Make yourself look small.
Body language is a big deal. There are a few obvious signs that a person feels nervous or out of place. Fidgeting, crossing your arms, and avoiding eye contact will make your insecurity loud and clear. If you are perceived to be an easy target, dishonest mechanics could take advantage of the situation. Try listening to a song that makes you feel positive and upbeat before you go inside. You also might want to practice what you’ll say to the mechanic. Put on some confidence!
- Tell them to do “whatever.”
Would you trust your doctor enough to hand them a blank check before a surgical procedure? Somehow I doubt it. It’s good to be trusting, but you have to draw a line somewhere. Telling a mechanic to do “whatever” is the verbal equivalent of a blank check. There are tons of services that could be performed on your vehicle and most of them aren’t necessary. If you want to protect your pocketbook, be specific in your request.
- Pay for repairs you didn’t request.
Some mechanics are notorious for repairing first and asking questions later. They are audacious enough to do this, because most people don’t put up a fight. Don’t be a pushover. Would you pay for a steak dinner that you didn’t order? I didn’t think so. If a mechanic does a repair without authorization, refuse to pay for it and find a better auto shop. Trustworthy mechanics ask for consent before any repair.
- Try to diagnose your car problem.
The Internet is a great place to research, but it’s hard to make sense of it all. Everyone is a “Youtube Certified” “Expert” these days. I know I just told you not to claim ignorance, but that isn’t a license to be overconfident. You’re probably not going to identify the cause of your car problem in a single web search. Claiming otherwise would be insulting to mechanics with years of education and experience. Don’t try to diagnose the problem. Simply describe the problem and let the professionals do their jobs.
Did any of the items on this list surprise you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you found this post helpful, please share it on Facebook and Twitter. Click here to join Women Auto Know (it only takes a second!).
Yahoo Finance asked me to do a segment on their website. I revealed some essential questions that you should ask your mechanic. Make sure to tune in to womenautoknow.com to find out when it airs.