Watch Out for Car Repair Scams

Updated 5 years ago From a News Release by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today offered West Virginians tips on dealing with potential car repairs this winter.
“As the weather gets cold and snowy this winter, many citizens will need to have their cars repaired due to normal wear and tear and potential fender benders from icy roads,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The best way to avoid auto-repair scams is to be prepared before you need to repair your car.”

For consumers who have car problems this winter, Morrisey offered the following tips for consumers from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
  • Ask your friends and family for recommendations in choosing a mechanic in the area.
  • Know your options regarding repair or body shops before finding yourself in a situation where you need body work done.
  • Shop around for the best deals to ensure you are not being overcharged for the service or repair that you need.
  • Contact our Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 to see if there is a record of complaints against any repair shop.
  • Look for mechanics with certifications such as the Automotive Service Excellent seal.
Before having any repairs done, consumers should ask for a written estimate that includes the following:
  • What the repair will entail and the estimated charges for parts and labor.
  • A guarantee that the shop will contact you for approval before doing any work that exceeds what is on the estimate.
  • Clear language outlining whether the parts used in the repair are new, remanufactured, or salvaged.
After the repairs are done, consumers should get a repair order listing all of the work done to the vehicle. It should list the repair, parts supplied and how much each part cost, labor fees, as well as the vehicle’s odometer reading when it arrived at the shop. Consumers may ask for all of the replaced parts if they so wish.
“While most repair shops are honest businesses making a living, there are those out there that could take advantage of a consumer’s circumstances,” Morrisey said. “Our Office encourages consumers to do their homework to know exactly what the repair shop is going to do before the work is done and to shop around for quotes to get the best deal.”
If you feel as though a repair shop has scammed you, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division toll free at 800-368-8808.
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