Drivers believe they're overpaying for repairs

A new report suggests motorists think they’re being ripped off when it comes to the cost of car repairs.

Researchers found that 14 per cent of drivers believed they had been wrongly charged at some point, with the average estimate that they had lost £155 in the transaction.

The study was carried out by Engie, which makes car maintenance apps. It said the findings suggested that nationwide, more than five million drivers believe they have lost a total of £833 million in overcharging.

The researchers spoke to 1,300 motorists. They found that four out of 10 had a mistrust of mechanics in general. A further 12 per cent told the poll they thought they had been sold items they did not need.

Engie co-founder Gal Aharon said: “Mechanics may not actually be ripping customers off, but the research demonstrates the extent of UK drivers’ lack of confidence in mechanic quotes.

“They simply don’t understand what is being sold to them and if it’s really necessary.”

Edinburgh drivers tended to believe they had suffered the biggest rip-offs with overcharges as high as £248, while the lowest was in Southampton where drivers estimated they had lost £103.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “Over the past decade, the average cost of maintaining a car has risen by about 40 per cent. This is more than the rate of inflation and almost twice as much as the growth in wages.

“It’s unsurprising that drivers want to believe they are getting a good, or at least a fair deal, every time they visit the garage.

“Anything that causes car owners to cut back on servicing risks costing them more in the long run, and also means their vehicle might not be roadworthy.”

Keeping a good relationship with your repair customers is important for the reputation of your business, as well as repeat custom. Being known for fair dealing starts with being clear about what action needs to be taken and the likely cost of the parts and labour. Customers can often be surprised by how much they expected a bill to be because they did not fully account for the cost of labour.

Your levels of motor insurance should also be good so if there is a problem you are adequately covered. When assessing your insurance for repair work, always check you have a good road risks insurance policy in place too.