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The top 5 steps to avoiding autobody shop scams

Posted by tom zoebelein on Fri, Jun 07, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

It is really unfortunate, but we’ve had customers come to us after they’ve had bad experiences at other body shops in Harford County.  In some cases it was bad customer service that they endured, a terrible paint job, or even a typical auto body scam.  After having experiences like that, it is understandable that those drivers would have difficulty trusting another shop with their cars.  In particular, it’s mechanics who constantly rip off their customers that give the rest of us body shops a bad name.   

Avoid autobody scams

To prevent you from getting ripped off when you have your car repaired, here are five important steps you should take.

#1.  Select a shop carefully.
Rather than settle for the first shop that pops up on Google, check out a few other shops online and compare what they have to offer.  Prioritize what features you’d want in your ideal shop, such as free towing, free estimates, and lifetime warranties.  Study the reviews of each shop.  Ask friends and family for their recommendations on where to bring your car.  The more research you do ahead of time, the more likely you'll avoid landing at the kind of body shop that might scam you.

#2.  Get at least three estimates.
Remember—you are not required to get more than one estimate if you’re not interested in doing so, but it can be very beneficial.  It gives you a chance to see what kind of customer service each shop provides, how clean the shops are, and how trustworthy the staff members seem.  Trust your instincts—if a shop seems shady, then it probably is.  Why take the chance in bringing your car to a place that gives you a bad feeling? 

Avoid autobody scams

#3.  Check for the VIN.
If certain parts of your vehicle are to be replaced, check for the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the parts to be removed.  Your VIN should be located on nearly every major section of your car, including the body panels, hood, doors, and so on.  This way, if a body shop just band-aids a section without actually replacing it with a new part, you’ll know. 

#4.  Ask for your parts back.
You don’t have to use them for anything, but it can help to ask for your old parts back.  One way that some mechanics scam customers is to charge for new parts, while never actually replacing them. 

Avoid autobody scams

#5.  Make an identifying mark.
Another thing you can do to ensure that certain parts are replaced is to put an identifying mark on them using paint or nail polish.  You can also do this to any bolts as a way of verifying that they were adjusted during the repair process.

If you’re looking for a trustworthy auto repair shop in Harford County, Maryland, then give Bel Air Autobody a call.  Our mission is to provide our customers with quality workmanship, first class customer service, and a timely repair.  Our ethical, professional, and honest business practices have allowed us to remain a leading shop for our Bel Air neighbors for over 20 years.

Click here to  schedule a free estimate

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