Women's Guide to Avoid Getting Taken Advantage of at Autoshops
Although many gender stereotypes have been disproven or are becoming unacceptable, it can still be difficult to be a woman while dealing with cars and anything in the automotive sphere, which is still mostly dominated by men.
Luckily, technology has provided several tools for women to avoid being taken advantage of or feeling uncomfortable when it comes to negotiating car maintenance. It is important to do your research ahead of time and be confident in saying "No," or "Let me get back to you."
Use Social Media to Your Advantage When Finding an Autoshop
Social media has been both misery and a boon to businesses. Some businesses capitalize on their great customer service via social media. Other businesses have been ruined because of viral criticism on social media. These businesses include auto maintenance and repair shops.
Social media is helpful to you when dealing with auto shops in several ways:
- Crowdsourced Referrals- You can often avoid research and ask friends, family, and co-workers for reputable and trustworthy mechanics.
- Business Ratings- Sites like Yelp provide business reviews from people of many different backgrounds. I am always sure to look up other women who have left a review and see what they say about certain repair shops. These sites usually have photos left by customers that are helpful to review quality and quantity as work as well as specification prices. For example, I was originally quoted $2,000 to have some scratches painted by a national chain autobody shop. When I did more research, I found a local body shop with glowing reviews written by both men and women that could do the same job for only $750.
Use these tools to your advantage and do not be afraid to ask.
Ask for A Price Quote from Several Shops Ahead of Time
If you have a specific issue that you need to be fixed such as bodywork, call shops ahead of time and ask for a quote. A price range is acceptable depending on the work. Write this price down or ask them to send you a quote via e-mail.
Call at least two or three automotive shops to gather quotes for the work. Compare these prices to what you have seen online and to each other. Additionally, Google the general cost of these services and see if they are comparable to national averages.
Choose the shop that you feel is most trustworthy and has the most accurate price.
Take Time to Research-- Even at the Shop
Hopefully you have been able to do your research and know the price you can expect ahead of time. However, if you are at an auto shop for general maintenance, sometimes a mechanic will tell you they found an unexpected issue with your vehicle.
These issues could include a hose the needs replacement, control arms, or other issues. When the mechanic comes to you with these issues, do not accept any repairs right away. Tell the mechanic to give you a few minutes. Take this time time to do a few things:
- Google the market cost of the repairs. Make sure these prices are inline with what you were quoted (or if you are lucky-- cheaper!).
- Call a trusted friend of family member that has knowledge of auto repairs and ask them for their opinion.
- Consider if this repair is needed immediately. Sometimes it is good to get a second opinion from another mechanic.
You will be proud you did the research and stood up for yourself if a car shop was trying to take advantage of you.