Finding the right mechanic to fix or service your car can be a daunting prospect, as some consumers may worry about being overcharged or even quoted for work that’s not needed.
There’s also the risk that if the vehicle repairer doesn’t do the job properly, they could be putting yourself, your passengers and other road-users at risk.
That’s why it’s important to do your homework before choosing a repairer, including asking for recommendations or searching for online reviews.
One of the best ways you can protect yourself (and your vehicle) from dodgy backyard or bush mechanics is to always choose a repairer that is licensed.
Choosing a licensed repairer business means you know they have been vetted and declared fit and proper, and you should be guaranteed a high standard of work with warranties available.
You can check whether a repairer is licensed by doing a search on the Consumer Protection website or looking for the ‘Licensed Motor Vehicle Repairer Tick’ symbol displayed on their shop, mobile-van or website.
To avoid being overcharged, get multiple quotes from different repairers; how they quote, whether it is in writing, how much information they give and how many questions they ask will tell you a lot about them.
If you receive a call from the repairer saying they’ve found more issues that need fixing, ask them to justify the additional work and provide you with a written report or quote, including parts and labour. It may be wise to get a second opinion and another quote if you’re not sure the work needs to be done.
Once the agreed work is complete, make sure you receive an itemised receipt, which will help if you’re not happy with the work and need to follow-up on any issues.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, a repairer cannot charge for doing repairs or other work that you have not authorised.