Auto Repair Beware – Three Times Makes a Trend

auto repair beware

Welcome to Ben’s Chronicles

Hello! I’m Ben from EINSURANCE. Trust me, I know there are plenty of things we’d both probably rather be doing than discussing insurance. But although insurance gets a bad rap, it does have its benefits; especially when you find the right coverage and carrier.

Unfortunately, throughout my life I have had a knack for being at the wrong place, at the right time. Given my gravitational pull toward bad luck, I wanted to share a few of my life experiences with you in hopes that my bad luck could benefit you. So, bear with me over the upcoming weeks, because I’ll be sharing little nuggets I’ve learned through navigating the insurance world. If my mishaps and theories don’t directly help answer any of your insurance related questions, I promise they’ll make you laugh, albeit at my expense…

If you would like me to discuss a specific topic, feel free to email me at [email protected].

Today our topic is:

Auto Repair Beware – Three Times Makes a Trend

Have you ever wondered why your dealer repair bills are so large? Maybe you wonder why the service departments of Dealers are getting so attractive.

The reason is that more and more dealers are making money on the service department and less money on the sales department. This is part of a trend for most durable goods purchases. Whether it be a copier machine at your office, your home washing machine or your car, many durable goods sellers are making more money repairing the items they sell, than they make on the original sale.

If you have any doubts about this trend just refer to what investors said when Apple announced that the sale of iPhones is not as important a measure of their profit as the service fee income growth that they are experiencing. Everyone wants reoccurring income, and for auto dealers it is the Service Department!

Car Repair Experiences:

1. The Auto Tire Scam

Measuring the tread on tires is not a precise process. I took my foreign car into the dealer for the annual state inspection. They would not pass the inspection until I purchased new tires, ($1800). I kept the old tires and took it to a different repair service three years later and they put two of the tires back on, to replace two of the dealer tires. Beware of a dealer opinion on warn tires.

2. The Battery Scam

I pull a fairly new SUV into the Dealer for an oil change, using my coupon, you would think I know better. The car had been working fine, and I had no indication that the battery was low. No slow start, no lights left on, no cranking the engine twice, no indication of a low battery. But sure enough, as soon as I pull the car into the repair bay, the “valet” hooks the car up to something and now it has a “dead battery”.  Imagine my surprise. I accuse the dealer of doing something that drained the battery, since I had no indication of a low battery and I am not a naïve car owner. They immediately replace the battery for free, no questions asked. As they say, “this is not my first rodeo!”

3. The Parts Package

So I drive the same SUV into the dealer again. They say the definition of insanity is; “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So this time I have my guard up. The camera on the front grill has been hit by a stone and needs to be replaced. So they tell me that they have to replace the whole grill assembly, ($562 vs $1,875). Plus I need a new leveling of the back of the car, new wheel alignment, a new ball bearing in the front wheel, new air filter, and a new battery in my Fob, and they will do the state inspection for me! As you can imagine, I just did the front grill, that was expensive enough!  While I am waiting, I check the internet and call another dealer and imagine my surprise to find I can get the camera by itself with its simple two-screw installation, I do not need the whole grill assembly. The camera on eBay used, is $89. They clearly massaged the truth to me, I can only imagine how many customers they have defrauded with their extra part requirements!

Auto Repair Lessons Learned

The best advice I can give; is to ask someone you trust and who knows something about cars, to validate your thinking on what needs to be done to your car. Secondly, do a Google Search of the parts you think you need, before you ask the dealer what you need. Lastly, do not trust a dealer to have your best interests in mind. There is a reason they pamper you with free coffee and stale crackers.

Buyer Beware!

About David Thompson

David Thompson is President and CEO of eINSURE Services, Inc. Dave is on the Board of Directors of AmerInst Insurance Group, Bermuda and is Chairman of the Underwriting Committee, as well as co-inventors of RINITS, a new insurance securitization product. He has a history of creating successful new ventures in the insurance business.