Editor's comment

Garage crooks ruin industry perception

Published:  06 February, 2015

The news that a former garage owner was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay a large amount of compensation to customers after charging them for major repairs that didn't need doing and weren't done anyway, unfortunately does not come as a surprise.

like this one

Of course this example is extreme, with owners charging for major work and targeting pensioners who may not know better. Thousands of pounds were raked in from bills for unrequired work which was not carried out anyway. Yet of course some members of the public believe that garages charge for unrequired work anyway, so stories such as this get the public thinking.

What was also obvious in the original story was the lack of balance. There was no discussion with Trading Standards to suggest this was a one-off, no comment from a workshop scheme, or Motor Codes, or an official body to explain that the industry also frowns upon this type of fraud. The garage in question is no longer trading, yet readers will undoubtedly believe that this practice goes on throughout. Preying on the vulnerable who don't know about cars, or who don't understand what to check, will especially resonate in days when cars are becoming more technical. After all, who would argue with a technician when they have your car?

The industry needs to be wary, not just of crooks posing as technicians but also a national media hungry for news. I have no doubt that if this had been a dealership, the paper would have contacted the manufacturer for a comment for fear of being sued by not giving a right to reply. Independents don't have that protection, so the fight to improve public perception is once again dented.

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