The pros and cons of dash cams

If you have nothing to hide then you should have nothing to worry about, right?

Published:  04 June, 2015

By James Dillon

As it goes, I believe that these devices are an excellent 'independent' witness to many on-the-road events. In fact, I read just last week, how a bogus claim in a so-called 'cash for crash' scam, was blown clean out of the water by such a camera. The person who caught the attempted scam on camera, which occurred on a slip road in very slow moving traffic, actually helped another motorist who was going through proceedings with the same attempted scammer for the same type of bogus scam claim.

These two events show the positive aspects of motorists installing and using a dash cam. If, however, I view the dash cam from the position of a garage owner, workshop manager or vehicle technician and consider its use whilst in the garage, my view changes somewhat.

There is another dash cam video posted upon YouTube in which the customer covertly films whilst their car is in the garage. The video shows the car being brought into the workshop, in common with many dash cams it is also recording audio. The two technicians can be heard, not altogether professionally, discussing the costing and anticipated margins of the wheel bearing repair versus the quotation the customer received. The customer, when he reviewed the video, was aggrieved; his perception was that he received a poor value for money repair. The customer would probably have called other garages to get a price and the garage in question is likely to have been comparative, or even perhaps the cheapest. The person who took the video states in the YouTube clip that he was expecting to pay £80, the garage quoted £76 for the repair. I'm in no way defending the garage. The manner of their discussion was unprofessional.

Making a few assumptions, the job breaks down for a replacement wheel bearing as £76, less £12.66 VAT, less £9 for buying price of the part leaves £54.34 for labour costs and a profit margin. It is unclear from the video what the vehicle is. But the point is that prior to the repair, the customer assessed that the price was fair for his local market, expecting to pay £80. The covert video did the garage no favours, but do you consider that they were way off on their initial pricing? Did they allow time in their initial quotation for seized and rusted parts, consumables, waste disposal etc?

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