8 tips to avoid being ripped off in the workshop

According to the National Consumer Institute, mechanical workshops are the fifth sector that receives the most complaints per year for alleged customer fraud – the first are claims from telephone companies. If you want to avoid this unpleasant experience, follow these tips to the letter…

Index of contents

#1 Always choose a “legal” workshop

tips avoid sweatshop scam

All workshops must have, by law, on their exterior façade and in a clearly visible place, an identification plate that shows their registration number, the initials of their Autonomous Community, and the specialties for which they are prepared and authorized . Thus, if a hammer appears, it means that they can carry out sheet metal operations; a wrench means they can do mechanical repairs; a broken lightning means that they are authorized to fix electrical faults…

On the other hand, if your motorcycle is still under warranty, despite the fact that you can legally take it to any independent workshop without losing it, it is recommended that, at least during that period of validity, you only go to official services to avoid problems with the brand if you have a fault.

#2 Find out about the price

Before leaving your motorcycle in the workshop, always check the price of labor. “Although, by law, and since 2010 it is no longer mandatory that the only legal way to inform the consumer of the workshops is a poster in a visible place in the establishment itself, from CONEPA we understand that this continues to be the best alternative to comply with the regulations to inform customers”, declares Nuria Álvarez, spokesperson for the Spanish Federation of Professional Automotive Entrepreneurs. In general, this poster shows the price of labor together with the client’s rights and the price table for other services such as work carried out outside working hours, displacement of operators, vehicle stay expenses…According to Formula Moto’s experience, a workshop is usually considered ‘cheap’ if they charge around 30 euros/hour for labour, while an ‘expensive’ one can charge more than 75 euros/hour.

#3 Always ask for a budget

tips to avoid budget shop scam

By law, everyone has the right to demand a written budget detailing the operations to be carried out on their vehicle. In addition, it must include the tax identification number of the workshop and its physical address. In addition, any budget is valid for a minimum of 12 business days.

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It is important to request it because you must detail the cost of each part and the cost of labor for each operation; and because, in this way, the mechanics will not be able to ‘touch’ anything that is not detailed in it. And, be very careful if you leave your motorcycle in the workshop and do not request it in writing, since, in practice, you will be authorizing the workshop to make the arrangements that it considers “necessary”… To avoid this problem, in autonomous communities such as Andalusia, you must sign a specific document indicating that you renounce the budget when you leave the car in the workshop.

Keep in mind that, if after requesting a quote, you do not fix the motorcycle in that workshop, it will have the right to charge you for the operations already carried out -including labor, material used…-. But normally, they will only charge you for the time they have invested in assessing the damage, that is, if it took an hour and the labor costs €40 per hour, they will charge you that amount. In any case, from the OCU -Organization of Consumers and Users- they always recommend going to workshops where the estimate is free.

#4 Do not forget the deposit receipt

When you leave the motorcycle in the workshop, it is important that you take a deposit receipt with you – the budget will do, as long as it is signed by the workshop and by the client. It is a document that specifies why you are leaving the motorcycle there: to get an estimate, to have it checked, to repair a fault… Also, make sure that it contains the date and the kilometers that the motorcycle has. motorcycle, as there have been cases of independent workshops that have used the clients’ motorcycles for private purposes without their consent. Besides, if the motorcycle were stolen or damaged -for example, if it suffered a scratch- while it was in the workshop, you can only claim compensation if you have this document.

#5 Always request damaged parts

tips avoid scam workshop broken parts

A good way to make sure that they have carried out the agreed repair is to take the deteriorated parts that they have replaced when you pick up the motorcycle -by law, they have the obligation to deliver them to you-. In addition, if the fault persists, they will be used to claim since an expert could rule that the part that was changed was not the correct one or, even, that it was not in bad condition when it was disassembled.

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#6 Don’t put used parts on you… if you don’t want to

An increasingly common practice is that some independent workshops install second-hand parts -available in many scrapyards- and charge the customer for them… as if they were new. According to Rubén Sánchez, spokesman for the consumer organization Facua , “when a part is changed, it requires the packaging of the new one that has been placed and the part withdrawn: it is a consumer’s right . ” Thus, you will be able to see that they are new and that they are approved -in the box you should see the initials ECE followed by a series of numbers and letters-.

Keep in mind that the Law only allows used parts to be installed when the workshop takes responsibility in writing that they are in good condition , provided that you also give the go-ahead in writing and only if there are no new parts; Of course, by law, they can never be installed in the braking, suspension and steering systems of the vehicle.

[alert type=»info» close=»true» heading=»»] BEWARE OF ‘CHARGING PER STAY

If you are notified that your motorcycle is already fixed, you have three days to pick it up without incurring any “extra” cost. However, if you take longer, the workshop is entitled to charge you for each day you stay there -on average, they will charge you between 12 and 30 euros/day- although, if you are not going to be able to pick up the car until after more time and notify your workshop, the most normal thing is that they do not charge you anything.[/alert]

#7 Ask for an invoice when paying

tips to avoid scam workshop request invoice

Although the workshops have the obligation to always give you an invoice -even when the motorcycle has been fixed under warranty-, it is increasingly common for independent workshops not to invoice their customers so that, in this way, they save paying 21% VAT. If you do not demand it, it is true that it will be cheaper, but legally you will be “defenseless” if the repair carried out is poorly done: that is, if the motorcycle breaks down when you leave the workshop, you can only claim if you have an invoice that prove that that workshop has repaired your car.

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#8 Always demand a guarantee

tips to avoid scam warranty workshop

All repairs have a guarantee of at least three months or 2,000 km covered -although, in the case of industrial vehicles, and due to their more intensive use, the temporary guarantee is reduced to 15 days-. In addition, those elements that are not wear parts, such as bodywork or interior parts, have a two-year guarantee like any other new product. If your bike is delivered to you and the problem persists, go back to the workshop and request that they fix it again for free, they will have to do it.

And if you have already been scammed, how do you claim?

  • If you consider that the workshop has “cheated” you because they have charged you more than what was included in the budget, because they did not have the prices displayed and, when charging, they seem abusive; because they don’t give you the replaced parts…-, “put a complaint form in the establishment itself and present a copy of it to the Municipal Consumer Office of the town where the workshop is located” , advises Ana María Amador, from the Legal Department from C.E.A. «Within a maximum period of two months, Consumption will assess whether you are right or not and will act accordingly, either penalizing the workshop with an administrative infraction and forcing you to be compensated – you should always request it in the complaint form-, or giving the case for closed without you receiving anything» .
  • “In the event that they have not repaired your motorcycle properly and they do not want to take it over again,” continues Amador, “you will have to hire an expert -from €300- and, with his report, file a lawsuit in the First Court Instance of the workshop location, requesting the amount that involves the correct repair of the vehicle and the reimbursement of all expenses incurred including damages and losses and the cost of the expert. He remembers that if the amount requested exceeds €2,000, you will have to hire a lawyer and a solicitor – from €600–and pay €300 for legal fees. If the amount does not reach €2,000, the intervention of the lawyer or the attorney or the payment of legal fees will not be necessary, but remember that it is always advisable to present the expert report in court and that the expert himself ratify himself during the trial» concludes Ana María.

Via Autofacil .

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