Popular belief says that you’re more likely to be cheated by a garage if you’re a women but new research from car insurance company, Sheilas’ Wheels, suggests otherwise.
Male and female mystery shoppers were sent to 100 independent garages and the results showed that men seemed to be quoted more for the same repairs than their female counterparts were. For a small service on a Ford Fiesta, for example, on average men were quoted 13% more than women; £106 compared to £96.
And if you think being older makes you look wiser and less likely to be given an unreasonable price, think again. The difference in prices given to men and women aged 60+ was even bigger. How big? Well, we’re talking £62 more to replace an alternator for a man than a woman (that’s 32% more!), £21 more for a basic service and £11 more to fit brake pads.
The playing field isn’t exactly level even if you are a woman though. Women’s hair colour also seemed to play a role. Brunettes and redheads carried the day, getting quotes 20% lower than blondes for brake pads.
The research also involved talking to drivers and seemed to suggest that men were more likely than women to end up with a bill higher than what was estimated and more likely to pay for work they never asked to have done.
But it’s not just blokes and blondes beware. The study concluded that “Cars are becoming increasingly technical, which means most of us are in turn becoming less and less savvy about car maintenance – men as well as women. This means you can now be ripped off whatever your gender.”
But don’t let that put you off. No seriously. There are some brilliant garages out there with mechanics who genuinely look out for their customers (we speak from personal experience!). Just make sure you choose your garage thoughtfully. And if you don’t have a garage you trust near you, for those non-car-savvy people amongst us, this is not an invitation to dye your hair, try to look younger or to bemoan it if you’re not a woman when you have to take your car in for a job. It’s just an excuse to get a bit more knowledgeable about prices before you go to the garage. With the internet at our fingertips, it’s easier and easier to look information and prices up online and get an idea of what’s reasonable. It’s also worth comparing the prices between several different garages if you can. Then you’ll have enough know-how to suggest a price and show that you’re not planning on being taken for a ride.
Fortunately, when it comes to sourcing parts for your car, you don’t have to trudge around to compare prices, you can just use our online PartFinder to get quotes from breaker’s yards all over the country and compare them online. You’re welcome.
Need new or used van/car parts at awesome prices? Use our PartFinder to get quotes from breakers across the UK.