Pay ONLY What's Fair for Car Repair - kindle ebook by Victoria Stonegate

Kindle Countdown:  Sept. 18-24, 2014

This book is about what to do when your car’s Check Engine light comes on and how to get a fair price for car repair after the Check Engine light has been evaluated.  That means you must first have the problem diagnosed and then get an estimate for repair.  (However, I use this technique for repairs not related to the Check Engine light, which I describe later in this book.)

In the past, I never had much luck getting a Check Engine light diagnosed by any place other than a dealership that sells the same make of my car.  For example, if I had a Ford, a Chevrolet dealership wouldn’t be able to get very far trying to decipher the problem.  I believe it’s because cars have become so computerized that it gives carmakers the opportunity to use software that no other car maker can access.  (However, you may not have to take your car to a dealership to get the Check Engine light diagnosed.  More about that in my book.)

Here’s why I’m so suspicious of car makers.  A Boston TV station ran an investigative report in 2013 about car dealerships.  Did you know that the service representatives – the people who work at the car repair counter – get a commission on every repair they schedule?

I never knew that.  I assumed they were salaried, because I thought only salespeople get commissions.  Why?  Commissions are a huge incentive to make sales.

That means service representatives aren’t really service representatives.  They’re actually salespeople.  In fact, if you’ve ever seen this job advertised on a place like Craigslist, it’s typically listed in the Sales category!  So let’s call them what they really are:  service salespeople.
Service salespeople might not make enough money to pay their bills unless they convince you to commit to the repair they recommend.  A cheap repair means a tiny commission.  A major repair means a much bigger commission.
See the problem?

Here’s a brief example.  When I was in my twenties, a friend highly recommended a dealership when my car needed a tune-up.  She claimed her parents had done business with this dealership for decades and always had a great experience.  When I walked into the dealership, I immediately noticed several huge banners hanging from the ceiling that announced a special on tune-ups.  And yet when I talked to a service salesman, he quoted a price double the advertised price.
Are you kidding me?  I thought.

I pointed at a nearby banner and quoted the price on the banner back to the service salesman.  He didn’t flinch.  His smile never wavered.  He said, “Oh, that’s right.  I forgot.”
Yeah, right.

I’ve always been suspicious of car dealerships.  But the most important thing I learned from the experience that caused me to write this book is that I haven’t been suspicious enough.
That’s changed.  I want to share my experience with you so you can see how bad things had to get before I wised up.  And then I’ll tell you how to prevent service salespeople from doing the same thing to you