When we asked you to tell us your car mechanic scam stories, by far the most common mentioned was “dirty air filter trick.” The mechanic shows the customer a dirty air filter and charges them for the part and installation. The trick? it’s actually a prop filter they keep around to snooker unwary drivers.
Insurance companies are opening their own in-house repair shops to avoid haggling with your local mechanic. Local mechanics consistently complain that insurance companies are cheapskates that would rather save a buck than authorize the repairs needed to safely return a car to the road. By opening their own shops, insurers have found the corporate equivalent of sticking your finger in your ear while mouthing “I can’t hear you!”
Rather than putting the onus on customers to find a body shop, get an estimate and arrange a rental car, Progressive, Geico and others are setting up one-stop service centers to handle every aspect of the claim.
Progressive and Geico guarantee their repairs for life, though it’s difficult to trust someone who has a direct interest in keeping the repair bill low. Two customers interviewed by the Times found obvious defects in the insurance companies’ workmanship. Still, the customers left happy, not because their cars worked, but because they were treated well by smiling insurance company representatives. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER