AROUND six in 10 drivers believe they're overcharged when they get their car fixed – with men feeling short-changed almost as often as women.
A survey of 2,000 car owners found 59 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men believe they have been charged too much for work on their vehicle.
Four in 10 of those women feel they were overcharged as they have little car knowledge and can't question the quote, while just 29 per cent of men said the same.
And a staggering 74 per cent of women feel they were quoted too much simply because of their gender, compared to just 12 per cent of men.
Younger adults also feel they're often overcharged, with 74 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 and 72 per cent of people aged 25 to 24 believing they have been caught out before.
Just half of those aged 55 to 64 and 43 per cent of over 65s said the same.
The study, commissioned by car maintenance firm Fixter, found nearly three-quarters of young adults think their lack of mechanical know-how makes them an easy target.
One in five discovered they had been overcharged after doing online research.
Three in 10 of those who thought they had been overcharged complained to friends and family after the incident, with just one in five complaining to the manager of the garage.
In extreme cases, a tenth said they had even taken legal action after they felt they had paid over the odds.
Limvirak Chea, co-founder and CEO at Fixter, said: “Getting your car fixed can often mean a big bill – which no one wants.
“So, it can make it even worse if you feel like you are being charged too much.
“There are stereotypes around the industry which can make people suspicious and question whether they are paying too much, and a lack of transparency can also make this worse.
“We believe getting your car fixed or maintained should be a simple task – convenient for you and also something where you are completely clear on what you are paying and why.”
The study also found a fifth of car owners don’t always trust the garages and end up turning to Google to try and work out if they are being overcharged.
Nearly half (47 per cent) believe dealerships are likely to charge them more when it comes to fixing their car, compared to just 16 per cent who think independent garages are the most likely to do so.
But more than half of motorists would also use smaller, independent garages rather than larger chains because of cost (52 per cent), convenience (47 per cent) and good customer service (46 per cent).
A reliable service (45 per cent) and reputation (45 per cent) also rank highly when deciding if to choose a smaller garage.
Despite cost being cited as one of the main factors for choosing where to fix their car, four out of five don’t shop around and instead take their car to the same garage.
It also emerged almost six in 10 motorists would like to see more transparent pricing, and nearly half want garages to be clearer on the repair work needed.
Some 38 per cent of those surveyed via OnePoll admitted to putting off repairs on their car, due to fears over the cost (65 per cent) and a lack of time (37 per cent).
Limvirak added: “It’s important that car owners have confidence in what they’re paying for and that they’re happy with the end result.
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“Paying a fair price and having transparency over costs is vital to rebuilding trust between motorists and garages, and we want to help bridge the gap between both parties to ensure everyone is happy.
“By looking online via our website, you can easily compare prices so no matter who you are or what you look like, you can be confident you’re paying a fair, transparent price.
“As Fixter employs in-house mechanics who liaise directly with our local, independent garage network, you can be sure you’re getting a great deal.”
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