Auto Repair Rip Off - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Auto Repair Rip Off

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With so much traveling occurring this summer, cars are a necessity when it comes to getting around. But when cars break down, drivers have to spend precious time and money getting it fixed at a repair shop.

Now, a new study conducted by Northwestern University in Illinois found that auto shops across the nation quoted and charged women more money on the repairs than men. Researchers ran field experiments to gauge the differences in treatment between men and women from auto shops to get these results.

Researchers Meghan Busse and Florian Zettlemeyer at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management had both males and females make calls to repair shops appearing to be either well-informed on the market price of a 2003 Toyota Camry radiator replacement. They also had another test group appear misinformed with a higher-than-average price and another completely clueless about the expected cost.

Men in the experiment were quoted the same price whether they pretended to know the average price or had no informed expectation. But on the other hand, women who appeared misinformed were consistently told higher-than-average prices.

Many women in Texoma like Talisha Baugh have experienced being taken advantage of by repair shops. Baugh fell victim to repair shop deception and ended up spending an additional $600 on her car motor.

"'I honestly didn't know how much a motor cost, and I got ripped off big time" she said.

Another victim Elena Vazquez says she paid for a new battery but never ended up getting a new one. "I went to go get my batter changed and when I got home, they didn't change my battery" she said.

The findings suggest that auto shops may assume men know the market price of a given repair while women may be less knowledgeable about the matter.

Lacey Standridge agrees. "We don't know much about cars and how their supposed to work so they can charge us pretty much what they want to."

Women would often find out they had overpaid after complaining about the high costs to their husbands or family members.

Jorge Cardenas believes women can be too trusting when it comes to getting their cars fixed. "They really don't know what's going on. They just go and kind of trust the person that is fixing their car" he said.

To avoid repair shop schemes, drivers should do their own research online or by phone to know exactly what a job would cost and compare the quoted prices between multiple locations. Baugh warns women to make sure to know what you're talking about.

"I recommend either women know what they're talking about, know what they're doing and go in there head on. Do the research first and get different prices and different quotes from here and there. Or you can bring a man along that knows what he's doing" she said.

Surprisingly, the study also found that women were more successful than men when it came to negotiating repair prices. When haggling for a lower price, 35% of the study's female participants were able to get their requested price compared to just 25% of the men.

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel Six.