I hate to say this but transmission repair shops employ some of the most dishonest practices in the automotive industry. They are able to get away with this for two reasons.
The first reason is for every 50 general automotive mechanic shops there are may be five transmission shops. So supply and demand naturally hires the prices these companies can charge. This is nothing new but some of these transmission companies get outrageous.
Second, unless you are a a specialist in this field you most likely know nothing about transmissions. Any technician can tell you anything and you have no verifiable way of double checking.
Here are some common scams in the transmission repair industry and some common mistakes that customers make:
We need a new transmission a shop will give usually give you two options. They can either install a brand-new transmission, which will cost a lot, or they can install a rebuilt transmission, which will still cost a lot but possibly be half the cost.
You have to understand the dangers in getting a rebuilt transmission. There is a good possibility that these will not be as good as a brand-new transmission or may not last as long. If you’re dealing with a reputable shop who has capable employees they can rebuild a long-lasting transmission.
They should also factor work up with some type of warranty. Do not get a rebuilt transmission without a decent warranty of some type. Make sure you get it in writing. There have been many shops who have sold customers rebuild transmissions and they failed within a matter of days or weeks.
Those same customers, of course being irate, came back to the shop only to find that that particular shop would not honor its “verbal” or “implied” guarantee. If you do however agree to a rebuilt transmission please do not come crying to the transmission repair shop when after the warranty you have problems again. He did go the cheapest route and you must understand that it comes with inherent risks.
Beware of transmission shops that have all sorts of low cost transmission maintenance services and specials to get in. Many of the automotive companies or what I like to call “commission fee based shops.” The shops pay their employees a small hourly wage but make it so they receive a percentage of their total gross sales.
Avoid these companies at all costs! These transmission repair shops have a system where they trick volumes of people every single day into their place of business with the lower at cheap rates and then convince them into buying services and parts they do not need.
This practice has become standard among many of the big box national chains and quite recently has been adopted by many of the small local ones. If you feel like you’re being pressured into buying something you feel you may not need, please, get a second opinion.
I have already touched a little upon the subject but I need to bring up the matter of warranties again. Every warranty and every guarantee needs to be in writing. Do not any transmission repair facility just tell you they back up all their work.
Do not just let them tell you you can bring your car back, and they will fix it for free, if within a couple weeks or months you experience the same problems they were supposed to fix. Every agreement should be in writing including all the terms and conditions.
And speaking of terms and conditions this brings us to the most common scam that most transmission repair facilities do. It is sad that many of these companies resort to what I’m about to say but all you have to do is look online and you will hear hundreds of horror stories.
You’re having transmission problems. You go to a local transmission repair shop and get an estimate. The parts and labor cost $1200. It seems fair see make arrangements to leave your vehicle with them for several days.
Within one day you get a call from the transmission shop. They proceed to tell you that the price is going to be more than what was on the estimate. The excuses are more numerous than the sands found on the beach. It could be any excuse from the parts costing more than expected to them not being aware of the certain problem when they first gave you the estimate.
So the result is that the price that was “$1200” is now “$3500.”
Now your typical person in this position has two options at this point. He can bite the bullet and pay the $3500, in effect paying $1800 more than what was agreed upon, or he can pick his car up.
Keep in mind that the cars is most likely already torn apart at this point. Here is where shops get even worse. In order for you to pick your car up the transmission shop is still going to charge you a fee for putting your car back together, storage, towing, and trust me they will find other miscellaneous charges to add upon that.
So you end up getting the work done, but in the process getting ripped off, or you’re left with the same broken car but you paid 500 bucks just to be able to pick it back up from a shop then attempted to screw you (and they did). It’s a no-win.
This is why you should only do business with reputable transmission repair shops. How do you know if the shop is reputable? In this day and age where honesty and honor are as common as black-and-white televisions you must do your homework.
Ask family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances for recommendations. The good transmission repair shops are out there. You just have to find them among the many bad ones.
Once you get a recommendation from someone you know look the shop up on the Better Business Bureau, local websites where people post reviews, and forums. Ask a transmission shop for customer references.
If they are in fact reputable they should be able to produce one or two happy customers you can talk to. A little due diligence goes a long way because once they have your car you are at their mercy.
Hopefully this article will have giving you insight about the tricks transmission repair shops employ to make a quick buck and hopefully you will be able to take this information and benefit from it.