Towing companies aren’t the only ones that cause consumers to lose money through scams. Towing companies and auto body repair shops go hand in hand. After all, it is the towing company that tows the car to the shop.
What is seen on television about chop-shops is sadly somewhat true. These rumors and stories didn’t just come out of thin air. Unfortunately, shops like this exist. The biggest mistake that people mistake though, is underestimating what a shop can or can’t take. Maybe the autobody shop around the corner doesn’t seem like a chop-shop at all. What can they possibly do?
Theft is a big reason why consumers lose so much money each year. What you think is safe, actually isn’t.
-> Air Bags – It used to be that radios were very popular to steal. Not anymore. Now it is the driver’s side air bags because they can cost up to ~$3000. Think “resale value” on this one. According to Statefarm, “Dishonest collision repair shops may replace an airbag with a “hot” one then charge vehicle owners or their insurance companies the full price for the “replacement.” Or a body shop may remove your undeployed airbag, replace it with a deployed airbag, then after the insurance company has an estimate on your car for the inflated price of the airbag deployment, the mechanic will put your airbag back in or, worse yet, replace it with junk and sell your good airbag”
-> New Parts Scam – Dishonest and shady mechanics will charge people for “new” parts when they’re actually “used.” Even sometimes, people are charged for a part that isn’t damaged at all. If you think you’re being scammed, ask for your supposed “damaged” part after it has been replaced.
These are just a few ways auto body shops can also take advantage of the average consumer. Remember to do your research on any shop you choose to get service from.