A virtual revolution is taking place in the UK’s garages with video becoming a workshop must have. Garages film what needs repairing. They can then show this to customers and seek approval before doing the work. The idea is to give car owners more control over repairs and reassure them that they’re not being ripped off. Here’s how it works.
Why video technology is needed
For most drivers, the dodgy reputation garages have is a worry. Recent research by online garage booking service BookMyGarage found that three quarters (74 per cent) of drivers felt hidden costs or paying too much for extra work were the biggest concerns when taking their car to a garage for its regular service. Drivers fear that unscrupulous operators can use superior mechanical knowledge to bamboozle them into repairs that don’t need doing.
How video technology operates
The mechanic opens a smartphone app and films the part of the car that has failed or needs work. The mechanic can add a voiceover to the video to describe the work that needs doing. The customer receives the video by text or email. This includes details of how much the repair will cost. To make it more straightforward for customers, they don’t need an app, just access to the internet. They then go to a landing page with the garage’s contact details so they can talk to the mechanic about the repair if necessary. It enables the car owner to decide in their own time whether they want to go ahead with the work or not.
How successful is it?
According to the company that supplies video technology for garages called View My Auto, it’s proving popular with drivers and car repairers. Customers give it a rating of 4.1 out of five for satisfaction. And drivers accepted 55 per cent of the jobs that were proposed to them by garages. Karen Rotberg, from BookMyGarage which is offering the technology to the 8500 independent and franchised garages on its books, said: “There is still a long way to go to build trust between garages and car owners. The View My Auto technology helps the customer feel more at ease and they can show the video to a partner or decision maker before authorising any repairs. This increases customer trust and goodwill and gives them a greater sense of involvement and control.”
What else can drivers do?
This video technology is currently in its infancy and not many garages have it. However, there are some steps drivers can take to ensure a visit to their local garage is as painless as possible.
First, read our handy guide on how to choose a garage you can have confidence in.
If you doubt how scrupulous your garage is, always get a written quote. You’re only obliged to pay for work you’ve agreed to. If you’ve agreed to having work done but haven’t agreed the price, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says you must only pay a ‘reasonable price’ for the work. Get quotations from other garages for the job so you can show what a reasonable price is.
The Consumer Rights Act also protects you from hidden charges. It dictates that everything you pay for must be brought clearly to your attention.
If work you’ve asked for hasn’t been carried out you can refuse to pay as it’s a breach of contract. You could report the garage to your local Trading Standards office.