AutoMD: Dentist visit trumps repair shop

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CARSON, Calif. (June 12, 2014) — When given a choice, many women would prefer to visit their dentist than an auto repair shop.

About 83 percent of consumers continue to “feel” overcharged in the auto repair process, down slightly from the 2012 survey. Respondents ranked the experience of going to the repair shop/dealership to get their car repaired on a par with going to the dentist—with women preferring the dentist, according to a consumer survey by AutoMD Inc. through its website.

Women have a more negative view of the auto service center experience than men do, according to the survey, but both genders said a more transparent process would improve the experience.

Survey respondents said not knowing what a repair should cost is the biggest challenge. They want apples-to-apples repair job quotes. Oftentimes consumers are empowering themselves by going online to research pricing and to look at consumer reviews before going to a repair shop, according to AutoMD.com, a subsidiary of U.S. Auto Parts Network Inc.,  which provides comparative quotes on repair jobs from local repair shops, local repair shop listings and troubleshooting information.

“We know that there are excellent repair shops and service centers in every city in the U.S., but, as this study shows, a persistent perception problem plagues the industry: Consumers simply don’t trust that they are paying an appropriate price for a repair and their view of the whole experience is, generally, not a positive one,” said Brian Hafer, AutoMD.com’s vice president of marketing.

Nearly all the respondents said having a good mechanic was a “must have” or “important” when choosing a repair shop, followed closely by fair pricing. About half of the respondents said a convenient location was important. Shuttle service ranked low in importance with about 56 percent of respondents saying they either didn’t care about the service or it was not important.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they have looked at customer reviews before going to a repair shop/service center, with women considerably more likely to do so than men—73 percent vs. 64 percent, the report said.

More than 75 percent of respondents said they had gone online to research what the price of a repair job should be, with men only slightly more likely to do so than women. Overwhelmingly, consumers say that websites offering actual quotes for an actual job from an actual repair shop are of far higher value than websites offering just a general repair price range, according to AutoMD.com.

The survey was conducted online among more than 2,400 car owners between March 27 and April 30.

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