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17 Feb 2010

New research by the regulatory body Motor Codes paints a familiar picture of epic grumbling about the standard of service in the nation’s garages.

Forty-five per cent of drivers reported feeling ripped off by their garages – with younger motorists (under the age of 24) the least happy and those aged over 55 the most satisfied.

More than 25 per cent of motorists believe they are out of pocket for an amount between £51 and £150. Five per cent, meanwhile, believe the amount they were overcharged exceeds £300.

A substantial amount and an image very much in line with the stereotype of a garage worker: someone who sucks air in through his teeth and proclaims with a weary sigh, “it’ll cost you”, before casually inflating your bill.

Like every crass stereotype, it is at once deeply unfair and not without a grain of truth. Of course, the vast majority of garages are scrupulously honest and fair. But clearly, sufficient bad eggs remain to generate the results highlighted in this and similar surveys.

To quote Motor Codes Director Chris Mason: “The service and repair sector historically has a bad reputation when it comes to cost. Despite there being many very good UK garages, the public’s bad experiences with some has brought about a lack of trust.”

It seems there is still work to be done.

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