The UK’s garages are facing calls for better transparency and improved service as almost two thirds (60%) of motorists say they have had a bad experience when taking their car in for a repair, service or MOT.
The findings from research conducted for garage comparison website RAC Garage Compare will do little to allay concerns about the standard of service from local independent garages or fears that customers may be ripped off as one in 10, 11% say they don’t trust local garages at all.
Concerns raised by the survey include 38% of motorists who said their garage failed to fix the problem with their vehicle and 36% who felt they were overcharged. In addition one in four (24%), said they were very concerned about hidden costs when booking their car in for work such as a service or MOT.
However the survey, carried out among 1,400 motorists on the RAC Opinion Panel* through December 2014, also highlights that people are fiercely loyal to garages that give them good service, with 55% saying they totally trust the local garage they use most often.
Many millions of motorists rely on local independent garages to carry out regular servicing and MOTs, to keep running costs and maintenance at a manageable level.
As such more than half (56%) say reliability is most important to them when choosing a garage, with customer service second at 19% and cost actually third in terms of priorities, with just 14% saying that was most important.
The RAC says this underlines the fact that customers are not always looking for the cheapest option, and that good service and reliability are worth more to motorists entrusting their vehicles to a local garage business.
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: “For many motorists booking in their vehicle for essential work at a repair garage they haven’t used before can feel like an act of blind faith and unfortunately consumers are wary when they receive that final bill.
“It is a real concern to see a figure as high as 60% of people who say they have had a bad experience at a local garage, when we know there are thousands of good quality garages in our towns and cities.”
The findings are released as the RAC launches RAC Garage Compare, a comparison and online booking website for MOT, car servicing and repairs, giving motorists access to thousands of rated independent, franchised and fast-fit garages across the UK.
Working on the same principles as comparison websites covering products such as motor insurance and other financial products, RAC Garage Compare is designed to provide motorists with absolute transparency over service standards and pricing.