Research shows lack of trust in garages

UK garages are facing calls for better transparency and improved service as almost two thirds (60 per cent) 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 per cent, say they don’t trust local garages at all.

Concerns raised by the survey include 38 per cent of motorists who said their garage failed to fix the problem with their vehicle and 36 per cent who felt they were overcharged. In addition one in four (24 per cent), 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 per cent 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 per cent) say reliability is most important to them when choosing a garage, with customer service second at 19 per cent and cost actually third in terms of priorities, with just 14 per cent 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 per cent 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.

Williams continued: “Our research also shows that people are also willing to travel to the places they do trust with their cars, with 20 per cent going up to 10 miles from home to the garage they use most, and one in 10, (11 per cent), willing to go as far as 20 miles.

“But overwhelmingly the survey results highlight a lack of trust among customers and a sense they feel garages are not being open and transparent enough when it comes to pricing”.

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