Automotive repair company, Green Flag has accused garages of charging motorists £3.4bn annually for unnecessary work and up-sells.
The breakdown company claims drivers are overspending £90 on average for each vehicle, with a change in brake fluid being the most common “unnecessary charge”.
Workshops are also being accused of “unnecessarily” draining and refilling antifreeze as well as up-selling fuel and oil cleaners.
Green Flag say new brake pads and discs are being needlessly sold despite wear being within safety limits, as well as new windscreen wipers.
“Drivers are overspending on repairs”
Nick Reid, head of automotive technology at Green Flag, said: “Our research highlights just how much drivers are overspending on repairs – fuelled by a combination of the changes in the MOT test and a lack of confidence in negotiating with garages, motorists are becoming less equipped to ensure they’re getting the best deal on repairs.
“This is particularly evident by our findings that 61 per cent aren’t sure what MOT stands for, and the fact that 39 per cent don’t understand what is being checked during a test.”
Speaking exclusively to GW, Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, said the research findings “paint a very generalised and negative picture”.
He added: “Contrary to their study, our latest consumer research, also conducted this year, revealed customers having an increasingly positive view of the service and repair sector.
“In addition, satisfaction with the work conducted by the thousands of garages who are accredited to our Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair across the UK has remained consistently high during the past few years.
“As to the issue of overspending and needless work being carried out, the Motor Ombudsman’s Service and Repair Code requires that accredited garages are always fully transparent with consumers to help avoid the occurrence of both of these situations.
“For example, any work that needs to be undertaken should be clearly explained, and all associated costs should be itemised and written in black and white before anything is done on a customer’s car.
“This allows motorists to have the right knowledge to make informed decisions prior to any spend and not be subject to any unwanted surprises later on down the line.”
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