Opinion: Trustworthy garages don’t make good headlines

GW columnist, Craig Harrity discusses industry perceptions and how poor advice continues to fuel an age-old suspicion

Opinion: Trustworthy garages don’t make good headlines
Image: Bigstock.

It is no secret that for decades the automotive repair sector has endured criticism and despite efforts to disperse adverse perception there has been a barrier of mistrust surrounding the objectives of repair providers.

GW columnist, Craig Harrity of Philips Garage in Glasgow.

Nick Reid, head of automotive technology at Green Flag, made recent claims that consumers are being overcharged by £3.4 billion annually, with garages supposedly profiteering an average of £90 per vehicle for ‘unnecessary’ services.

Partnered with Nick’s ‘handy hints’ on identifying ten jobs including brake fluid change and replacing braking components that should ‘ring alarm bells’ if suggested by a garage it makes for an uncomfortable read as an industry professional.

The advice given to motorists by Nick is lacking mechanical sympathy and repercussions of not conducting such work when advised.

Manufacturers create a vehicle with all necessary components to allow the vehicle to perform efficiently and safely, encouraging a neglect for such services or repairs allows ignorance to prevail.

Negative stereotypes

Perusing the blog that has since made appearance in various other media outlets filled me with a sense of discouragement – non-specific, generalized statements such as these are responsible for perpetuating the negative stereotypes of our industry sector.

As a vehicle testing station, we practice the disciplined regulations of DVSA guidelines daily; to claim that customers are being unjustly charged billions annually by exploiting consumers lack of knowledge of MOT requirements eradicates faith in the compulsory and government regulated MOT system that is placed to determine road safety and roadworthiness for the safety of our communities.

It is worth noting that for any motorist feeling a lack in personal knowledge of MOT requirements there is a very informational website created that allows for transparency in testing and results.

It is important to know that I value the collation of industry research; it provides us with actionable insights and allows us to establish positive change and has always been a valuable tool of resource for my company.

However, the selective use of information and speculative narrative creates negative impact on consumers faith in addition to the reputation of professionals that have strived to break the mould of criticism for years.

We live by the values of providing transparency and information to our customers, affording them the luxury of making educated and informed decisions without obligation or pressure.

Unjust claims

To blanket the industry with unjust claims is irresponsible.

Media platforms afford us a voice to enlighten and educate, the careless statement that brake services such as brake fluid changes are ‘unnecessary’ create safety implications for motorists who install a false faith in the written word and begin to question the need for such a repair.

Planting a seed of mistrust in the industry is not a positive step to eradicating these stereotypical perceptions, it continues to fuel an age-old suspicion.

The question begs, could we ever meet the ideologies of industry critics?

The answer is yes, we do every day, it just doesn’t make for an attention grabbing headline.

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