Why you need to beware of dashcams in your workshop

A recent trend is seeing vehicle owners upload dashcam footage following a visit to the garage

Why you need to beware of dashcams in your workshop
Recent research has shown dashcam sales are up by 918 per cent since last year.

Dashcam sales have rocketed in recent months as motorists fight back against car insurance scams and protect themselves from fraudsters.

With an increasing volume of cars now automatically recording footage at the turn of the ignition, it’s likely that you will soon encounter a dash mounted camera in your workshop – if you haven’t already.

Privacy and security are the major concerns here, with fears being aired that the layout and contents of your workshop could be broadcast online for all to see.

Footage recently emerged from a customer who discovered a dealership had driven his Focus ST at speeds of up to 118mph on public roads, abusing the owner’s trust and his car.

An earlier visit to the dealership, which left him half a tank of fuel worse off, prompted the cunning owner to activate his dashboard camera when he returned the car for further repairs.

Public perceptions

Whilst no one could ever justify such unprofessionalism, not all dashcam footage could appear as clear cut, explains Nick Seabrook of Exminster Garage in Devon: “Public perceptions worry me. You hear a lot in the media about people being recorded, named and shamed but I think a lack of understanding could misrepresent the garage in the wrong way.

“You may have a good reason why the vehicle is being driven a certain way, but the customer may not understand this.

“You might be looking in the glovebox, door pockets and boot for the locking wheel nut key, which on dashcam could look highly suspicious and be easily misinterpreted.”

Dashcams can take many forms and are available for as little as £20, boasting the ability to record vision, sound and even GPS tracking.

Higher-end models tend to feature more than one lens, capturing the road ahead, behind and inside the cabin.

Breach of privacy

Mr Seabrook said: “They are intrusive, not everyone likes to be filmed, whether its knowingly or unknowingly but what can you do?”

Mr Gilbert, owner of Sedgley Autos in Ashton-Under-Lyne, told GW: “There’s nothing that goes on here that shouldn’t and if they want to put a camera in their car, we can’t stop them but I know the lads won’t want to be posted all over the internet.”

IGA Director, Stuart James advises garages to ensure their customers are aware that you may be looking around inside the car for the EOBD socket, for example, and that the car may need to be taken for a test drive, protecting you from any misunderstandings later.

Mr James said: “Filming someone in the work place without the owners knowledge seems unnecessary, some of our members actually have cameras in the workshop so customers can see the technicians working on their car anyway.

“If the consumer wishes to leave the camera on, then they really should make the garage aware of that but there is always the risk that the footage will be misinterpreted.”

Andy Trollope, owner of Brunel Motor Services in Salisbury, said: “We’ve not seen any dashcams come into our garage yet but I don’t think we’d have a problem if one did come in.

“We normally say to customers if we need to go out and drive it hard as a matter of course, so that would avoid any misunderstandings if there was a camera.”

Embracing video

Whilst the unnatural nature of cameras can make anyone feel uncomfortable, Danny Tritt, owner of DT Motors in Cheltenham told GW that his business is embracing video technology.

Tritt said: “We’re actually looking into a system to film the work that we carry out so as we can show customers worn parts, faults and physically show them what we do during a service.

“We’d show the video to customers in the waiting room and could even email it out to customers that are at work.

It’s all about trust and customer relationships for Mr Tritt: “If you bring in a car that’s broken and it comes back to you fixed, you know that we’ve fixed it but it’s harder to see what has been done in a service, which is where this system will come into play.”

We’ve all seen entertaining dashcam videos, just this week a foolish cyclist ploughed into the back of a parked car, but this new technology could pose a very real threat to your reputation.

Where do you stand with dashcam filming in your garage? What if you’re filmed without your knowing? Leave your comments and take part in our new online dashcam poll. We’re interested to hear your experiences of dashcams in the workshop – what happened?


  1. We have been filmed by these in our workshop unknowingly, and I have to say it’s a breach of the privacy law. The owner has complained about the bad language in the workshop but these are all grown men and if they swear at each other in conversation, that’s down to them. As long as it’s not within reach of the reception, that’s their business.

    If cameras are on the driver should show some sort of sign to that effect. We are diagnostic specialists and some of the work we do, we do not want other people to see or hear how we do it. Years of experimenting and graft is our trade secrets.

    Regards John Hewett M.I.M.I.

    • Thanks for your comment John. Privacy and intellectual property is of a big concern here, covert dashcam filming is posing an increasing risk to independents such a yourself.

      How do you plan on tackling the issue and protecting your business? Some garage owners have told us that they enforce a strict no-dashcam policy but can you really afford to turn down custom in this way?

  2. What about the customer’s side of things? We all know that when a garage damages your car they will all deny it and any garage that claims otherwise is quite simply lying.

    I have two dash cams and I have no time nor interest in trawling through hours of footage to watch a mechanic at work. I’ll only look at it if there’s a problem such as finding out the main dealer has been driving over speed bumps at over 30mph etc. External damage I cover by photographing my car when dropping it off, but that doesn’t prove mechanical damage done by a mechanic going for an abusive test drive.

    If a garage doesn’t want a dash cam to be active then that’s up to them. They should tell the customer in advance and let them turn it off. A garage should never touch someone’s dash cam, it is private property within the confines of a private vehicle.

  3. I think a well-run garage would have nothing to fear but i had my camera disonnected by my local Landrover dealer in ashford and the only way I found out was that they left the wire hanging down.I saw it on the way home and knew something was amis.I looked at the footage and realised why-the test drive was into a local car park when the driver seemed to throw the car all over the place then park up for a sleep. ill be interested to see what happens this year…


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