I recently learned from one of our customers that there are ads being run in some of the online classified sites for “cheap”, mobile brake services. Apparently these ads tout coming out to your home or place of business and doing the work for you there at a “discounted price” if you provide the parts.
This is one of those things that drives me crazy! Not only do these types of ads confuse the consumer, but if someone decides to respond, they are putting themselves in a position to be taken advantage of both cost-wise and safety-wise.
If you’re ever tempted to take advantage of such an offer, please first keep these points in mind:
1. To meet the State of California’s requirements to run a legal auto repair business, the business must pay the California State Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) an annual fee. Most, if not all, the mobile auto repair advertisers on the Internet are operating illegally by not having paid that required fee.
2. The Bureau of Auto Repair has recently run a sting in Sacramento to address this issue. They scheduled appointments with a number of online advertisers to come to someone’s home and perform brake repairs. They discovered that, in addition to not having paid the fees, a number of these people had active warrants for their arrest or in some cases did not possess legal drivers’ licenses!
Aside from the danger of possibly having someone with an outstanding warrant come to your home, having that same person work on the most important system in your car is probably not a good avenue to take for saving money.
Another point to remember is that when you buy your own auto parts, you may not be getting the correct part needed for your vehicle. Whether the part is right or wrong, once it’s installed, you will not be able to return it for a refund. Note that even repair shops ordering parts for multiple vehicles on a daily basis are frequently delivered the wrong parts, but they can recognize the error before installation takes place; these people who ask you to get your own parts most likely won’t know the difference.
Then, there is the issue of Warranty! How many of these online, illegal auto repair individuals do you believe would provide or, if they do, honor a warranty? Since they rarely provide a home location address for their businesses, if they do not respond to your phone calls, you have little recourse. If any of the parts you provided fail or do not work correctly, you will most likely not get any help with that…they did not provide the parts, so you’re responsible.
The best value for your dollar in auto repair is to take your car to a reputable auto service center with a long history of doing business and a long parts and labor warranty. The established repair shops desire to create long-term relationships with their customers based on trust and quality care, not on one-time, questionable cost savings.
Donna McCord, Owner
Dean’s Automotive, Inc.