It’s true, senior citizens are often the targets of scams, fraud and financial crimes. Many seniors have substantial financial assets, own their own home, and have large savings accounts at their disposal. They are often at home, easy to talk with, and in some cases are ready and willing to open up to a friendly face ready to give them some time.
Unfortunately, criminals are getting more sophisticated in the way they prey on those that may be disadvantaged in some way. If a 75 year old woman always relied on her husband for maintaining the cars, her new “job” may be completely overwhelming, and she quickly trusts anyone who provides a smile and a simple “I understand”. Which of course may not be in her best interests.
With car maintenance, there are typically two common types of cons designed to trick consumers into giving up more money then is truly necessary.
1. The first is the door to door salesman or cold caller. Someone calls on the phone or knocks on the door, offering a super deal to repair your car. Only after you hand over a substantial amount of money and the person is on their way do you discover the work hasn’t been completed, its of poor quality, wasn’t needed in the first place, or in some cases, the work was never performed at all.
2. The second is a dishonest car repair shop that sees “opportunity” when they discover a gullible consumer has walked into their location. They will be friendly in the beginning, waiting for the chance to pull the car into the garage. And after a short period of time, “problems” began to arise rapidly. The oil change turns into a series of repairs that can range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars. And of course the car can’t leave the repair shop – its not in good working order.
If you’re nervous about finding a reputable car maintenance shop that you can rely on again and again, keep these two tips in mind.
First, start with a local shop that has been around for years. Go into the garage and talk with the owner. Have them perform a simple service in the beginning to test out the relationship.
Second, ask questions. If you don’t understand, keep pressing for answers you can relate to. You can even follow up and see if the answers stay the same over time.
While it may seem in your best interest to price shop and find the place with the best deal today, you’ll wind up paying more over time. A car repair shop that you can trust, and you know will always steer you in the right direction, is much more valuable than saving a few dollars here and there. Its peace of mind.