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What To Do When You Think You’ve Been Ripped Off

A young man looks at bills, worried that he's been ripped off.

It’s one of the more stress-inducing and frustrating aspects of modern life: Having to make decisions based not on your own knowledge but on the knowledge of others. How can you avoid being ripped off?

It’s a strange combination of emotions, isn’t it? On the one hand, thank goodness there are experts out there who can diagnose and solve our problems for us. On the other hand, our lack of knowledge about a particular subject can leave us vulnerable to scams and frauds.


We rely on the expertise of others each and every day, even when we don’t realize it.

Think about it. When you turn on your television on Saturday afternoon to watch a college football game, your entertainment is derived from the work and expertise of countless individuals. That’s not just on the field itself. It’s also in the broadcast booth and in the halls of the cable company that delivers the entertainment packaging to you in the first place.

When you go to the doctor, you’re relying upon the doctor’s training and experience to figure out why you feel unwell. You also need them to prescribe medication to make you feel better.

And if there’s a problem with your vehicle, once again you have to trust that your mechanic not only knows what the problem is but can fix it.

Auto Repair

This last example is the one we’re concerned with today. Many of us have had to deal with the unfortunate circumstance of having been ripped off by a mechanic.

If you’ve been ripped off by a mechanic, you may be wondering: What can I do?

Unscrupulous mechanics prey on the fact that many car owners don’t know what’s wrong with their vehicles or how to diagnose the problem, much less fix it. They may inflate the amount of time it takes to make a repair. A mechanic may tell you that a check engine light indicates something way worse than what it really is. They might suggest replacing parts that don’t yet need replacing (air filters, water pumps, etc.)

You can read your owner’s manual front to back and back to front. But unless you work on vehicles every day, you still may not be able to spot a red flag. (A red flag would indicate to the well-trained eye that a mechanic is not being straight with you.)

Once you find a good mechanic that provides exemplary customer service, stick with them for the long term for all your automotive repair and automotive service needs. You shouldn’t trust your car repairs to just any auto repair shop.

Remedies If You’ve Been Ripped Off

Fortunately, the Oregon Department of Justice works to help ensure “a safe and fair marketplace.” Contact them with any questions or complaints about potential fraud. You can file a complaint with them as well.

In Washington, the office of the attorney general also has tips for consumers who feel they may have been taken advantage of. The AG suggests working it out with the facility owner. If and when that doesn’t resolve the problem to your satisfaction, they suggest other options. These include contacting the Consumer Resource Center, consulting an attorney, or taking your case to small claims court.

And of course, the most practical remedy is to never use that particular mechanic or body shop again. Word of mouth is still one of — if not the — most powerful method of advertising. If a repair shop gets a bad reputation, it’s very difficult to restore it. That’s one of the reasons — aside from the general goodness of most people — that most shops are on the up and up.

McCollum Auto Body

If you have yet to find a reliable mechanic or auto body repair technician in Oregon and Washington, then we’d like to meet you! At McCollum, we work hard to exceed the standards set by our founder, Dave McCollum, whose sons, Dave Jr. and Joey, carry on the Big Blue M tradition of excellence.

Much like medicine, it’s sometimes a good idea to seek a second opinion. In the auto repair industry, however, there’s only one opinion that you ever really need — that of McCollum Auto Body. We’ve been the trusted auto body and mechanical solution for thousands of satisfied customers for four decades.

That’s why so many people return to us when they need auto service. They know we will not lead them astray or suggest unnecessary repairs or upgrades.

We hope you never have to deal with the rigamarole of trying to make right what’s been done wrong. May we humbly suggest sticking with McCollum Auto Body for all your auto body repair and mechanical needs? That way you’ll know from the outset that you’ll be dealt with fair and square. Our industry veterans have only one goal in mind: your complete and total satisfaction.

Get in touch with us today, and we’ll prove ourselves time and time again with expert repairs, a friendly smile, and top-notch customer service. We have four convenient locations to serve you.

For maintenance and repair, auto mechanic expertise, auto body repair, and more, you can trust McCollum. We want to be your mechanic and auto body expert for life. We’ll do what it takes to earn your business — time and time again.