avoid rip off http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8398/all en-US 4 Ways to Find a Reputable Mechanic http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-find-a-reputable-mechanic <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-find-a-reputable-mechanic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mechanic_0.jpg" alt="Mechanic with car" title="Mechanic with car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it, if you barely know the radio from a radiator, taking your car in for maintenance and repairs can be intimidating.</p> <p>I'm lucky to have a great mechanic who has worked on my family's vehicles for nearly two decades (you're the best, Paul). But the years I spent living out of state made life a bit difficult. Put it this way &mdash; I went on the hunt for a suitable replacement for Paul long before I started thinking about finding a new primary care physician.</p> <p>But some consumers aren't so lucky. For folks on the move or simply without a trusted mechanic, finding a shop you can trust can at times prove challenging, even for those who know a thing or two about cars. Here are a few ways you can prepare for a mechanic visit and avoid wasting your money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now">6 Sites Every Car Owner Needs to Bookmark Now</a>)</p> <h3>Research the Shop</h3> <p>Just like your doctor and hair stylist, you want to trust the person working with your car. Research the shop&rsquo;s reputation by searching customer reviews. The Better Business Bureau is a good source, but also check to see if the shop and its technicians have an <a href="http://www.ase.com/About-ASE.aspx">Automotive Service Excellence</a> (ASE) certification. (Typically shops will display the blue logo and technicians will wear a patch on their uniform.) ASE certifications ensure your mechanic has been trained and tested with automotive standards.</p> <h3>Research and Know Your Car&rsquo;s Needs</h3> <p>Check out your car&rsquo;s suggested maintenance standards in the manual. <a href="http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-avoid-getting-ripped-off-by-a-mechanic">VideoJug</a> mentions filters specifically. It&rsquo;s common to replace an oil filter every oil change, but air filters can be shaken out. Other filters may go longer than what your mechanic suggests.</p> <p>Also, mechanics may say oil changes are required every 3,000 miles, but newer engines can go up to 7,500 miles. Be aware of other add-ons as well. VideoJug says most cars do not need a flush until 60,000 miles, and cars built in the past ten years do not need parts to be lubed.</p> <h3>Know Common Sales Tactics</h3> <p>Some mechanics may say your car warranty is only valid if used in a particular shop, but warranties are valid at multiple places as long as you follow the recommended maintenance and keep receipts.</p> <p><a href="http://superiorcartalk.com/help-yourself-avoid-being-ripped-off-at-the-mechanic">Superior Car Talk</a> says it&rsquo;s not uncommon for mechanics to charge for work they do not do and parts they do not replace. To avoid this, you can discretely mark parts (like a tire that&rsquo;s to be rotated) and verify the service later. You can also ask the mechanic to show you the part that was replaced, but again use a mark because some may just pull a part from a junk pile.</p> <p>Ask to see the parts that need work before agreeing to replacement. That way you can verify the treading, pad, belt, or whatever part is actually worn down.</p> <p>Bills should fall within 10% of an estimate. Do not agree to pay for an outrageous difference in price if you did not officially agree to extra services and charges.</p> <h3>Test Your Mechanic</h3> <p>Be wary of mechanics who do not allow you in the shop. You should be able to view their working environment and check on your car&rsquo;s progress. Also, pay attention to how the mechanic treats you. Are they asking questions and listening to what you have to say? Are they taking you on a test drive to experience the problem with you?</p> <p>Get multiple opinions. Take your car to two different shops, and see if the same problem gets diagnosed. Also, research the diagnosis and see typical prices for repairs and use those to compare to what your mechanic says.</p> <p>Check your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-uses-for-those-old-whitewalls">tire</a> pressure before going into the shop and ask your mechanic to top off the air. Then you can check after the service to see if they really took care of you.</p> <p>Another way to test the honesty of a potential mechanic is to, well, be dishonest. Some consumer advocates suggest taking your car in when nothing is wrong. If the mechanic comes back with a bunch of problems, you know it's time to look elsewhere.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-find-a-reputable-mechanic">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-diy-car-repairs-to-save-big">8 Easy DIY Car Repairs to Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers">Ask the Readers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever">Do These 5 Car Maintenance Tasks and Keep Your Car on the Road Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-when-buying-their-first-car">7 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes When Buying Their First Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation avoid rip off car problems mechanic Tue, 12 Jul 2011 09:36:39 +0000 Chris Birk 615750 at http://www.wisebread.com Holiday Lessons Learned: Advice To Avoid Rip-Offs NYC http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-lessons-learned-advice-to-avoid-rip-offs-nyc <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/holiday-lessons-learned-advice-to-avoid-rip-offs-nyc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wb-losemoney.jpg" alt="img_1334" title="img_1334" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><span>This holiday season in the city has been rough for me. I moved out to NYC for a few months thinking I&#39;d be set with my savings and supplementary, lucrative temp work. It was the first year I had saved and budgeted, and my calculations told me I was financially stable for a good three months. However, at the approach of the New Year I still felt the financial strains. Looking back now, I want to hit my head at some of the foolish mistakes I could have avoided as a city newbie. I&#39;ve learned that you&#39;ve got to be quick city -- I mean this in a financially saavy way-- and hopefully my experiences with rip offs can help those who are planning an NYC trip or move to avoid learning the hard way. </span></p> <p><span><strong>Always keep receipts:</strong> With the holiday shopping frenzy going on, shoppers aren&#39;t the only ones distracted, frustrated and scatter-brained. Employees will often ring up the wrong prices, not implement proper discounts, and make various errors. You should not only keep the receipt, but always check it before leaving the store, even if the price for your purchase seems right. My own experiences? I&#39;d been charged three times for one item, charged full price for a 50% discounted item and had mistakenly bought a falsely priced sale item. Had I take a minute to skim the receipt before hurrying out the door, I could have avoided the phone calls to the bank, the trips back to the store, long customer service lines, and the lost money.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Always ask for cab receipts:</strong> This isn&#39;t only during the holidays. It is always wise to ask for a cab receipt, even if you pay in cash (and especially if you pay by credit card). First off, if you leave anything valuable in the cab, such as shopping bags or cell phones, you will need the medallion number for the cab to track down your property. A simple receipt, which will have the medallion number on it, can save you the hassle of having to chase down one of hundreds of yellow cabs in the city. As you can see, this will virtually be impossible. </span><span>Also yellow cabs now have credit card machines. This seemingly nice convenience can actually become a nightmare if, as it often happens, the machine isn&#39;t functioning properly. NY cab drivers often complain that the service doesn&#39;t work. I&#39;ve used my debit card in one of these machines and twice, I received an error message: &quot;can&#39;t process at this time.&quot; I had to then run to an ATM, incur a $2 fee plus a bank fee for using a non-bank machine and pay the fare in cash. However, when I checked my bank account the next day, I saw two pending charges for the same cab fare. A week passed before I was refunded. This could have all been resolved much more easily had I asked for a receipt and known the cab&#39;s medallion number.</span></p> <p><span><a href="http://www.nyccabfare.com/" title="NYC cab fare finder"><strong>Calculate cab fare</strong></a><strong> before taking a trip:</strong> This may not be feasible for short trips around Manhattan that will only cost a few dollars. But for trips to the airport or further destinations, it may be in your interest to calculate a fare and get an idea of how much it should cost. Many times, cab drivers in any city will detect you’re a tourist and will conveniently take a longer route to charge you more. </span></p> <p><span><strong>Know where you’re going before getting in the cab:</strong> This relates to the above advice. It is smart to do a quick google maps direction search, or something of the like, before taking longer trips on cabs. I landed in JFK in a very tired state of mind on a red-eye flight and a normally $30 cab ride somehow came out to $50! I didn’t know the shortest way to my own new apartment, so the cab driver gave me “options”. I picked the freeway assuming it was the fastest, but of course, when I looked on the map later, I saw the driver had taken the longest route possible. Even for shorter trips, study the city! Get an idea of which areas are where – although not all cab drivers are dishonest, very few will dissuade you from mistakenly taking a longer route.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Don’t try to break the law, aka SLOW DOWN:</strong> Holiday season means crowds and people rushing everywhere. This also means that police officers are aplenty, ready to issue citations to drunk drivers, speeding road raging maniacs, and even impatient subway rules violators. Think twice before rolling through a stop sign, speeding on the freeway or, like me, running through an emergency exit in the subway (even if the turnstiles are broken!). Believe me, the police are feeling the least generous during the holidays so don’t expect any mercy and do expect hefty fines. </span></p> <p><span>Of course, these experiences aren’t limited to any one place, city, or season. NYC may just prompt particular precautions: because the city moves so fast, your brain has to work just as fast. Factor in the holiday madness and your brain has to work on overdrive. </span></p> <p><span>Now, please excuse me as I go return all the pity gifts I bought myself to relieve the tension of all the rip-offs.</span></p> <p><em><span>Anyone else experience holiday city madness and rip-offs? Share your experiences so we can all benefit from becoming smarter travelers. </span></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joann-hong">Joann Hong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-lessons-learned-advice-to-avoid-rip-offs-nyc">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice">11 Silent Budget Killers You Don&#039;t Notice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much">38 Ways to Save Money Without Trying (Much)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-i-learned-about-money-from-famous-peoples-wills">6 Things I Learned About Money From Famous People&#039;s Wills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ten-tenets-for-arranging-your-rich-part-1-rich-is-relative">Ten Tenets for &quot;Arranging Your Rich&quot; - Part 1: Rich is Relative</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting avoid rip off cab holiday money new york NY nyc receipts rip off save taxi Fri, 28 Dec 2007 22:02:10 +0000 Joann Hong 1551 at http://www.wisebread.com