Keeping mechanics honest?

Posted on September 12th, 2007 in Automotive News by Julian Edgar

An interesting press release:


Mechanics and car dealerships that overcharge for services and repairs will now be caught because one of their ‘own’ has created a new business that guarantees fair prices for car owners.

The brainchild of Richard Palmer, a mechanic for more than 22 years, ausQuote protects its customers, from being intimidated by mechanics and paying for parts and labour at unfair prices, or worse yet, for parts and labour that are not even required or supplied.

Prior to any work being undertaken on the car, the mechanic’s quote is sent to ausQuote who carefully assess it and report back to the car owner on whether they are being charged too much and what repairs should be undertaken and at what cost.
Mr Palmer was inspired to start ausQuote after his grandmother was quoted $1596 for a roadworthy certificate in 2004 when all the car really needed was a new headlight globe at a total cost $105!

“It made me realise that people who didn’t know a lot about cars needed a service that would give them some confidence and peace-of-mind when dealing with a mechanic or car dealership,” said Mr Palmer.

“We’ve all heard the horror stories so I developed a way of keeping the industry honest because for those of us whose car knowledge is limited to knowing where the petrol cap is, a visit to the mechanic can be an intimidating, overwhelming experience.

“Our job at ausQuote is simply to help car owners get a fair-go from their mechanic,” he said.

Richard Palmer, who is a qualified mechanic, was nominated as the apprentice of the year in 1986, has worked extensively in the automotive industry for more than two decades with 11 of them dealing directly in spare parts and 10 years in sales and management roles.

Annual membership is $79.95 and is fully inclusive of a detailed report outlining ausQuote’s estimation of a fair and reasonable cost for the car’s service or repair – this report would have saved Richard’s grandmother $1491 immediately.

ausQuote also offers a car management service ‘Car Watch’, which electronically notifies owners when their vehicle needs servicing, tyres require inspecting as well as when insurance, emergency roadside assistance and registration is due; membership starts from as little as $5.95 a year.

ausQuote provides cars owners all over Australia with the first vehicle assessing service ensuring that motorists pay a fair and reasonable prices for their car’s servicing and repairs and can be contacted on 1300 729 585 for more information or visit

4 Responses to 'Keeping mechanics honest?'

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  1. John said,

    on September 13th, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Seems like a good idea, I’m sure we all have a story of a friend/relative who was ripped off at some stage.

    Having said that though, unless they actually look at the car themselves, how are they going to know whether you’re being charged for something you don’t need, apart from things that really stand out as odd by asking a few questions?

    Even in the example of his grandmother, she could give ausquote a copy of a quote listing $1,500 worth of work needed for a road worthy, but unless they look at the car themselves, how can they know it only needed a headlight globe?

    Unless I’ve missed something, their website just seems to say they check the quote, ie: if his grandmother got a quote that said “change headlight globe: $1,500” they would be onto something….

  2. jrhook said,

    on September 13th, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    I can only see this system working if the mechanics are quoting above retail prices for parts and excessive labour charges for work performed. It could also be said that if “up selling” or “over servicing” was involved an experienced mechanic would within reason be able to at least caution the customer that it would be unusual for a car to need work specified. I heard this week that some mechanics in melbourne are on percentage bonuses for upselling jobs IE car comes in for $150 service, customer is rung with a list of work that should be done immeadiately and before they know it the bill is now $900. The up sell was $750 X 15% the mechanic picks up 112.5. This is from a very reliable source and I am an ex-mechanic and have been in the industry for 28 years.

  3. Ray K said,

    on September 19th, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Can’t see the sense in this. My experience – Recently needed a road-worthy on a well maintained and regularly serviced Toyota Corolla. Local garage came back saying it needed a sump gasket ( car had never dropped oil) and new wiper blades (mechanic said those fancy silicon blades only last a few months !!! so he had put in a good rubber set -$24 !!- I could have cried 🙁 ) but I needed that cert. so just shut up and paid. I know I was ripped off. How could anyone who could not see the car check this. I suspect we are all ripped off in small amounts and take it as the cost off doing business.

  4. Jim said,

    on May 18th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Several years ago I was a passenger in a vehicle being topped up with petrol. While waiting for the precedure to be completed, I saw a mechanic testing a vehicles electric powered radiator fan on a battery on the shop floor.
    The fan worked flawlessly, the mechanic was joined by another mechanic, they conversed, tested the fan several times without failure. Then the second mechanic walked away, the first mechanic retested this fan again, then got up walked out of the workshop towards the red vehicle, as he passed me, (unknown to him I had been vwatching him all this time), with great strength, he taw the wires from the electric motor, then placed it on the red vehicle.
    Yep, I saw this happen right before my eyes, I pity the vehicle owner who placed his trust in this service station, at XXXXXXX [edited for legal reasons], queensland, Australia.