British women are charged an average of £45 more than men for car repairs, an investigation by ClickMechanic has found. ClickMechanic, the online marketplace for car repairs, examined independent car garages across the UK and found that a standard repair costing a man £571 will typically cost a woman £616, an increase of 8%.
Male and female mystery shoppers requested quotes to replace the clutch of a 2011 Ford Focus from 182 garages across ten UK cities. The investigation found that eight out of the ten cities charged women a ‘female premium’ and only 6% of the surveyed garages gave a consistent quote to both male and female customers.
“For every female car-owner in the UK this report will come as an unwelcome surprise,” says Andrew Jervis, Co-founder and CEO of ClickMechanic. “While the vast majority of mechanics strive to provide honest and reliable quotes, these results show that there is a worrying minority of garages failing to do so. There is a desperate need across the industry for transparency and consistency in price in order to establish trust with consumers of both sexes.”
Birmingham repair garages charged the highest female premium at 31%, closely followed by Manchester (28%) and Glasgow (20%). Only two out of the ten surveyed cities bucked the trend and charged men more for a repair, with Sheffield and Edinburgh garages quoting males 5% and 19% more than females respectively.
The investigation uncovered some price-hiking across the country, regardless of the customer’s gender. On average, garages quoted both men and women £594 to carry out the work, £80 more (16%) than the £514 recommended by industry standard guidelines provided by car manufacturers, parts providers and trade bodies.
“Customers, both male and female, rely on mechanics to be accurate with their pricing. We recently carried out a study that found roughly half of people (45%) have no idea how much common repairs on an average household car should cost. While there is a small number of cowboys taking advantage of the fact that most consumers just don’t know how much their car repairs should cost, most mechanics are reliable and trustworthy. These results should therefore encourage the car repair industry to focus its efforts on making sure mechanics have the best possible tools in place to provide reliable quotes.”
This survey confirms what we have suspected for ages but couldn’t prove. And few believed us. Clearly there is no excuse for price-hiking of any kind with the technology available to tell garages how long a job should take. All they have to do is add the cost of the parts they choose (that’s another area for discussion) and their labour rate which includes their profit presumably.
Why can’t the motor industry be more professional here? Yet again it’s the few cowboys letting the majority good guys down and doing untold damage to the industry’s reputation in women’s minds.And in so doing the women steer clear of garages when they should be using them more, not less, from a safety point of view.
Nothing short of regulation will do the trick we say, especially if one of the unintended consequences of this report is to encourage women to choose cheap repair quotes in future, regardless of whether he/she is licensed or not…
This is a Guest Blog from ClickMechanic, an online marketplace making it quick and easy for drivers to get online quotes and book a vetted mechanic using an online quoting engine so users know how much they should really be paying.
The survey was carried out during April-May 2015 across 182 locations in Birmingham, Manchester, London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Edinburgh. Male and female mystery shoppers separately requested quotes for replacing the clutch plate, cover and concentric slave cylinder (release bearing) of a Ford Focus TDCi 2.0L 2011.