Car accidents usually bring a load of stress, leaving motorists in need of immediate help. Accident victims who may not make informed decisions on their towing and repair services could face high up-front fees, improper repairs and extended lengths of time in which their vehicles were out of service while waiting for repairs.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Chicago and Northern Illinois has compiled the following tips to help drivers make informed decisions after an accident:
• Call your insurance agent from the accident scene.
• Never give permission to a tow operator who arrives unsolicited to take your vehicle.
• Do not provide a tow truck operator with personal lien holder information.
• Ensure that the tow truck signage matches the name that you called and is identical to any documentation the tow truck operator provides.
• If the truck is not marked, ask for identification.
• If in doubt, call the company back to insure the operator is.
• Get recommendations. Talk to friends and family for recommendations. Ask your auto insurance agent, auto parts salesperson, or other business people you know.
• Check the repair shop's complaint records with the Consumer Protection Division and their Business Review your Better Business Bureau. The shop you select should have a good track record of resolving any complaints.
• Look for a mechanic with experience working on the same automobile model and make as yours. Seek out a mechanic with good credentials, updated knowledge and skill. Some shops display ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification, which indicates the mechanic has met basic standards in a specific technical area. You can also check for shops that participate in the AAA auto service program. But be careful. An ASE test or other certification is not an indication of ethics and integrity.
• Interview mechanics. Are they willing to answer your questions? Do they convey a positive, professional image? Ask if the technician or shop has experience working on the same model vehicle as yours.
Ask the shop for the names of customer references. Then call those references.
• Look for a shop with a clean and well maintained repair area.
• Do not pay in full until the repairs are complete.
For more information on finding auto repair companies you can trust, visit www.bbb.org