Kiwi Millennials twice as worried about ‘rip off’ mechanics as Boomers

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Words: Nile Bijoux
16 Dec 2019

A new study has found that 73 per cent of Millennials and Generation Z Kiwis are worried about mechanics ripping them off, compared with 42 per cent of Baby Boomers.

The research comes from BookMyCar, a new Kiwi website that allows people to find the cheapest and best mechanics available. Over 500 New Zealand car owners were asked about their recent experiences with mechanics. This includes new car dealerships, big franchise workshops, local independent ‘Mum and Pop’ shops and mobile mechanics.

It found that 42 per cent of Boomers were worried about mechanics ripping them off, while 62 per cent of Gen Xers felt the same. Meanwhile, 73 per cent of those aged 18- to 39 years said they were afraid of paying too much for vehicle repairs.

Ross Hill, co-founder of BookMyCar, said that while most New Zealand mechanics do a great job, “this is an unregulated $2 billion industry that has an elephant in the room. A lot of drivers feel ripped off. Most drivers don’t trust car workshops. The good news is that the industry can fix it. There are thousands of data points available to the industry to build fixed upfront pricing.”

Almost two-thirds of the younger drivers didn’t know if their car needed the parts they paid for in its last service or repair. Boomers were reportedly less concerned, about half as many (38 per cent) unclear about necessary parts.

The study found four main points for improvement. Around 69 per cent of all car drivers said they would like fixed price points, in contrast to the current norm of providing cost estimates. This would include consumables like oil. However, up front pricing may prove difficult to manage if vehicle owners are unclear about a problem, as the mechanic needs to spend more time finding out what’s wrong before beginning repairs.

Another point is pick up and delivery. Across the three generations, an average of 59 per cent said they would like the mechanic to pick up and drop off the vehicle if there was no added cost. However, that’s somewhat unrealistic, and overall prices would be expected to rise to incorporate this service.

Online booking is a big convenience point for younger drivers, with 61 per cent saying they would like to book their car in for a service online. However, Boomers didn’t care as much, with only 38 per cent responding in the affirmative. Gen Xers were indifferent, split evenly at 50 per cent.

Finally, the study indicated communication needs to improve. “Car owners are unlikely to understand how their cars function, especially with modern cars being so packed with technology… Workshops who clearly communicate why parts or software are needed will be rewarded by all customers, especially the naturally techy younger generations.”

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