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Are Women Charged More for Auto Repairs?

When seeking vehicular repairs following an auto accident, it can be difficult to find an honest mechanic, and even harder to find a fair price, especially for women. Generally, repair shops assume that women know less about their vehicles than men. Therefore, auto repair shops often charge higher prices to women for the same vehicle repairs.

Several studies have been conducted in order to identify why this price difference exists. One such study conducted by professors at Harvard Business School and Northwestern University discovered that the amount of knowledge an individual has regarding their vehicle influences the cost of auto repairs.

The Set-Up

The above-noted study, conducted by Ayelet Israeli, Meghan Busse, and Florian Zettlemeyer, sought to discover precisely what determined price differences for auto repairs. This experiment was designed to test the likelihood of any repair shop to base pricing on a consumer’s knowledge. Also testing whether or not the knowledge of a consumer would be assumed based on their gender.

This experiment had three test groups, each comprised of men and women, with varying levels of information. These groups would then call into various auto repair shops seeking the same repairs for the same make and model of vehicle. 

One group labeled ‘misinformed’ called into auto repair shops referencing an expected price for their repairs. However, this price greatly exceeded the fair market cost for repairs. The second group labeled ‘well informed’ would call into various auto repair shops quoting an expected cost of repair equal to the fair market price. Finally, the third group labeled ‘uninformed’ would call into various auto body shops with no expectation for a fair price.  

Conclusions

This study found that repair shops were more likely to quote higher repair costs to the ‘misinformed’ group regardless of gender. Women from the ‘uninformed’ group were more likely to see higher repair costs. Alternatively, repair shops were more likely to give a price break to women if they asked. Men from the ‘uninformed’ group were provided with lower prices than men from the ‘informed’ group. The most notable finding is that having any information even wrong information about pricing removes gender-biased pricing.

Analysis

This study found that gender-based pricing disappears when the consumer has a cost expectation. Therefore, prior to taking your vehicle in for repairs, you should do some research regarding the fair market repair cost.

Furthermore, this study proved that auto shops assume mechanical knowledge based on consumer gender; evidenced by the fact that men in the uninformed group received lower prices compared to women. Additionally, when men claimed to have no expectation, they were quoted lower prices (compared to men in the ‘informed’ group) as the repair shops assumed it was a tactic to decrease the repair price. Comparatively, when women called in with no expectation for repair costs, several auto body shops attempted to take advantage of their lack of knowledge; quoting higher prices. 

However, as evidenced by this research, the price difference between men and women can be made up; auto body shops were 10% more likely to give women a price break upon request.

How to Avoid Exploitation

The best way to avoid pricing scams is to do your research before you repair your vehicle. Having any information at all has proven to be beneficial to the consumer regardless of gender. Furthermore, be upfront about your cost expectation, this can help you in negotiations with repair shops.

Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to connect with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam!

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