ARLINGTON, VA —Dent repair scams have been around for years, but that doesn’t mean people have stopped falling for them. BBB Scam Tracker is getting reports of persuasive strangers claiming to “fix” dents in your car. Stay alert to the following tactics and avoid falling prey to this scam.

How the Scam Works

A person approaches you in the parking lot of a store stating they noticed dents on your car. It just so happens that they work at a body shop and can fix them for you! They promise to charge much less than what a shop would, and they can make the repairs on the spot while you are shopping. The “repair person” may try to appeal to your altruistic side by claiming that you’d be supporting their small business.

If you agree to the repairs, you could end up with a ruined car exterior. One victim told BBB Scam Tracker: “He was ‘fixing’ my car while I was in the store shopping. When I came out, he had drilled a bunch of holes into the body of my car. He told me it was standard procedure to drill holes in order to pull out the dent. Then, he put a black putty thing all over the holes and told me not to take off the putty until 24 hours later. When I tried to take off the putty, it looked worse than before."

If you question the work or the cost of the repairs, the “repair person” may get aggressive and try to intimidate you.

Spot a repair scam:

• Be wary of unsolicited offers. This kind of scam starts with someone who just happened to drive by and notice the car needed a repair. If you are approached by a stranger in a parking lot offering repair services of any kind, be careful, ask questions, and if they have a business card to check out if the company they say they're representing is in fact legitimate.

• Don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics. Scammers will often pressure you to accept their offer, demand full payment upfront with a statement you’ll never get a better price anywhere else. In addition, they only have time to do the repairs at that moment. High pressure, now-or-never sales tactics are a hallmark of scams.

• Research repairmen and repair shops before you do business. Look up reviews and business ratings of any repair person or company before agreeing to any service. If you are dealing with an individual repairman, ask for references to call and verify the quality of the work. If a person can’t wait for you to do the necessary research, find someone else to do the job.

For More Information

Find valuable information to protect yourself from scams at BBB.org/AvoidScams. For help finding a car repair service, see these tips from BBB.

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.

 

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