Here’s a cautionary tale that was told to the Better Business Bureau’s “Scam Tracker” by a victim:
A man told the victim that he could fix the dents in her car while she was in the store shopping.
“When I came out, he had drilled a bunch of holes into the body of my car,” the victim said. “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.”
This kind of scam – persuasive strangers claiming to “fix” dents in a person’s car – is popping up more and more, according to the bureau.
Here’s 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.
If you agree to the repairs, more than likely you will end up with a ruined car exterior, the bureau said in a recent consumer alert.
Here’s how to avoid repair scams, according to the BBB:
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, offer to check out the company they say they're representing to see if it is in fact legitimate.
Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics. Scammers will often pressure their target to accept their offer, demand full payment upfront with a statement that the person will never get a better price anywhere else. High pressure, now-or-never sales tactics are a hallmark of scams.
Research repair shops before you do business. Look up reviews and business ratings of any repair person or company before agreeing to any service. If a person can’t wait for you to research and compare companies, find someone else to do the job or explain to the imposing salesperson that the problem can be taken care of somewhere else.
For more information on how to protect yourself from scams go to BBB.org/AvoidScams.
Lastly, if you’ve been the victim of a repair scam, report it to the BBB Scam Tracker. Your report will help others stay alert to the danger.