Friday, June 13, 2008

RepairPal Can Be Your Buddy

Have you ever had the feeling that you were being screwed by your mechanic? That he was charging you way too much for service? Of course you have. We've all felt that way - lots of times. The problem is that consumers have a huge information deficit. We don't know how much repairs should cost so we have to take the word of the guy who is giving you the estimate. Sure, you could get a competing offer, but in most cases that's not practical. Who has time to go driving all over town getting quotes? And what if your car isn't drivable?

Enter RepairPal. The folks at RepairPal collected a ton of historical repair data, sliced it and diced it with the help of a couple of dozen mechanics and can now give you an estimate for your repair. You tell them what make/model/year vehicle you have, your zip code and what service you need and they'll give you a range that you should expect to pay. It really is impressive and could conceivably save you hundreds of dollars.

What might be cool is to take your service history (you use BrightCar to track that, right?) and see if you've been getting fair prices. I'm definitely going to do that and see if I need to change repair shops!

You can find two nice reviews of RepairPal (which just launched this week) at TechCrunch and Wired.

3 comments:

FairRepair said...

Have a look at http://www.FairRepair.com. Our service will generate an accurate estimate (No ranges) giving you the exact labor time with average labor rates in your area calculated from a 65K record repair facility. Our service also lists out the exact OEM Part # & Price. Our Parts & Labor Data, along with a majority of all repair facilities estimating software is licensed through MOTOR Information Systems. If you want an accurate vehicle repair estimate, check us out.

Dave said...

FairRepair.com looks pretty cool as well, except for two big issues.

The first is that I have to put my car's VIN in there to get an estimate. I don't know my car's VIN. Sure, I can go find it, but it would be nice if I could just enter make/model/year/style info instead.

The second one is bigger. FairRepair.com is not free. I have to pay $10 to get an estimate. That's not too expensive, of course, but I just don't like paying for information when I can't even be sure if it's helpful. I really think they are going to have to rethink their business model with RepairPal out there offering the same info (or close enough) for free.

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