Car Servicing Costs Found to Vary by Gender, Study Finds
While it is no longer legal for insurers in the UK to alter the price of car cover based on the gender of the customer in question, it seems that this level of equality has not been achieved in the servicing industry.
This is according to a new report published by Sheilas’ Wheels in which it was discovered that on average a female driver is likely to save 13 per cent on the cost of servicing their car compared to a man seeking exactly the same repair work.
Analysts did not rely on a survey to come to this conclusion. They used a proactive approach to testing out whether or not there is a gender bias and contacted 100 garages nationwide to request servicing for a used Ford Fiesta.
For women the typical cost of a basic service was quoted as being £94, while for men the price rose to £106 on average. And the gender divide is even more pronounced for retirees.
Women over the age of 60 benefit from a 32 per cent saving on car maintenance costs compared to their male counterparts, paying £196 for repair work rather than £258. For servicing the gap is still higher than the average across all age ranges at 17 per cent, according to Auto Express.
The report’s authors point out that the increased technical complexity of modern cars means that most buyers know less about the inner workings of their vehicles than they did two or three decades ago. As a result of this, the likelihood of being charged over the odds for fairly basic work has also risen, regardless of the gender or experience level of the individual in question.
Spokesperson Elspeth Hackett said that British motorists often find the experience of taking their car in for servicing or repairs to be both expensive and quite overwhelming, particularly if they have little understanding of what issues are undermining the normal functions of their vehicle. She said that this left many people exposed to exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous operators who are all too willing to overcharge for parts and labour, whatever the sex, age or background of the customer.
Hackett said that to combat this state of affairs it was important for drivers to do some prior research and learn more about how their cars work, enabling them to get a better sense of what repairs will be necessary when a breakdown occurs. She also argued that in the age of the internet, it was much easier for people to get information about potential problems and also compare prices from multiple garages before committing, all without having to necessarily reveal their age or gender before a quote is provided.
It is worth noting that the study only involved an analysis of independently owned and operated garages across the country and so did not include an assessment of main dealerships or major car servicing chains.
This could suggest that people who want to get a consistent experience in terms of price and do not want to suffer discrimination of any kind should opt for a more mainstream garage when they need to fix an issue with their car or have an annual service carried out by professionals.
It is also sensible to point out that while this particular study found that prices were skewed in favour of female car owners, earlier reports have suggested that the opposite is true, indicating that men usually get a better deal on this kind of work.
Ultimately, the ability to check on prices and customer reviews online before deciding to do business with a particular organisation is always going to leave consumers in a stronger position, whether they are getting their vehicle repaired, comparing car finance packages or placing an order for a delivery of any number of other products in the UK.