A mechanic revealed that something that sounds like it’s a good deal for customers might be an on-ramp to a scam.
The knowledge comes via the folks at Genuine Automotive (@genuineautomotiveatx), an Austin, Texas mechanic shop that’s bringing auto repair wisdom to TikTok. In this video, an unidentified person at the shop asks a mechanic named Dwayne, “What’s the most common scam to look out for in an automotive shop?”
If you hear this… you're getting scammed 🏃♂️♬ original sound – Genuine Automotive
He responds, “A shop telling you that they will give you a free diagnosis if you do the repair with them.” He then explains, “What they do is they basically roll that diagnostic hour of labor or however many hours into the repair to where you’re still paying for it.”
The video is one of the more popular recent posts on the account, having received more than 710,000 views in just two days on the platform.
It sparked a spirited debate among commenters about whether this really was a scam, starting with an account called Mechanic Auto Sales that disputed the claim.
“I wouldn’t really call it a scam,” that commenter said. “The shop technically still spent the time in diagnosing the car and should get paid for their time.”
Genuine Automotive retorted, “Ehh.”
Someone else made a similar point, though, noting, “It’s not always a scam. I’ve worked for several shops that have done this and actually don’t charge the customer for the diagnosis.”
But an assessment that seemed to back the video also courted controversy.
“If I pay 1300 for a repair and they start hitting me with diagnostic fees that’s the last time I ever go there,” that person assessed.
Someone countered, “When you have a plumber come to your house, do you pay for a service call?”
Another pointed out that the ‘scam’ was actually pretty common, writing, “If I get a tire fixed is there a diagnostic fee, or a roof repair or anything else in life.”
For one, it all boiled down to the magic word people are attracted to.
“Most popular word in the English language is ‘free.’ Nothing is free. You pay for it somewhere.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Genuine Automotive via TikTok comment.