Rip-off car mechanics are costing the country £8bn in over-charged, unnecessary or poor-quality work, according to a poll of UK motorists.
Asked specifically if they felt they had been scammed by a mechanic, 48% of the 1,376 car owners surveyed by insurance.co.uk thought they had been.
A third believe they have paid £100 more than they should have, half say it was £500, 12% claim £1,000 - and 3% put the figure as high as £3,000.
While nearly three in five drivers would always use a garage for car repair, maintenance and servicing, 38% would only take their car to a professional if it needed major maintenance work.
More than half opt to stay away from professional mechanics for fear of being overcharged for repairs or servicing, 48% believe a garage will try to do unnecessary work, and 34% - 42% of women - fear their lack of knowledge about cars will be exploited.
A spokesman for the firm said: "Our research highlights that there are a number of rogue tradesmen trying to exploit drivers and consumer confidence in the industry is low.
"In the current economic climate car owners could be holding on to used cars for longer, rather than trading in for a new model."
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