Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dear AARP, I Don’t Get Your Mentioning of RepairPal As a ‘Great Way to Save'

AARP lists using RepairPal as a great way to save and find out what the “job should cost.” So, I thought I would give it a try on my iPhone.

It was easy to download the app and plug in the information for my Ford Escape. Acton Ford is a few miles down the road and has a reputation for best-in-class service; some people in my office take their Hondas there.

I plugged in a repair for front brake pads and rotor replacement and got back a wide range of prices that indicates what this might cost, but gives me no clue on how to save. The price ranges for both parts and labor are huge and I’m stuck scratching my head.

I asked RepairPal for recommendations on where to go. They want to send me to places that have lots of stars … but, almost no reviews. The top recommendation was 18 miles away (30-40 minutes), and if I wanted a “specialist” they wanted to send me to a car dealer 11.6 miles away … one that does not sell Ford products. Hmmm.

Ron Bouchard had only one RepairPal review, but six Google reviews. Six was not enough for Google to make a qualified recommendation on Ron, so I had to read the reviews. (RepairPal is not burdened by the messy laws of statistics.) Three of Ron Bouchard’s six reviews were pretty awful – a tad old, but still, 50% of the reviews were thumbs down.

My local Ford dealer was three pages down the list in digital “Siberia”, unrated, and only 2.6 miles away. And, he is pretty wonderful.

Bottom Line: So, AARP, did RepairPal give me even a tiny clue how to save money? No. They wanted to send me to repair locations that were miles away, had irrelevant or just plain bad customer reviews, and gave me no real help determining what the repair might actually cost. Sure, they gave me a mighty range of costs, but so could my Grandmother. Shame on you AARP. I wish I was less than 50 years old so I wouldn’t get so much of your junk mail and junk ideas.

Best regards,

David P. Carlisle

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