45°F
weather icon Clear

‘Sure, I can fix that for you’ scams

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am a technophobe.

If it’s got a power source or an electrical plug, I get confused opening the box.

This very critical mental block extends to far less serious things, such as routine oil changes and air conditioner recharges.

The elderly and businessmen with manicured nails and wearing Ralph Lauren suits are easy targets for less-than-honest repair facilities.

Seniors make great targets, too, and bubble-headed blondes who routinely use words like “thingamajiggie” “whoozayoucal it,” and “clunk, clunk noises.” (In fact, females in general.)

Are there repair facility frauds out there? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding, yes.

Do too many people allow scammers wearing repairman clothes into their homes? Again, same answer.

Here are some hints to help you avoid the bad guys.

VEHICLES

1.If the vehicle is still running, always get a second opinion/estimate. (A third if necessary.)

2. When you go into a shop for “routine maintenance service,” unless you know the shop well, be very careful. Some unscrupulous shops will actually set another part up for wear, tear or damage while they are doing the “free” inspection on your car. The intent is to make you happy that you are getting something “free,” then grab your return business four weeks later when you hear a “clunk, clunk, clunk.”

3. Oil change coupons? You walk in with a $23.99 “deal” and walk out with a $63 charge on your credit card. It’s up-selling at is worst. Better grade oil? A charge for the rags used? Topping off fluids?

4. Air conditioning repair. It’s uncomfortable when the AC quits in 115-degree weather. You might need a recharge of the Freon ($125?) — and end up with an $800 job after listening to a quick-talking “your car is about to explode” bunch of scary mumbo jumbo.

HOME REPAIRS

1. Avoid a door knock from a stranger who just happens to have extra material left over from another job and will give you a “deal.”

2. Watch out for generally phrased coupons. Agree on a final price BEFORE the job begins — in writing.

3. Understand that a new business can pay to join the BBB, so never rely too much on paid affiliation endorsements. An endorsement/approval from a known company, e.g. Maytag or Westinghouse, means so much more.

4. Know up front exactly what products (brands and quality) will be used to do your job. In writing.

5. See #4 under vehicles. If it’s your house, that $800 can turn into $3,000.

It all boils down to doing your homework, knowing who you are dealing with, checking out the contractor or mechanic, obtaining the quote in writing before the job is authorized and understanding “There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch.”

If you still believe you were scammed, make a report. Me? I prefer the Consumer Protection Bureau as well as online forums.

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pahrump Arts Council hosts first ever art sale fundraiser

Facing an unexpected loss of funding through alleged embezzlement by a former board member, the Pahrump Arts Council has been hard at work striving to recoup some of that money.

Buttigieg takes Nye County with Sanders sweeping Nevada

The Nevada Democratic Caucus is now at an end and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner in the Silver State, with a commanding lead at 6,788 county delegates, according to the state party’s results website.

High school rodeo returning to Pahrump

The Nevada State High School Rodeo Association will return to Pahrump this weekend at McCullough Rodeo Arena, in conjunction with the 7th annual Pahrump Balloon Festival at Petrack Park.

Nye County Democrats turn out for early voting

For the first time ever, the Nevada Democratic Party made the decision to expand its caucus process by including early voting this year and residents from all across the state turned out in droves to participate, with long lines reported at many of the early voting locations throughout the Silver State.

Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton set to retire

For more than 30 years, Dale Norton has been an integral part of the Nye County School District family, starting his career as a principal in Amargosa and eventually making his way up the ranks to become Superintendent, but his time with the Nye County School District is now nearing its end.

Nye County narrowly passes resolution praising Trump’s accomplishments

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, just three days before the Nevada Democratic Caucus, the Nye County Commission narrowly approved an official resolution outlining President Donald Trump’s accomplishments throughout his time in office.

Nevada and Nye GOP set for weekend of events in Pahrump

This coming weekend may be quite an exciting time for the Nevada Democratic Party, with eyes around the nation focused on the Silver State’s 2020 Democratic Caucus, but the Nevada Republican Party isn’t allowing the other side of the aisle to revel in the spotlight all on its own.