AutoMD.com(TM) Ranks Best and Worst Cities for Auto Repair Car Owner Fears About Unfair Repair Shop Quotes Confirmed

Advocacy Report Measures Affordability, Price Disparity Range and Shop Integrity

CARSON, Calif., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- AutoMD.com (www.automd.com), the most comprehensive and unbiased free online auto repair resource, today released its Advocacy for Repair Shop Fairness Report, the first to analyze how the top-50 most populated U.S. cities stack up when it comes to providing consumers with fair auto repair cost estimates. In the report, Memphis ranked as the best city for fairness and consistency of prices quoted in auto repair, while Chicago ranked as the worst.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100224/LA59953-a)

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20100224/LA59953-b)

For the report, AutoMD.com mystery shoppers conducted a fairness check of over 600 shops in the top-50 DMAs* (including a range of dealers, independent shops, and franchises like Pep Boys) by requesting quotes on a typical auto repair job: a front brake replacement job for a Ford Focus. To measure pricing integrity, the mystery shoppers called back two weeks later with an industry standard price estimate.  The best and worst list was then calculated based on each city's rankings for three critical factors, weighted equally:

  1. Repair Affordability: The average cost-per-job for that city based on prices quoted by repair shops
  2. Price Disparity Range: The percentage variance between the lowest price quoted and the highest price quoted in each market
  3. Shop Integrity Factor: The percentage of shops that shifted their original quoted price by more than 5% when presented with an industry standard price estimate

"If you are one of the 88% of car owners who feel that they are not getting a fair shake at the repair shop** ... this report shows that you are probably right," said AutoMD.com President Shane Evangelist.  "Repair shop quotes in more than half of the cities for the same job had a variance from lowest to highest of over 150% - with over two-thirds of the shops overall changing their price quote when presented with an industry standard price."

Underscoring that few car owners are immune to the challenges of repair shop pricing, Evangelist noted that even in Memphis, the report's top ranked city, there was a 135% price quote disparity - with one in four of the city's repair shops tested changing its quote when presented with an industry standard price.

AutoMD.com's Advocacy for Repair Shop Fairness Report rankings for the Five Best and Worst Cities are:

    
    
    Five Best Cities for Auto Repair
    
                                       Price    
                                       Disp-    Shop
                                       arity    Integ-
                                       (%Var-   rity     Afford-       
                                       iance    (%Shops  ability 
                                       In Price That     Rank     Price Shop
                Highest Lowest Average Quotes   Switched (Average Disp- Integ-
                Price   Price  Price   For Same Price    Price    arity rity
    Rank City   Quoted  Quoted Quoted  Job)     Quotes)  Quote)   Rank  Rank
    
    1 Memphis    $200    $90    $141    122%     25%      5        10    1
    2 Jackson-
      ville      $190    $80    $130    137%     50%      3        12    4
    3 Omaha      $190    $80    $149    138%     33%      8        13    2
    4 San 
      Antonio    $215    $86    $141    150%     50%      5        17    4
    5 Austin     $190    $100   $152    90%      67%      9        3     19
    
    
    
    Five Worst Cities for Auto Repair
    
                                       Price    
                                       Disp-    Shop
                                       arity    Integ-
                                       (%Var-   rity     Afford-       
                                       iance    (%Shops  ability 
                                       In Price That     Rank     Price Shop
                Highest Lowest Average Quotes   Switched (Average Disp- Integ-
                Price   Price  Price   For Same Price    Price)   arity rity
    Rank City   Quoted  Quoted Quoted  Job)     Quotes)           Rank  Rank
    
    46 Raleigh   $250    $60    $168    317%     83%      29       44    38
    47 Washing-
       ton DC    $367    $140   $214    162%     92%      43       22    48
    48 Albuq-
       uerque    $312    $99    $171    216%     88%      31       36    47
    49 Honolulu  $545    $151   $273    262%     75%      50       41    26
    50 Chicago   $425    $150   $226    183%     100%     46       30    50

"With such drastic quote fluctuations within each city -- and a chronic lack of integrity in the actual prices quoted -- consumers clearly need to arm themselves with research before setting foot in the repair shop," continued Evangelist.  "The bottom line is that information is power; and, fortunately, car owners now have access to online tools so they can compare local repair shops, establish a local market repair invoice price and make sure that they get a fair deal at the repair shop."

To see if your city is best, worst or somewhere in-between, see AutoMD.com's complete Advocacy for Repair Shop Fairness Report rankings below or click here.

    
    
                                       Price    
                                       Disp-    Shop
                                       arity    Integ-
                                       (%Var-   rity     Afford-       
                                       iance    (%Shops  ability 
                                       In Price That     Rank     Price Shop
                Highest Lowest Average Quotes   Switched (Average Disp- Integ-
                Price   Price  Price   For Same Price    Price)   arity rity
    Rank City   Quoted  Quoted Quoted  Job)     Quotes)           Rank  Rank
    
    1 Memphis    $200    $90    $141    122%     25%      5        10    1
    2 Jackson-
      ville      $190    $80    $130    137%     50%      3        12    4
    3 Omaha      $190    $80    $149    138%     33%      8        13    2
    4 San
      Antonio    $215    $86    $141    150%     50%      5        17    4
    5 Austin     $190    $100   $152    90%      67%      9        3     19
    6 Long
      Beach      $200    $125   $162    60%      58%      24       1     9
    7 Phila-
      delphia    $265    $95    $152    179%     42%      9        27    3
    8 Tucson     $211    $100   $152    111%     75%      9        7     26
    9 Virginia
      Beach      $212    $80    $157    165%     58%      14       23    9
    10 Las Vegas $275    $100   $157    175%     58%      14       26    9
    11 Nashville $225    $90    $143    150%     75%      7        17    26
    12 Charlotte $230    $109   $163    111%     67%      27       7     19
    13 El Paso   $297    $125   $171    138%     58%      31       13    9
    14 Miami     $180    $90    $127    100%     92%      1        6     48
    15 Cleveland $312    $135   $180    131%     58%      37       11    9
    16 Denver    $250    $149   $203    68%      67%      40       2     19
    17 Boston    $265    $110   $161    141%     75%      20       16    26
    18 Colorado
       Springs   $238    $100   $162    138%     75%      24       13    26
    19 Los
       Angeles   $240    $95    $161    153%     75%      20       19    26
    20 New York  $230    $80    $158    188%     67%      16       32    19
    21 Arlington $250    $70    $162    257%     50%      24       40    4
    22 Kansas
       City      $250    $50    $152    400%     58%      9        50    9
    23 Minnea-
       polis     $321    $119   $161    170%     75%      20       24    26
    24 Portland  $244    $90    $178    171%     58%      36       25    9
    25 Dallas    $257    $90    $159    186%     75%      18       31    26
    26 Detroit   $219    $65    $128    237%     83%      2        37    38
    27 Houston   $226    $65    $161    248%     67%      20       39    19
    28 Fresno    $280    $100   $210    181%     58%      42       28    9
    29 Indiana-
       polis     $274    $55    $139    398%     75%      4        49    26
    30 Mesa      $235    $90    $173    161%     75%      34       21    26
    31 Baltimore $275    $140   $191    96%      83%      39       5     38
    32 New
       Orleans   $275    $60    $172    359%     42%      33       46    3
    33 Columbus,
       OH        $309    $159   $209    94%      83%      41       4     38
    34 Fort
       Worth     $300    $65    $166    362%     58%      28       47    9
    35 Atlanta   $209    $74    $159    182%     83%      18       29    38
    36 Oklahoma
       City      $230    $60    $158    283%     75%      16       43    26
    37 Louis-
       ville     $240    $70    $169    243%     67%      30       38    19
    38 Seattle   $399    $130   $215    207%     58%      44       35    9
    39 San Jose  $278    $130   $215    114%     83%      44       9     38
    40 Milwaukee $290    $65    $156    346%     83%      13       45    38
    41 San
       Francisco $380    $130   $237    192%     67%      47       33    19
    42 Oakland   $450    $95    $264    374%     50%      49       48    4
    43 Phoenix   $340    $90    $177    278%     75%      35       42    26
    44 Sacra-
       mento     $450    $175   $247    157%     83%      48       20    38
    45 San Diego $275    $90    $186    206%     83%      38       34    38
    46 Raleigh   $250    $60    $168    317%     83%      29       44    38
    47 Washing-
       ton DC    $367    $140   $214    162%     92%      43       22    48
    48 Albuq-
       uerque    $312    $99    $171    216%     88%      31       36    47
    49 Honolulu  $545    $151   $273    262%     75%      50       41    26
    50 Chicago   $425    $150   $226    183%     100%     46       30    50
    
    *  Designated Market Area
    ** A recent AutoMD.com survey shows that 88% of car-owners have felt
       overcharged at the repair shop, with 74% reporting the shop either
       suggested or charged them for repairs not needed.

About AutoMD.com

AutoMD.com (www.automd.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of US Auto Parts Network, Inc., (Nasdaq: PRTS), is the most comprehensive and unbiased free online automotive repair resource designed to empower car owners with the best way to repair their vehicles.  Backed by a team of automotive data specialists and certified auto mechanics who are advocates for the car owner, AutoMD.com allows both car owners and DIYers to 1. Diagnose car problems, 2. Know how much auto repairs should cost, 3. Understand the steps needed and the time it should take with How-to Auto Repair guides, and 4. Find the right local auto repair shop at the right price for their issue.  

Unlike other repair sites, AutoMD.com does not rely on revenue from repair shops or dealerships, so car owners can rest assured that AutoMD.com repair shop listings are completely unbiased and designed to help car owners choose the best, most affordable shop for their vehicle issue.

Contact:


Media Relations

Melanie Webber, mWEBB Communications, (949) 307-1723, melanie@mwebbcom.com

Angela Jacobson,  mWEBB Communications, (714) 454-8776, angela@mwebbcom.com


SOURCE AutoMD.com



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