A chump and their change are soon parted. Don’t be a chump. Avoid this parking lot hustle.
Your car has been sporting a bruised or busted bumper for a few months now, but who has time to fix it? Or maybe you don’t want the insurance company expense, especially if the busted fender was of your doing.
Still, that bruised and busted bumper haunts you every time you see your car. After all, you don’t want to end up with a beater.
You’re walking into work or school one morning when it happens. An earnest and clean-cut guy approaches you and offers to fix your fender for cash. His services include paint-matching, bumper repair, and even taking care of any small dents.
Sweet. He’ll work on your car while you’re at work or in class, and you can’t beat the price. You know if you go through a body shop, you could be without a car for a week or longer.
Who needs that crap when you have a job or three and need your car to get you to and from?
Besides, it’s only a couple of hundred bucks vs. a couple thousand a body shop would charge. What’s the harm anyway?
Don’t fall for it. Not for a minute.
One of the most popular parking lot hustles involves shady folks who pose as auto body repair techs eager to separate a gullible person from their hard-earned cash. Nobody wants to be caught driving a beater, and these crooks play on that fear.
They watch for people with busted or chipped bumpers, and then they close in.
They may say they’re just starting out in the auto body business and they’ll fix your car for a cheap price as a means of getting started. They may tell you anything.
Maybe they lost their job and are doing auto body work on the side. A sob story or five…anything to get your cash.
One such hustler had his grandmother in tow, who assured targets that her grandson was a “good boy.” That good boy was later talking with the cops after a potential victim filed a police report.
Here’s what you do instead:
If you are approached in a parking lot with an offer for auto body work, either say “no” flat out or ask for a business card.
Tell the person thanks, you’ll be in touch; and then Google the crap out of the business listed on the card.
Cross-check them under the Better Business Bureau website. Check Google and Yelp for any reviews.
If nothing checks out, toss the card. No harm done.
If there is no business card in the first place, you just saved yourself from getting played.
If you’re feeling particularly civic-minded, you can file a police report for attempted fraud. Only do this if you have enough information for the police to follow up with.
In short: never take a stranger’s offer of cheap bumper repair.
Your work hard for your money. Don’t be so quick to part with it.