The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University has found that uninformed women seeking automotive repairs end up paying more than men, yet they are more successful negotiators when it comes time to talking down a service price. The study, "Repairing the Damage: The Effect of Price Expectations on Auto-Repair Price Quotes," was conducted by Kellogg professors and a student working with AutoMD.com, an online automotive repair information site.

Men and women were asked to call repair shops seeking quotes to replace the radiator on a 2003 Toyota Camry. The callers were to appear well-informed with a good idea of the expected costs, misinformed and expecting to pay more, or completely uninformed. Both sexes received similar quotes when they expressed knowledge of the market price, but pricing for men was lower when they acted uninformed. Both men and women paid higher-than-average prices when they expressed they expected to pay more.

"Our findings suggest that auto shops may assume men know the market price for a given repair, so they automatically grant it. However, they may not expect women to be knowledgeable in this area, so the perception is they can charge them more," says Meghan Busse, an associate professor of management and strategy at the Kellogg School. In an interesting twist, the study also found that women we were more able to get their requested price ten percent more often then men. "The same kind of cultural expectations that cause repair shops to overcharge women are probably also responsible for showing preference toward women in negotiations," remarked Florian Zettelmeyer, the Nancy L. Ertle Professor of Marketing.

Based on the study, researchers suggest that consumes do their research and call around for multiple quotes. To secure the best deal, always appear well-informed and reveal that you know what the expected price should be. If the shop is asking for a higher rate, request a discount. Check out the University's press release below.
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Study: Women Quoted Higher Prices on Auto Repairs but More Successful in Negotiating Discounts

Research from the Kellogg School of Management examines the effects of gender and knowledge in determining cost of auto repairs

Evanston, Ill. (June 19, 2013)-A new study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University finds that when it comes to auto repairs, women who don't appear knowledgeable about cost may end up paying more than men. However, gender differences disappear when customers mention an expected price for the repair.

The study, "Repairing the Damage: The Effect of Price Expectations on Auto-Repair Price Quotes," was conducted by Kellogg professors Meghan Busse and Florian Zettelmeyer and Northwestern University Ph.D. student Ayelet Israeli in collaboration with AutoMD.com, an online automotive repair information site.

The researchers set up field experiments to test the effects of men and women calling auto repair shops to ask for quotes on a 2003 Toyota Camry radiator replacement. The callers either appeared well-informed of the market price ($365), misinformed with expectations of a higher-than-average price ($510), or completely uninformed, with no price expectation.

Among those who appeared uninformed, women fared worse and were consistently quoted higher prices. Women who called and expressed knowledge of the market price received quotes in line with that expectation. Men, on the other hand, were quoted the same price whether they said, "I have no idea what this costs," or "I know the average cost is $365." As expected, both men and women were quoted significantly higher-than-average prices when they said their expected price was $510.

"This comes down to stereotypes and assumptions," says Meghan Busse, associate professor of management and strategy at the Kellogg School. "Our findings suggest that auto shops may assume men know the market price for a given repair, so they automatically grant it. However, they may not expect women to be knowledgeable in this area, so the perception is they can charge them more."

When it came to negotiating for a lower price, many shops were unwilling to budge. However, when they did, it was more likely to happen for women than men. In fact, 35 percent of women were able to get their requested price met, compared to 25 percent of men.
"It's kind of an ironic twist," says Florian Zettelmeyer, the Nancy L. Ertle Professor of Marketing.

"The same kind of cultural expectations that cause repair shops to overcharge women are probably also responsible for showing preference toward women in negotiations."
The study suggests some obvious strategies for customers. The first being to do your research online or by phone so you know what the repair job should cost and to shop around. If you are a woman, once you have gathered some information, "when you call each additional shop," says Busse, "reveal that you know what you're talking about-that you know the car, you know the repair, and you know what a sensible price is-right off the bat. And if you get a price that's above that, ask for a discount."

The task is a bit easier for men: You are already assumed to have a good idea about what
constitutes a fair price. But research prices nonetheless to make sure you don't inadvertently
reveal that you are badly informed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      tool0117
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is there a metric, for female customers, showing attractiveness vs. negotiation success?
        CarNutMike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tool0117
        I had a babysitter who made additional $$$ as a swimsuit model. No discount was in evidence when she ruined a tire. In fact, they upsold her on an alignment I doubt she needed. OTOH, she had no problem getting someone to drop whatever he was doing to rush to her aid and put the spare on. :) Same when she nailed something and flatted in my XJR.
      ngiotta
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm surprised. The mechanics must still think that the majority of men these days know how to change their own oil or change out a flat tire.
        BG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ngiotta
        Especially those he-men who don't know why some cars have three pedals on the floor nor what that weird lever with R-1-2-3-4-5 is supposed to do.
      GreaseMonkeySRT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe I'm missing something but if women were better negotiators, wouldn't they pay less money than men?
        Gordon Chen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GreaseMonkeySRT
        Yes, but women's starting price is higher than men's starting price. So even with negotiation, they pay more than a man who doesn't negotiate.
      Firefly
      • 1 Year Ago
      ...they're called boobs...
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Usually people are ripped off at shops not on the price of the repair (shops know you can readily google an average cost), but whether you need the repair at all. If they tell you a part is broken, ask to see it yourself. If they say they replaced a part, ask to see the old one.
        RocketRed
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Matt
        Yes. They will flat out lie to your face. I negotiated a $1500 estimate down to half that by insisting that the service advisor call an actual mechanic to the service lounge to explain to me why their solution will work, rather than listening to the crook at the counter tell me about her "experience." The mechanic couldn't give me a rational, fact-based explanation for why the expensive way was better than an obvious cheaper solution based on the code thrown and known issues in the engine. This took almost two hours of sending him back to look at service bulletins, other information, and the car itself. Let's be honest, a lot of women are not in the position to do this because 1. they feel less comfortable in this sort of bro-conversation about cars and 2. they don't know the difference between an intake valve and an ignition coil. So they get robbed. Even if, as the study, suggests, the woman comes in armed with information on the cost of the repair, the service advisor will just shuck and jive until the woman feels like she is outside the corners of her research and has to just do what the advisor says.
      MotorworldHype
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't the fact that women still pay higher prices make their ability to negotiate better kind of...moot? What is the benefit of being able to negotiate a better price if the shop is still going to charge them more than they would charge a man anyway? Someone needs to find a way to put crooked shops like that out of business. I hate that this practice is still prevalent and I hate it even more that these jackasses feel like they can get away with it. Men don't let the women in your life put up with this crap!
        Donny Hoover
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MotorworldHype
        I don't think they are targeting women with that practice. They're targeting people who don't know dick about cars because they know they can feed them a bunch of lies and won't get called on it. Just so happens a larger percentage of men know enough about cars to not fall for that crap.
      S.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I find a lot of women are easier to upsell than men (at least the ones who are semi-knowledgable about cars). They are just more trusting of the guy behind the counter or in the work bay. If they bring me along, I sometimes end up having to step in and say "Actually we'll pass on X, Y, and Z" then I'll tell her how to do it herself for a few bucks. (Fuel injector cleaning, wiper blades, etc)
      Justin Shaw
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder why? Sarcasm
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sleaze tatics are stupid, immature and things you expect to see in movies like Forest Gump. Sadly it happens. Fail for both parties stooping to such levels for honest service. No self respect nor discipline nor dignity. There should be neutral transaction between both parties and shame on the gullible guys giving in to a pretty face. Treat each customer the same.
      Davey Hiltz
      • 1 Month Ago

      That is an interesting study. It goes to show not only different treatments in social settings between men and women, but also shows how prices can be cheaper when you're more informed. I always try to do my research before I receive any kind of service. I don't mean to say become an expert in everything, but if a mistake is made be sure you can get it fixed.

      http://www.hstireandauto.com/services 

      Davey Hiltz
      • 1 Month Ago


      Hazdaz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not surprising at all. Too many women will know the exact name of the paint of their car, but have no clue even the most basic of basic mechanical things about it. Being taken for a ride by a mechanic looking to make a boat payment is not surprising. But when it comes time to negotiate, all they have to do is undo a button or two and show off some cleavage and a 10% titty discount will be applied to their repair bill.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hazdaz
        [blocked]
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hazdaz
        You either watch way too much TV or these things work you and you are spineless.
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