Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Looking Into RepairPal.com

This was supposed to be a sponsored post written by me on behalf of RepairPal.com. All opinions are 100% mine. For reasons unknown to me, the company that was supposed to sponsor it keeps rejecting it.

It’s amazing timing to me that I received a link to RepairPal.com just today, considering my husband’s pick-up truck was hit in the street outside our house on Sunday. The damage was minimal, mostly white paint from the boat that was being towed, the slightest dent on the bed, and a slightly bigger crinkle in the bumper. Even more amazing: the guy that hit it came to the front of our house and left his contact information behind in our mailbox, owning up to the accident. (The neighbors were outside when it happened, saw it and copied down his license plate number, just in case.)

But back to RepairPal.com. It was founded in 2007 in Emeryville, CA, by a group of people who through it was expensive and “tedious” to fix and maintain a vehicle. I don’t know, if you describe the reason for your website and service like that, then you’re making yourself sound like a service for lazy people. Sure, auto upkeep can be expensive. Preventative maintenance can take care of problems before they happen (oil changes, fluids, etc.) but it can’t take care of everything, like repairs to a vehicle after an accident.

Repairpal.com has kind if a vague FAQ page and on top of this, they admit two things:

1. Cars older than 1990 are not covered by RepairPal.com, because a majority of cars currently being driven are not that old anymore. After last year’s national“Cash for Clunkers”, I can see how that might be a problem.

2. Some models of cars from 2007-2009 are also not online because of the supposed difficulty in acquiring data on them. Okay, that makes no sense to me. They aren’t talking about 2010 models yet.

An upside to RepairPal.com is that you can create an online account for your vehicle(s) to keep track of the work they need and have had. With so many other sites offering online accounts, this seems like a convenient aspect of their service, provided you can remember another user name and password.

However, I can’t really see too many people in my own life that I would recommend RepairPal.com to. Maybe it’s because we are all settled in our communities that we know where to take our vehicles to for service, if not the dealer we bought them from. How many local service stations offer specials on oil changes? Heck, I could go to Wal-Mart right now and spend $30 to get the supplies I need for an oil change and have my husband do it. Or if I were new to an area and my Blazer needed service, I could also ask around my neighbors on where to go or where to avoid.

One possible target user group for RepairPal.com, in my opinion, might be college students. Students who live on or near college campuses might be kind of a nomadic group once summer comes and they go home. But if they are from out of state, then they might not know where to go for their automotive needs, should they have a car on campus.

But before starting a relationship with a business of any kind, consumers would be better off doing their research before hand. The Better Business Bureau should be your first stop for information. And in case you’re wondering, the BBB has rated RepairPal.com with an A-. The site has had 0 complaints from consumers over the last 36 months, the BBB’s standard reporting period.

So even if RepairPal.com isn’t a site and a service for me, you may want to look into it for your own needs.

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