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DATE News (chronologically)
07/03/13
automotive
Study: Women get higher quotes from repair shops
When it comes to auto repairs, women are likely to get quoted a higher price than men, but women are better at negotiating a discounted price, according to a study conducted by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

The study, "Repairing the Damage: The Effect of Price Expectations on Auto-Repair Price Quotes," looked at how gender and knowledge of prices affect the quote that an auto repair shop gives a customer.

The study was conducted in collaboration with AutoMD, an online automotive repair information site.

Agents from AutoMD, who routinely ask for price quotes, asked repair shops for a price quote for a six-cylinder 2003 Toyota Camry LE radiator replacement. The researchers chose this model because it is one of the vehicles most frequently requested for repair cost information from AutoMD.

The callers were given a script and either seemed well informed of the market price, $365; misinformed and indicating they had heard that the price was about $510; or uninformed with no expectation of a price. Market values for the part replacement were taken from AutoMD.

The calls were made to independent repair shops across the country for 16 weeks in summer and fall 2012. No dealership service departments were involved.

No negotiations?

Most repair shops were not willing to negotiate the price. But when they did, women were more likely to receive the discount. Female callers who requested a lower price obtained it about 35 percent of the time, compared with 25 percent for men. Most of the repair shop employees whom the callers spoke to were male, according to the research.

"It may be that men are more likely because of social or cultural conditioning to respond positively to requests made by women," the study said.

According to the study, women who appeared uninformed and gave no price were usually quoted a price 6 percent higher than what a man was told, and women who seemed informed were given prices close to their expectations.

Men were usually quoted a price lower than the market price after saying they had no idea of the average cost.

Both men and women were quoted $25 to $35 higher than market prices when they seemed misinformed and gave a higher price, according to the study.

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