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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Pink pricing prejudice – Caura exposes gender bias in motor garage pricing and treatment

UK
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Automobile Magazine
Editor | News | United Kingdom

London, UK

Today, on International Women’s Day, Caura, the car management app, has found women are charged on average five per cent more than men for vehicle maintenance, in what the firm is calling a pink pricing prejudice.

The research, which aimed to understand the dynamics of customer treatment in garages, used a mix of methods, from mystery shopping to a survey in conjunction with YouGov. The YouGov survey of 4,000 UK men and women uncovered the fact that 59 per cent of women agree with the statement that garages are more catered towards men. Shockingly the younger generation feels these biases more, with 65 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds (both genders) agreeing that garages are spaces traditionally tailored for men.

When looking at the process of booking in and agreeing work on their vehicle, nearly half (46 per cent) of the females surveyed said they felt rushed to approve additional works to their car, and 45 per cent said they were confused while doing it. However, it seems the confusion isn’t from a lack of understanding what the work was, as 83 per cent of the women said they understood the language used when describing what their car needed in terms of maintenance – their concern lay more in the perception that garages may have intentionally obfuscated information and pressured them into making hasty decisions.

To enhance its findings, the Caura team conducted a blind survey by contacting 100 garages and requesting quotes for an MOT and / or service under the aliases ‘Emma’ and ‘Edward’. Each garage was contacted alternately by different team members using the same vehicle. Out of the 100 garages contacted, 70 responded to both calls, revealing a significant gender disparity in the quotes provided. For a service, ‘Edward’ was quoted £229 on average, whereas ‘Emma’ was quoted £241 on average – representing a five per cent increase for females. The most concerning price quoted by a garage was a whopping 265 per cent premium, where ‘Emma’ was quoted nearly three-times (£475) more than ‘Edward’ who was given a £130 quote for identical work.

Similarly, for an annual MOT quote, typically considered fixed in some garages, ‘Edward’ was quoted £48 on average, while ‘Emma’ received average quotes of £49 – a two per cent increase for the female.

Highlighting a systemic issue within the automotive sector that requires urgent attention, Janice Pang, Head of Vehicle Maintenance at Caura, said: “Cars don’t judge their drivers whether they’re male or female, so why should garages? A one per cent increase in price [when looking at male versus female] in either gender swing is wrong, but when our research shows a five per cent increase [on average] on like-for-like pricing, we were shocked by prejudice in pricing for women.”

Caura’s mission is to democratise access to automotive services and ensure fair treatment for all customers. Janice continued and said, “When our users shop for vehicle maintenance in-app, the pricing is transparent and upfront which guarantees there is no bias. Further, Caura also checks pricing for all additional repairs identified by a garage to ensure it is sensible for the type of work recommended. This ensures that costs are based solely on the vehicle’s needs and not influenced by the gender of the customer, promoting fairness and equality in every in-app interaction.”

Caura is a free-to-download app, available on iOS and Android. Through Caura, users can schedule annual MOTs, book all types of servicing (interim, minor, or major), as well as repairs and diagnostic investigations at over 6,500 garages nationwide including most OEM main dealers, national chains and local independent garages. Users can approve and pay for any additional recommended works to their car in-app at the touch of a button.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,247 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd – 24th August 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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