On Your Side: Vehicle service contract offers

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:49 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Perhaps you got a postcard, letter, voucher, or even a phone call about your vehicle service contract.

What is it? Do you need it?

If and when your car breaks down you know it can be a big expense. What if you did not have to dig deep into your pockets? That’s the pitch. Here’s the driver beware.

The postcard reads: Final Notice. Our records indicate that you have not contacted us to have your vehicle service contract activated.

On Your Side called the number on the card. It’s a $150 down payment then about $100 a month for five years.

Jorjanna Robinson in Harrison, Arkansas got a similar offer with what appears to be a $199 check.

“I was afraid if I signed it, cashed it, and took it to the bank, I’d have to pay it back,” she said.

The fine print reads it’s a voucher with no monetary value.

“There are extended warranty scams out there, but often it is a legitimate company just using misleading and high-pressure sales tactics to try to sell you a vehicle service contract,” said Pamela Hernandez with the Better Business Bureau.

On Your Side has covered these offers for years. Most of the time, these are out-of-state companies wanting you to pay up to $300 a month toward a vehicle maintenance program. Here’s the thing, it’s not clear if your favorite mechanic will honor the program. Some of these extended warranties do not cover normal wear and tear. You might be better off with a personal emergency savings account.

Remember, property records are public information. Some of these flyers show your VIN, make and model. If you sign up, but then change your mind -- it can be really hard to get your money back. Because you likely agreed to a contract.

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