Being a car owner, you have to worry about numerous things, and becoming the victim of a car warranty scam happens to be one of those things. It usually starts with “car warranty calls” alerting you about the impending expiration of your car warranty, and offering an option for you to extend it.
However, the main purpose of the scammers behind these calls is to steal your money by offering poor contracts or nothing at all. In this article, we will discuss how these scams work, as well as, ways to avoid them.
Third-party warranty vs. factory warranty
When you purchase a new car from a credible automaker, chances are that a lucrative bumper-to-bumper warranty, along with a lengthy powertrain coverage, will come along. This manufacturer’s or factory warranty expires after the car has been driven for a specific number of years or miles.
While most car manufacturers offer an option to extend the warranty term, numerous vehicle owners prefer buying coverage from a third-party provider due to affordability and flexibility in terms of contract clauses.
Several third-party warranty providers, despite offering exceptional contracts, aren’t affiliated with leading automakers. And scammers often take advantage of this fact to trick vehicle owners into believing in what they are selling.
What you should know about car warranty scam?
Car warranty scams aren’t new. In fact, they have been in practice for decades. However, in the last couple of years, the success ratio of such fraudulent practices has increased dramatically.
As mentioned above, car warranty calls serve as a good starting point for such scams. So, you end up receiving a call over which you are alerted about your car warranty expiring in the days to come. The caller, that can be a robot or an actual person, will then inform you that your car’s warranty can be extended in exchange for a little fee.
To win your trust, these scammers may pretend to be representing a reputed dealership or third-party provider. Additionally, they will be aware of the model and make of the car you own. How is that possible? Well, there are tons of data collection companies out there that sell these details.
While it’s common for the companies (that engage in car warranty scams) to just take your money without proving anything in return, there are businesses that sell you a poor contract that is expensive, provides no coverage and has an unenforceable refund clause.
The reason why car warranty scams are so prevalent these days is that vehicle owners are actually getting scammed on a daily basis. This is due to the fact that scammers resort to high-pressure sales methods to create a sense of urgency and urge people to buy their product without wasting any time.
The high-pressure methods include:
- Presenting irresistible offers
- Making false promises of easy refund/cancelation
- Warning about deleting your warranty records
- Demanding down payment
While certain scammers indulge in outright fraudulent tactics, others carefully plan their schemes and word their contracts in such a way that it gets impossible for them to land in legal trouble.
In order to steal your money, scammers’ goal is to acquire certain details such as your Social Security Number, bank account number, credit card details, etc. To lure you into their trap, these scammers call from numbers that look authentic or send emails from addresses that look genuine.
How to save yourself from car warranty scams?
While scammers’ tactics have evolved over the years, you can still save yourself from becoming a victim of their plan. All you have to do is acquire knowledge of how they function. For starters, you can use caller ID or similar apps (for your smartphone) to find out who is calling you.
Since leading companies must use an authentic number, as imposed on them by the law, it becomes easier for you to know whether the one calling you is representing a credible company or not. Unless you are confident that you are in contact with a legitimate dealer or warranty provider, don’t share any personal/financial information with the caller.
In case you are presented with a contract, make sure that you read and understand everything. From fine print to each and every term and condition written on the contract, compare everything against the Federal Trade Commission’s Auto Service Contracts and Warranties guide.
Additionally, you can register a complaint with the FCC regarding the calls that you believe are from scammers. There’s a high chance of these calls not complying with the general telemarketing and robocall guidelines.
Extending the warranty on your car might give you mental peace but you shouldn’t forget that there are countless scammers out there who strive to steal your money by selling you poor warranty contracts. It’s important that you identify such scams and do everything in your power to steer clear of them.