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Extended Warranties

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Comments

  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Its insurance. You hate to pay for it but are glad you have it when you need it.

    Some people buy them some don't. I run about 50/50 on them.

    Allot of people here will tell you to put that money in a savings account instead. Great idea if you will/can do it.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Ext warranties? Possibly worth it. It's peace of mind that you won't have a major unexpected repair bill for the life of the warranty, well that is unless you buy an after market warranty and they go belly up, like Warranty Gold did to me. Only get one backed by the manufacturer.

    But protection packages? Definitely not worth it, in fact they may even void the manufacturer rust through warranty.
  • phertelphertel Posts: 13
    What? Infinity has a 4 yr 60,000 mile warranty bumper to bumper. And I believe Infinity powertrain warranty covers 6 years 70,000 miles.
    So maybe 2 yr 10,000 miles at $3564??
    Please make sure they kiss you before they ... (well never mind)
    You can buy the Infinity Warranty from any Infiniti Dealer (factory Warranty)
    Call a few of the finance guys around town, heck even call a few Nissan dealers they can even sell you the infinity warranty.

    Or is 5 years 60,000 miles beyond the factory warranty?

    Sound like a bad deal either way.
    I bought a 7 year 120,000 mile Acura Warranty for $1365 (zero deductible)(for my wife's 07 MDX) from an out of state Honda Dealer.
    Run don't walk from that deal!

    Good luck. (and you have until the end of your factory warranty to buy the extended (admittedly at a higher cost)
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    "Rust proofing" and those other add-ons are for sure a big no.

    Extended warranty is a maybe. For sure you want to research the prices before you go in to buy the car. There are online Toyota dealers that should be able to sell you the coverage for a discount, in some cases just a bit over cost.

    This link has a lot of good info and even though they are talking about a Prius, the same discount dealers could sell you a warranty for your RAV4. You could also google up Toyota discount platinum plus and probably find more sources. If you search this forum for platinum plus you should find some dealer recommendations as well.

    Your Toyota SHOULD be just fine and last a long time without you spending much other than routine maintenance so you probably do not NEED an extended warranty. A lot of folks (like me) like the peace of mind having the warranty give them. If you do decide to buy one, do your homework first and find the best online price for a genuine Toyota warranty. Then when you purchase the car and the dealer pushes you to buy from them, just hand them your best online price quote and challenge them to meet or beat your best price for the Toyota warranty. If they can and you want it, buy it from them, otherwise buy it online later for the best price. You probably will never need it or get your money out of it, but please don't over pay for it :D .

    Dennis
  • I have had to file a complaint with state licensing authorities about Marathon Administrative Co., Inc. They've denied my claim, stalled me for 16 days while my car sits in the shop, and cannot seem to honor a single promise or representation. Turns out they are not licensed to do business or sell warranties, or administer service contracts in my state. Check with your state, too. And if they haven't met licensing requirements, turn them in. The public needs protection against companies of that ilk. The company they've hooked up with, Service Protection Direct, isn't licensed here either.
  • sbmcatsbmcat Posts: 1
    The warranty on my 2003 Beetle Turbo is about to expire -- can anyone give me advice about buying an extended warranty from the dealer?
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Some dealerships sell third party warranties. Make sure your warranty is from VW.
  • As I bought my car used I could not get an OEM warranty. Called AAA and used their warranty service. My car is still in the last year of mfg. warranty so have no experience on it.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    As I bought my car used I could not get an OEM warranty. Called AAA and used their warranty service. My car is still in the last year of mfg. warranty so have no experience on it.

    Sure you can, go to any dealer or search the web and you will find allot of dealers selling on line. What brand do you drive if you don't mind me asking (sniff sniff sniff)
  • No I couldn't. Car is a Mercedes. MB dealer wanted to sell me an aftermarket policy. AAA warranty was better.
  • klimoklimo Posts: 1
    Hi I just bought 03 accord with 100873 miles on it.I'd like to get a power train waranty for 5 years. I just don't know what company to choose from to get best coverige. Can I get some advise please??? Klimo...thank you
  • I am going to lease a 2008 G35X for 39 months. The dealer has offered me a tire and rim insurance policy for about $900 to be paid over the term of the lease. Is this a worthwhile purchase?

    thanks,

    don
  • i just purchased a 2007 mazdqaspeed 3 w/ 6600 miles. manufacturer warranty still in play, was offered a 5 yr/100k mi extended warrany that covers wear and tear and mechanical breakdown w/ a 50.00 deductible for $1,545.00. it seems to cover much, and i feel it may be a good deal. any thoughts? questions i should be asking, and anywhere i can get a better deal. thanks.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Is this a worthwhile purchase?

    No.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I can't imagine any reputable company giving a warranty on a vehicle with over 100K miles.
  • Well if the site spells "warranty" like "warrenty" as your post says, I wouldn't trust it. Nissan's best warranty is Gold Preferred and worth every penny. No warranty will cover wear and tear. Hope that helps.
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    Buying online is just fine - when buying the manufacturer's back warranty plan from an authorized dealer. The only thing different is you don't pay the high, jacked up price the local dealer will try to hit you with in the F&I office.

    For some plans buying the day you buy the car nets you the best price (GM, for example), with others you have several months or miles to decide. With others it does not seem to matter, you get the same price whenever you buy. A lot (all?) the plans are pro-rated refundible and many (like Honda's) the start date for the refund is when you buy it not when the car went into service. So the later you wait the more money you get back if you trade the car or it is totalled.

    Knowing what the policies are for each company is the key to getting the best deal - if waiting does not cost anything then wait, if you have to buy on date of sale to get the best price - then you might want to do that. I purchased my GMPP from another dealer, did the app and mailed it to them with a check dated the day I took delivery of my 'vette - so I got a super low price ($50 over cost) and the coverage I wanted.

    Most of factorey plans I have looked at do not have such inflation as you say - $1,000 to $2,500 if you wait a little but to buy. GMPP maybe the only one that has a huge increase but I don't recall it being that steep.

    Doing the research and getting prices before you are trapped in the office getting the hard sell can save the customer tons of money. They research the prices of the cars and know the invoice, rebates, dealer incentives, and hold back - then they hand the dealer back a ton of profit by signing for some plan at purchase with 100% of more mark up.

    Dennis
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    And to that dolt who said "buy it online later for the best price". a) Do you idiots not understand that warranties are the cheapest when you first buy the car?

    You have such a way with words that makes your arguments so convincing. That's always a good way to keep an intelligent conversation, just insult the person you're debating with. Thanks for your enlighting words of wisdom.....*sarcasm*
  • Don't listen to that guy. Make sure the warranty is backed by a major manufacturer, doesn't have to be VW. When I was in the car business we dealt with a warranty company (who I won't name so I won't be accused of endorsing them) that was backed by Ford Motor Credit. Ford was not in the name, but it was the easiest company to deal with, covered a lot of things that the manufacturer's extended warranty didn't and was hundreds cheaper.
  • I agree buying on line is fine when buying the manufacturer's extended warranty, but just looking up warranty companies on the internet and buying the cheapest is a terrible move. In my post I meant if you wait until the manufacturer's warranty is over to purchase like you dingbats think is a good idea for some reason.

    As far as the "factorey plans" you mention, I can't speak of. I don't know what a factorey is. But I was in the car business for 8 years and worked for 4 different manufacturers and they all have an increase. Now you are right about one thing; there is not a huge increase like that from day 1 to day 2. I am talking about someone who is going to purchase the warranty years later (as I mention above). I understand your need to sound like a pro, but you aren't. You are one of those typical consumers who think everyone is out to rip them off.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Were those contracts "Easy" to "Care" for? :D
  • Hehehe...you got me
  • sky23213sky23213 Posts: 296
    In my post I meant if you wait until the manufacturer's warranty is over to purchase like you dingbats think is a good idea for some reason.

    You sign up yesterday and you start ripping on a long time poster who has provided a lot of unbiased and well-researched advice. If you cared to take the time and go back and read some of his posts, you'd know. But I guess no low is low enough when you don't have a valid argument, even making fun of a miskeyed word (E is right next to R on the keyboard), while at the same time you desperately need a punctuation refresher.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,867
    Insulting other members is a good way to ensure that your posts disappear faster than the $ from RRG warranties.

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  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Insulting other members is a good way to ensure that your posts disappear faster than the $ from RRG warranties.

    Then why are they still there?
  • As a consumer reporter for more than 20 years, I've regularly had to return to the subject of auto repairs for readers. It's one of those topics that one thinks they've managed to reach the bottom of the barrel until the next scam opens up proving this is truly a bottomless pit. I used to have to deal mostly with repair shop scams and other localized fraud cases (repair shop claims part "x" needs replacing when it doesn't, parts claimed replaced never were, etc.). But in the last ten years, national white collar fraud, scams, and highly questionable business practices have really been where all of the big money is being made. And after nearly a year of investigation, we've found that the aftermarket extended warranty marketplace is, by far, the biggest problem consumers are likely to encounter. And when it does happen, it frequently leaves consumers out more than $1,000.

    The independent extended warranty marketplace has gotten so bad this past year that we no longer recommend ANY extended warranty not backed by the auto manufacturer directly. We could not find a single extended warranty provider that we felt confident would stay solvent over the long haul. To survive in the competitive aftermarket extended warranty business, independents have had to recklessly discount their offers, which inevitably leads to a shortfall in funds available to pay claims or pay refunds under so-called "Guaranteed Price Refunds" which offer consumers a full refund for any vehicle service contract that was not utilized during the contract period.

    As part of our investigation, we purchased extended warranty agreements from dealers and online brokers from a variety of companies, nearly all of which have since gone bankrupt. We found a wide variety of tricks and traps used by extended warranty adjusters to limit their claim exposure, and discovered Enron-like accounting practices revolving around shell companies, structured "underwriters" which had financial interests in the companies they supposedly backed, and offshore bank accounts which kept warranty company owners protected when the inevitable bankruptcy filings were made.

    {end of part 1)
  • (Part 2)

    The Hard Sell

    Consumers fighting for the lowest possible price at many dealerships these days often seem to let down their guard after a price is agreed on and the buyer is led into the finance office to finalize the deal. Even if you wore down the sales staff and managed an excellent deal, the finance office opens the door for additional profit for the dealership by selling the extras, from fabric protection to undercoatings, and extended warranties of course.

    Many dealers offer two types of extended warranty coverage - one provided by the car manufacturer and at least one independent warranty provider. Often, the independent provider plan is promoted at the expense of the manufacturer-provided extended warranty because the dealer can point to coverage often not included in the manufacturer's own plan, as well as the often much-lower cost for the independent plan. What often goes unsaid is the fact the dealer stands to earn a considerable commission from the independent plan provider.

    Many dealerships opted to sell buyers plans sold by companies like Automotive Professionals, Inc. (API) of Illinois. In business for well over a decade, API delivered relatively hassle-free extended coverage plans to dealerships around the United States. API offered generous benefits to consumers, usually more than those offered under manufacturer-backed warranties, as well as a guarantee that if a consumer did not use the vehicle service contract, the full purchase price would be refunded at the end of the contract term.

    For years, the business plan worked well enough to remain profitable. But as new aftermarket independent warranty companies began selling service contracts online, often at prices even lower than those charged by API, and with the increasing reliability of vehicles in the American marketplace, more and more consumers began shopping elsewhere, or simply getting the benefit of a 100% refund for a service contract they never needed to use. Either by being undercut by online competitors like 1Source or Warranty Gold or by consumers who didn't allow API to capture the value of an underutilized service contract, the pressure was on.

    Online Competition Arrives

    By the late 1990s, a variety of extended auto warranty plans were being marketed online and talked up by "independent" review websites which claimed consumers would do far better taking their business to a lower priced online vendor, cutting out the "dealer middleman markup" or by enjoying contract benefits more generous than traditional extended warranty companies provided, and for longer terms.

    Consumers were promised that companies were backed by third-party "underwriters" who would cover claims should the primary company ever close its doors, and glowing reviews from websites seemed to engender trust on the part of people doing research in good faith.

    Unfortunately, claims made by extended warranty companies are only as good as their underwriters would actually back. And in case after case, that proved to be not very much.

    (end of part 2)
  • (Part 3)

    Tricks & Traps: Contract Sales + Early Claims Experience - Future Claims Annoyance = Maximum Profits

    Finding an indepedent extended warranty provider for your automobile is as easy as a Google search. You'll be swimming in search results and paid placement ads touting inexpensive, comprehensive, hassle-free service coverage for your out-of-factory-warranty vehicle. A consumer spending time looking at reviews will usually see glowing positive "testimonies" and "independent reports" high up in the search results. Sentences like, "I've been selling cars for 30 years and this is the only warranty I'd buy myself" or "the other warranty companies won't cover what company "x" will" are all over the reviews, with convenient links provided to help you sign up straight away.

    What many people do not realize is that most online marketing campaigns for auto extended warranty companies pay extremely generous commissions to website owners who post links with a tracking code attached. It may be true that the website owner has no direct interest or involvement in the warranty company itself, but by encouraging you to purchase a plan through a link provided on that site, that website owner stands to earn potentially hundreds if not thousands of dollars in commissions earned for sales they generate each month. In general, if you examine the website address their link is taking you to, if it contains anything beyond the basic URL of the company, chances are there is a tracking code attached allowing the website owner to profit from the transaction.

    Both 1Source and Warranty Gold heavily relied on this kind of marketing to sell their extended warranties, which got positive reviews from many sites right up until they went bankrupt and stopped paying commissions on sales. Then many of those websites began selling another company's product or went offline altogether.

    1Source, which we had considerable experience with in our investigation before they went bankrupt, had all of the angles to work their magic in the marketplace. Like most companies involved in risk exposure, 1Source developed a business plan that examined the potential risk a customer would bring to them and even went as far as to tailor a response to a claim based on the claims history of each client.

    We tracked this practice over three years of involvement with 1Source on multiple vehicles and noted the responses made by a telephone "adjuster" used by 1Source to approve, deny, or further investigate claims made by customers.

    1Source did enjoy some positive reviews on independent websites for clients being exposed to the company's claims procedure for low-value or first claims for service being made. Here's how it worked:

    A new customer to 1Source who used the service contract for repairs under $200 or for the first time generally received automatic approval for a repair claim. The repair company obtained a credit card number from 1Source to pay the claim and the approved repairs made generally allowed the consumer same-day service.

    As a customer continued to utilize the benefits of a service contract, the profitability of that customer declined with each subsequent claim. A 1Source adjuster was able to review past claims on their computer screens and were able to assess how much of the cost of the service contract had already been used up in paying for prior claims. As the customer's cumulative repair costs began to near the price paid for the contract, the adjuster would begin to throw wrenches into the process.

    In several instances, repairs that were instantly approved on underutilized repair contracts required on-site third-party "verification" for those who used their contracts frequently. The fact this process would often take several days to be completed meant your vehicle would be left in the repair shop awaiting the arrival of an adjuster to review the repair. 1Source often offered to help cover the costs of a rental car during the process, but most consumers opted to simply cover the costs of a low to mid-level repair out of pocket in lieu of the inconvience of being without a car for several days. In other instances, adjusters would begin fiercely enforcing a service contract that might cover a specific part that had already completely failed, but rejecting coverage for the cost of a failing, but not yet failed part or replacement that included any other part that wasn't specifically non-functioning. A specific resistor on a circuit board fails to function and 1Source would approve only the cost to replace that resistor, not the inevitable new circuit board that was required to make the repair.

    Of course 1Source would pay certain contractholders more than the cost of their service contract to cover some major vehicle failure, but the formulas used to calculate risk exposure took into account the fact most consumers faced repair bills that were unlikely to approach this kind of expense during one repair visit.

    In the end, like Warranty Gold, another online marketed service contract provider, the costs of repair claims reached a level where the company could not continue to operate profitably, and declared bankruptcy.

    (end of part 3)
  • (Part 4)

    The Underwriter Scam

    You paid for your service contract outright, or financed the cost of it as part of the purchase of your new vehicle. You may not have even used it because your car is still under warranty, or you relied on it when taking your car in for repairs, only to be told your claim would not be honored, and which of your credit cards would you like to use to pay for the repair yourself.

    Be it a notice of bankruptcy in your mailbox, or finding out that $1500 service contract is worthless when you take your car in for repairs only to be told the repair company won't accept it because the claims number goes unanswered or prior claims go unpaid, you'd better sit down because your money is gone.

    But then you remember reading that even if a warranty company closed its doors, a third party underwriter would insure that your claims would be covered. But guess what - that's not how the underwriter sees it, and they've decided they're not paying claims.

    In some cases, an underwriter sets up a virtual office in a U.S. state in order to meet state regulatory obligations, but quietly transfers the majority of its assets to an offshore account in the Cayman Islands, out of reach for regulators, as was the case with National Warranty, which underwrote Warranty Gold. 1Source used PrimeGuard, based in the unlikely state of Hawaii (and no doubt the owner enjoyed all that the islands had to offer). Hawaii may be a tourist paradise, but they don't shirk on their responsibilities to regulate businesses in their state, and one look at PrimeGuard and state regulators shut them down, causing the inevitable collapse of 1Source in the process.

    In the case of API, which used to regularly thumb its disapproval of the lowly online warranty companies in the warranty industry trade press, there are allegations of conflict of interest between at least one of their major underwriters and the company itself. This was especially ironic, because API used the murky underwriting world of the online warranty vendors as a marketing slam against those companies in advertising they sent to auto dealers touting their stability and reliability.

    In our investigation, we found a plethora of extended warranty companies under several different names all relying on a small group of underwriting companies. Often, the names of the companies were different but the names of people involved in them surfaced again and again. If one company gets a bad reputation, open another using the same underwriter.

    Any Weak Link Breaks the Chain

    What is so frightening for consumers who invest in these high dollar value contracts is just how fragile most of these companies are. Just one break in any weak link will break the chain and lead to inevitable bankruptcy protection. In some cases a company fails because it simply becomes unprofitable and then tries to leave the underwriters holding the bag of outstanding claims. If the underwriter has deep pockets and has spread its risk exposure out broadly, it can handle the financial hit of dealing with several years of claims as contracts run their course. Generally, this means recognized insurance companies who have not established a third party entity to pool its underwriting exposure in such a limited way to not be able to afford to pay claims.

    Far more common, of course, are underwriting companies that were seemingly established just to underwrite these kinds of extended service contracts. Some have such limited resources that they can never hope to pay the costs of claims. In many cases, it's that fact alone that causes a state regulator to shut them down, which usually also bankrupts the original extended warranty company in the process.

    In almost every case of extended warranty provider bankruptcies, consumers should never expect to get a refund for an unused service contract. In some cases, repair claims will be paid, but many repair shops will refuse to honor service contracts from these troubled companies because they risk being left holding the bag waiting for a check. In most cases, in the end, consumers will abandon the service contract because the process of using it becomes so cumbersome as to make it useless (or the bankruptcy process drags on for so long that the contract expires in the interim).

    What is your recourse?

    As a customer, your recourse varies depending on who sold you the service contract. If you bought it online, chances are you'll be writing off the whole experience and all of the money you spent on it. With more and more of these online-marketed warranty companies going bankrupt, it's strongly advised that you avoid even considering purchasing one, no matter how glowing the underwriter is claimed to be or how stable the provider is. Sending $1000+ on a service contract from one of these companies is like throwing dice in Vegas. And that means -ALL- of them.

    If your dealer sold you the contract, you may have limited recourse with him or her. At the very least, there is a moral obligation your local dealer has recognized in past instances of independent warranty company failure, particularly in the case of API. The warranty industry trade press is filled with reports of dealers eating the repair costs, if not refunding the now-useless service contracts. The best argument to use is the massive profit margin the dealer earned on the contract in the first place. Anything less than meeting you 50% on a refund should be met with outrage. They didn't complain when they sold you the contract, or when they deposited the generous commission they earned on it. Many dealers will continue to grudgingly honor the repair bills that would normally be covered by API (and in some states are being covered by their underwriters), but you should try and get a written assurance of that fact, because many dealers are now seeing incredible hits on their repair department's bottom line, and may change their mind on this down the road.

    Do follow the respective bankruptcy websites established by the courts to report on the progress of the bankruptcy impacting you so that if you need to file any paperwork to process your claim, you do so on time. Just don't expect a lot.

    Warranty Gold's bankruptcy, now more than four years old, is still tied up in bankruptcy court with regards to final disposition of unpaid claims. As an example of the payments people can expect there, the court proposed to divide a claim's dollar amount by the number of months remaining on the term of the contract and then further divide that by a percentage that would allow the limited amount of assets remaining to be exhausted by paying the unsecured creditors (customers). The amounts proposed often meant a $1,000 repair bill would ultimately bring less than $100 in a final settlement.

    (end of part 4)
  • (Part 5)

    So what should I buy?

    The fact is, most extended warranties turn out to be profitable mostly to the people who sell them. That's because companies either have to limit what is covered, make the price high enough to guarantee solvency, or risk bankruptcy. Most folks who buy extended warranties do so after a car repair sets them back $1,000 or more. If only they had the extended warranty - that would have been covered and you wouldn't have needed to scramble to find a credit card with enough credit left on it to cover the repair.

    Many car manufacturers with a less than stellar reputation for quality obviously stand to make some serious side money marketing extended warranties to cover repairs that probably would never be necessary on higher quality automobiles. Many car makers routinely offer extended service contracts themselves, often limited in what they do cover and at prices higher than you might expect from a Honda or Toyota.

    Instead of risking big money on a service contract you may never use (or need to use just once, negating any 100% refund clause), or never get to use, here's a better plan. Your own extended service contract!

    Gather pricing for today's extended service contracts from car dealers, online sources, and even from banks and credit unions (which often also sell the same flawed contracts that dealers do). Then take the amount charged for a three, four, or five year contract and open a new savings account (do not co-mingle this money in your existing checking or savings account - it's too tempting to use it for other purposes). Either deposit the full amount of the contract or arrange to auto-debit your checking account for each monthly "installment" to be deposited into this online savings account, preferably earning around 4% interest (they are out there). If you opt for the "installment plan" it has to be a process you set up to happen automatically - it's too easy to "forget" paying it otherwise. Now you'll have a set aside account specifically for auto repair costs, typically containing around $1000+, also earning interest.

    Next time your out of warranty car requires repairs, you get to be your own claims adjuster and decide whether or not this repair would be covered under an extended warranty contract. If you tell yourself yes, you write a check from that account to cover the repair cost. Do not use this account for the things you'd normally pay out of pocket for to handle car maintenance (tires, oil changes, etc.)

    The chances are good that you'll discover at the end of the "contract," you'll still have money in that account that would have otherwise gone to pay for a villa someone at PrimeGuard probably owned on Maui.

    You also get to keep the interest as your free gift! Yeah, there's a small chance that some major repair bill may empty that account too, but ask yourself if you were a customer of 1Source, Warranty Gold, or API just how much they are willing to pay for that repair!
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