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Why you should avoid home warranty choices

It’s possible that you’ve bought your share of home warranties—service contracts that promise to cover appliances and other items that break down in your home. You probably should not have. A recent complaint consumer officials in New Jersery filed against Choice Home Warranty in Edison, N.J. illustrates why.

The state’s complaint says that far too often, warranty claims are denied because the company says the problem was pre-existing. Or, the claim is denied because the consumer can’t prove that a broken item was properly maintained. We’ve seen consumers raise these issues in the past in connection with home warranties and other types of service contracts.

In this particular case, New Jersey officials say that Choice Home Warranty repeatedly made it difficult if not impossible for consumers to realize the benefits of their so-called warranties, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs said in a statement announcing the complaint. which was filed in state superior court in Middlesex County.

The state said the company, which sold coverage in at least 25 states, denied claims even when technicians said covered products had been property maintained or that a problem wasn’t pre-existing or caused by a lack of maintenance. For some claims, the state said, the company demanded that customers provide years of maintenance records.

While the coverage required the company to replace products that couldn’t be repaired, the state said the company offered consumers cash buyouts for hundreds of dollars less than it would cost to replace the item. And in some cases, local technicians dispatched to handle claims refused to respond, saying the company failed to pay them for their previous service.

In a statement, Choice Home Warranty said that it denies the allegations and will vigorously defend itself against them. The company also said it has paid tens of millions of dollars in claims for repairs and replacements and that the consumers who complained represent are small fraction of its customers.

Choice Home Warranty has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau because of 957 complaints, the time it took the company to resolve the issues, and the New Jersey complaint.

What to do

We recommend avoiding service contracts, even those provided by companies that have no record of engaging in such shenanigans. The reason is that coverage for contracts that cover homes and cars, for example, can cost hundreds of dollars.

We also believe that it makes much more sense to buy reliable products and maintain them as the manufacturer recommends. Do that, and there’s a good chance you won’t need to make any significant repairs before the product becomes obsolete. Put the money you otherwise would use to buy a service contract into a savings account or product repair-and-replacement fund.

If a product breaks after the express warranty expires, there are many other ways you may be able to obtain a free or low-cost repair. Many credit card issuers automatically extend the manufacturer’s warranty for an extra year or so for most products you buy using their card. Many companies also have goodwill programs and service campaigns that provide free or low-cost repairs or product replacement for items that fail in an unreasonably short time.

And under the so-called implied warranty of merchantability. which automatically accompanies many purchases under state laws, retailers and/or manufacturers may be legally required to address a product defect even if the express warranty has expired. Finally, manufacturers generally must initiate recalls and provide free repairs for safety-related defects.

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Car Pro Should You Buy an Extended Warranty? Car Pro News #extended #warranty #car #insurance


Should You Buy an Extended Warranty?

A day never goes by that a Car Pro Radio Show listener does not ask my opinion of extended warranties. Many times the questions are whether you should buy one at all, if so which one, and what do they cost? All are good questions, and I am very much aware that there are many choices and it can be totally confusing. Even more questions arise because 3rd party warranty companies are bombarding people by mail, email, and phone.

I think an extended warranty on a car is a good investment. If you have not priced vehicle repairs lately, like a water pump or air conditioning compressor, you might be shocked as to how much they run these days. We all expect an engine problem or transmission problem will cost a lot, but the other more common repairs will cost you a bundle and usually one claim on the warranty will cover the cost of the warranty.

My rules about where to purchase a warranty are simple: from a good dealership. Going one step further, buy it from the dealership you are likely to use for service. This can shortcut your time and trouble in service since they are familiar with the contract rules and stipulations. Should there be a dispute on what is covered and what is not; the dealer you bought the warranty from has a vested interest in your satisfaction.

So what do you do if the dealer offers you a non-factory extended warranty? For many years I recommended only buying the factory policy, in other words the warranty backed by the manufacturer of the car. As time has gone on, I have softened my stance on this issue.

The real plus of the factory warranty is that it is good at any dealership that sells that brand. The down side is that the dealer has no control of gray areas. If the factory says a problem is not covered or is denied due to perceived abuse, the dealer’s hands are tied. If you have a non-factory warranty, the dealer can call them and plead your case. The dealer is a good customer of warranty companies.

Timing-wise, if you want to buy a warranty, usually the time you buy the car is the best time. There are surcharges on most warranties if you wait to buy it later. In most cases, you can purchase a warranty on your car up to the time your vehicle is inside the bumper-to-bumper warranty period.

One big thing to know before you purchase a warranty is what time and mileage will work best for you. There are a lot of different combinations. Also give thought to how much coverage you want. Generally you can go from basic powertrain coverage, all the way up to plans that cover maintenance. The price of course goes up with the higher levels of coverage. You can also usually choose a low deductible amount, or save money on the cost of the warranty by paying a higher deductible.

Speaking of price, many times you can get a discount on the warranty just for asking. In a lot of cases, the amount you pay for a warranty is negotiable. Like everything else, it never hurts to ask!

I warn you too, that I don’t know of any legitimate warranty company that will write a policy on a vehicle with 100,000 miles or more. There are alot of companies who make the warranties on these mileage vehicles sound great, but generally in the fine print, there are a lot of ways they can wiggle out of paying the claim.

In summary, I recommend you buy a good warranty from a good dealership that will stand behind what they sell. I have seen many cases where extended warranties have saved people from financial ruin.

Copyright: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

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Auto Warranty #aftermarket #extended #auto #warranty, #auto #warranty


Auto Warranty

When deciding which car to buy, make sure you check the auto warranty that comes with the vehicle. In this section we will help you sort through all the auto warranty-related issues. After all, not every new car warranty is created equally. Some will cover all the non-wear items on the car up to only three years or 36,000 miles. Others will cover repairs all the way up to 10 years or 100,000 miles. The strength of the coverage that is included will help you decide whether to buy an extended auto warranty. In some of our articles we will also take a look at the used car warranty.

Before we get into more detail it’s important to understand the different parts of an auto warranty. It’s also good to know the difference between a new car warranty and an extended auto warranty. A typical new car warranty has two parts: the “bumper to bumper” warranty, which covers everything except the “wear” items such as brakes and tires; and the powertrain warranty that covers all the parts that make the car move, such as the engine and transmission.

An extended auto warranty can be purchased to prolong the coverage of the bumper-to-bumper warranty. Most people are familiar with the extended warranty that is sold at dealerships. This is sometimes called a “factory warranty” because factory-trained technicians perform the required work on the car. There are also “third-party” warranties which can save consumers money but are generally less convenient to use. Many third-party warranties require out-of-pocket payment for repairs before reimbursement. Weigh all these factors carefully before you make your choice.

Pay special attention to this auto warranty section so that, when you need it, it will keep your car in good working order without costing you a lot of money.

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Used-Car Lemon Laws

Lemon laws protect new car buyers in every state in the nation, but it’s far more common for used-car buyers to get stuck with an unreliable vehicle, or to incur repair bills that cost more than the car. For such unfortunate consumers, it often goes downhill from there.

Owners of lemons, as these cars are often called, must still make car payments while their vehicle sits idle. One-sided arbitration clauses built into practically every dealer’s vehicle sales contract work to keep many used-car buyers from taking a case to court. Finally, a buyer may have to prove that the vehicle’s problems existed prior to the sale in order to get some compensation. These factors plus the subject’s complexity leave many consumers in the lurch.

“Many of these cars are dangerous to drive,” says John Van Alst, used-car fraud expert with the National Consumer Law Center. “Even if not, when a car becomes inoperable, it becomes a liability instead of an asset.”

Although it’s not always the case, some of these used lemons are sold fraudulently, such as when a dealer fails to disclose the vehicle’s history, misrepresents the vehicle title or tampers with the odometer. Often, these dealers prey on the most vulnerable, low-income segment of the population.

Used-Car Lemon Laws
The frequency and severity of consumers’ used-car problems has led some state legislatures to pass new laws. Currently, though, only six states Connecticut. Massachusetts. Minnesota. New Jersey. New Mexico and New York have used-car lemon laws on the books. The laws provide a statutory used-car warranty, often based upon the age or mileage of the vehicle. If the vehicle exhibits problems during the warranty period, the dealer gets a chance to repair them. If those fixes don’t work after several tries, the dealer usually must either replace the car or refund the buyer’s money.

At least seven states have some other form of used-car buyers’ rights, requiring used-car warranties or setting minimum standards for the sale of used cars: They are Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine. Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Still other states, including North Carolina, have an unfair and deceptive practices statute that buyers can invoke. But only those states with true used-car lemon laws require the dealer to provide a replacement or refund for the car.

Beginning in 2013, people who buy their used cars at “buy-here, pay-here” car dealerships in California get an extra measure of used-car lemon protection. (Buy-here, pay-here dealerships are a particular kind of used-car business. specializing in older, high-mileage vehicles and catering to consumers who can’t qualify for conventional car loans.)

A new California law requires buy-here, pay-here dealerships to issue 30-day/1,000-mile warranties for the used vehicles they lease or sell. The existence of that warranty also gives buy-here, pay-here customers additional protection under the federal lemon law, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. More about that later.

The Sorry State of Used-Car Regulations
Van Alst says that most states aren’t very effective at protecting used-car buyers from the myriad ways they can be swindled. “Most existing used-car lemon laws are so limited in scope the number of days the car is covered and the allowable mileage that the consumer may not experience the problem or won’t have a chance to act on the problem in that time period,” he said.

For example, Arizona law covers a used car only if a major component breaks within 15 days or 500 miles of its purchase whichever comes first. For new cars, though, those terms extend to two years or 24,000 miles.

By contrast, many European consumers have stronger protections. In France, for example, a car buyer may cancel the transaction up to seven days after the sale. And a 1999 European Union directive allows consumers to seek redress for any problem that makes a vehicle unfit to drive for a full two years after the purchase.

As is always the case when buying a car, the only way to fully protect yourself is to come armed with information. Many consumer advocacy sites, such as The Center for Auto Safety. discuss new car lemon laws in detail, but obtaining information on used-car laws is trickier. We found Car Lemon (an attorney referral site) and Autopedia’s Lemon Law Information Page to have the broadest information on states’ used-vehicle lemon laws.

What if Your State Doesn’t Have a Used-Car Lemon Law?
For consumers who don’t live in a state with a used-car lemon law, or whose state laws don’t cover their individual situations, there are federal laws that may help:

  • The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC): Under the UCC, a used-car sale automatically includes an implied warranty that the car is fit for transportation. However, used-car dealers may deny (or “disclaim,” in legal parlance) the implied warranty if they sell the vehicle “as is,” which they typically do. In the few states that prohibit dealers from disclaiming the implied warranty (such as the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts and West Virginia), the UCC can be more effective than a used-car lemon law would be.
  • The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires dealers who sell five or more cars per year to post a Buyers Guide in every used car that’s offered for sale. The guide must show whether the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a used-car warranty, what percentage (if any) of repair costs is covered by the dealer under the warranty and a list of the major defects that can occur on used vehicles.
  • Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (a.k.a. federal lemon law): This law prohibits the disclaimer of an implied warranty when a car is sold with an express written warranty. It also provides for the awarding of attorney fees in particular cases.

How To Prepare for Battle
In order to determine if you truly have a lemon and to build a solid argument, make sure you’ve taken the following steps.

First, run vehicle history reports from Autocheck and Carfax. Van Alst also recommends a check of the federal government’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. which can be obtained through various vehicle-history vendors at a low cost. These reports expose many of the hidden problems associated with used cars, such as prior accidents and branded titles. Edmunds recommends that buyers run all three reports if possible. They can sometimes uncover different information. An important fact to consider: U.S. states do not require insurance companies to report when they fix a vehicle, although Canada does.

Do not rely on reports alone. Take the car to a qualified mechanic and a body shop that can spot signs of structural damage. Make sure they put it up on a lift. As with vehicle history reports, this is best done before the vehicle purchase, but if you’re trying to press your rights under state or federal lemon laws, it’s critical to determine the source of the vehicle’s problem.

Document the vehicle’s service history and retain all work orders and receipts. Download or print a vehicle repair log from Fraud Guides or Microsoft .

If the dealer still won’t provide satisfaction, or if you suspect fraud, send a complaint in writing to the vehicle’s manufacturer and your state’s attorney general’s office or department of consumer protection. The federal government’s Consumer Action Web site provides detailed information on how and where to file complaints (including sample letters), dispute resolution services, small claims court and more.

Calling Out the Big Guns
You don’t necessarily have to engage a lawyer to fight for your rights. Sometimes, a quick trip to small claims court will do the trick. But a good lemon-law attorney can determine whether you’ve got a serious case, especially when safety is an issue, and can shepherd you through the legal process. Many lemon lawyers don’t charge client fees, hoping to collect instead from the defendant.

You can find lemon law specialists in your state through the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Free legal aid to low-income individuals is available through the nonprofit Legal Services Corporation and National Legal Aid and Defender Association .

Auto Warranty Scams #auto #warranty #scams, #extended #auto #warranty #scams, #vehicle #warranty #scams, #car #warranty #scams, #vehicle #service #contract #scams


When you are looking to buy a warranty there are a lot of tricks some companies or dealers will pull to separate you from your money. If you recognize any of these, walk away and find another company.

This trick is also known as marking up the markdown . The way it works is they set the warranty price extremely high then offer a big discount to give you the false impression you are getting a really good deal. They might also say it s a special of some sort, such as a first buyers discount or a president s day or mother s day special.

Not one major warranty company offers specials and not one offers discounts. If a company tries this trick on you, hang up the phone because you re dealing with a marketing company who is only interested in getting your money.

This is the sales tactic of quoting you a price for a very limited coverage plan when you actually qualify for much more coverage. The trick is they are expecting you to only look at the low price and not how little the warranty actually covers.

The sales person will be very good at making a limited coverage plan sound like it covers much more and they are betting you are more focused on the price rather than exactly what the warranty covers. This is a harder trick to detect but always ask if you qualify for a higher level of coverage.

It s Bumper to Bumper Coverage – Really

The scam here is telling you you re getting bumper to bumper coverage when it s actually far from it. You ll find this scam used by marketing companies and car dealers.

Bumper to bumper plans are technically called exclusionary policies. The reason is they will only list the parts that are not covered or excluded from coverage, hence the term exclusionary. A bumper to bumper policy covers so many parts it is impossible to list them all in a warranty contract so they will only list the parts that are not covered. If the coverage contract lists parts that are covered, it is not a true bumper to bumper plan and you’re being sold something much less.

Always read the policy before you buy it. If the warranty company or dealer will not show it to you – walk away. Any respectable company will always show you the policy first.

As Seen on TV, Celebrity Endorsements, NASCAR Sponsorships

These are not scams but rather slick marketing by companies who are more interested in your money than in your best interests. The TV spots, celebrities, sponsorships and awards are actually all paid for by the company in an attempt to buy respectability. And guess who the costs are passed on to?

Not one of the top warranty companies has TV spots, celebrities or sponsorships.

You Must Buy a Warranty to Qualify for Financing

A car dealer may tell you the bank requires an extended warranty in order to get the loan. This is absolutely not true and illegal. The dealer is really trying to bury a high priced, high profit warranty into the monthly payment.

Have the dealer put it in writing on the loan agreement and they will more than likely back down. Or better yet, find another dealer.

Notice in the Mail or Phone Call

If you get an official looking card or letter in the mail that looks like it s from your car manufacturer or dealership or if it says your warranty is about to expire, throw it in the trash. This is from a marketing company and not the manufacturer or dealer. These are substandard coverage plans and absolutely not worth the money.

Manufacturers, dealerships and respectable warranty companies do not send notices in the mail. However, some unprincipled dealerships do sell your name to marketing companies so it may look like the mail or phone call is from your dealer but it s actually a marketing company.

Never buy a warranty from something you receive in the mail and never buy a warranty from someone who calls you if you didn t call them first.