PITTSBURGH – Extended vehicle warranty robocalls have become a daily source of frustration for many consumers. Annoying as they may be, the constant barrage of phone calls, advertisements, and email inquiries makes some consumers buy.
For example, Lebanon-based Bob Wagner decided to purchase an extended auto warranty from CarShield when he bought a used 2012 Hyundai Veloster last May.
“I heard it had a lot of celebrity support, heard it on the radio and television, and got mail, so I decided to give them a call,” Wagner said.
Like so many others, Bob sought peace and quiet to protect himself from great expense if his car broke down. He paid $ 130 a month for the Powertrain Gold policy, which lists “engine” as the first item.
“It covered all of the big things – the engine, the transmission, all of the electrical components,” he said. “That’s all I was really worried about, a big bill popped up.”
Hiccups on the freeway
Everything was going well until he drove on I-79 about six months later.
“Suddenly the car was almost like a hiccup! Then suddenly it was like I didn’t have too much strength. “
In the end, he had the car towed to South Hills Cochran Hyundai and they diagnosed the problem.
“They looked at it and told me what the problem is, was very quick. They said, “Bob, the engine needs to be replaced.”
Bob filed a lawsuit with CarShield, but then the wait began for the repair to be approved.
He drove a rental car for months and collected thousands of dollars in bills while trying to get an answer to his request. Despite dozens of phone calls to the company, his car was still at the Hyundai dealership five months later without authorization to repair it.
“It was like hell!” he said. “The run-around, they are professionals!”
Then he called 11 investigators. Bob says he wanted to tell his story to warn others.
“I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
Proceed with caution
Unfortunately, Bob is not alone when it comes to extended post-market vehicle warranties. Rejecting a claim is a frustrating reality for many consumers.
ATC Auto Repairs in Pittsburgh has experience working with several post-market auto warranty companies.
“There is always a hassle going back and forth between what can be covered and what is covered or what is not. There is never a solid answer,” said Dave Anderson, ATC technician. “It’s just a three-way circus between us, the customer and them. It’s never easy. “
Lemon law firms Kimmel and Silverman also warn that consumers should exercise caution when purchasing an extended auto warranty.
“You have to understand that it is a game of chance and there is a risk and you really have to exercise your care,” said Michael Sacks, Kimmel and Silverman Communications Director.
According to Sacks, the company recommends that consumers stick to the manufacturer’s extended warranties and avoid third-party after-market guarantees.
He says manufacturer warranties offer more protection under federal law if something goes wrong.
“If you have an extended original or drivetrain manufacturer’s warranty and have returned three or more times for the same problem, or your vehicle has been out of service for an extended period of time – months dealing with a problem – you may be entitled to a warranty Compensation to reflect the depreciation of your vehicle, ”he explained.
Look for online complaints
An important step in purchasing a warranty is checking for online complaints against the company you are considering.
A quick review of CarShield’s records with the Better Business Bureau reveals that the company has an “F” rating and a warning for a complaint template.
In Bob’s case with CarShield, he finally got a response to his claim five months later. It was refused.
“I just can’t believe they can treat people like that,” he told 11 investigators, frustrated with the whole process.
Sacks checked Bob’s case and said he was unfortunately in a difficult position.
“In this particular situation, there is no clear path to recovery. He’s stuck, ”said Sacks.
But Sacks added that the company may be inclined to respond to a media request from 11 Investigates.
“You can reply to Angie!” he said.
Do you have a story for Target 11 to investigate? Submit a tip here.
11 investigators receive action
Investigators called CarShield and emailed him to inquire about Bob’s case and to find out why they had rejected his claim since the engine problem appeared to be covered by the Powertrain Gold policy.
After asking Channel 11 for details on Bob’s claim, the company said they would get in touch with us.
The next day, 11 investigators were in attendance when Bob received a call from the Claims Director of American Auto Shield, the company that handles claims for CarShield. He wanted to know what they could do to solve the problem.
“I was pretty happy so thanks Angie!” Bob said and laughed after he hung up.
Although Bob found a solution with the help of 11 Investigates, the problems he was having before we contacted the company were not resolved.
Following the settlement with Bob, American Auto Shield refused to answer questions about customer claim denials and delays in providing insurance coverage. The company just said, “This has been resolved” and they would “have no further comment”.
How you can protect yourself
When purchasing a warranty, especially a Post-Market Extended Vehicle Warranty, it is important to understand the terms of the contract for all exclusions and requirements.
For example, many contracts require regular maintenance of the vehicle, regardless of whether it is an after-market or a manufacturer warranty.
- Missing even an oil change will void your warranty.
- It is important to keep receipts for any maintenance work to prove that you did the job.
CLICK HERE for more advice from the Federal Trade Commission on Buying Extended Car Warranties, which was the top consumer complaint in 2020.
When it comes to extended auto warranties, Bob learned a tough lesson.
“Buyers watch out,” he said.
How to stop ROBOCALLS
Here are some steps you can take to stop robocalls:
- Answer calls from numbers you don’t know, if possible not. (As soon as you reply, the spammers will be informed that this is a real person and more calls will be made.)
- When you answer, don’t answer questions by saying “yes” or pressing any number. (Again, it’s a ploy to confirm that you are a real person and can lead to more robocalls. For example, if they say, “Press 5 to be added to our Don’t Call List” – you do it doesn’t, just hang up.
- Download a Robocall blocking app like Robokiller, Nomorobo, or Hiya.
- Both Apple iPhones and Google Androids have features you can enable to check for spam calls.
- Register for the Don’t Call List at 1-888-382-1222 or sign up at donotcall.gov/.
- File a complaint with the FTC