Despite rising public awareness of problems in the nation’s vehicle service contract industry, consumers continue to tell Better Business Bureau they feel tricked by misleading advertising or duped into spending thousands of dollars for contracts with little or no value.
Typical is a complaint received last month from a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., consumer: “I pay on time and follow all terms of the policy but they won’t cover anything.”
Another consumer, from South Holland, Ill., made a similar claim last month: The company has “fraudulently taken my money with no thought of ever (paying for repairs).”
A consumer from Ladson, S.C., who said she received a misleading mailer from a vehicle service marketer in April, was more blunt: “These guys were slime.”
BBB suggests caution to consumers who may be considering purchasing a vehicle service contract.
In the past 12 months, the BBB has received nearly 800 complaints involving 24 auto service contract companies in the St. Louis area. While now-defunct US Fidelis has received the biggest number of complaints – 200—three other firms have received at least 60 complaints during the 12 months. Those companies are:
- National Dealers Warranty, doing business under the name Stop Repair Bills, of St. Peters, Mo. Consumers have filed 187 complaints and reports about this company during the 12-month period and 523 in the past 36 months.
- Service Protection Direct or Protection Direct with headquarters in downtown St. Louis. Consumers have filed 76 complaints and reports about the company in the 12-month period and 298 in the past 36 months.
- Car Safe or Dealer Preferred Warranties, of St. Charles, Mo. The company has been the focus of 68 consumer complaints over the 12 months and 167 in the past 36 months.
Each of these businesses has an “F” grade with BBB, the lowest grade possible and all have been the (more…)