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More Tri-State residents being ripped off by vehicle service contracts

Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT
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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGGEM) -- There’s a new warning from the Better Business Bureau about car warranties and people in the Tri-States are getting ripped off by it.

In a new report, The Better Business Bureau said more people in the Tri-States are getting ripped off by these vehicle service contract companies.

When people make a claim on their car, they get denied, which forces them to pay out of pocket for things they were told would be covered by their policy.

Better Business Bureau Regional Director Don O’Brien said these incidents have tripled since 2018.

“The consumer says, ‘Hey why aren’t you covering these repairs?’ The company says ‘Because it doesn’t meet our contract’ and the consumer is left to pay for those repairs out of pocket when they believed those repairs were going to be covered,” O’Brien said.

Hannibal Resident Enid Stendenbach said she purchased a vehicle service contract with Car Shield last February after seeing a TV commercial.

“We decided that being an older car, we wanted to have extra coverage on it,” she said. “We looked into getting a warranty, but the warranty was going to cost too much.”

Stendenbach said Car Shield told her she could take her 2009 Ford Edge to any auto shop in her area and still be covered so she signed the contract.

But when she needed to fix the CV joints and transmission earlier this month, she said she ended up paying $900 for the repairs because the warranty would accept the work done by her local mechanic.

“We tried to file a claim. Now they’re telling us they don’t have a mechanic in our area. They don’t have anybody within 25 miles,” Stendenbach said.

O’Brien recommends creating a rainy day fund where you put extra money aside in case there’s an issue with your car. Then, consumers are in control.

“They are the ones who are deciding whether or not their vehicles get this service or not. They don’t have to wait for some third party.”

O’Brien said to never sign a vehicle service contract before seeing a physical or digital copy of it. He says phone calls about car warranties are usually scams. If you have been ripped off by a vehicle service contract company, reach out to the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s office for help.

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