Common Warranty Scams

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,818
    Consumer activist Tom Antion explains the basics of warranty scams.

    Tom Antion: Hi! I am Tom Antion. Today, I am going to discuss warranty scams. You think you have a lifetime warranty? Well, maybe you do and maybe you don't. Even if you do, fraudulent companies are charging outrageous service fees.

    Here is how it works. You buy a product that boasts a lifetime warranty. Three months down the road, a small part breaks. You call for warranty service and you're told there will be a $40 service fee. Of course you protest that it's only a $2 part, the service fee is still 40 bucks. You didn't say well, let me just buy the part, your bill is $42 plus shipping of 895 because they're still going to make you pay the service fee. So be careful and find out all the details before you purchase something based on a too good to be true warranty. How about home warranties? It seems like a good idea to have the major appliances and air-conditioning and heating units covered, right? Throw in the hot water heater in the roof and you should be in good shape. Not so fast. Many home warranty companies are nothing but fake websites operating out of phone boiler rooms, even ones that are supposed to be legitimate can simply deny your claim or force you to use their own contractors whose sole purpose is to upsell you like crazy or create more damage when they are there that of course isn't covered by your policy. Check online for complaints on any company you are considering for a home warranty. Some warranties you are offered would be laughable if they weren't such a rip off.

    Have you ever bought something cheap at a store and been offered an extended warranty? I've actually bought things for a couple of dollars and the dutiful cashier offered me an extended warranty on it. These warranties are rarely worth it. You make your own decision but typically, if you really researched and asked the right questions, you'd see that half if not all of what you think is covered is not covered. Many sales people and cashiers either don't really know what's covered or purposely tell you anything to get you to buy the warranty. It's a massive profit center for the people selling them. Use the manufacturer warranty, and as an alternative to extended warranties, put some money aside to self-insure against loss or damage. When I hear the word warranty, I think better be wary.