The Silence of the Scams

THE SILENCE OF THE SCAMS

For twelve years I drove a ’99 Maxima. On the way back from the high country it started making awful noises and the power cut out. It had over 120,000 miles on it. I took it to my mechanic. “Looks bad,” he said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I’d have to tear the engine down.”

It was time. Using money I made defrauding widows and orphans I purchased a ’14 Maxima with 32,000 miles on it. The dealership tried to sell me a supplemental service contract. “Let me think about that,” I said.

Two weeks passed. Then the notices began. I threw some of them out but I have eight rightchere at my elbow and I’m sure there will be more today. The notices said, “REQUEST FOR ACTION—IMPORTANT VEHICLE INFORMATION ENCLOSED.” And, “FINAL ATTEMPT TO NOTIFY, RE: 2014 NISSAN MAXIMA.” And, “REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION—TIME SENSITIVE MATERIAL ENCLOSED.” And, “IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO THIS NOTICE REQUESTED.” And, “VEHICLE ALERT NOTICE—PLEASE RESPOND WITHIN 3 BUSINESS DAYS.” I got three of those. And, “IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO THIS NOTICE IS REQUIRED.” And, “THIS IS ABSOLUTELY YOUR LAST CHANCE—RESPOND OR DIE.” And, “THE END IS NIGH, REPENT NOW.”

Okay. I made the last two up. But you get the idea. Oddly enough, none of these desperate appeals came from a legitimate business. Only one, EWS, has a return address. The rest just seemed to be anonymous threats to get my money. I have received at least twelve. I expect more. This time they will be my FINAL, FINAL NOTICES.

12 thoughts on “The Silence of the Scams

  1. Having worked in service for almost 15 years, I know how frustrating it is for the customer looking over their poor broken down horse like Woden reciting the Merseberg incantations…

    While I was a mechanic, I never bought a car for more than $300. I paid $200 for my ’78 Pontiac Grand Prix and it was my chariot of my youth… Painted it, drove it like Apollo and broke it gloriously. It owed me nothing, giving its life for my youthfulness and enjoyment. I purchased a couple other vehicles that needed minor repairs that the owner just didn’t want to deal with, honing my craft further.

    And when I got married at the age of 35, I bought a car from a dealership. Bought the extended warranty on it too. The reasoning? Okay, maybe I am a sucker, but what if the power train breaks down? I started getting the scam letters as well and calls from some company in the South China Sea about dangerous lack of warranty coverage and how much I am wasting on my warranty by not switching to them.

    I still get notices about that thing, even though it was my ex-wife’s and technically her responsibility. My wife, Heather has our truck in her name. We bought the contract on it as well for service and extended the coverage. I hear people say “Sucker”, but after 15 years beating fists on these things… I realized that anything can go wrong on them. I needed that service contract to insure that my wife doesn’t get stuck with someone else’s neglect.

    I am picky on my car repair…a devil when it comes to details, so when something isn’t right with the car, I notice immediately. If the mechanic I trust to work in my place messes anything up, I notice it. Last night, I charged out in the service bays during an inspection because the mechanic was checking brakes and I argued with the tech, service manager and GM about the depth of brake linings, pulling out my expired inspection license like military id to show them my years in the service. I’m THAT guy. An a$$hole? Maybe, but an honest one. I may be a sucker for the warranty, but mechanics can be a shady bunch of guys sometimes and I am an honest man. I was a hard manager as when it came to running the shops when it was my responsibility to do so. That is the cost of power and authority, you aren’t going to be liked all the time. I told the technician to use the torqsticks and set the wheels at 75-80 foot-pounds.

    Everyone should be a master at their craft, mine is automotive and computers…a contract is a written agreement that if something bigger is riding on the deal that the company of said indemnity is going to have a vested interest in making sure that the property in question is taken care of to higher standards, and I wield that contract like a katana at the service department.

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  3. Sigh – and it seems that this industry of third-party extended warranty coverage is something that came about in the relatively recent past.

    If you ever pop by Jalopnik on the web, they document buying vehicles with sketchy track records and adding on the warranty and taking the dealership to town with it; but other than those relatively rare (and, hopefully, easily recognized) instances, the extended warranties, for cars, electronics, etc. , are wasted money.

    Your mileage may vary, but the data is out there – it typically doesn’t pay to get them.

    My wife got a vehicle with a satellite radio system in it, but does not subscribe – that has upped our volume of junk mail too.

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