Why does the dealership keep dodging my attempts to cancel my extended warranty?

Deed Ali is not happy with his Dodge dealership’s extended warranty shenanigans; and if he’s not happy, I’m not happy.

Although his odyssey to a resolution is still not done, I’m chalking his case up as a That’s Ridiculous!. Here’s why.

He bought a car — but paid for more

Ali’s misfortune began when he bought a new car from his local Dodge Ram dealership in Frisco, Texas.

“They suggested I buy an extended warranty and GAP insurance with an option to cancel anytime,” he says, “Which I did.”

GAP insurance covers the difference between the cash value of a vehicle and the balance still owed on the financing.

“After a couple of months I decided to cancel it,” he says. “I called the dealership and was asked to send in all my information. I did.”

“They did nothing,” he adds.

And by “nothing” he actually means nothing.

He sent the dealership a certified letter requesting a cancellation. No response. He called the warranty company; it referred him back to the dealership.

“I sent a second certified letter a month later to the dealership expecting some kind of response, but have been completely ignored,” he says. “This is highly unprofessional and bad business.”

I’ll say.

The truth about insurance? Oh, boy

I recently bought a car, and the “financing” department pushed an extended warranty in front of me, too. When you read carefully, you realize that: 1) many of the items are already covered by either the manufacturer or AAA; 2) The warranty is almost pure profit to the dealer. I politely declined.

So I understand why Ali would want to cancel.

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It’s possible that a salesman told him verbally that he had a limited a “free look” period within which he could cancel, which he interpreted as an offer to return all of his money at any time. The devil’s in the details, and we don’t have the contracts as part of his paper trail.

We shared our executive contacts for Chrysler and recommended that he appeal to them. As of a few days ago, his case had gone to arbitration.

Read carefully … or else

Ali’s problem underscores the importance of reading and carefully considering the fine print on all of your contracts, especially insurance. Remember, you can often sign up for insurance after your purchase (at least that was the case with my car), but canceling insurance weeks or months later is not so easy. You need to make sure you’re getting what you want.

The Dodge dealership’s silence and intransigence may not have been entirely intentional. After all, what is there to say except that he signed up for a product that’s nonrefundable? That’s no excuse — the dealership should always respond to its customers, even if the customer is wrong.

If Ali had taken a few minutes to consider his insurance purchase, he might have declined both of these products and would now also be problem-free.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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