We have all been the victim of car warranty phone calls, but it might be new to you to get a motor vehicle service notification postcard or letter in the mail. What is this notification, and is it legitimate? Should you be concerned about the information on this card?
In this article, we look closer at what the motor vehicle service postcard is and what it means for you. We also examine whether or not it is a scam and show you how to tell when something is suspicious.
What is a Motor Vehicle Service Notification?
The motor vehicle service notification is communication meant to come from the factory automaker to alert you about the status of your car warranty. It normally arrives as a pink postcard and shows the service records, warranty protection, and expiration date.
This correspondence will contain vital information, such as the vehicle model/make and phone number. It could also have the seal or logo of the Department of Motor Vehicles. You will also be able to spot the factory manufacturer and dealership that you purchased the car from.
However, not all motor vehicle service notification letters are real. It’s very important that you take time to determine whether this correspondence is legitimate before you make any decisions.
Is the Motor Vehicle Service Information a Scam?
It depends on what letter you have received. If you have a postcard from a car dealership or vehicle manufacturer, then it is a real notification. Otherwise, the correspondence is just a scam from a third-party company looking to sell you a car warranty. You need to beware of auto warranty scams regarding the motor vehicle service notification.
It’s not uncommon for dealerships to sell private information to another company for warranty coverage. Because of this, it can be difficult to tell the difference, because the warranty provider will have all of your vital information.
You must examine the vehicle service notification carefully to ensure it contains all of the following.
- Sent at the time that the factory warranty is expiring or about to.
- Contains the right company name and contact information.
- Contains all of the valid service records on the vehicle.
If you call the number on the postcard, you should speak with the company you are expecting to. If someone else answers the phone, the postcard isn’t valid. Plus, the customer care team should always treat you professionally. If they don’t, it’s a huge red flag that something isn’t right.
You could get these notifications every couple of months, coming from various companies looking to get your business. All of them can look legitimate, which is why you need to be cautious.
Signs Motor Vehicle Service Information is a Scam
1. Inaccurate Service Record
On the back of the notification letter, you will find the account activity of the vehicle in question. If the postcard is valid, all of this service history is going to be accurate. Otherwise, the information is made up and could even rack up a total that shows hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of work.
In the end, the notification is going to show that you paid nothing but would have needed to without the protection. This is a huge red flag, especially when the service record is invalid.
2. Invalid Vehicle Information
A huge red flag is when the vehicle information is inaccurate. If the company isn’t trying very hard, it could even be the wrong make and model.
However, you also have to be careful with the mileage. Let’s say your vehicle has a 50,000-mile/5-year warranty. If you’ve only put 7,000 miles on the vehicle and had it for a year, there would be no reason to be receiving this notification yet. You still have plenty of factory warranty left on the vehicle and the manufacturer should not be contacting you.
3. Wrong Phone Number
Pay attention to every tiny detail associated with the notification. By examining the phone number carefully, you can save yourself a lot of hassle. If the original dealer or manufacturer is reaching out to you, the number included with the notification will be the same one that is found on their website.
If that number is different, reach out to the contact listed on your original warranty paperwork. Ask about the notification to see if they sent it. If they don’t have knowledge of the notification, you should dispose of it.
Avoid Vehicle Warranty Scams
1. Remain Skeptical
Whenever you deal with mailed correspondence, you should remain wary of what you are reading. Don’t take things for face value without first investigating the source. If it is legitimate correspondence, the manufacturer or dealer is going to want to make that point very clear.
Even if you think the notification is legitimate, you must do further research. Call the number to the manufacturer and continue your investigation. Until there’s no doubt that the notification is valid, you want to be on guard and protect yourself.
2. Protect Personal Information
There’s never a reason to provide any business with your personal information until the time is right. With your car warranty coverage, the dealership and manufacturer should already have all of the information needed to get you signed up. There should be no reason to provide anything further.
If it is a scam, you might be asked for financial information, your social security number or credit card information. They might also ask for your driver’s license number or Vehicle Identification Number, all of which would already be on file.
3. Listen to Your Gut Feeling
If you are dealing with scammers, the interaction isn’t going to feel right. When you call the number, you will be subject to high-pressure sales tactics. They might start making demands and telling you that you are out of time. The goal is going to be to get a down payment and your personal information.
On the other hand, a legitimate business pitch is going to provide you with all of the details and give you the time to make a decision. You should never be pressured to make a decision immediately. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Listen to your instincts above all.
Do You Need an Extended Car Warranty?
With a better understanding of the service notification, you might wonder if the extended warranty is a good option for your circumstances. For starters, you must look at the warranty for what it is, insurance coverage. It’s meant to protect you from paying expensive auto repair bills down the road.
RELATED: How to Negotiate the Best Price for an Extended Warranty (7 Tips)
You can get OEM extended warranties through the manufacturer. The varying policies will cover just the powertrain or the entire vehicle, depending on what you opt for. With a powertrain warranty, the transmission and engine are covered. In comparison, the bumper-to-bumper warranty includes other major systems and sometimes electronics.
There’s also the option to get a warranty through a third-party company. These can be cheaper than what the manufacturer offers, but you have to be careful about what company you go with. If you choose this route, do your research first. After all, paying for a warranty will be a waste if the company doesn’t cover the repairs.
Knowing all of this, do you need an extended car warranty? It depends on if you are in a position to pay for car repairs or not. If you can afford to pay repairs out of pocket, there’s really no reason to get an extended car warranty.