Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Scam Alert: Repair Saver...

I'm sure that you, like me, have received deceptive marketing mail before.  There's one that we get repeatedly – several times a year – that is a great example of the genre.

The cover of the mailed piece looked like this (with my name and address blacked out):
The warning, with its notice of a $2,000 fine and 5 years imprisonment, sounds really scary, doesn't it?  I can just see some nice little old lady reacting to that in exactly the way these marketers want her to: to open it up and find out what she has to do in order to avoid being thrown in the hoosegow.  While that warning is accurate, it's got nothing to do with this letter – it's the penalty associated with interfering with any first class mail.  It's there only to impress you with how vital it is for you to react.  In sales terms, they're building a sense of urgency.

When I saw that warning on the outside, I knew it was going to be some kind of sales pitch on the inside:
Now, if you read this carefully enough, it's obvious that they're trying to sell you something.  In this case, it's an extended warranty.  I have no idea if their insurance product is any good, though I do know that in general extended warranties – especially for cars – are a really bad deal for the consumer, and rife with fraud.  For all I know, this company is selling a perfectly good product.  But they're sure doing it deceptively, starting with the outside of the piece.

Inside, the first thing you see is that they know about the car you have.  We do, in fact, own a 2010 Toyota Tundra.  How this company knows that, I have no idea.  But it makes the marketing piece look more legitimate, doesn't it?  Nice deception.

Then you get the all-uppercase, scary looking notice that your factory warranty has expired, and you will now be responsible for repairs.  Well, of course I will be – if, in fact, our factory warranty has expired.  It has not expired, though, and we still have considerable coverage left on it – for precisely those things this extended warranty covers.  Very, very deceptive – it sure looks like they're trying to get me to buy a warranty for something already covered by my Toyota warranty!

I called the 800 number and got a pleasant fellow named Corey.  He verified that the company name was “Repair Saver” Then I went online to try to find out about the company, and discovered ... nothing.  Almost certainly that means the company is not actually Repair Saver, but instead another company doing business under that name – another deception, and this time it's one that is notorious in the extended warranty industry.  By operating under many names, and changing them frequently, these companies insulate themselves from careful consumers trying to find out about them.  Most especially, they don't want you to find out about all the unhappy customers they have.  It sure looks to me like Repair Saver is one of those.

I really hate this sort of deceptive marketing.  I make it a point to never do business with a company using such tactics.  They've lost my trust as a consumer without me ever buying one of their products...


  1. Hi Jamul :-)
    On Thursday We received the same letter (expiring offer on 11/13/2013).
    Thanks for posting your explanation for us to read.
    --Mark in Fremont, CA

  2. I just got off the phone with Repair Saver trying to understand how and if they were associated to Nissan. And if they weren't that I wanted to be taken off their mailing list. Spoke to some young guy who sat there on the phone trying to convince me that I needed this warranty after I told him 4 times that I didn't want it! Very annoying and a bit sketchy that I had to sit there arguing with someone. After hanging up mid-conversation, I called a second mailer I had with the company "Motor Vehicle Services" where it took 1 minute to ask them to remove me and they had no problem. I finally called Repair Saver back, got another person and asked them to remove me. They said they did so. We'll see how it goes, but I wouldn't trust a company that you have to argue on the phone with want to tell me what I need and what is best for me!

  3. I think that the penalty for mail statement should be on ALL mail...knowing what my neighbor a block away does, we have the same numbered address, different street. His kids bring me my opened mail all the time!