Buyer beware: What you should know about extended car warranties

HARTFORD -- A word of caution if you've received a letter in the mail about an extended warranty for your car.

"They tell you what you need to hear and that's how he got me," Jonathan Cohen said acting fast didn't pay off. "I actually received a letter in the mail back in 2014 I believe."

A company called Auto Care in Richardson, Texas offered Cohen an extended warranty for his Chevy Silverado.

"They told me that I better act quickly on a new warranty," he explained.

Cohen bought and eventually canceled the service, but said he's since received similar warranty letters from other companies. He claims the letters are convincing. FOX 61's own Katie Corrado received one too, from a company called Vehicle Services Department.

Connecticut's Department of Consumer Protection agrees that the letters can seem confusing. They said the letter is structured in a way that makes it look like it's important for you to act now. Consumer Protection said it;s received five complaints about Vehicle Services Department, three this year.

If you receive a similar letter, the department says to pay attention to bold text, any type of account number or code, official-looking grids, or requests to "act now." Most of the time, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always make sure you read the fine print and research any company you're dealing with.

"Check in with the folks that you know, know things about your actual car warranty or your actual car loan or car purchase." suggests Lora Rae Anderson with the Department of Consumer Protection.

A little research shows Vehicle Services Department received a "C" rating from the Better Business Bureau. More than 200 complaints were filed and closed in the last three years, most involving advertising and sales issues.

FOX 61 called Vehicle Services Department and received a call back from Paul Chernawsky, CEO if Endurance Warranty Services. Chernawsky says Endurance purchased Vehicle Services Department in August, after most complaints were received, and pointed out that Endurance has an "A+" rating with the BBB.

We also reached out to Auto Care, the company where Cohen purchased his extended warranty. In an email, General Manager Jared Sutherland says Auto Care takes a "customer first" mentality, offering coverage to vehicle owners faced with potentially expensive repairs.

But, Cohen says he wishes he did more research before buying a warranty and has a warning for others.

"Don't do it. Don't do it. Just don't waste your time with it."