They look real - but many vehicle warranty letters are fakes

Look familiar? 13 News Fact Finders investigate letters that went out across the nation and AZ
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 12:25 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 6, 2023 at 5:53 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The most dangerous deceptions are usually those that seem to be legitimate. That’s what concerned a 13 News staff member who received an alarming letter. She’s not the only one. People across the country have reported receiving this letter from something called the “Vehicle Services Division.” It includes a check, labeled “registration fee voucher” for $199. The letter reads, “the vehicle coverage on your vehicle may be expiring” along with the car make and model. The fine print continues, “you may be financially liable for any and all repairs” with a number to call.

13 News Fact Finders called the number several times, but did not get a person on the line. We did find “Vehicle Services Department” listed with the phone number as a vehicle warranty company on the Better Business Bureau site, along with an “F” rating and 15 pages of complaints.

When I asked the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division about this, they told me:

“Some letters may appear to be official looking, but are just promotional attempts to get you to sign up for services or warranties. This appears to be one of those cases. The letter speaks to protection plans for costly repairs.”

But here’s the key: only the car manufacturer can extend your car warranty, and they won’t send you random letters. If you’re worried, check your actual factory warranty expiration (most last three to five years) or call the number you got from the dealership.

These letters often fail to list a company name or website. They get your information from your VIN, but it’s frequently inaccurate or incomplete. Some people get letters when they don’t even own a car! For the state’s part, they told said MVD letters always will include their logo, but if you’re not sure, you can call or live chat with an MVD employee, or confirm any correspondence in the “my documents” section when you create an account.

The bottom line: always take a closer look and assume that a letter that’s not quite right, especially one with a check, is a scam.

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