Vehicle add-ons: yes or no?
With Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard
Consumer Protection has concerns about the value of add-ons such as extended warranties, rust proofing, paint and fabric protection, and window tinting being sold at the point of sale to people purchasing motor vehicles in Western Australia.
Before saying ‘yes’ to after sales products, ask yourself why the manufacturer is not providing certain after sales products with their vehicle. In most cases, the simple answer is that the manufacturer does not believe the vehicle requires these additional products. In our experience consumers often sign up to buy things that will only add cost, will not increase the value of the car and may not deliver what they think it might.
If you do want to purchase add-ons, find out the general market price for the items being offered. If the costs of these extras is rolled into a finance deal, it can be very costly in the long run when you are paying interest on the total amount owing.
Remember that you do not have to purchase add-ons at the time you buy a vehicle. Aftermarket products can be bought at a later date if you are still keen. You may even be able to do some things, like fabric protection yourself, for a lot less and with just as good a result. However, after driving a car for a little while you may realise you no longer want, or need, particular after sale products and that’s another reason to wait. Another consideration is whether adding certain items that are not recommended by the manufacturer can jeopardise the warranty.
Speaking of warranties, you should seriously consider the value of an extended warranty being offered. It is likely that the protections are already available to you for free under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). With new vehicles, the normal manufacturer’s warranty combined with ACL cover is usually more than sufficient.
Be mindful that some extended warranties offered for sale have restrictions and conditions you must comply with. For example, extended warranties often require specific servicing schedules that must be carried out by an authorised dealership or agent, leaving you without the choice of servicing the vehicle elsewhere for less money.
Tips for car-buyers:
- question the value of the add-ons offered and consider if they are really needed;
- remember that “extras” added to the original price of the vehicle add to the financing costs and stamp duty paid on the total cost;
- shop around for the best interest rate for car loans; and
- think twice about any insurance policy offered, read the fine print and get other quotes.
General information about buying cars is available on the Consumer Protection website www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au and enquiries can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1300 30 40 54.
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