LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Have you heard of the additive you can add to your car and magically add years to the car’s engine? Don't believe everything you hear.
Many consumers find out the hard way after buying an extended car warranty that they bought into a service contract covering only limited repairs, not a warranty from a car manufacturer.
"That is when they figured out, ‘hey, this isn't what I thought it was,’ “ said U.S. Postal Inspector Dan Taylor. "At that point many victims had difficult canceling or even getting the refunds owed to them."
This unethical practice became so rampant states such as Missouri and California started taking action.
"Various states put restrictions on them, and even prohibited some companies from selling in those states," Taylor said.
To get around these restrictions, creative companies turned to the so-called additive warranty, small bottles of coolant or lubricants that come with the promise to "magically" protect your car.
"This additive was valued at several thousand dollars and as an added bonus an auto warranty was included with the package,” Taylor said.
Pour the product into your car engine, consumers were told, and it will activate the auto warranty.
It was a trap: Companies encouraged car owners to use the fluid, knowing it would nullify their chances for a refund.
"If they added the additive to their car they were told they could no longer get a refund because they couldn't return the additive or on the flip side if they didn't add the additive to their car the warranty was not valid."
How can you protect yourself:
-- Beware of any claims that an additive is worth thousands of dollars.
-- If an auto warranty is included in the pitch, just hang up.
-- Always ask for a refund policy in writing.
If you're looking for an extended auto warranty, call your car manufacturer; don't buy additives or a warranty over the phone.