Coggin Toyota / stay away

United States Review updated:

I bought a pre-owned Honda Ridgeline from Coggin Toyota in late July and what I thought was an extended warranty (5 yr / 60k mile) from an outfit called Fidelity Warranty Services. After getting home to read the 6-page FWS contract and research the company, I immediately contacted the dealership and cancelled the contract. STAY AWAY from these contracts, people, unless you understand every word and are still convinced they're a good deal. Don't fool yourself into thinking it's something it's not.

My gripe has nothing to do with losing money (I didn't in this case) … it has everything to do with trust. Call me old-fashioned but I do business with people I trust, and because Coggin Toyota peddles these shameful extended warranties, they are NOT to be trusted. Go research Fidelity Warranty Services on the internet and you'll see what I mean.

What consumers (including myself until now) don't understand is that these so-called extended warranties aren't really warranties at all. In fact the FWS contract clearly states "this is not an insurance policy, a warranty, or guaranty" … What they are is an illusion … Coggin Toyota is the master magician, Fidelity is the sneaky prop, and you are the gullible, wallet-opening audience.The illusion goes like this: Contrary to dealership jargon or your own perceptions of extended warranties, you are NOT extending the factory warranty of your car. And contrary to whatever coverage you purchased (in my case an extra 5 years, 60k miles), you are likely not "covered" for repairs up to those limits. The main reason is because of a convenient yet rarely recognized clause in the FWS contract that says mechanical breakdown (i.e. the failure of a covered part) "due to gradual reduction in operating performance as a result of normal wear and tear" is only covered "prior to the vehicle reaching 50, 000 miles." Put simply, breakdown caused by wear & tear is NOT covered after 50, 000 miles … those repairs fall squarely on your dime unless you're banking on FWS feeling generous. And guess what, most factory "bumper to bumper" warranties run for 36k - 50k miles anyhow, so thanks to the clever little 50, 000 wear & tear cap, your so-called extended warranty from FWS probably expires around the same time as your free factory one.

Sure, FWS will cover repairs up to your contract limits if the mechanical breakdown was clearly caused by "faulty workmanship or materials provided by the original vehicle manufacturer", but those kinds of problems usually show up very early in a vehicle's life and almost always fall under the factory warranty, not FWS. If they show up later (say at 51, 000 miles), good luck convincing FWS that the part failed due to faulty workmanship / materials even though the part survived the first 50k miles and undoubtedly at that point has undergone considerable wear & tear. All FWS has to do is say, "Well that bad transmission had some wear & tear on it, so, sorry, claim denied."

And, yes, keep in mind that FWS decides whether to pay a claim, NOT you, and NOT your mechanic. Since FWS already has your money, their only real incentive to pay your claim is to not get sued, which isn't much incentive at all since you signed away your rights to a trial by jury and to class action lawsuits when you entered the contract. FWS's lawyers aren't stupid, so you're best defense is to avoid buying FWS contracts all together. And if you think you're dealership is going to make FWS pay your claims, well think again … more than 170 dealerships across the southeast are already in bed with one of FWS's sister companies … but that's another story for another day.

When I read the many complaints about FWS on the internet, I often see comments like "Fidelity didn't honor their warranty". But what these people should really focus on is that Fidelity DID honor their warranty … They did exactly what their warranty said they would do, which is to deny claims under the 50, 000 wear & tear cap. Consumers are understandably upset at FWS because they were sold the illusion of an extended warranty, peddled masterfully by dealerships like Coggin Toyota with words like "peace of mind" "bumper to bumper" and "best warranty in the business". Illegal, probably not, but the whole act is unquestionably dishonest and misleading.

It's a shame that companies like Fidelity build an entire business model around crafting a product that pretends to be something it isn't, but even more a shame that dealerships perpetuate and extend the illusion at the expense of their own customers. Like so many others, I suppose Coggin Toyota has fallen into the mindset that short-term profits are more important than earning long term trust and loyalty from their customers. Is a couple hundred dollars profit from some sketchy 3rd party warranty really worth losing my family's business for life?

If trust is important to you, I suggest you car shop somewhere else and stay clear of any Fidelity service contracts … unless of course you enjoy being tricked by magic.

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  • In
      Jul 12, 2011

    Here is a better lesson, read before you sign not after.

    0 Votes

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