A Scam by Any Other Name Is Still a Scam

August 22, 2018

You just bought a name-brand washing machine. Spent a bit more for it rather than settling for a cheapo manufactured by a company no one has ever heard of.

It comes with a two-year warranty. So to be sure you don’t screw things up when it’s delivered the sales clerk at the store tells you not to remove the packaging and plug it in on your own. You have to call the distributor to arrange for one of its service representatives to come to your house. Otherwise the warranty won’t take effect. Sounds reasonable. After all, why should the distributor be responsible for fixing something you broke while installing it. Warranties are supposed to cover factory defects and parts that don’t stand up to normal wear and tear, not damage you accidentally cause.

So the service rep arrives, removes the packaging, slips the washing machine into place and plus it in. No doubt you could have done that yourself without damaging anything. He then runs through the operating procedures so you’ll know how to properly use the machine. There are a lot of options and cycles and all that, so you’re glad you waited for him. If you press the wrong button after you’ve loaded the wrong type of clothing who knows what can happen. It’s a sophisticated washing machine, which is why you paid more for it.

The service rep reminds you of that too, and even though you have a two-year warranty, he warns you to be alert for some typical problems that could otherwise be easily avoided. Don’t tilt the machine, especially while it’s running, for example. Sounds logical. The tap water contains minerals that can build up in hoses and internal components. Makes sense. After all, the same thing can happen in an electric teapot, so why not in a washing machine too? And if there’s a power surge while the machine is running, the electricity flow can suddenly exceed the voltage limit of the washing machine and damage it, perhaps beyond repair.

So to make sure nothing like that ever happens, the service rep just happens to have brought along three optional gizmos that you’re welcome to purchase. The first is a frame for the machine to sit on that matches its width and length. The platform is equipped with small wheels and a brake. If you ever need to move the machine, all you do is release the brake and wheel it where it has to go. Once it reaches its destination, apply the brake and it won’t move. No more worries about tilting the washing machine.

The second item is a water filter that will capture the minerals. Check it once every six months or so, but it should last as long as you own the machine. You’ve avoided another problem.

The final add-on is a surge protector. You attach the electric cord from the washing machine and then plug it into the electric socket. No need to worry about power surges now.

So how much do you have to pay for these three indispensable products? Well, the regular price is $300, or $100 per device. But if you sign up for an eight-year addition to your existing two-year warranty, you’ll pay just $50 for each one. The warranty covers both parts and service, so if anything ever goes wrong over the next decade you won’t have to pay a thing. But how much does an eight-year extension of the warranty cost? That breaks down to $60 a year, or $480 total.

Now since you’ve just addressed the three most common causes of washing machine breakdowns by purchasing the frame, the water filter and the surge protector, what are the chances that you’ll have $480 worth of repairs to make over between year 2, when the original warranty expires, and year 10, when the additional warranty expires? And if worse comes to worst and your washing machine completely breaks down between years 2 and 10, consider for a moment that more than half of all new washing machines sold in the U.S. cost $500 or less.

The distributor may very well be above board and his intentions may very well be good, but it doesn’t matter. A scam is a scam is a scam. If you’ve been hit by an insurance or warranty scam, contact MyChargeBack for a free consultation to determine if you can get your money back.