A new car is among the most expensive purchases one makes, so it is understandable that a consumer will take every precaution to protect that purchase. This often means carrying as much insurance as one can afford. It may also include installing an anti-theft system, such as an alarm, to deter would-be thieves. However, consumers should be cautious about a certain dealer scam that makes false promises about the level of protection it provides.
Car buyers may be surprised to find a charge for VIN etching on the list of fees for the purchase of their new vehicle. VIN etching is the inscription of an auto’s unique vehicle identification number into the glass on the car’s windshield and each window. The justification is that an auto thief will be less likely to steal a vehicle with VIN etchings because it means replacing all the vehicle’s windows before the thief can sell the car, and that expense eats into the thief’s profit.
What’s the scam?
Car dealers may add hundreds of dollars to the sale of a vehicle for VIN etching, which costs the dealership a fraction of that amount. Additionally, the buyer may have no choice in the matter since a dealer may etch every vehicle on the lot, resulting in easy profits. Unscrupulous car dealers may tell consumers that the etching will lower their insurance rates or provide them with certain benefits from the car manufacturer if the vehicle is stolen. These statements are not always true.
Nevertheless, consumers who feel they have no option but to pay the extra fee have fallen for the dealer scam. A savvy car buyer can refuse to pay for an option he or she does not want. Although VIN etching may provide some deterrent to car theft, it is something car owners can do for themselves for far less money than what a dealer charges.