Performance First Extended Vehicle Warranty - AVOID IT

Mar 1, 2006

The Bottom Line Do yourself a favor, don't even consider this company

To those that read me, you will seldom find me lurking about these halls but a recent event nudged me in this direction. I did contact the leads in Automotives & Personal Finance before deciding to just post this under the general heading of … I don’t know where else to put this information.

Let’s get down to business …
In May, 2004, I purchased a nifty new vehicle. Granted it was a used mode of transportation but it only had 19,000 miles on it and the price was quite decent. Under normal circumstances I do not purchase the extended warranty contracts for anything. However, I knew I’d be traveling a good deal between Ohio and North Carolina in this baby and since I am dumb as a box about vehicles, I opted for the extended package.

The package was offered by Performance First and the auto dealership, Dennis Autopoint in Columbus, Ohio. Performance First is a division of Dimension Service Corporation.

And, so the lie begins …
Sitting across from me the financial officer at Dennis Autopoint looked me directly in the eyes and lied to me like he was saving his life. I’ll make no bones about it, I’ve already forwarded notice of this review to all parties involved. He assured me this lovely contract would, in fact, act the same as a new automobile warranty, covering me completely for four years [48 months] or 48,000 miles [beyond the original 19,000 on the vehicle]. He assured me this was a bumper-to-bumper warranty

The delightful and colorful pamphlet he showed me stated all the beautiful qualities of this contract. He even was kind enough to show me the difference between the stages of the contract and helped me pick the one that would be most beneficial to my needs. For a mere $1250.00, I would drive a heavenly protected automobile for the next 48.000 miles, or four years, whichever came first.

Why won’t this car go over 45 miles an hour? …
On a recent trip from Ohio back to North Carolina I noticed a distinct problem with the idle, or operating, speed of the vehicle. Granted, you could gun the hell out of it and rev it up to 5,000 RPM, but it would not maintain the speed. In fact, the operating speed was around 45 MPH. Not an acceptable speed on I-77 and certainly not through the mountainous passes in Virginia.

Finally arriving home, I attempted to back the vehicle into the driveway. It sounded like I was leaving part of the vehicle in the street, so I decided it wouldn’t be to my advantage to use reverse and be stuck in the middle of the street.

Early the next morning we transported said vehicle to the local authorized Chevrolet dealership, as stated in my service contract: All service must be completed by an authorized Chevrolet service center. Their opinion matched mine; the transmission was shot.

No problem, I thought, I have this beautiful warranty, almost heaven sent. I looked and sure enough, right there in lavender and white it says: Transmission - automatic or standard: Transmission case and all internal parts, etc., etc., etc. Both the service tech and I heaved a sigh of relief because this is a 4x4 and I just knew the problem would be costly. I didn’t mind forking up the $200 deductible, in fact I gloried in the idea of $200.

Uh, Ms. Dee, we seem to have a problem here …
The service tech called me the following day, practically in tears. These Southerners, so emotional … Anyway, he said that good old Performance First wanted them to completely tear down the transmission and send them a list of the problems involved. At that time, they may have to send out a representative to actually view the mess before they would even consider covering the warranty work. In addition, they would only cover warranty parts and would prefer used or rebuilt material be used.

The service tech then informs me that it could cost me a good deal of money, since I would be responsible for any material, labor, etc., that was not covered by the contract. He continued with his own personal statement of how he felt the warranty company was treating me and it wasn’t a pretty, I’ll tell you.

But before anything could be done, I had to physically go to the dealership again and sign off on not only their paperwork but also the friggin fax from Performance First. Then the waiting began.

Days later, two moons had set …
Ms. Dee, this is Tim from the service center. I have really bad news. Performance First sent a representative out to view the damage and they will not cover one blasted centimeter of this vehicle.

Why, you ask …
Transmission cable. The friggin transmission cable broke, which caused the balance of the damage. A transmission cable isn’t part of the transmission? Then why is it called a transmission cable? Turns out it is one of the rare [ha!] parts the warranty does not cover. Who gets to pay for this transmission? That would be me, thank you very much.

What did I do? …
Cried, like a banshee. For hours. Stupid, I know, but it was like the final straw in a long line of bad karma that has been hanging over me for about two weeks. You know, the proverbial straw and the camel thing. Then I called Performance First and stated I’d like to cancel my contract because it was as worthless as the lavender and white paper it is written on.

They told me I had to cancel with the dealership. This was after being transferred to several clueless people that didn’t know who I was, didn’t care who I was, didn’t care if I lived or died, just as long as I got off their phone line they were happy … next please. In fact, several people I talked to insisted I didn’t even have a contract although I was holding it in my hand and one of their representatives had nicely denied my claim earlier that day.

I contacted the dealership in Ohio. Clueless again. After two days they located my contract in the ‘archives’ and sent me cancellation paper via overnight mail. I asked the person [the financial officer was not available to actually talk to] what the rebate would be on this two-year old contract. Oh, he stated, that is up to the financial institution that holds the lien on the vehicle.

Did this slow me down? No, and no again. I wrote the bank where I financed the deal, explaining the entire situation, included the false statement of the financial officer at Dennis Autopoint. I think I am entitled to the entire rebate, not a pro-rated one. Do you think I’ll get it … hell no, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

As if that wasn’t enough …
I also wrote the Ohio Attorney General, Ohio Insurance Institute and the Better Business Bureau. Will any of this do me any good? Probably not, but my own trials could save someone else that is considering purchasing an extended warranty from Performance First.



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