Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

May 4, 2014

You ARE Going to Pay a Lot for This Muffler

Filed under: Autos — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:59 am

 MrConsumer admittedly does not know a lot about cars or car repairs, but doesn’t like to pay a lot when his 1996 Honda Accord needs fixing.

About 10 years ago, he had Meineke install a muffler with a lifetime warranty. Maybe five years later, it rusted through and needed replacement again. The “gotcha” with guarantees like this is that you have to pay for labor and other parts, and it comes out costing almost as much as replacing a conventional muffler. So when that muffler went again, MrConsumer decided to go to his trusted gas station mechanic instead.

After dropping off the car, the verdict came from the repairman by telephone: it would cost $400 to replace that muffler with another “lifetime warranty” one. MrConsumer gave the go-ahead, and the car was fixed a few hours later.

Scrutinizing the receipt, MrConsumer noted that the muffler itself was $260, but wondered what an auto parts store would have charged for it. Advance Auto Parts was $172.99 — nearly $90 less. Ugg. Autozone was $149.99 — $110 less, but there was a $50 additional rebate. Double ugg. And PepBoys.com was $103.99 less 25% or $77.99 AND the $50 rebate also applied there. Shoot me now.

Then a brainstorm hit MrConsumer. The purchase was made with a Fidelity MasterCard that has a “price protection” benefit that would provide up to a $250 refund if a purchased item could be found for less elsewhere. As MrConsumer was relishing getting his $260 muffler for a mere $27.99, he checked the fine print of the bank’s price protection benefit.


What items are not covered?

The Price Protection program applies only to items purchased in the United States of America, including Alaska and Hawaii. This program does not cover any of the following:

Motorized vehicles of any kind and their parts and equipment, including, but not limited to, boats or watercraft, air vehicles, automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles.

Foiled again. Drats.

One last hope: what if the charge had been put on his Chase Freedom card instead? Nope. Their price protection policy excludes automobile “equipment.”

So MrConsumer learned an expensive lesson about car repair shops marking up the cost of parts, and will have to be content with at least getting back $50 under the manufacturer’s rebate.


• • •

April 1, 2013

No Joke, These Ads are Real

Filed under: Autos,Humor,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:30 am

To celebrate April Fools’ Day, Mouse Print* looks at the lighter side of fine print this week — advertisements that will make you shake your head and say “huh?”

Ad 1: Farrell Volvo

This is the tail-end of a radio ad for a local car dealership. Just the way the fine print in TV car ads is a blur, so is the disclaimer in this radio pitch:

Can’t hear it? Try this.

Ad 2: JC Penney “Clearance Sale”

For the past year, J.C. Penney has done away with sales and coupons. And at least according to this ad, they have eliminated clearance reductions as well:

JCP clearance

Ad 3: Macy’s “One-Day” Sale

Macy’s is known for running periodic “one-day” sales that last for two days with a “preview day” followed by the actual sale day. Here, however, they are giving readers a bit of a snow job:

Macy's One Dale Sale


• • •

September 24, 2012

Avis: $30 Off Your Next Rental?

Filed under: Autos,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:19 am

Mouse Print* reader Marc D. recently got a mail offer promising $30 off his next Avis rental if he would give them his email address.

Avis $30 offer

What he didn’t realize until after he received his $30 coupon was the offer was really $30 off a weekly rental.


Avis coupon

Since Marc’s “next rental” was not going to be a weekly one, he felt hoodwinked.

Mouse Print* wrote to Avis, asking what happened, and whether they would honor the no-strings-attached $30 offer for those who received the original offer.

“As a result of a printing error, the promotional insert did not specify that the offer was for a “weekly” rental. However, “weekly” is mentioned in several other places, including the outer envelope (see attached), the website/page where the customer provides his/her information to redeem the offer (www.avis.com/email) and the subsequent email offer. The erroneous promotional inserts have been discarded. New inserts have been printed and are currently being used.” — Avis spokesperson.

Fair enough, the disclosure WAS on the webpage where consumers had to sign-up, but was not on the offer sheet they received by mail. Some consumer protection advertising rules, however, state that the subsequent disclosure of the actual terms of an offer does not diminish the deceptive nature of the original offer that did not disclose those terms.

And what will Avis do for consumers who felt mislead about this offer?

“The $30 offer is being accepted on weekly rentals.” — Avis spokesperson.

In other words, nothing.


• • •

January 2, 2012

CarMD Pricing… Nurse!

Filed under: Autos,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:06 am

A friend recently called MrConsumer wanting him to look at an infomercial airing for a product called CarMD. Apparently this device claims to be a consumer version of the computer that dealers plug into your car in order to read the diagnostic repair codes. He said it costs about $120.

Checking their website, rather than calling the 800 number, seemed to reveal much lower prices online:

He was astonished to hear how much cheaper the device was on the Internet. But a closer look revealed the truth:


What? Multiply the price you see by three? Who has ever seen a price next to an “add to cart” button that was not the actual price you pay?


• • •

October 31, 2011

Allstate’s Free Lifetime Membership in Roadside Assistance

Filed under: Autos — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:00 am

Wow, what a seemingly great offer from Allstate: call to get a quote on car insurance and you will get a free lifetime membership in their Roadside Assistance program. MrConsumer could stop spending over $50 a year for AAA membership!

Here is their TV commercial:

If you could not read the fine print disclaimer in the ad, a visit to Allstate’s website reveals the true nature of this auto club offer.


So what you really get for free on an ongoing basis is a phone number to call for a towing service.

Thanks, Allstate.


• • •
« Previous PageNext Page »
Powered by: WordPressPrivacy Policy
Copyright © 2006-2016. All rights reserved. Advertisements are copyrighted by their respective owners.