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Valley woman locked into auto warranty contract

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Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Valley woman locked into auto warranty contract

By Daniel Gutierrez. CREATED Jul 21, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Credit card offers and circulars are stuffed into our mailboxes everyday. Every once in a while, an ad may catch your attention.

One valley woman said you've got to do your homework before you buy. It's a lesson she said her mother learned the hard way.

Junk mail typically ends up in the trash, but sometimes you may be tempted to actually sign up for a special deal. It happened to 82-year-old Patricia Belle.

It was back in May when Patricia's daughter, Marilyn Stark, said her mom agreed to an extended auto warranty, "She got a letter apparently, first of all, and that was followed by a phone call."

She said her mom ended up handing over her credit card information, in order to buy coverage for her 2006 Nissan Altima. Paperwork shows, the policy "terms and conditions" were agreed to "by phone."

Marilyn said she was shocked at what her mom did, and started looking into details of the warranty. It turns out, her mother made a down payment of $495, and agreed to 12 additional monthly payments of $241.50.

"The cost of this plan for one year of coverage was $3,393," said Marilyn.

But she said her mom's 8-year-old car only has 20,000 miles on it, and she doesn't drive any more. So she feels her mom was talked into something she didn't need.

Marilyn said she and her sister decided to call up their mom's credit card company and dispute the charge. Plus they wrote a letter to the insurance company demanding the policy be "canceled immediately," and are still waiting to hear back.

Contact 13 tried reaching out to the insurance company for comment, but never got a response. So we wanted to know, can you really agree to a policy like this over the phone? Channel 13 Legal Analyst Al Lasso said yes.

"You can get locked into a binding contract, an oral binding contract," said Al.

He said companies typically record these types of phone calls, in order to prove you've agreed to their terms. But they should make you aware they're recording.

"What I recommend is to always ask the people to send you the documents first, before you agree to anything," said Al.

Here's the Contact 13 bottom line: Before you agree to the terms of any policy or contract, always understand your cancellation rights.

Find out if there's any penalty to canceling early. As for this case, Marilyn said the credit card company did end up reimbursing her mom.