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BBB Tip of the Week

The Washington state attorney general, along with 11 others, sued U.S. Fidelis for deceptive solicitations, illegal telemarketing, robocalls and misleading TV ads for their vehicle service contracts.

A $9.3 million settlement has been reached to pay about 19,000 people.

Consumers who are eligible will receive at least $250 in compensation. Claim forms were mailed to all eligible consumers, and 76 Washington residents have received checks. Consumers who have moved or otherwise did not receive the settlement claim information can still file a claim through December 2014. Thousands still may be eligible to receive a check from the settlement.

If you have questions about the settlement or think you might be eligible to make a claim, you can call Garden City Group at (877) 691-8477 or visit the settlement website at www.usfbankruptcy.com.

Not all businesses offering automobile service contracts use deceptive practices. And for some people, purchasing a service contract makes financial sense. It is important to be aware that not all automobile service contracts are the same. Even bumper-to-bumper contracts don’t cover every component in your car.

If you are looking to purchase an automobile service contract, the Better Business Bureau offers the following tips:

• Get a copy of the contract in writing before purchasing and read it carefully.

• Research the most common repairs for your vehicle and the typical cost. According to experts, exclusionary automotive service contracts that list what is not covered are best.

• Understand the difference between a vehicle service contract and a vehicle protection product warranty. Vehicle protection products are those installed in your vehicle to prevent loss or damage and their warranties are usually very specific in what is covered.

Check to see if the business providing contract services is registered with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner and compliant with state laws at www.insurance.wa.gov/ consumertoolkit/search.aspx. You can also check out the company at www.bbb.org.

For more tips you can trust, visit the BBB blog at www.bbb.org/blog or call (509) 455-4200.

Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor

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