O’Brien and a friend, Paul Paglia, spent weeks presenting some pretty sound logic to Audi: He no longer needed the prepaid maintenance because the car he bought in January had been destroyed and sold for junk.
“It was to cover the first two appointments for maintenance, which were never used,” Paglia said. “The car had never been at the dealer for service before it was totaled.”
O’Brien had purchased the bright blue 2015 Audi A3, with 55,800 miles on it, at Audi Natick. The car, which O’Brien said he loved, had cost about $17,000. The sales staff separately sold him an Audi service plan, known as Audi Care, which is created and controlled by AudiUSA, the national corporation (not the dealership).
I’m not sure why anyone would pay upfront for future maintenance. I think it’s always advisable to hold your money until you absolutely must part with it. You don’t know what may occur between the time you pay for something and when you expect to receive it — like getting into an accident that totals your car.
And asking for the return of your money is never a good position to be in.
On its website, AudiUSA says its service plan saves money, based on a comparison of its prices and those of local dealerships, although “actual savings will vary.” It also touts the program as a hedge against inflation (though inflation is at a historically low 1.3 percent).
To me, AudiUSA’s pitch doesn’t make a convincing case for paying $799 in advance, just to wheel your Audi into the service department for oil changes, tune-ups, and inspections without (further) opening your wallet.
But to O’Brien, excited about the beautiful vehicle he was about to drive off the lot, the Audi service plan “seemed like a genuine, reasonable offer,”