Don’t Get Scammed into Paying for Vehicle VIN Etching

Several weeks after purchasing a pre-owned car, the buyer noticed a charge of $398 that he didn’t recognize. It was labeled as Protection Plus Etch in his sales agreement. He made a quick call to the car dealership and confirmed that he’d been charged for glass etching. Wait, what? “Etching” is a security add-on where a unique code or vehicle identification number (VIN), is etched into the vehicle’s windows.

“The add-on will help identify the car if it was ever stolen and could even lead to discounts on auto-insurance,” the dealer assured him. The gentleman was certain he’d not been told about this service at the time of sale. Worse, when he checked with his insurance company they said that they offered no such discount.

To be clear, etching vehicle windows is not an outright scam, but the practice is of questionable value. There’s a good chance that your insurance company does not offer discounts for window etching on your vehicle, or if they do – that it’s not a substantial amount.

Still think there’s some value in this procedure? Don’t pay a few hundred dollars to the dealership for something that you can do with an $18 kit from Amazon.

If you recently purchased a vehicle, go back and check your sales receipt. Did you unknowingly pay for such a service? The dealer will claim that their etching comes with an insurance policy that will cover a certain amount should your car be stolen and not recovered within a certain amount of time (usually 30 days). Ask to see the details of this policy. If the dealer cannot produce the policy details, demand a refund.

Wondering what else you might have paid too much for? First Financial offers a free review of your deal to see if you are eligible to receive a lower interest rate or lower monthly payment. Some members have saved hundreds, even thousands of dollars in interest by taking a few moments to do this.* Fill out the form below to schedule a free in-person or over-the-phone appointment, to see how much you may be able to save!

Fill out this form to see if we can save you money!

Learn more about First Financial Auto Loans, our Lease Buyout Program, or apply online 24/7.

*Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. First Financial FCU maintains the right to not extend credit, after you respond, if we determine you do not meet our guidelines for creditworthiness. Current loans financed with First Financial FCU are not eligible for review or refinance. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a Base Savings Account is required to establish membership. Federally insured by NCUA. 

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