Not everyone is an expert in the field of motoring or vehicle financing, so when buying a new or used car we might be presented with information that we are not familiar with. The excitement of buying a new car can sometimes cause us to overlook the finer details of what we are actually buying, especially with regard to additional products, also known as value-added products.

In the case of a new or pre-owned vehicle purchased through a reputable dealer, consumers are likely to be offered a motor plan, service plan or an extended warranty as part of the purchase agreement. These are insurance-related products and are aimed at protecting you from unforeseen costs down the line such as a vehicle breaking down.

Additional products that may be offered to you can range from tyre warranty, which can cover your tyres against pothole damage or other road hazards, as well as scratch and dent cover – these may however vary from each dealer and finance institution.

It is important to be as informed as possible, and to be alert to potential dishonest behaviour by dealers who might want to take advantage of your inexperience and lack of knowledge by selling you products you don’t want, need or understand.

WesBank has put together the following points to help you understand the vehicle buying process better and be informed about what these additional products are, and your right to accept or decline them.

  • Once you have selected the car you want to buy, the salesperson will take you to the finance and insurance office.  Here, you’ll sign the contract and be given an opportunity to purchase additional financial products.
  • Other than comprehensive vehicle insurance, these products are not compulsory, and you have the option to choose the additional products you would like to add to your purchase agreement.
  • In some instances, dealers might try to add these into your deal without you realising, or even understanding what they are, so be aware and do not be afraid to ask the relevant questions.
  • It is imperative to carefully go through the terms and conditions of any additional products with the finance agent to avoid any surprises later on. Take as much time as you need to fully understand each one and make sure you are familiar with the fine print before signing on the dotted line.
  • Check that any products or services that get offered to you by the dealer, or a bank, are from reputable organisations and are market related with regard to price, benefits and the relevant terms and conditions.

“Understanding the benefits of value-added products can help consumers make better purchasing decisions when it comes to maintaining their new and used vehicles. Other than general insurance, these products are not compulsory, however it is to the benefit of the consumer if they are covered in times of mechanical failures or breakdowns which can occur unexpectedly,” says Lebogang Gaoaketse, Communications, Social Media and PR Manager at WesBank.

“As a vehicle owner or driver, you are responsible for maintaining your vehicle and ensuring that it is roadworthy and safe. Therefore, it is important to empower yourself and to fully understand your vehicle and the maintenance or mechanical warranty plans you have put in place to maintain its health, and protect yourself from unexpected costs,” concludes Gaoaketse.


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