4 Common Remote Starter Rip-offs Ripoff # 1: Unbelievably low price.
And How You Can Avoid Them
To some degree, all of us are attracted by a low price because we want to work within a budget.
Reputable companies use remote starters that have a proven history of dependability. There are several reliable brands on the market today.
Unfortunately, there's also some cheaper, but problematic and unreliable remote starters available to retailers much of it made in China or Korea. Some shops still sell and install these unreliable products to increase their profits... at your expense. And the problem is: you probably won't even know about it, at least not right away. It's not uncommon for these remote starters of questionable quality to begin operating erratically just weeks after installation. Most come with a very short term warranty, if any warranty at all meaning you'll get stuck paying for the necessary repairs.
The best way to protect yourself against this type of rip-off is ask to see a written copy of the warranty. Find out exactly what it covers, and for how longRipoff # 2: Bait and switch.
Some companies use the price as the bait for their misleading advertising. They offer a cheap price, ("the bait") often somewhere around $89 to $149. Then, once you're in the store, you learn the price you saw advertised is for a model that "won't work on your car." Then, because you are already there with your vehicle and have an appointment, you get pressured into purchasing the "more expensive model," ("the switch") which is often quite a bit more than you originally thought you'd be paying.
When you consider all the benefits, a professional grade remote starter (one that provides years of trouble free enjoyment and is ideal for your needs) really IS inexpensive, but it's NOT as cheap as some unethical shops would like you to believe.
Not every remote starter will work on every vehicle. Will the one you saw advertised work on your vehicle? Get ALL the facts. The best way to do this is by visiting the shop first and get a written quote for the model you want installed.Ripoff # 3: Unsupported or exaggerated claims like:
"1500 feet of range!" or "we install more remote starters than anyone...!"
You'll read this in many remote starter advertisements and you'll hear unsupported claims like these from several shops... even a few right here in West Michigan. My advice:BE CAREFUL.
Although many remote starters do indeed have a range of 1500 feet (and some even more) most entry-level models do not. As a result, exaggerating the range (particularly on entry level, inexpensive models) continues to be the #1 way you can be ripped off.
Protect yourself by asking questions. Ask to see some installations. Find out if they have one of the remote starters they sell installed in their own vehicle. Ask about the range and have it demonstrated for you.
Ask the shop if they will guarantee your satisfaction in writing. As for bragging (ie: "we install more remote car starters than anyone...")
remember this: A reputable company rarely needs to brag, as their reputation speaks well enough for itself. Should you run into a shop like this, ask for testimonials from past clients. What past customers say about them is far more important (and at least 10 times more believable) than what they say about themselves.Ripoff # 4: Companies with bad reputations
It's not uncommon that this industry tends to attract its share of undesirables, ie: shops that are interested in doing nothing more than installing the cheapest product on your vehicle at the maximum price you'll pay, with a "too good to be true" lifetime guarantee, then leaving you stuck when have a problem ... and the chances are you will have a problem.
The best way to avoid one of these rip-off artists is to place a call to the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan at (616) 774-8236. Ask if the shop in question is a member. By doing so, you'll probably discover that more than one shop in West Michigan has had their BBB membership revoked for numerous violations. Be sure to ask if any complaints have been reported in recent months against the retailer you're considering. And if so, have they been resolved?
Next, pay a visit the place of business. Find out how long they've been in business, how many years they've been installing this particular brand, and why they like it. Is the store neat and clean? Are the employees properly attired and are they helpful? Do they look professional and appear like they'll be around to help you in a year or so? If not, they probably won't be.
[Here are some popular models
you'll see on the market today:1. PIGGY BACK ADD ON TYPE REMOTE STARTERS:
These models are piggybacked to an existing alarm or keyless entry system already installed in your car. They operate using your remotes, providing they are compatible. These are the models you'll often see advertised at a very low price $89 to $119 installed. But don't be fooled: these models are compatible with very few vehicles. If this model will work on your vehicle, be sure you ask about the range: Most have the same range as your alarm or keyless entry usually about 50 feet, not enough for most people.2. BASIC ONE WAY:
This is a stand-alone remote starter, meaning it operates by itself - it doesn't need to be piggybacked on an existing keyless entry or alarm. It's usually an "entry level" model simply meaning it has few (if any) options and a range of about 500 to 700 feet. Models like these usually come with one keychain remote. It transmits a signal to the vehicle (one way) on a lower power "radio frequency" (RF) band. It is a perfectly acceptable model for some people.3. BASIC PLUS ONE WAY:
A more deluxe version of the above. Comes with 2 keychain remotes, extended range antenna, giving it a range of 800 to 1200 feet (and sometimes more). Can do keyless entry and trunk pop, turning on the parking lights, and many more convenient features. A very popular model.4. DELUXE HI-POWER TWO WAY:
"Never guess if your vehicle is started, locked or unlocked again!" Two way means when you transmit a signal to your vehicle to start, lock, unlock, etc your vehicle transmits a signal back to the LCD screen on your keychain remote, giving you visual confirmation and ability to monitor vehicle status all from 1000 to 1500 feet away. Most models like these will come with two keychain remotes, (1 two way LCD transmitter, 1 four button) and can do keyless entry, trunk pop, turn on the parking lights and a wide variety of other convenient options many people enjoy.5. DELUXE HI POWER TWO WAY WITH COMPLETE VEHICLE SECURITY SYSTEM:
Identical to #4 above, PLUS the added convenience of a total vehicle security system, complete with: shock sensor, current sensor, door trigger, flashing LED light for the dash, starter interrupt, 120db siren and much more.6. ULTIMATE HI POWER TWO WAY REMOTE START & SECURITY COMBO:
Similar to #5 above, but with three times the power up to 3,500 feet. Two way transmitter with LCD screen shows range, lock, unlock, start, run and stop.
A Word About Factory Installed Vehicle Anti Theft Systems
Many vehicles today come equipped with anti-theft systems installed right from the factory. General Motors installs a key based, fuel shutdown system in many of its vehicles, known as "PASS-LOCK". Ford and Lincoln install an electronic chip in the top of the key in many of its vehicles today, which in it's absence will not allow the vehicle to start, known as "PATS". And some high-end imports are now equipped with on-board "immobilizer systems".
Any vehicle containing one of these factory installed "anti-theft systems" will need additional parts installed along with the remote starter for it to operate properly.
Be sure to ask the shop up front what the extra charges (if any) will be, before the installation. Depending on the vehicle, the additional parts (interface modules) and their installation usually fall somewhere between $40 to $90.
The Importance Of Value And Price
The price is what you'll pay. Value is what you get.
When you select a company to install a remote starter on your vehicle, you'll choose from a wide variety of products, features, warranties, guarantees, experience and prices. Here's what you'll want to look for:
1) A company that uses remote starters that have a proven history of trouble free performance. You'll get the consistent, reliable and trouble-free performance.
2) A company that has an experienced (preferably MECP certified) installers on staff, installers that have plenty of experience doing installations in vehicles just like yours. That way, you'll get the trouble free performance you want, instead of a lot of excuses.
3) A company that includes written warranties on it's products and their installation, as well as a written money back "risk free" guarantee. That way, if you don't like your remote starters' performance after it's installed, you can still return, have it removed and receive a 100% refund parts and labor.
4) A company that has a wide selection of models to choose from, with a broad range of features. That way, you can expect to get what you need and exactly the features you really want, instead of what they feel like selling you.
Not surprisingly, having a high quality, dependable remote starter added to your vehicle by a professional may initially cost a bit more.
If you are shopping for the cheapest price and have little concern for anything else making your decision based on where you find that cheapest price might be appropriate for you.
You can get the complete article at AutoMac's.com