Q: “My dealer wants to charge me $498 for security products, including window etching, which he says is mandatory when you buy a car. Is this true?”
—M. Belliveau, Shediac, N.B.
A: In Canada we require an electronic theft deterrent, which is frequently integrated with the ignition key. To my knowledge, no province requires etching, though some dealers apply it across-the-board to vehicles in their inventory. Cost to the dealer of the etching product, including paperwork and “registration” with the marketing company, ranges from $60 to about $100. We have seen customers charged $149 to $495. Our recommendation: $498 is expensive. Decline the product, unless your insurer tells you it’s eligible for a discount. If it’s already on the vehicle, tell them you’ll pass on the “registration” and warranty, and you’ll pay just their purchase cost.
George Iny is the president of the Automobile Protection Association. Send him your automotive questions at firstname.lastname@example.org