RUST-PROOFING: Money For Nothing?

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David Nelson says he paid nearly a thousand dollars to get his new truck rust-proofed, but got nothing in return.  If you've paid for rust proofing or exterior protection for your vehicle, you may have been scammed and not even know it.  Moreover, in many cases you may be paying for something you don't even need.

David Nelson wanted to keep his new truck looking that way, so when he purchased the truck, he also bought a rust-proofing package.

"I paid $995 for the rust-proofing, the exterior finish and the interior finish protection."

But when Nelson showed his new truck to a friend who owns a car restoration shop, Nelson's friend noticed something strange - what he noticed was nothing at all.

"He started showing me these holes and he said, 'You know what Dave, I don’t think this truck’s been rust-proofed,' and I said, Oh yea, I paid 995 dollars for this.  I said it better be."

Nelson decided to get a second opinion, "Kind of like going to the doctor a second time.  I got a second opinion then from Ziebart."

The diagnosis - "They were adamant that it had not been done.  They told me they get about one of these a month."

Nelson says they could tell the truck hadn't been rust-proofed because there was not rust-proofing residue.  Nelson shows us the holes in the door where the rust-proofing is supposed to be applied.

He says they practically took the truck apart, "We pulled out these tail light sections and shined a flash light in there and there was no rust proofing."

Holmes Chevrolet in Norwalk sold Nelson the truck and the protection package.  We called Holmes several times, but our messages went unanswered.  We also visited the dealership, but we were told the only people who could answer our questions were gone for the day.

When Nelson asked about the rust proofing he says he was told it was done.  Nelson doesn't believe it, "I got clipped."

What's worse, Nelson might not have needed the rust-proofing.  G.M.'s own website says, "application of additional rust-inhibiting materials is not required under the corrosion coverage and none is recommended."

"When you get a brand new car from the factory it comes with rust-proofing on it," says Scotty Buchanan, the owner of Scotty's Body Shop.

He says cars made after 2006 are less likely to rust because manufacturers are using new materials, in particular, galvanized steel.  He adds, rust-proofing is most beneficial if your car has been damaged or if it was built prior to 2006.

Buchanan says simply washing your car is one of the best ways to prevent rust, "After a snow, wash it five days after a snow, after they've put the sand down.  That should be good enough."

He also recommends checking your vehicle for dings or weak spots once a year.

"When you get rock chips on a hood you can literally put fingernail polish on it, like the clear and seal it, says Buchanan.  "You can check underneath, take a hammer and tap on the frame parts of the vehicle, and you can tell when you’re getting a weakened structure on the vehicle, because you’ll hear the difference in the noise."

Nelson recommends checking your vehicle too - to make sure you got what you paid for.

"Everybody that bought rust proofing and the finish and the interior protection from any dealer ought to  make sure they got it done... this is a wide open window for fraud."

Sidenote:  Holmes Chevrolet provided a statement a day before this story aired.  It reads in part:  "Holmes Chevrolet has conducted a thorough internal review of Mr. Nelson's complaint, which documents that rust-proofing was properly applied to his vehicle and the written warranty issued.  This evidence has been provided to Mr. Nelson and his attorney, and demonstrates that his claims are without merit.

Over the past year, Holmes has repeatedly attempted to resolve Mr. Nelson's complaints; however, he refused to bring the vehicle in for inspection.

Holmes has made a formal request for an inspection of the truck by an independent expert, however, we have been unsuccessful in getting the inspection scheduled.