Over recent years, consumers have been faced with an ever-growing selection of contracted services, ranging from the ubiquitous appliance repair contract to insurance add-on's that include health, wellness and care agreements.
And in the motoring sector, we are pummelled by an array of service contracts that cover everything from roadside assist to extended warranties and lately, emergency response and security systems. But, are they everything they're cracked-up to be, or are we being sold the proverbial 'pig-in-a-poke' just to make some fat-cat wealthy?
In the security and safety arena, most tracking and emergency systems involve a contract that can range from 12 to 36 months, depending on the value of the tracking system installed. Yes, the low monthly premiums look attractive - and are the main driver in getting consumers to sign on the dotted line, but other than covering the cost of the tech, they don't guarantee any specific or standardised service. For example, GPS-based systems charge heavily for their technology (usually based on dollar rates) but provide nothing more than a location service. Some do offer emergency assistance, but this is mostly through sub-contracted or referred service providers with no strategic links to the tracking service itself.
Others offer nothing more than a location tracking system or a means to track your property should it be stolen, but when it comes to support and actual recovery of the item, its left to the owner to facilitate and control the recovery process. In the motor-vehicle sector, there are a number of proven tracking and recovery systems and they need no introduction, but again they rely on accredited service providers to do the actual work.
The problem arises when you want to get out of the contract - or like most of us, forget to cancel an open-ended agreement. In the first case, cancelling a two-year agreement is an expensive process while the tracking unit is still unpaid, and the company can insist on the full contracted difference before releasing you from their agreement. In the other instance, they don't let you know that your contract has expired and you continue paying every month - often for no service at all.
So, before you get yourself bogged-down in any tracker or emergency agreement, look around and find those that offer their services without a fixed contract. These are the guys that are committed to keeping you happy in order to keep your business. They depend on delivery and response to maintain their client base, and they are often more serious about your welfare than long-term systems that rest assured on the fact that you are locked-in.
Guardian Angel offers the only month-to-month theft prevention and emergency response system, for motorcyclists in southern Africa. Our packages are very competitive and provide you the peace-of-mind of knowing that if we don't deliver, you have the right to find someone else to provide cover. While Guardian Angel doesn't provide for an on-off relationship with clients, it does give that 'wiggle room' that you need in hard times.