Short and simple, there are plenty of articles floating around the web about how Vin Etch is a scam. WARNING! WARNING! Guess what, it isn’t a scam but it can definitely be turned into one.
It is unfortunate that there are dealers out there that “sneak” it into a deal by telling the customer it has already been done and charge huge amounts. THAT is when it turns to a scam. Vin Etch is a service that is appropriate for the right customer and is always optional and not a required part of a contract. For those that may not know, Vin Etch is essentially an insurance policy. What the customer is buying is a warranty coverage that will pay you cash if the vehicle is stolen and not recovered within a certain amount of time, usually 30 days. Some dealers add stickers to certain parts of the vehicle and some still do the acid etch. Dealers should only be offering etch as an option when signing contracts and going through vehicle “Add on’s” (warranty’s, tint, etc.)
Yes, you can do it on your own. Yes, a dealer will charge you more to do it as with any hired service vs doing it yourself. Yes, it does help in case of a theft by showing a thief it is etched it makes that part of lesser value to them.
A reminder that contracts are binding and to make sure as a customer you are going over your contracts with your finance department BEFORE signing.