But dealerships can't assume direct marketers aren't a competitive threat any more. There are legitimate companies -- and even some dealer brethren -- out there pitching extended service contracts.
And in an ongoing federal case in Illinois, the charges are aimed more at the sales tactics, and not so much whether the extended service contracts themselves were any good. The question of quality wasn't really tested.
Those factors make me think the direct-marketing concept is here to stay, even if it had a rough 2010.