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Extended Warranties and the Fine Print

You did everything right.  You bought a car with a warranty and even paid extra for extended warranty for peace of mind.  You thought you are covered for product defects and malfunctions, but are surprised when your claim for free repairs is denied and you are quoted hundreds or thousands of dollars for repairs.

The problem is you did not read the fine print and are surprised by a denial based on alleged failure to maintain the vehicle according to the more stringent warranty requirements rather than the longer manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes, or oversized tires, after market exhaust or other such nonsense not causally related to the problem at hand.

Another example is the hidden inspection requirement in warranties such as FCA Chrysler’s lifetime warranties that is the bad faith basis to deny claims and void vehicle warranties.  The matter is so egregious that there is a pending federal class action lawsuit in California entitled Wendy Hightman vs. Fiat / Chrysler US LLC under case number 3:18-cv-02205-BEN-KSC alleges six separate causes of action against the manufacturer for not honoring the warranty.

The moral of the lesson is to always read the entire contract and comply by the terms and not expect to have all repairs covered, but rather do not trust the dealer, manufacturer, and warranty / insurance company and be prepared to argue your rights and perhaps need to file a lawsuit to get your free repairs.



Many are not worth the paper written on and same are completely useless and fraudulent.  In other cases, dealers may fail to ever pay the warranty company leaving the consumer with no coverage.  So always verify your extended warranty directly with the provider and be sure to get your contract in writing and review it to be sure you got the coverage promised by the dealer.

The best extended warranties are those issued by the manufacturer in true Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sales of used cars.  Don’t be fooled by loose use of the term “certified” used car as only the factory authorized dealer of the SAME MAKE vehicle can issue a CPO warranty.  For example, you can only buy the used Toyota at a Toyota dealer to get a Toyota warranty.  No other dealer can provide the factory warranty and most other warranties have too many exclusions, limitations and traps for the unwary in the fine print to rely upon in confidence that all vehicle defects and problems will be repaired at little or no cost to you.

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