If you're upholding your end of a warranty but a dealership or manufacturer isn't paying up, there are steps you can take to have your warranty honored.
Car warrantiesspell out exactly what they will cover and what is expected of you as the car owner. For instance, most warranties require that routine maintenance and repairs be done in a timely manner. Putting these off only makes the damage worse.
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Make sure you haven't voided the warranty
Know what’s covered by your car warranty
Step 1: Read your warranty carefully. Don’t just skim over it and read a few sentences here and there that you think might be relevant. Take your time and read it over carefully.
Step 2: Ask for clarification. There is often terminology in a warranty document that needs clarification. Contact your dealer or the company that sold you the warranty and get clarification.
Don’t be afraid to ask. Warranty and vehicle terminology isn’t always easy to understand. But it's up to you to find out the details.
Step 3: Make sure you know who is selling you the warranty. There should be contact information for the warranty company with the warranty.
If it isn’t spelled out in the warranty, find out ahead of time. You need to have the warranty company’s name, address and telephone number.
Hold up your end of the agreement
Step 1: Get normal maintenance work done on time. This means oil changes, air filter changes, new brake pads, new battery, and so on. The best way to do this is to simply set up a standing appointment with your mechanic.
The warranty will spell out how often this
routine maintenanceshould be done.
Step 2: Keep detailed records. Get a maintenance record booklet, or even just a regular notepad, and write down the date and service performed every time you have your car serviced.
Put the receipts in the booklet or envelope right away. Do not just throw them in the glove compartment with every intention of taking care of it later.
Put the booklet or envelope in the car when you take it in for service and record the service the minute you get into the car when you pick it up. It only takes a few minutes.
How to get your warranty honored
Check the warranty's dispute resolution procedures
Step 1: Check your warranty for a dispute resolution process. Every warranty should have a dispute resolution process listed somewhere.
If you've ensured that you are in the right and deserve to get your car repaired under warranty, but the dealership still won't honor the warranty, follow the process listed in your warranty to settle the dispute. This might involve sending a demand letter to the dealership or manufacturer.
Step 2: Keep a record of any receipts or paperwork you receive for any repairs you make that could be reimbursed. If you need to get the repairs done soon, you can still get the repairs done and later be reimbursed for it, but you will need physical evidence.
Also, make sure that you're not voiding the warranty by taking the vehicle to a repair shop that's not approved by the manufacturer or dealership.
Seek legal help
Step 1: Consult with an attorney to get legal assistance. A lawyer will know your rights and what actions you can take. If your car ends up being a
lemon, the cost of hiring a lawyer will usually be covered. Most legal teams will at least offer you a consultation for free.
Step 2: Take further steps. When you have upheld your end of the warranty and they are refusing to pay for the work, contact your local consumer protection office. If need be, you can go even further by contacting the
Federal Trade Commission(FTC) or your
State Attorney General. A lawyer can help you sue, if it comes down to that.
If you are in the right, you will eventually get satisfaction. You simply have to stick to your guns until the warranty company recognizes that they must honor the warranty.
Can a dealership deny warranty work?
If you have done something to void your warranty or the work you need done isn't covered by the warranty, yes, a dealership can deny warranty work. However, if your warranty is in tact and you are asking them to fix something that's covered in the warranty, they are legally required to uphold the warranty.
There are a few things that could void your warranty. If the malfunction is due to your neglect or mistreatment of the product, you've probably voided your warranty. If the warranty period has expired or you've made alterations to the vehicle, the warranty won't apply.
You also need to make sure the repair you want is covered by the warranty. Warranties usually don't cover regular maintenance or wear and tear.
What happens if the dealer can't fix your car?
If a dealer can't fix your car, you may be eligible for a replacement vehicle or a full refund under your state's lemon law.
It varies by state, but usually, a dealer or manufacturer has around a month to make the correct repairs. If the vehicle is faulty after that and you've documented the process, you can request a replacement or refund vehicle under an arbitration process.
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