You probably already know where this is going. The warranty didn't pay for Archilla's repair. The warranty company had filed for bankruptcy about a year earlier and she knew nothing about it.
They're not just angry at their warranty company but at the dealers that sold them the warranty.
Archilla bought her car in March 2010 from Moe Pagni's Outten Used Car Center in Allentown.
Outten sold her a 36-month warranty for $1,340 from Great Lakes Warranty Corp. near Pittsburgh. Great Lakes filed for bankruptcy in August 2010, five months after Archilla bought her car.
Archilla said she didn't know that until she and her mechanic couldn't reach Great Lakes to file the alternator claim in June. She said she went back to the dealer, where a manager told her about the bankruptcy.
She believes Moe Pagni's Outten Used Car Care Center should have offered her a replacement warranty. Partner Moe Pagni told me he offered to repair Archilla's car at no cost when he heard about the problem. Archilla told me that wasn't an option because her car already was at another garage being worked on. She said she paid about $800 for the repair.
After I talked to him, Pagni offered Archilla $200, saying he wanted to help her out.
"I never, ever, ever push somebody out in the cold," he said.
Archilla told me she wouldn't take the offer because it was insufficient. Last month, Pagni increased the offer to $350, which Archilla also refused. She told me she just wanted to put the matter behind her.
Frank Deom has a different warranty problem. He says he's entitled to a refund from Signet Financial Corp. for not filing any warranty claims. But the California company appears to have gone out of business.
I wrote about problems with Signet warranty refunds last year, noting the terms were written in a way that could make getting a refund tough. I couldn't reach the company for that column or this one.
Deom, who lives in Lackawanna County, said he paid $4,036 for an extended warranty on a used RV he bought from Fretz RV in Hilltown Township in 2007. With the warranty, he bought a "refund contract" from Signet, which would qualify him for a $3,500 refund if he did not file a claim.
He said he requested a refund in March and hasn't been paid. He filed complaints against Signet with the Better Business Bureau, which didn't get a response from the company when it tried to investigate. He also filed a complaint with the California attorney general's office, which told Deom that Signet "may have gone out of business."
Deom also sought help from Fretz RV, believing it holds some responsibility.
"They used the fact that you could get most of your money back as a primary selling point," Deom told me in an email.
Deom filed a complaint against Fretz RV with the Pennsylvania attorney general's office. In a written response to the complaint, Fretz's attorney said the dealer is not responsible because Deom's refund contract was with Signet, not Fretz.
"It came as a complete surprise to us as well," General Manager Steve Fretz told me. "I know Frank was upset about it. I can't say I blame him. We're kind of stuck in the middle as well."
He added, "This doesn't bode well for customer service when a company like this goes out of business, but by the same token, we can't control the business practices of another company."
If your car salesman tries to sell you an extended warranty, think hard and ask questions.
Be aware that buying an extended warranty requires you to pay in advance for repairs you may never need, or finance the cost as part of your purchase. Understand that your dealer likely won't be providing the warranty coverage, and likely won't be obligated if the warranty company won't fulfill its duties.
If you've already run into this problem and your warranty company has filed for bankruptcy, file a claim as a creditor. Great Lakes Warranty Corp.'s case still is open in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Archilla said she has filed a claim.
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