Consumer Alert: Purchasing an extended warranty

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

A News 12 viewer wrote to Kane In Your Corner asking about extended warranties for used vehicles.

Matthew says that he bought a used car in November and had many problems with it, such as an oil leak and bad spark plugs and ignition coil. He says that his car broke down and had to be towed away and that the warranty he bought didn’t cover any of it.

Matthew bought a warranty from an independent, third-party warranty company. Consumer experts say that these companies tend to get a lot of customer complaints.

“We have found consistently that these aftermarket warranties, No. 1, cover nothing, No. 2, find a dealer that will agree to work with them, and No. 3, many of them do not have [Better Business Bureau] ratings or poor BBB ratings,” says automotive consumer advocate Michael Sacks.

Sacks says that when possible, a customer should get a manufacturer’s warranty. This means buying the warranty from the car company of the car that is purchased. If the used car salesman can't sell a manufacturer's warranty, Sacks advises calling a local dealership. Sometimes they will sell warranties, even on cars that are bought elsewhere.

Sacks also tells customers to consider buying a certified pre-owned vehicle; they usually come with extended manufacturer's warranties.

And if a third-party warranty is the only option, Sacks warns customers to do research.

“You need to say, ‘Alright, what companies are out there that have high customer ratings? High customer satisfaction?’”

Sacks also advises car buyers to ask a trusted mechanic for a recommendation of an extended warranty company they've found consistently paid for repairs.

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