Car buyers need to know exactly what is covered in their warranty clauses

2010-04-10 08:49

LATE last year my niece called to tell me she had bought a Peugeot

207. The car had done less than 60 000 kilometres and it looked good. My

immediate thought was that the car would have a factory warranty and probably, a

maintenance plan in place.

The salesman, Collin, told me that the car still had a factory

warranty but no maintenance plan. But we were assured the car had just undergone

a 60 000km service.

I then asked to see the service book, which showed that the 60

000km claim was a lie. In fact, this was just one of a number of things Collin

had deliberately misrepresented.

My niece had not had a chance to test-drive the car and the engine

made a loud droning noise. The clutch was suspect and the gears were sticky. I

immediately drove back to the dealership and pointed out the problems.

A senior mechanic confirmed my complaints, suggesting that the

clutch be replaced and the noise attended to. The sly salesman then advised my

niece to drive the car for a few days as the noise could be from tight drive

belts and said he would call once the clutch kit had been delivered.

I asked whether the problems were covered by the warranty. We were

informed that the car carried an extended warranty but were not informed that

this warranty cost an additional R5 200.

Two weeks later the car went in for the clutch replacement, which

we assumed would be done by a Peugeot dealership. My niece was told that the

clutch had been replaced and a 60 000km service done.

There was no difference to the clutch, the engine noise persisted

and the car still lacked power. ­Collin could not show us the parts that were

supposedly replaced, a normal practice when a car undergoes repairs. The most

worrying thing was the work had not been done by a Peugeot dealership, even

though there is one 700 meters from the Kia dealership where the car was bought.

Four months and 5 000km down the line, the car broke down due to

overheating. Collin referred my niece to Peugeot, who in turn informed her that

the car still had a factory warranty that expires in February 2012. But because

the car was not serviced by Peugeot at 60 000km, the factory warranty which

would have covered the repairs was void. The worst was to come. The R5 200

­extended warranty does not cover the existing damage.

Car buyers need to know exactly what is covered in their warranty.

There may be a duplication.

Among the many documents car buyers are given to sign, duplication

and unjustifiable little bits are thrown in to increase the invoice value. These

additions increase the commission for salespeople.

Car buyers and consumers need to demand ­detailed information and

scrutinise the warranties to avoid problems when things go wrong.

  • Diale is a financial planner. He

    can be contacted on 078 775 0802

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