Car warranty warning

Nina Pineda reports for 7 on your Side
Seven On Your Side
November 15, 2013 2:59:54 PM PST
Car warranties could help save you a lot of money when something breaks on the car.

"It was like, you're pulling like this to get the steering to move," said Amy Schmaling, a MINI Cooper driver.

Schmaling is talking about when the power steering of her MINI Cooper suddenly gave out just as she was heading into a tight curve.

"Did you feel like it was dangerous?" I asked.

"Extremely dangerous," Schmaling said.

Schmaling survived that harrowing experience and is still brand loyal.

Her family has two MINIs, her dad drives one, and she named hers after her favorite grandmother.

"I love my car," Schmaling said.

That was until she got the bill to fix her power steering, since her MINI was no longer under warranty.

"How much did you have to pay in total to get it fixed?" I asked.

"It was over $877," Schmaling said.

But after fielding complaints like Schmaling's, MINI voluntarily extended the warranty and was paying to fix power steering pumps for MINIs made between 2002 and 2005.

"This is what I got in May. It says right there, we will reimburse you," Schmaling said.

Luckily, Schmaling held on to service receipts and submitted them to MINI last May but didn't seem to have any luck.

"I called in June. I called in July. I called in August. I called in September," Schmaling said.

Getting the picture? Schmaling says she waited nearly half a year for payment and even sent letters to MINI's V.P.

"Nothing happened after that?" Pineda said.

"No, nothing," Schmaling said.

So 7 On Your Side called MINI, and after some wrangling back and forth, MINI finally burned some rubber.

"What did you get?" Pineda asked.

"7 On Your Side got me my money," Schmaling said.

Finally, a check expedited from a local dealership for payment for the fix in full. It was money earmarked to fix up her beloved "Jenny".

"She's going to get an oil change. She's going to have her rear brakes changed," Schmaling said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

MINI's rep said the checks were taking longer than they expected and it was going to take until the end of the year to get them all out.

Before buying a car warranty:

1) Know who's offering the warranty: is it the car manufacturer or if it's a third party manufacturer?

2) Research the company to see if it's reputable.

3) Read the policy over carefully and know what is and isn't covered.

4) Keep copies of the warranty along with all service records some place safe, in case you need to review it.