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ON YOUR SIDE: Reading the fine print on used car warranties

Springfield (MO) KYTV 2/20/2023 Frances Watson
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Buying a used car can be a budget-friendly, transportation option that often comes with a warranty.

But how many of us actually read the fine print?

“We trusted the car lot. We trusted the man,” said David Bell.

He and his wife say they purchased an SUV from Chris King at Queen City Motors in Springfield a few years ago.

“You meet the guy, you’ve probably seen his commercials, you probably heard him talk,” he said.

“He’s a very charismatic guy,” said Elizabeth Bell.

They bought a 2-year or 12,000-mile warranty along with the vehicle. But couldn’t get the work they needed to be done. They ended up paying $4,000 to repair their transmission and took King to court.

“We had an expert opinion. We were facing a criminal, people lying on the stand and somehow we still lost,” said David Bell.

But an arbitration clause in the fine print of the contract put a stop to any resolution.

“They’re going to benefit the dealerships. They’re not going to be in your best interest, unfortunately,” said attorney Adam Pihana.

He says most warranties have such limits.

“It’s going to take the ability for you to dispute anything that may arise as a result of the contract and put it into the hands of an arbitrator,” he said.

But Pihana says you don’t have to agree to the terms of the document in front of you.

“These agreements are going to be what’s called ‘boiler plate’. They’re going to be preprinted forms but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try to mark through things or try to eliminate things from these agreements,” he explained.

Pihana also recommends recruiting help.

He said, “It’s like going to the doctor’s office, having somebody else there who’s not necessarily interested in the transaction to ask questions.”

The Bells have some advice of their own.

“Maybe have your mechanic look at the car. Criminal records, maybe go look for those,” said David Bell.

Elizabeth Bell said, “Do your research.”

The Queen City Motors Service Center, where the Bells went for repairs, is no longer in business. The dealership went out of business a few years ago.

Our calls to Chris King’s attorney have not been returned.

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