I don’t usually complain about having to pay for things that I feel have value but I feel so ripped off by a recent purchase of a vehicle Warranty Plan I just have to vent. Vehicles tend to be very expensive in this part of the world and we could ill afford to purchase a newer vehicle than the 10 year old Toyota Hiace camper van with 392,000km’s on the clock. I was actually pleased to be offered a 12 month Grand Warranty Plan from a company called National Warranty Company since it appeared to offer some reasonable protection for any major component failures that might occur during our 12 month exchange trip to Australia. I was fairly confident buying a Toyota anyway since my experience has always been a positive one with them. I’m always very careful keeping up with maintenance on vehicles I own and made sure to take this one in for it’s scheduled oil change and checkup at the required time just before putting on over 3000 kms on a recent trip during which it ran like a top. I was only a little surprised when all the dash warning lights lit up on Friday last week on a short trip into town 30kms away but made sure I drove it directly to my trusty country mechanic who correctly diagnosed the problem as a faulty alternator and booked it in for a repair for Monday. I checked my warranty, quite confident that such a repair would be covered. I called the National Warranty Company and they were closed for the weekend and my Mechanic said we could call them on Monday when I brought the vehicle in for the repair and he ordered the replacement part which he said would cost $225.00. On Monday we called the National Warranty Company who asked us to fax them the estimate and they would get back to us with an their assessment of the claim. Confident we were doing everything by the book my mechanic replaced the alternator. I drove home and called National Warranty Company to ask how to proceed with the claim. Again I got a recording to say the office was closed and to call back during regular office hours. This morning (Tuesday May 15) I called again and was told the claim was being reviewed and I should expect a call back soon. About 2 hours later I got a call from Shane who tersely explained that they would not have sourced a new alternator at the cost of $225.00 but rather a refurbished one at the cost of $196.00 and expressed their regret that my claim would be completely denied. Some mumbo jumbo about it being a used vehicle and they would only refurbish with used parts. Huh? I was stunned. I told Shane, the Claims Officer, that I was not happy with this and he said he was sorry but that’s the way it is. I called my mechanic and he said it’s not worth the trouble of putting in a used $196.00 part when you can get a new one for $225.00. As it stands I am out $614.40 parts and labor and a Warranty that I now feel is nothing more than a scam. If there is any Consumer Protection Agency in Australia I think they should be made very aware of the fraudulent behaviour of the National Warranty Company Ltd. ABN 66 087 662 771
On Wednesday May 16 I submitted a request on their website to offer me written notice as to why the claim was denied. So far all I have is a verbal response over the phone. Judging from things I have read at notgoodenough.org there are several consumers with similar problems and interestingly enough many of the comments on this site about their issues have been removed by request of the National Warranty Company. One complaint I read even stated that any registered complaints about the company would render the consumers entire warranty plan null and void. I might consider testing that. I have this other little issue with the van. In 5th gear the transmission pops out occasionally. I inquired with my trusty mechanic and he said it might be a minor linkage problem but if I could live with it by applying a little pressure to keep it in gear it should be fine. If I wanted however he could try to adjust it but if it was more than a linkage issue the transmission would have to be rebuilt. That should be work that could be under warranty according to how I read the plan.
Update: I finally got response from Shane.
Unfortunately as you’re not the contract holder, I’m unable to release any information relating to the above contract number.
Funny cause I am actually the contract holder.