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Do I have a viable case to sue this warranty company?

Blue Bell, PA |

My wife purchased a used 2006 toyota camry last october in New Jersey. Upon purchasing your vehicle, she also purchased a warranty with Chrysler Group Service Contracts. This past March the head of the fastener that connects the serpentine belt tensioner to the engine block sheared off and the bolt had to be replaced. Fasteners are not covered by the warranty company. We replaced this fastener with a new one and continued on. About two months ago the alternator and the serpentine belt were replaced because they had failed/broken. A few weeks ago the vehicle started whinning upon starting so we took it back into the shop. This new fastener had bent and snapped inside the engine block. Upon consulting with the techinician and mechanic we found that the root cause of these two fasteners breaking so close to each other was due to the internal threads in the engine block itself. The vibration caused by the gap this thread failure made the fastener the weak point and caused it to take on more extraneous force then it is meant to handle causing it too break with in the engine block. If it was not the threads the bolt would have broken on the extrenal part of the engine block. This bolt had also managed to break the timing cover along the engine block. The warranty come initially stated (without observing the vehicle) that the fastener was the root cause of all the damage. Since the fastener is not covered any damage done is also not covered. However, after calling the warranty company I managed to get them to get an inspector to come out and check the engine and damage. Even after seeing the damage the inspector claimed that the bolt was the cause of the damage and this repair would not be cover (roughly $8000). Now the cylinder block and all internal parts are cover under warranty. And as the techinician and mechanic stated to the inspector that the fastener was not the root cause to the damage. After speaking with the technician about this I called the warranty company and spoke to the inspector. I explained all the information I could to him and he refused to listen. Only continued to state that the bolt was the root cause (even though failure analysis would state otherwise). When I asked him for a reason for the bolt to break inside the engine block he could only state that the fastener was faulty even after I explained this is the second one to break in 6 months. Two faulty fasteners is a near impossibility. I asked to speak with the manager/supervisor but "they do not answer calls". I then asked to speak with their legal department, to which "they also do not have". I called back later in the day to file a complaint but the inspector department is at the top of the pyramid. I would like to sue the warranty company for denying a claim that they clearly cover, for wear and tear on our other vehicle due to extra driving and the mental distress they have caused me and the hours of work I had to miss to take care of this issue. I am wondering if I have a viable case, what more information I need to get and where I need to go from here. I have also already spoken to Toyota to ask about any TSB's or recalls on the vehicle but nothing was found. I also checked the vehicle history to see if this had occured before but nothing came back.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

No one can tell you whether your case is viable or not without a lot more than just your version of the story; your lawyer would need to read the contract between you and the "warranty" company (it actually is a service contract, but I digress); you would have to have the car inspected by an independent expert, and your lawyer would have to see this report as well. Only after these materials are made available can one venture an opinion as to the viability of your claim. You should contact a qualified consumer lawyer (www.naca.net) and take it from there.

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Posted

A contract would need to be provided for proper advice to be provided. Until then, no one can really tell you if you have a case or not. I reccomend speaking with local counsel in order to give them a chance to reveiw your situation in greater detail.

If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated. This answer is provided for informational purposes only. This answer does not constitute legal advice and it does not create an attorney/client relationship. More importantly, the information contained in this answer should not be relied on. You should consult an attorney who practices in the relevant area of the relevant jurisdiction.

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1 lawyer agrees

Posted

Sounds like a "battle of the experts." This is not unusual in a lemon law case. Here, it's a bit more of a breach of contract case if they are not dealing with you in good faith. Regardless, you should have local counsel specializing in lemon law and auto fraud look at this. Find someone competent to review your issues here: http://www.naca.net

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