STAND YOUR GROUND: Auto Warranties When Dealerships Go Out Of Business - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported By Andy Wise

STAND YOUR GROUND: Auto Warranties When Dealerships Go Out Of Business

Another auto dealership bites the dust in the dirt of our lousy economy.

Poor economic conditions have forced Collier Lincoln Mercury to sell to Dobbs Ford Wolfchase.  The Collier dealership's glass building on Covington Pike in East Memphis reflects sunshine all over an empty lot once full of cars ready to be sold. 

Officials say it's one of several Lincoln dealerships that have either gone out of business or been purchased by Ford as part of a nationwide consolidation.

The problem is some of the Collier dealership's customers have been left out in the cold because the dealership failed to register their warranties.

"If the dealer has not registered the warranty with the manufacturer, then unfortunately, the customer is going to be out of luck," says Randy Hutchinson, President of the Mid-South Better Business Bureau.

Brent Blanner was out of luck.

He bought an extended warranty from Collier Lincoln Mercury on a vehicle he bought from the dealership.  But the dealership didn't register the warranty before it sold to Dobbs.

Blanner says when he looked into getting some warranty work done on the car, he was told he had no warranty.  He says he left messages with Ron and Chad Collier, but heard nothing back.

"It's very frustrating trying to get what you paid for when the people that you bought it from don't talk to you," says Blanner.

The Action News 5 Investigators were able to reach both Ron and Chad Collier.  By phone and by e-mail, they told us the sudden loss of the dealership has made it difficult to meet all of their customer commitments.

But they promise they have a list -- they're checking it twice -- and they're making good on those commitments.

"We have set our goal to see that anyone that was owed money by Collier Lincoln Mercury is paid in full," says Ron Collier.  "This process has already begun and will continue until accomplished."

Steve Nagel, the general manager of Dobbs Ford Wolfchase, says his dealership is ready to help Collier's customers who got stuck in the middle of the consolidation.

"All the Lincoln customers that are out there, we can handle those folks here in our service department and with their warranties," says Nagel.

Nagel, in conjunction with the Action News 5 Investigators, provided Blanner a brand new two-year, 24,000-mile warranty that is even better than the one Collier never registered.

"Fortunately, we connected," Blanner tells us.  "You were able to help me get this taken care of."

In these tough times, always read the fine print of any warranty.  Make sure any extended warranty runs CONSECUTIVELY with the manufacturer's warranty, NOT CONCURRENTLY

Be certain of what it covers and what it doesn't cover -- parts? labor? rental?

Always make sure it is registered with the manufacturer.


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