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By Jordan W. Charness
Perhaps we depend on computers too much these days. After all, they’re found just about everywhere we go. We use them for work and for play and we have pretty much come to the conclusion that they will remember everything that we might forget.
Take what happened to Tina for instance. About a year ago Tina bought a brand new 4×4. It wasn’t really a full-size SUV but more in line with the cute-ute category of smaller SUV’s that fit her personality. About six months after she purchased the vehicle she noticed that it was raining.
Raining in the fall is not terribly unusual in Canada. Raining inside your new car however is certainly cause for alarm. For some reason whenever it rained outside water leaked into her car as well.
Tina took the car back to the dealer while it was still under warranty. Her vehicle came with a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty which covered just about everything. The manufacturer’s warranty is not limited to just mechanical repairs but also includes leaks and even wind noise at least during the first year of the warranty period. The dealer’s repair department was quite nice about it and fixed the car in just two days.
Three weeks after making the repair the dealership filed for bankruptcy protection. Three weeks after that it closed completely. Three weeks after that Tina’s car started to leak again.
Since the warranty must be honoured by any of the manufacturer’s dealerships in Canada, Tina did not think that she would have a problem getting the repair fixed. She went to another dealership from the same company that manufactured her car and explained to them that once again her car was giving her a shower every time it rained.
The second dealer’s repair department gave her call a few hours later to say that they would not be fixing her car for free. In fact they wanted $800 to fix the problem. They claimed that whoever fixed it the first time around had done it in an improper manner and therefore it could not have been a manufacturer’s dealer who had performed the repair.
The warranty would not cover a repair done poorly by persons unknown. Tina was shocked. She knew that she had taken her car to the now bankrupt dealership for repair. What they might have done with it was beyond her control. She insisted that the repair be covered under the warranty.
The dealership asked her for proof that the initial repair had indeed been done by a representative of the manufacturer. They asked her for her invoice as proof.
Since she had not paid for the repair and the invoice read zero, Tina had not bothered to keep her copy of the bill and work order. She assumed that everything was in the dealership’s computer and she would not actually have to keep a paper copy. While everything may indeed have been in the bankrupt dealership’s computer, that computer was no longer accessible nor was it linked to any other computer at any other dealership. Without the paperwork there was no document she could use to show where the repair had been made.
Fortunately, proof may be made in other ways when documents no longer exist. Her testimony as well as the testimony of witnesses could prove that she had indeed had the car repaired at a licensed dealer. She called the manufacturer’s representative at the Canadian headquarters of the Company and explained her case. They believed her and ordered the dealership to make the necessary repair. She would have saved a lot of heartache and time had she at least thrown the work order in her glove compartment instead of into the trash.