What consumers should know before buying a used car with an extended warranty

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - Since Willie Charlton bought a 2003 Saturn a year ago from a used car dealership, he's had to take it into the shop twice. The costs of the repairs were more than $1,500.

"I think I did get a lemon," Charlton said.  

He purchased the car -- including a used vehicle extended service agreement. It covers parts in the engine, transmission and front and rear wheel drive.  The 50/50 agreement means the dealer covers 50 percent of the cost of parts and labor. 

When Charlton's car started leaking oil, he says he tried to get it into the car dealer for repairs, but they didn't return his calls. He then took it to a repair shop in Leavenworth.  After that, Charlton said he could not get the dealer to reimburse him for part of the costs.

"I called them.  They never called me back," he said.

Bob Kline with AAA said it's important to understand what you're getting with a used car service agreement.  Kline's advice is to see if you can take the car for repairs to a mechanic you know. He said you should try to avoid being tied to the dealer's mechanic. 

"You want to be able to take that car anywhere and not be boxed in to a particular location," Kline said.   

After Charlton contacted Call For Action, I spoke to the used car dealer who agreed to credit Charlton for half of the repairs covered under warranty, which came out to $363.

Charlton was pleasantly surprised.

 "I didn't think they would ever call me until I called you guys, and you were right on it," he said.

When getting a used car extended service agreement, the Missouri Attorney General recommends you get an explanation in writing from the dealer of exactly what is and isn't covered.

The AG also suggests you ask if the car includes any of the manufacturer's original warranty.

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