QOTW #54 – Warranty Policy from independent car sales?

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Welcome to BamfordRose and another question of the week. As always, before we start, it really helps us if you can like, comment, subscribe and hit the bell button for notifications so you always get our latest up-to-date content.

This week it’s about warranty. No! I’m not going to bang on about not buying the factory warranty policy, bank that money instead. This is about the warranty that you should get when you buy from a trader. So, if you’re buying one of the older level cars, I don’t know, maybe it’s entry level V8, DB9 and depreciation now is at the point where 20k will get one of those cars off a drive on a private sale. And the benefit of that is you can get a really really good car for a lot less money than what a vendor is selling it.

A vendor whether it’s independent or franchised is going to be preparing the car, some more than others, and offering some after sales care, which is really the main reason that you would choose to go and buy from a garage. You want a warranty with the car. So, if we look at the franchise world, they sell the car with their approved, used, timeless scheme. I’ve never really heard a case where there’s been something wrong with a car and that policy didn’t mop up after sales. It works. I don’t think the franchise dealer network could afford the bad reputation if that after sales care plan didn’t take care of cars.

In the independent world, we’ve sold a few cars here and if you have to sell a car and underwrite it yourself in after sales, then you really really need to be sure the car that you’re selling, if it’s a classic Vanquish and ASM pack failed, they are 10 grands plus to buy from the factory. And I doubt people have got one 10k in every sale of the car, so your margin could be blown in one go there. We used to sell cars with warranty-wise policy, so depending on the cover level. This would be a policy which cost anything from 750 pounds, 1350 pounds, depending on the cover level.

So, we sold the car at a price which includes that warranty underwritten by a third party. Now it’s been brought to my attention a week or so ago that a car purchased from an independent, very prolific independent seller had a misfire. So, a couple of weeks into ownership, a few weeks into ownership and it’s developed a misfire which the customer can feel. He’s taken that back and they’ve plugged into the car and said, well it’s misfiring on one cylinder and our warranty would underwrite that but you’ve got a lot of low-level misfires on other cylinders and some that don’t have misfire, you’d be wise changing the spark plugs, the coils at the same time but our warranty policy will cover one of the coils.

So, he was then given an estimate for what his share of that would be and what the garage would pay. He came to us to sanity check that and as you can see from the picture here this is this real-time misfire count. Now anyone experienced with Aston sees that bar graph of misfire, that’s an immediate don’t drive, stop, because the catalyst could fail. That amount of misfire seen on that bar graph will fail a catalyst. There’s a couple of cylinders there that show low level misfire but the majority show no misfire whatsoever. This DB9 only had I think 14000 miles on it, so there’s no need for preventative maintenance, change spark plugs, coils, it’s just completely irrelevant.

He then told me the price that they had said. They would honor the warranty for one coil and then the price of how much he would pay for 11 spark plugs and coils, which was way more than what it would cost at all 12 here, so that was a bit of an eye opener. So, the problem has been, sanity checked, it is misfiring. But the point of this question and the advice is that they were so careful about saying what they would replace and what the customer must pay for because the garage selling the car has not issued an independent third-party warranty certificate with the car. The vendor has underwritten the warranty policy for themselves and the owner did know this when he bought the car. It came up in question and the answer was, Oh! We know these cars very well now. We know this is a good one. We don’t need to buy a separate third-party warranty policy, which is a bit of a story really, because all that says is that, “I’m still going to sell you the car for the same price I ever was but in the makeup of that cost, I won’t be buying a warranty policy. I’m going to pass you that car for the price that you’re going to pay and my margin is going to be higher.”

The problem there is that if you buy a car from an independent seller, doesn’t matter who it is, whether it is a dedicated Aston seller or a generic sports car seller, if you had a warranty certificate by someone like warranty wise, that enables you to take that car absolutely anywhere to any garage to get fixed. So, you’re not reliant on the selling garage to fix that car, to fix the problem. Now here, the selling garage because they’ve underwritten the warranty themselves, you’ve got to get the repair funded by them which is a bigger argument to have something fixed than if the warranty policy was written by someone else. You’ve got a certificate for it and you can take it to any garage to have fixed. So, I know this is an isolated problem but the advice for the wider sales market has got to be the same. When you’re buying your car from a garage, make sure you have a third party independent from that garage warranty policy. If you have to rely on the warranty which they provide, they are so-called “underwrite” then you really will put the goodwill of that relationship to the test.

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