It began on a normal warm, humid Houston day. June 6, 2007. My family and I were preparing to launch on a vacation that we had been planning on for months. We were to drive to New York State.
We were going to be driving our 2003 Kia Sorento. It is a vehicle that has been meticulously maintained and was, as I had thought, prepared to make the long journey. I thought, well if anything happens, we have our AAA and extended warranty protection that is "Bumper to Bumper".
We bought the extended warranty when we purchased the vehicle through the dealership. American Financial Warranty Corporation is the administrator for MasterTech Vehicle Protection Program.
I have always been concerned of extended warranty companies. Well, I have learned a life long lesson.
I was traveling on I-45 heading home when I noticed my temperature gauge was just a tad higher than normal. It concerned me, especially since we were to embark on a 1600 mile journey.
I saw what I thought to be smoke coming from under the hood when I noticed an almost sweet smell. Oh no! It's anti-freeze! I looked down to my temperature gauge and it was in a quick ascent to H (Hot).
Being a Paramedic in one of the busiest systems in the nation, I looked for a quick escape route from the middle of the traffic on one of the deadliest stretches of Interstate in Texas. Decreasing your speed in heavy traffic is not a pleasant experience in Houston which increases your pucker factor.
Before I could cross the two lanes of traffic to my right, I heard the unmistakable sound of the valves suddenly rattle. With the traffic increasingly becoming agitated I continued to ease off the main lanes to the shoulder. Thank God I made it before the Sorento quietly died. I still had some forward momentum and coasted the SUV to the off-ramp and for the most part, out of danger for myself and the other citizens that were commuting.
To make the story longer, AAA was notified and a tow truck arrived to take the Sorento to a reputable shop in Spring. My spirit was shattered. My trip looked as though it were going to have to wait. I had just taken 2 weeks vacation time to watch it go into the shop.
We decided to rent a Durango to go ahead with our trip. While we left that evening, we kept in constant contact with our service advisor at Milstead Automotive in Spring.
Several days had passed when I received a phone call from the service advisor. He had informed me the warranty company had told him that if the head gaskets had blown and he provided them with the gasket, the parts and labor would be covered under the terms of the contract. He said he didn't believe there was going to be a problem.
American Financial Warranty Corporation had sent out an Inspector to look at the damage. The first action the Inspector acheived was to go to the back of the SUV and took pictures of the new trailer hitch and ball that had been installed just days earlier, having not been used as of yet.
Next he went to the engine compartment while talking to the service advisor, and giving the advisor the impression that American Financial was not going to cover the claim. This was done before there was any facts submitted to American Financial Warranty Corporation. The inspector began taking pictures of the partially disassembled engine. There was rust on the engine and in the cylinders due to the enormous amount of rain and near 100% humidity. One of the coolant ports appeared to be covered with rust which the inspector photographed.
After photographing the engine, the inspector took his pen and touched the rust, which was described to me as a film. That little piece of rust immediately crumbled without any use of force. The service advisor then requested that the inspector take another photo of the port. The inspector then replied "No, I have all the pictures that I need". Cha Ching, in his pocket.
The service advisor had to continually call American Financial Warranty Corporation requesting the status of the claim. He was told that the claim was going to be denied because there was a broken Y-pipe where the coolant had leaked out causing the engine to overheat. Later he had been told that the claim was being denied due to lack of recommended manufacturer maintenance. A copy of an invoice proved to American Financial Warranty that the timing belt was changed prior to the recommended 60k miles. The repair shop also advised to change the water pump since they were already in the area and would prevent further labor cost's in the future. The water pump was an item that would have been covered under the warranty, but I believe in preventing cost's of insurance from going up for all consumers, not just myself. Therefore, I did not submit a claim.
After repeated attempts to reverse the claim denial, we were informed that it would go up for review with a supervisor. Hopefully someone was coming to their senses and going to uphold the contract.
Three weeks after our vehicle went out of service, we had to turn in our rental. $950 was about all we could put out without breaking the bank. After all, there are 5 in our household and one on the way. This whole ordeal has been an extreme burden on us not to mention the financial downfall it has caused which is why people purchase extended warranties.
After going back and forth with the warranty company, today, nearly a month after the vehicle was towed, they denied the claim. Their reason, operating the vehicle after the failure causing more damage.
Well lets look at some facts here. There have been nothing but inconsistencies from the initial claim submission on the part of American Financial Warranty Corporation. For EVERY correspondence, they have had a different reason for denial. In the entire time our vehicle was in the shop, not one time did Financial Warranty Corporation call to keep us abreast and informed of any part of the claims process. Nor did they have any concern that we were out of a vehicle.
I have gone to the shop to take my own photographs and also obtained statements that I am submitting to the Texas Attorney Generals Office, The Better Business Bureau, The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, The Texas Department of Insurance, my private attorney and to the local news media.
I know there is a lot of, lets say, less than honest claims out there that we all contend with. However, I can not and will not tolerate liars,cheats and thiefs. I will fight them till the very end. I do this not just for my families sake but also for all who are deceived into paying for a service they will never receive. I take that as Deceptive Trade Practices and possibly Fraud. When speaking to Supervisor RC Colopy this morning he contends that I continued to drive the vehicle after there was a failure.
Its a sad shame when a company as in American Financial Warranty Corporation state that they are here to protect the consumers, yet their actions protect their jobs and BONUSES. These people are only interested in self fullfillingness through greed and not concerned about doing what is Ethically and Morally right. Look at their web site. All they preach about is profits,profits and more profits.
I am very interested in seeing the statistics of claims filed vs claims paid. I would bet that the claims denied are significantly higher by as much as 20%.
They have gained my disrespect, trust and loyalty with not just American Financial Warranty Corporation, but all the other VSC (Vehicle Service Contracts) that are being pushed on the closing deal.
I will be cancelling my other policy with them after my research of the business they are inept at providing with their distrustful management. I am going to take it to the limit, whatever they may be, to help consumers become aware that it is nothing more than a scam. Im sure there are some/few VSC out there, but I am also sure there are even more citizens who have been left high and dry when the time came to use your warranty. Once you give them your money, its gone forever.
If anyone else has had a similar experience with American Financial Corporation, American Financial Company or MasterTech, please feel free to contact me. I would be interested in building an alliance that would either force these incompetent companies to either provide the service they advertise, or to put them out of business so no-one else had to endure the hardships they disseminate through inaction.
Thank you for reading this. I hope everybody will prevail with justice and if we stick together, we shall all prevail to victory. Good luck and Gods Speed.
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