Delayed claim, denied claim on bogus adjusters information .....
I purchased a Ford F150 in Sept of 1999 with 23,000+ miles on it. I purchased an extended warranty from Fidelity Warranty Services, Inc. I purchased the Deluxe Coverage with 72 months/72,000 miles. I have never used it until recently(Feb 2003). I have 65,000 miles on the vehicle.
I had a leak somewhere in the coolant system, but it was not coming from the radiator. I had it checked by two different auto shops and both could find no leak. (I had to fill the coolant tank at least every other day). The second shop I took it to was told by me to check it again because there was definately a leak. Fortunately for me, the store manager had over 25 years of experience and found the leak which was coming from the timing case, but that he would have to pull it apart to find out exactly where the leak was. This was done and found to be a faulty gasket. Fidelity was contacted and the claim was accepted. The gasket was replaced, and the truck was returned to me.
I put approximately 200+ miles on it, (I only had it for 12 days) when I noticed a strange noise coming from the engine. It sounded like the engine wasn't getting any oil. (The shop changed the oil for me after they replaced the gasket) I checked the oil level, and it was fine. Then I lost oil pressure. I contacted the shop where the repair on the gasket was done to find out what had happened. I had it towed there because I was afraid to drive it for fear of engine failure. They dropped the pan and checked the oil pump and assessed that it had failed. There was metal throughout the system.
They called Fidelity to get authorization to repair, and was told not to do a thing, but to have me call Fidelity. I did but they would not return my phone call. Fidelity called the shop back to inform them that they were sending an "adjuster" out to check the condition of the vehicle. The "adjuster" came out, took some pictures and informed me that I needed to authorize the shop to pull the engine and check all the components to find out what the failed component was, and that if it was not a covered component I would have to pay for the labor. I authorized this and the engine was pulled and the oil pump was checked (the gears were scored and gouged), the oil was drained and kept in separate container, the bearings and rods were checked (which were scored) metal was found throughout the system from the bearings and oil pump gears.
The shop did all of this and called "Rich" back at Fidelity who dispatched the "adjuster" out. Two days later, after 2 calls to find out where he was, the "adjuster" came out and took more photos, and was told by the shop that the failed component was the oil pump(which included the valves and springs in the timing case) The "adjuster" looked at the pickup screen and found some material trapped in it. It looked like gasket material, (it was a pinch) on a screen of approximately 3 inches in diameter. He wanted the oil filter, so he could send it to a lab to have analized. The shop taped it up, but felt a little leary about letting him have it, but it seemed like a reasonable request.
The "adjuster" left and no more than 30 to 45 minutes later, Fidelity called the shop to tell them the claim was denied. The denial was because there was gasket material in the pickup screen that restricted the flow of oil to the engine. And that it was due to poor workmanship of the shop in replacing the timing gasket. When the shop asked Fidelity about the oil filter, they said they didn't know why the "adjuster" would have taken it, but that they don't send things to the lab to be analized. I have demanded the return of the filter, but a week later have still not received it. It has now been almost three weeks.
Things just haven't made sense to me, so I went to see a lawyer. Several mechanics have looked at the system and have said that the oil was not restricted due to that minute amount of material. I have called Fidelity so many times and the original "customer service reps" "Rich and Chris" in particular have dodged my calls, and won't return them. After seeing my attorney, I contacted "Chris" the claim supervisor. We discussed a few things, one of them being, why the "adjuster" did not drain and sieve through the oil to find more material. "Chris" said that just because there is a minute amount on the pickup screen doesn't mean there isn't a lot in the oil. I asked him why the "adjuster" did not sieve the oil and he said because it wasn't there. (Which it was, it was in the back of my truck covered with plastic).
I told him I was going to go over there and sieve through it and he guaranteed I would find gasket material in the oil. I asked if I didn't then what was he prepared to do? He told me he has never seen it and if I didn't find any he would eat his words. Well I went over to the shop, and did exactly that, along with a witness and the shop manager and sieved thru that d**n oil not once but twice. We found three tiny pieces the first sieve and two pieces the second time. It appeared to be paper (gasket) material but once you feel it, it is metal. I took these pieces along with the pieces retrieved from the pickup screen to a lab. Low and behold I was right!! It is all metal, no fibrous material.(Which rules out the old gasket!) I have called over and over and over to Fidelity and every one I speak to says that I have to speak to "Chris" that they can't come between my conversation with "Chris". Well, he will not answer my calls, or return them. It has been five days. I have called five different times.
Anyway, I am proceding with repair (a brand new engine, oil pump and timing case cover= over $3300.) I have contacted my attorney to procede with suing them for the repair, bad faith, and unfair trade practices. I feel in my heart that the shop was not the cause of this failure, and that the warranty company should be responsible for the repair. This is why you purchase these warranties to protect yourself against this kind of malfunction. Several of the mechanics, when told who the warranty is with, have said that Fidelity is known for bogus denials. I feel bad for the people that have accepted their denials. I am not one of these people and I hope that more people will stand up to them.
By the way, the oil filter still has not been returned. My request for the "adjuster's" reports has still not been answered, along with my phone calls. It's funny how now the people that I speak with call the "adjuster" an "inspector" now. Big difference in meaning to me. Fidelity has contradicted themselves so many times. One guy told me that the "adjuster"/"inspector" took a few things and sent them to a lab to be analized also. Which I told him he was full of it, because 10 different people the week prior at Fidelity have told me they do not do that.
So this is my story which is not over yet. I will update this information (the lawsuit) once it gets going. But I will never buy an extended warranty from them again.
Aiken, South Carolina
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