ED Magedson – Founder
Lubrico Warranty Inc2124 Jetstream Road London, Ontario United States of America
I bought a car with a warranty since I had researched the car's history online and through various dealerships. While I am glad that I did the research, I should have looked harder for a warranty or skipped the car altogether. The car has had a couple of minor items needing repair, only one of which Lubrico partially covered, and one major one (again, only partially covered).
Aside from that, I am generally happy with the car, but not the warranty service or the salesman who sold it to me due to the circumstances I will describe below. I bought the Powertrain Protection Warranty (24 months unlimited kms) with the car and paid nearly $1,600 plus GST for it, which included the $0 deductible and $5,000 per claim liability coverage since I suspected the transmission might go (which it did less than a month later!).
I also purchased the Extra Value Package, Seals and Gaskets and Air Conditioning package, along with the Powertrain Equipment Plus (includes the Powertrain Equipment as is noted in small print beside the box on the contract). When I was inquiring about the liability increase I asked to see the paperwork concerning any details I might need to know. The owner/salesman didn't have any information on hand and since it was a weekend I couldn't get any information from the company until Monday.
Due to my circumstances, I needed a vehicle immediately for work the next night, so I went ahead and bought the vehicle and warranty (only 1 rental place in town...closed) with the higher liability since I could see no exclusions on my policy/contract. The single page contract/policy was the only item of paperwork I received until much later (after my first claim had been made, for the transmission).
It does not have any symbols to indicate that any notes or legal disclaimers need to be read and understood, so I took that to mean that what was written was what the contract entailed...$5,000 liability on covered items, no exceptions. Any other company has clauses indicated by various symbols, and none were present on my paperwork. There is a set of quotations around the $5,000 Per Claim Liability to indicate that the limit is $3,000 unless the '$5,000 Per Claim Liabilty' (as on my contract) option was selected and paid at the time of application, which is the case.
These quotations are there to identify a specific item within the contract, and do not indicate anything else needs to be read on the page or elsewhere. On to the point where I find out about the 'loophole' used by Lubrico. I had no real troubles with the car until a couple of weeks later when my transmission would not work properly. There is only one authorized repair facility in town and I was going to have to wait for about 2 weeks to get the car in for an inspection, let alone any actual work.
I asked the claims department if there was anywhere else I could take the car in town since I was going to be out of pocket to tow the car to the nearest facility (70 km away, which was over the limit for towing claims). I was told that they didn't like to use dealer mechanics since they overcharged and used OEM and other new parts (Lubrico is very fond of having used parts installed as part of their warranty, so BE WARY of this little ploy that isn't mentioned until after its too late).
I indicated to them that I had a history with the dealership that had serviced my previous vehicle and that they were going to give me a good deal, provide me a free loaner, and take the car right away. I first had to have the Lubrico-approved mechanic look at my car, which took a couple of days to arrange, even though I live 1 block away.
This was after spending a couple of other days on the phone to get the okay (very begrudginly, I might add) to have the local GM dealership look at my car once it was determined that the transmission was, in fact, in need of repair. This model of transmission is in many GM cars with 3.8L engines, often Pontiac Grand Prix models, and has a terrible track record.
I learned during the course of my many talks with the same warranty claims representative (John) that my $5,000 per claim isn't really $5,000 like I had been led to believe by my contract and the salesman who sold it to me. It is 'up to' $5,000 (including taxes) OR half the purchase price (before taxes/warranty), whichever is lower, which is not indicated on the lone piece of paperwork I had in my possession at the time.
When I mentioned that this is not on my contract and there are no symbols denoting any fine print/conditions, the claims rep tells me that it is on my paperwork that the dealer gave me when I paid for the warranty. Upon telling the rep that I only got the contract, I was told that was not their fault and that the information is clearly indicated on the website. This is not true, but more on their website, and what the rep claimed, later.
I told the rep that I didn't have access to this information when I bought the warranty, so how could I know that the contract was not exactly what it stated in no uncertain terms. I was told that it was not Lubrico's responsibility to ensure that the people it had approved to sell their policy actually did their job properly. Do we see a theme beginning to emerge?
After a little more back and forth, I was told to take it up with the seller of the warranty. I thought Lubrico was the seller, and the salesman was acting on their behalf as an agent of the company, and thus both were negligent in ensuring that I was properly informed of any potential caveats...even after I had asked for clarification. Not so, at least according to the rep...it was up to the dealership where I purchased the vehicle (not the place where I took it for the actual work), not Lubrico, to make sure I was informed of Lubrico's hidden clauses.
I then went and spoke with the salesman who sold me the car and warranty, who of course didn't tell me of this little hidden surprise. In fact, when I confronted him about this, he said he didn't even know about it! Not very impressive for the owner who deals with Lubrico to be unfamiliar with some important points...either that, or he is not being completely honest.
As mentioned, I finally got approval to have the local dealer look at and repair the car, but Lubrico was only covering 'up to' 1/2 of the purchase price since their information was clearly indicative of such a clause (I wound up paying $4,055.15 including GST, and $3,098 and change including GST was covered once I received their cheque). This is less than the $3,100 I was supposed to be getting according to their unavailable information and paperwork (its not on their website as claimed) that I never received until about a month after the repairs. It is immaterial to them that I was unable to get any such information, and also that they failed to send the full policy and contract in a timely fashion.
Also troubling to me is that the limit is 1/2 the purchase price BEFORE GST and the amount they cover INCLUDES GST, which to me is also unethical. I would think we would see apples compared to apples (pre-GST purchase to pre-GST repair costs), but given that they are hiding behind some hard to obtain information, I am not really surprised at their tactic.
The transmission I did have installed was a new unit with a full 3 year 160,000 km warranty valid at any GM approved facility in North America, not just at Lubrico-approved shops. I have not had any other issues with the transmission since then, but I am very upset that both the salesman and Lubrico were not open and honest with me when dealing with my questions and concerns.
Had I known of the clause in the $5,000 per claim limit, I would have not bothered upgrading from the $3,000 base limit, since I was only seeing an additional $100 in coverage when I paid an additional fee of almost the same amount to get the increase.
When I did try to find out about the clauses on the Lubrico website, I could not navigate through any of the pages aside from the Oil Change reporting and home pages. Apparently Lubrico doesn't want people seeing the fine print on their website, either. In fact, even as I write this, there is still nothing on their coverage listing to indicate any hidden clauses. I have taken pictures of the web page and saved the webpage to my computer for proof. I will also print a copy for additional evidence.
I did finally manage to get a detailed list of what all is covered (aside from the in-house board the salesman showed me that listed the various plans), but this was much too late for my transmission claim. The extra claim limit for which I paid is largely useless since it only increases my claim limit by $100 above the base rate (the cost of upgrading is about the same dollar value as the increase, which is only helpful IF more than one significant claim is made and honoured). Lubrico is not willing to honour what my contract (my only document at time of purchase) states, so I am taking this course of action.
I have also asked about repairs that I had done when I first bought the car (tuneup, new front brakes since the inspection indicated that front brakes were needed). Not having a reference that they might be covered, I didn't think to ask for approval to get them repaired. When I asked after the fact (my fault) I was told that they were not covered (apparently not true, either) and that I would have needed their approval anyway.
Some information makes it seem like the rotors are covered, others that the pads might be covered, but I was told flatly that nothing related to brakes was covered by my policy, despite it being indicated to me as included in the optional coverage I had selected and purchased with the car.
I mentioned at the beginning that I had more than one issue with the car, and these will be detailed below. I had issues with my ABS/Traction Control system/wheel speed sensor from the beginning and finally got approval to get it inspected and then fixed this summer (several months after I had first asked about getting it repaired). Lubrico wanted to use parts from an auto wrecker, which wound up being the case once it was finally repaired. I still had to pay for some of the costs since I was told that part of the problem was wiring. I was not happy about this, but not being terribly surprised, I paid it.
During the same time frame I had issues with my climate control system as well. This was dealt with on a separate occasion and I wound up having to pay for the entire repair since it was supposedly a wiring issue again. Yet another pattern emerging here. I just had my car in for an oil change and winter service and when I drove home I could hear the same sort of noises as when I first had the climate control system looked at.
Since the system still worked (sort of), Lubrico was not going to approve any work, even though it was only working on the highest fan setting. It turns out that the bearing was shot in the fan (Oh, didn't we tell you? That isn't covered, either, even though it isn't listed). Now the bearing in the 'new' unit might be going, too (thanks for using old parts, guys), and I'll have to make an appointment for a week or two down the road when its colder and I need the fan to help defrost my windows.
Remember I mentioned that this is the only place in town that can do Lubrico work, unless you want to pay the difference (even for covered work that they might refuse out of hand). If I want to drive an hour into the city and leave my car there for a day or two, travel home at my expense (and back to the city when its ready), I can possibly have my car looked at more quickly, but no guarantees.
What I hope people will learn from this is that Lubrico is a subsidiary of an insurance company, so understand that they will have all kinds of legalese to try and wiggle out of what you are told is covered. Read everything, and if you can't get it explained due to lack of available information or an 'unknowing' salesman, wait until you can or buy something with a factory warranty. Older vehicles that can be more economically repaired are usually more reliable without the computers and extra miles of wiring and other delicate components.
Keep in mind that a warranty is only as good as the company that offers it. If your gut is telling you something isn't clear...don't put any money on the table until ALL your concerns are addressed and you understand what is covered and what is not. Take some time beforehand to read the fine print before making a purchase, and do some research about the reputation and credibility of the company offering the warranty.
I am out nearly $1,000 from the transmission repair alone, and more than another $500 for the other claims I opened after that (Traction/ABS/wheel speed sensor and climate control unit due to supposed 'faulty wiring' that I could not verify). Had I kept the money from the warranty I would have saved myself over $1,600 up front so I am still ahead of where I am now, so it could be worse. However, my concern is that both Lubrico and their authorized agent failed to properly disclose the clauses.
These failures on their part have seen me settle for: sub-standard parts; pay for repairs that I was not allowed to verify were actually necessary (wiring); and to pay for repairs that should have been entirely covered by my increased liability limit. According to the only information I received/had any access to at the time of purchase, my limit was $5,000 with no exclusions.
To this day their website information is still not showing any caveat regarding ANY exlcusions. The only paperwork I have that indicates any sort of fine print/ hidden clauses/caveats/exclusions was not provided to me until after I had made my first claim. Make sure you have access to the whole truth and don't take someone's word for being completely or even partially factual. Get it in writing...at least then you have some form of basis for a claim or lawsuit.
I am still considering small claims litigation should this not be addressed by whatever body oversees this site.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/04/2009 03:30 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/lubrico-warranty-inc/london-ontario-n5v-3p5/lubrico-warranty-inc-warranty-scams-london-ontario-519292. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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