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 May 14, 2005
"Smart Choice" Warranties
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"Smart Choice" may not have been the smartest choice after all! Thousands of consumers across the country, including hundreds of Rhode Islanders are finding out the hard way that the warranty they bought is useless.

Like most dad's Bill Rogers wanted to buy his daughter Jennifer a reliable car.

Bill Rogers, Pawtucket

"My daughter is going to school and I wanted a safe care for her."

 He bought her this Pontiac Grand Am at County Motors in Pawtucket, but since the car only had 4,000 miles left on the original warranty, the salesperson asked him if he'd like to buy an extended warranty-6 years or 100,000 miles..


"For 6 years, no worries! No calling Dad! Roadside assistance! It was like a dream come true."

 So Bill handed over 16-hundred dollars for this dream warranty from Smart Choice...but soon after, his hopes of 6 worry free years came to an abrupt end.


"Come to find out...we have no warranty."

 That's because when his daughter's car needed repairs, the dealership told Bill the warranty company went bankrupt,  and County Motors would not honor it. Any repair costs would have to be paid by the customer. That's when Bill Called for Action.


"I know what I'm going to do, call Susan Hogan on Channel 12 see if she knows about this!"

 Call for Action contacted the Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Commission. We learned that County Motors recently lost a case involving another customer who was sold this "Smart Choice" warranty. The board found in favor of the consumer and is making County Motors responsible for honoring this now defunct warranty. County Motors is appealing the decision.

County Motors is not the only dealership who sold the "Smart Choice" warranties. There are at least 5 other dealers in the state. We spoke to the owner of County Motors. He says his dealership sold 162 smart choice warranties and if they are forced to honor all of them, the magnitude is way beyond anything they could financially handle. The case is now in the hands of the Director of Administration for the State.

If you bought a "Smart Choice" warranty, to know more about what to do log onto the Rhode Island Auto Dealers website to fill out a complaint form.  The will be hearing each case individually.



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