Sometimes when you buy an used car it comes with an extended warranty. But, did you know that the warranty doesn’t automatically transfer to the new owner? The reason is that the previous owner of the car can actually cancel the warranty and get back some money even if they’ve sold the car. Funnily enough, most sellers don’t know this. They too assume that the warranty stays with the car.
So transferring the warranty should be pretty easy right? Well it’s easy but sometimes no one actually wants to help you do it.
This example actually happened while helping one of our customers service a car under warranty. The folks at the dealership were very kind and helpful in pointing out that the warranty was in the previous owner’s name and that the warranty had to be transferred before being used. We were told to go the OEM’s warranty website. When we did so however, there wasn’t an online procedure to transfer the warranty. So we gave them a call. The courteous gentlemen on the phone told us that in order to make the transfer we needed a letter from the seller authorizing the transfer, signed (but not necessarily notarized), with the new owner’s name, address, VIN# and current mileage. We were to take the letter and go to a dealer to make the transfer. There was also a transfer fee. Then the gentleman said something very strange that didn’t make sense at the time. He said, “If the dealer doesn’t know how to make the transfer, then have them call us [OEM Warranty HQ].” Now, why wouldn’t the dealer know how to do this?
Anyhoo, It took a couple of weeks to run down the previous owner but we got the letter. We called ahead to make sure the letter and transfer fee were all we needed. We were directed to the finance department, and were told that we should in fact NOT use a dealer to make the transfer. Instead we should send the letter and check directly to OEM Warranty HQ. He was kind enough to point out exactly where in the fine print of the warranty the instructions and address were located to make the transfer. For the record, the fine print said to go either to a dealer or send directly. He basically said that dealers were just third parties and would simply send the same information to the same OEM Warranty HQ address. He implied that sending it directly would be more efficient and less problematic, whatever that means.
So, the dealer sends us to the OEM Warranty website, which sends us back to the dealers but the dealers finance guy tell us to go directly to the OEM Warranty HQ. In the end, we just sent it to the OEM Warranty HQ directly. Anyway it got done and everyone was actually very polite and courteous.
Most importantly, don’t forget to transfer the extended warranty. It is a process separate from the transfer of the car title, requires either the seller in person at a dealer or a letter from the seller, a transfer fee and it must be done within a specified # of days from the date the used car was sold.