When Mike Barco's new steering unit needs to be replaced, he turns to the manufacturer for help. Why can’t he get an answer?
Question: In 2013, I purchased a Cardone rack-and-pinion steering unit for my Honda prior to semi-retiring it. Since then I've driven my sister’s Buick.
Recently, I switched back to the Honda again. I’ve noticed that the unit, which is in virtually new condition, is leaking!
I only have a one-year warranty on the unit. I've contacted Cardone customer service, but there's nothing they can do. I've tried to reach the main office, hoping to get in touch with Cardone's chief executive. There's no response. Can you help? -- Mike Barco, North Hollywood, Calif.
Answer: Technically, Cardone is correct. Your warranty lasted a year, and once it's up, you have to pay for any repairs. But the company should have also given you a straight answer when you tried to reach one of its executives.
By the way, those executive contacts for Cardone can be found on my consumer advocacy site.
In reviewing your correspondence, it looks as if most of your communication with Cardone happened by phone. I highly recommend you put something like this in an email, detailing any special circumstances. You can always appeal to someone higher up the ladder by forwarding the emails to an executive, if necessary. But stay off the phone.
Your problem, where the warranty runs out even though the product isn't used, comes up from time to time. Warranties were written by lawyers to protect the company, not the customer. In these special circumstances, the company isn't required to help its customers, but should still consider some kind of goodwill gesture. I mean, you hardly used the car and it looks like the steering needs to be replaced.
But the real reason my advocacy team accepted your case is that we felt someone should have responded to your appeal, even if to say "no." It also gave the folks in our research department an excuse to find Cardone's executive contacts, which we did.
Cardone reviewed your case and decided to replace your steering unit. What a great resolution.
Christopher Elliott specializes in solving intractable consumer problems. Contact him with your questions on his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google or sign up for his newsletter.