ORLANDO, Fla. - It's a car buyer's trap you never expect.
The dealer sells you an extended warranty, but then never pays for the policy.
When a local woman discovered she bought a warranty that didn't exist, she called Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich.
Theresa Helligar and her husband feel badly burned after buying a 2014 VW Jetta. They love the car, but the Helligars claim City Style Imports charged them $2,600 for an extended warranty they never got.
“Did you think that could happen?” Ulrich asked.
“No, I didn't. Never experienced that before,” Helligar replied.
The couple had second thoughts about the warranty and cancelled it the same month they bought it.
Red Shield, the warranty company, sent the Helligars an email. In the email, the warranty company claims City Styles never paid them and that the dealer still had their money. They were told, their warranty didn't exist.
“If I had not cancelled the warranty I would have never known,” Helligar said.
For the past seven months, Helligar says City Style Imports didn't give her a straight answer.
Ulrich went to the dealership on a weekday, but the door was closed. There was a for-sale sign in front of the business.
A next-door business owner told Ulrich the dealership was not doing retail business any longer.
Ulrich was able to get in touch with City Styles’ owner Michael Annexy. He responded to Ulrich but didn't answer questions.
Ulrich contacted Fairwinds Federal Credit Union. Fairwinds financed the couple’s loan, that included the $2,600 for a phony warranty.
“They dispersed funds for a product I never received,” Helligar said.
A day later, Fairwinds managers told Ulrich that the credit union thought this issue was resolved months ago. The credit union also said it regrets the delay, but it contacted City Styles, recovered the money, and Helligar now has a full refund.
“I would be ecstatic, very happy,” Helligar said.
A month after buying extended warranties or gap insurance, experts recommend consumers verify that the dealer paid for it.
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