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View Poll Results: Do you purchase extended warranty for your vehicles?
Yes 8 53.33%
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Old 6th March 2013, 02:22   #1
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Default Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

I have an Indica Vista Aqua TDi bought in March 2009 - (manufactured in February, according to the chassis number).

A little background before I go into this story. The car has been in two major accidents (no injuries - wear seatbelts, people). I don't really want to go into the details but the car was repaired at authorized service centers. Also, each and every scheduled service has been performed on time at Urd Kar motors in Mysore. After the first accident, extended warranty was bought, taking the warranty cover to 2013 March (ending this month). I've also opted for 24x7 TATA roadside assistance program which costs Rs. 550 a year.

I've been relatively satisfied with the car and service from Urs Kar, Mysore. There have been a few issues which were to be expected, given the accidents, but they were all fixed under warranty and none of them stopped the car from running (which, to me as the driver of the car, is the most important metric of reliability).

This recent issue has a long history. After the first accident at around 1500 km, the car was repaired at CONCORDE motors in Shantinagar, Hyderabad. I wasn't able to pick up the car personally after the repair and it was driven home by a family member who's a good driver but not particularly well versed with what to look for before taking delivery.

When I drove it back to Mysore, I realized that the AC wasn't working (along with the turbo and the radiator had a massive coolant leak but that's OT).

I went to Urs Kar when I reached Mysore and some nonspecific adjustments to the electricals were made and the AC seemed to work. Turns out it was a temporary fix - the AC was blowing out occasional bursts of cold air but wasn't working most of the time. I went back to Urs Kar and I was told that my alternator had to be repaired. I left my car overnight and this was done under warranty. The AC worked, and I was happy.

Notice that I mention that I had to leave my car overnight. This is because the service center does NOT work on the alternator directly. The alternator gets sent to a "vendor", who is supposed to be an authorized service center of the alternator manufacturer. The alternator for the Indica Vista TDi is made by Bosch and has an MRP of Rs. 11500 as of last month.

Moving along, there were no further issues till late May 2012. This was a few months before the second accident. While driving in Mysore, there was a sudden change in engine note with a loss of power to electronics. Since this was during the day and I was in the city, I kept the engine running and drove the car to Urs Kar and left it there. I was told that the alternator had failed and the repair was done under extended warranty. While picking up the car, I noticed that the battery light glowed faintly at idling RPM but disappeared completely on revving the engine to a little over 1000 RPM. I chose not to pursue that bug, which in hindsight was a big mistake.

Last edited by nukeblitz : 6th March 2013 at 16:43. Reason: Typos
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Old 6th March 2013, 03:37   #2
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Default re: Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

Two months ago, I made one of my usual trips to Hyderabad. Before leaving, I gave my car in for a general checkup which didn't detect anything wrong. I renewed my subscription to 24x7 roadside assistance and drove off. That was one of my better decisions.

30 km from Hyderabad, I noticed that that the tachometer was going completely haywire. By the time I reached my destination, the tacho died out completely. I chalked that up to a minor electrical issue and decided to get it fixed when I got back to Mysore as I didn't want any work done in Hyderabad because of my bad experiences with repair quality at Concorde Motors, Shantinagar and absolute lack of courtesy at Malik motors in Towlichoki. I failed to pay more attention to the battery light which was glowing bright red. I just assumed it had something to do with the the tacho and ignored it. I is stupid.

Sure enough, a couple of days later, while driving around in Hyderabad, the battery died out completely and I was left stranded. I called up Tata motors 24x7 assistance who sent out a Sumo Grande and got my car towed to the nearest service center which, unfortunately, happened to be Concorde motors, Shantinagar.

Before I go on, a little side note about the 24x7 roadside assistance program. The number they give you is a generic Tata motors 1800 number. It's the same number to call customer, or to lodge complaints. Once you state your problem, name and car model, they connect you to the breakdown assistance team (or accident assistance team, as required) who will then connect you to the mechanic on the ground. It's a huge PITA to reach the mechanic to give him directions. It's against company policy to give a number to contact the mechanic directly. On the plus side, they are responsive and do their best to help you within their rules. The 24x7 program gives you 3 free towing services per year of up to 30 km. However, the 30 km is vaguely termed as service center to service center and they calculate this by odo readings on the towing vehicle when it leaves from and arrives at the service station. Couple this with the fact that you can't give the mechanic instructions directly and there's lots of room for error. They also have no standard rates for towing beyond 30 km. I managed to get away with no charges but there are a lot of loopholes. GET ALL THIS FIGURED OUT ON THE PHONE WITH THE TATA PEOPLE BEFORE TOWING BEGINS. This is important to avoid crooked towing personnel from trying to make you pay. Also, Tata doesn't always send vehicles from authorized service centers - they may send you a towing vehicle from a local towing company that they have a tie up with.

Anyway, back in the service center, I was informed by the service adviser that the alternator had failed again. I showed him my extended warranty card and asked him to make a claim. The warranty application was denied with the reason that I had already claimed extended warranty in May 2012 and was asked to claim parts warranty. Parts warranty means the warranty given for repairs. This bit was given in writing. I was also told verbally that I was getting denied warranty because I had already made a claim once in the year and because of the accident history, even though my car was serviced at an authorized service center and my extended warranty booklet had no such clauses. There was no way for me to claim parts warranty as that repair was done in Mysore. Further, vendors only warrant their repairs for 6 months while the extended warranty people insisted that this should be 12 months. This was about 8 months after the first repair. After a whole bunch of phone calls to Urs Kar who said they 'may' be able to do something if I was in Mysore but probably won't be able to as it was past 6 months and the vendor wouldn't take responsibility and United India insurance(they provide extended warranty), who said that I had to claim parts warranty, I managed to figure out that if I could find out exactly which parts within the alternator were repaired in Mysore and which parts failed this time, I could put in another application for extended warranty and get at least a partial claim. However, this information is not readily available. The vendor who did the alternator repair lists this out on their bill which is kept by the service center. The final bill that the customer gets has no mention of this. And after 8 months, finding this little bit of information would have been difficult. As I wanted to go back to Mysore, I paid the bill of Rs.3500 and got the repair done. On delivery, I noticed that the idling RPM was set to an unusually high 1100 and would actually go down to 1000 with the AC on. I pointed this out to the SA and was assured that this would fix itself. I seriously doubted this but figured it wasn't a big deal, picked up the car and, a couple of days later, I started driving back to Mysore...

A little on the subject of extended warranty. Extended warranty is basically third party modified insurance. Apart from the limited coverage there are a lot of unknown clauses that you never signed up for. I don't know if that's even legal. I actually talked to Global administration on the phone. Global administration provides administrative services for United India insurance, who provide extended warranty for Tata Motors (and perhaps others too). I found out later that if this problem had occurred under first party (Tata) warranty, I would have been able to make a claim anywhere in India without issues and that Tata would have taken care of the back end paperwork and funds. I can attest to this. After the first accident and shoddy work at Concorde Motors in Hyderabad, I got things like the entire radiator assembly and turbocharger peripherals (oil hoses, etc. etc.) replaced under warranty at Urs Kar in Mysore even though the repairs were done at Concorde motors in Hyderabad.

Back to my story, I didn't make it all the way to Mysore...

Last edited by nukeblitz : 6th March 2013 at 16:41. Reason: Typos
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Old 6th March 2013, 04:39   #3
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Default re: Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

Remember how I was talking about how there was a faint glow from the battery light at the normal 800 rpm idle, which disappeared on revving the engine to just over 1000 rpm, after the repair at Mysore back in May 2012. And remember how I mentioned that after the recent service at Concorde motors, Hyderabad, the idling rpm was oddly set to 1100. Make a connection?

I didn't. On my way back to Mysore from Hyderabad, I had to pass through Bangalore. 50 km before Bangalore, the tacho died again and the battery light came on, telling me that the alternator had failed the third time. As I had a lot of luggage, I decided that if I drove fast enough I'd be able to get to Mysore and that I could drop off the car in Mysore before the battery died. Didn't make it. The battery went completely dead on the outskirts of Bangalore on the Mysore-Bangalore road. This was late at night and I had to stop driving as my headlamps died. I stopped at a shell gas station and called up 24x7 roadside assistance again. I was hoping that I could charge up my battery, reach Mysore and deal with the car the next day but it turned out that it takes 24 hours to charge a battery...I should have figured that out from the whole plugin hybrid business. Anyway, there was a Concorde motors on the Mysore-Bangalore road in Bangalore less than 10 km from where I was. I got my car towed there, parked it for the night, hired a cab, took all my luggage, dropped it off in Mysore and returned to Bangalore in the cab by the morning.

I tried to claim extended warranty again and was denied with same old reasons - claim parts warranty, there's accident history, already made a claim in the year etc. I tried to argue with the extended warranty people about the terms in my extended warranty booklet but that didn't help. The warranty manager at Concorde Motors, Bangalore (who deals with Warranty claims covered directly by Tata) tried to talk to them too but the warranty people were adamant. My SA at Concorde motors in Bangalore said that he could try and claim parts warranty from Hyderabad as that was a Concorde motors too and I had gotten my alternator repaired there less than a week before that. However, this apparently required high level cooperation between the managers at Hyderabad and Bangalore. Also, the vendors had to agree too.

While waiting for all this to happen, I made sure my battery was getting charged. I also found out what it would take to replace an alternator under warranty. The SA informed me that a vendor has to declare the alternator as unrecoverable for warranty to get me a new one. However, vendors rarely do that as it would cause a "black mark" against them and they just keep repeating repairs. I have no idea what the "black mark" means though.

Anyway, the deal between Concorde, Hyderabad and Concorde, Bangalore didn't go through. The managers were fine with it and as long the vendors were both Bosch authorized (remember, Indica Vista TDi alternator is made by Bosch) vendors, it would have been fine. So, my SA in Bangalore called up the SA in Hyderabad. It turns out that Concorde motors in Hyderabad gave the alternator to a TVS vendor (TVS competes with Bosch). OK, what? <expletive expletive EXPLETIVE>. Why would anyone do that? I gave up on that avenue, figured that my battery was charged enough to get back to Mysore during daytime (so that I didn't have to keep the lights running) and informed the SA in Bangalore of my decision. They put the semi charged battery back in the car and I was ready to go. To their credit, Concorde motors, Bangalore didn't charge me for any of this.

I drove back to Mysore at terribly unsafe speeds. Good thing too - the battery died again on the outskirts of Mysore and I just managed to limp back to Urs Kar motors. Tried applying for extended warranty again. Denied. Parts warranty. Denied as it was past 6 months and the last repair was done in Hyderabad. The vendor in Mysore refused to take responsibility. The repair cost was estimated to be Rs.4500. At this point, I figured I might as well buy a new one as I didn't want to go through this again.

I decided to source the part myself - mainly so that I could try and cut out the service center margin. I found the Bosch authorized service center in Mysore on Google, found the place on Maps, picked up my old alternator (to make sure the models were an exact match) and went there. Price quoted was Rs.11500 with a 20% discount. Just as I was about to make the purchase, the owner of the Bosch authorized service center advised me to give Tata motors customer care a call, saying that they are the most "active" customer care. Kicking myself for not thinking of that sooner, I did just that and put in a complaint over the phone. I also put in a couple of complaints over the net for fair measure. They asked for 4 business days for a reply. On the third day, a customer relations manager working at Urs Kar called me asking me to bring my old alternator back as they had to estimate repair charges again. Interestingly, he taped this conversation (You can detect this by listening for odd periodic beeps in the conversation. Some software can avoid this, however). In any case, I went to the service center less than an hour later and dropped off my old alternator. A few days later, he called back with an offer. He will do the repair for free or take Rs.4500 off of the price of a new one. I decided to go for a new one. After making it clear that I wanted my old one back too, I took the offer. A few days later, the alternator arrived and they broke the seal on the new one in my presence, installed it and everything has been fine so far...

Overall, I'm in two minds about the outcome. While I'm happy that Tata motors came through at the end, I'm NOT happy about the extended warranty. Extended warranty is supposed to give you peace of mind - that's literally what they advertise. I had to yell, beg and argue every step of the way. I was without my car for over 3 weeks. I spent a lot of time and money too - Rs.3500 for the completely useless repair in Hyderabad, Rs.2000 for the cab, another Rs.2000 for general additional expenses caused by not having my car and over Rs.6000 for the new alternator - and a lot of burned calories as I decided i didn't like autos and walked wherever I could.

I suppose the last bit is the silver lining...

Last edited by nukeblitz : 6th March 2013 at 17:04. Reason: Typos
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Old 8th March 2013, 18:09   #4
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Default Re: Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Dealer Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 8th March 2013, 20:46   #5
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Default Re: Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

Nukeblitz, all warranties will have fine print that we as customers generally miss out when we buy it. However, that said, TATA did give you service on the alternator, alebit with some effort on your part. I think the main issue again is the after sales service of TATA, which, failed (again!). Silver lining though was the response from the customer care.

Learning read!
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Old 8th March 2013, 22:58   #6
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Default Re: Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

Quote:
Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
Nukeblitz, all warranties will have fine print that we as customers generally miss out when we buy it. However, that said, TATA did give you service on the alternator, alebit with some effort on your part. I think the main issue again is the after sales service of TATA, which, failed (again!). Silver lining though was the response from the customer care.

Learning read!
As far as I'm aware, the only document I that was provided to me was the extended warranty booklet - and that was the only document I agreed to.

I went through this booklet multiple times and
1. There was no clause about parts warranty. It should have been figured out on Tata's end.
2. There was no clause mentioning that the warranty gets voided in case on an accident - note that the repairs were at an authorized service center.
3. There was no clause stating that only one claim will be entertained in a year - that only happens for insurance, not extended warranty.
4. There was no clause telling me the full text was at an alternate location, telling me that I was agreeing to any unstated clauses, or telling me that the warranty terms can be changed freely by United India.

Insurance agreements do put this sort of information in true legalese in front of you and make sure you agree to them, wheter you read them or not. This extended warranty did NOT. I'm no lawyer, but these extra conditions were not something that I agreed to, or something I implied agreement to.

PS. Hmmm, I realized that I haven't actually asked any questions in my posts. So, here goes-
1. Is this sort of behavior from the extended warranty company acceptible?
2. Could I have handled the whole situation differently? Where did I make mistakes and what would have been the appropriate responses?
3. Is extended warranty really worth it? How do other companies do extended warranty? Are there any first party extended warranties (TATA themselves providing extended warranty to me, for example)?
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Old 9th March 2013, 15:22   #7
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Default Re: Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nukeblitz View Post
PS. Hmmm, I realized that I haven't actually asked any questions in my posts. So, here goes-
1. Is this sort of behavior from the extended warranty company acceptible?
2. Could I have handled the whole situation differently? Where did I make mistakes and what would have been the appropriate responses?
3. Is extended warranty really worth it? How do other companies do extended warranty? Are there any first party extended warranties (TATA themselves providing extended warranty to me, for example)?
Totally agree with your point of view. In fact I do not have any legal background as well so I am as much in the dark about the legality of TATAs position as far as the Extended Warranty goes. In fact, I agree with you in that as against an insurance, a warranty should not have any limitations as far as claims are concerned.

The only thing that can be done is perhaps read the warranty document carefully to seek out any red herrings, and, if you are convinced that there are none, then, you might want to take up the matter with TATA big time as to why is the warranty being denied to you. You might have to go as far as a consumer court for this.

As far as the worth of an extended warranty, I would like to think that in the end, it is the buyer who will be the ultimate judge. As for me, specially with a TATA car, I will always go in for an extended warranty. In fact, I am planning to buy a Storme, and if I do, I will get the extended warranty as well as the AMC!
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Old 9th March 2013, 15:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
Totally agree with your point of view. In fact I do not have any legal background as well so I am as much in the dark about the legality of TATAs position as far as the Extended Warranty goes. In fact, I agree with you in that as against an insurance, a warranty should not have any limitations as far as claims are concerned.

The only thing that can be done is perhaps read the warranty document carefully to seek out any red herrings, and, if you are convinced that there are none, then, you might want to take up the matter with TATA big time as to why is the warranty being denied to you. You might have to go as far as a consumer court for this.

As far as the worth of an extended warranty, I would like to think that in the end, it is the buyer who will be the ultimate judge. As for me, specially with a TATA car, I will always go in for an extended warranty. In fact, I am planning to buy a Storme, and if I do, I will get the extended warranty as well as the AMC!
When you buy the storme, please go through the extended warranty booklet before signing it if you can. Things might have changed since the time I signed them. In any case, you might be able to use my example to try and clearer explanations from them. I'd really appreciate it if you could post about your experiences. Some clarifications in this matter would go a long way in guarding against a similar situation in the future. Thanks in advance!

What the insurance company did may or may or not be legal but I don't really have the time, money or patience to pursue a legal course of action. Besides, the whole issue has been resolved to a point that I can live with, without any sort of strong arming. Credit to TATA motors customer care for that. Chasing what is now a closed file would be beating a dead horse in my case.

AMC, AFAIK is a first party Tata product and I trust it a lot more. I did not opt for it earlier and it might have been better for me if I did...

PS. Make sure to sign up for the 24x7 roadside assistance program. It's well worth the money - whether you have an accident or a breakdown, especially in unfamiliar territory.

Last edited by nukeblitz : 9th March 2013 at 16:16.
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Old 10th March 2013, 11:41   #9
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Default Re: Tata Motors - Extended Warranty Woes (Vista TDi)

I had a fairly troublesome ordeal with an extended warranty claim myself. What I learnt was that Extended warranty claims raised from the dealer MAY be denied by the provider, for multiple reasons. For example, Some service centers raise Extended warranty claims for replacements/service caused due to unrelated issues or just plain incompetence in diagnosis, and they are denied.
Some dealers don't want to bear these costs, so end up cooking up various cock and bull stories to customers to avoid extended warranty claims. - I was asked to pay up front the entire cost, and was told that I MAY be paid back the amount - ended up running around for 6 months between Tata customer care and the dealer - The customer care manager said that the dealer is 'supposed to' not ask for money in the first place, and was told that I would be paid immediately.
Later that day, I got a call from the customer service manager asking me if it was I who had raised a complaint with tata customer service in a threatening tone. He said that I would get my money and told me to be patient. I really don't appreciate being told what to do by people who owe ME money.

After a couple of calls from tata customer support telling me that I will get my money, and my dealer saying that they agree in spirit, but without a time frame, I eventually got my money back after several months.
This Issue is dealer specific. That said, this should not be happening in the first place. TML should ensure that warranty claims are taken care of, and hapless customers don't get stuck in between unscrupulous Warranty service providers and Shady Service centers.

Though Generally Extended warranties are recommended, I would think twice about buying an extended warranty on a tata product.

Last edited by greenhorn : 10th March 2013 at 11:45.
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