I have written about how Kia’s bumper to bumper warranty is not worth the paper it is printed on since, at least in our case, the salesman promised that the warranty covered things that it did not in actuality cover. (Some people have tried to shift the blame away from Kia, suggesting that it is a dealer problem rather than a company problem, to which I suggest if one dealer is wildly successful at it, it seems pretty ridiculous to assume that others car dealerships wouldn’t try the same tricks. I mean, since, you know, car dealers manage to make the Republican Party almost look trustworthy in comparison.) Since then we have also found out that unless tires pretty much implode as a result of an act of God there is almost nothing that the Kia warranty covers in their regard and, in fact, if you don’t buy your tires from Kia the warranty is voided. There are so many rules and regulations regarding Kia’s vaunted 10 year warranty that I seriously doubt any buyer of a Kia automobile has not voided the warranty within at least a year or two. And now it appears that Kia may very well be engaging in some illegal activity with their warranty.
Recently, the air conditioner on our Kia Sedona minivan went kaput. Upon calling Kia we were told that we should bring it in and if their mechanics detected no evidence of the presence of non-Kia intervention in the air conditioning components, then the air conditional would still be under warranty and there would no charge for the repair. If it was discovered that the air conditioner had been touched by non-Kia hands there would be a charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 and the warranty would be invalidated.
Having dealt with Kia before I immediately knew where this would be headed. Even though we’d never had anyone else deal with the air conditioner I had absolutely no doubt that the Kia mechanics would somehow manage to find evidence of non-Kia tinkering and we would not only have to pay for the repair, but we would have to cough up the $70 inspection fee. As George W. Bush is fond of mistakenly asserting: my mama didn’t raise no fool. We decided to take a pass on Kia’s offer to allow them to determine whether or not someone besides their own mechanic had ever fiddled with our air conditioner and took it to an independent mechanic. The logic here was that if we knew we were going to pay out big money to get our air conditioner fixed we’d rather that money go to anyone other than Kia.
We discovered something else about Kia from the mechanic we took the van to. Turns out that the specific part that we needed was only available from Kia and there would be a few days wait before he could get it. Only it turns out that Kia keeps this particular item in stock to a momentous degree because, guess what, it is a part that routinely goes out on Kia’s vehicles. In other words, had we taken it into Kia we would have gotten the van repaired nearly a week earlier, but Kia decided to make us wait because we had not gone to them. Since the daily high around here lately has been 95 degrees (or about ten degrees more than the typical Christmas in the Florida Panhandle) that would have been bad enough, but it gets worse.
Our mechanic also informed us that he has heard enough evidence to convince him that if we had chosen to go ahead and let Kia do the inspection that we would, indeed, have been informed that someone else had done work on the air conditioner, meaning our warranty coverage would not be valid and we would have paid out of pocket. At the same time that they would have taken our money, however, this particular dealership would also have sent off a warranty coverage expense bill to Kia. In other words, the Kia dealership in our town allegedly engages, according to this mechanic, who I might add is on quite friendly terms with some former Kia employees, in what is known as double dipping. They charge people with a valid warranty illegally for out of pocket expenses and then charge Kia for the very same repair.
Sweet work if you can get it. My advice: never buy the Kia extended warranty. RIP-offffffff.