I have an expensive repair to a two-year-old car that’s out of warranty. The manufacturer refuses to assist me even though I have their own internal memo that says they know this is a problem with their part. I have written and called their headquarters and president of customer cervice and it has been futile. Is there somewhere else I can turn?

Limited warranties are just that: limited warranties. They cover specific parts and systems for a specified number of years or miles. Unless the vehicle manufacturer issues a recall for your particular problem after the warranty has expired, you are basically out of luck. Your only hope is to make a nuisance of yourself with the dealer where you purchased the vehicle, as well as the brand’s zone office. Find out who the zone customer service manager is and appeal to him. Do the same with the zone service manager. Ask the zone service manager if you can meet with him the next time he is at your dealership. Call these people once a week and/or e-mail daily. At the dealership level, go after the general manager and owner.

If your local newspaper or TV station has an ombudsman, take your case to him or her. Even if your newspaper doesn’t have an ombudsman, call the newsroom and ask for the business editor. Plead your case there. Franchise vehicle dealers are sensitive to negative publicity. It’s simply not good for business. Use every means at your disposal to turn up the heat. In the end it will require someone at some level in the organization to tire of the onslaught and offer to work out a solution. They could offer to do anything from making the repair for free to working out a settlement in which you would pay some percentage of the cost of the repair. They have no legal obligation to do so, but they can often be prodded into doing the right thing.

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