Investigation finds extended warranty company falls short on coverage

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ATLANTA — If you own a car, you've probably received phone calls, emails and letters urging you to buy an extended warranty from companies offering to protect your wallet from car repairs.

But an Atlanta man said that wasn't true in his case.

Joseph Weatherspoon looked for added protection after the warranty expired on his 2016 Chevy Impala.

Weatherspoon signed a contract with Car Shield in March.

“Car Shield kept popping up as a reputable company,” Weatherspoon explained.

Later, when his car failed to go in reverse, he thought the $89 he paid each month had him covered.

The dealership said his car needed a new transmission because the clutch pack inside had failed.

That's when Weatherspoon said Car Shield denied his claim. Car Shield said clutch packs aren't part of the transmission, so it was not covered under his warranty.

Channel 2 Action News asked multiple mechanics what they thought of Car Shield's assessment.

“That's insane,” said master auto technician Ashely Payne, who runs Cooper Lake Automotive.

“That's absurd!” said Clay Brooks, who’s also a master auto technician.

Alpharetta oil change service manager Rashed Wesa showed a Channel 2 Action News producer a diagram of Weatherspoon's transmission.

The diagram illustrates that the clutch pack is housed inside of the 2016 Chevy Impala's transmission.
Bill Rimmer, who owns Cooper Lake Automotive in Cobb County, said the same thing.

“It's the craziest thing I’ve heard in a long time,” Rimmer said.

Weatherspoon was suspicious of Car Shield’s assessment and kept calling the company with questions. He said he got the run around.

“It was always some sort of, ‘Hold on, I’ll transfer you,’” Weatherspoon said.

Eventually, the company agreed the clutch pack was in fact part of the transmission, but

Weatherspoon’s claim was still denied because a clutch pack couldn't be the reason the transmission failed.

“It's inside the transmission. It's lubricated with fluid. Clutch packs go bad all the time,” Rimmer said.

“No, it’s like the most common failure,” Payne said.

A quick search found hundreds of Car Shield complaints just like Weatherspoon’s.

Channel 2 Action News called the company multiple times with no response.

The same day a producer finally reached a human being by phone, Weatherspoon got a call, and a check for more than $42,000 for the repair.

Weatherspoon said he believes that check would not have come without Channel 2's involvement.

“It feels like they had the intent of not paying that claim. They were looking for one way or another to get out of paying that claim,” Weatherspoon said.

Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard said if you want coverage for your vehicle, there is only one place he recommends you get it.

“If you want an extended service contract or warranty on your vehicle, only buy the manufacturers own. If you have a Ford, buy a Ford. If you have GM, buy a GM, Toyota, etc.,” Howard said. “That's the only way you know the money you're spending will actually work for you.”