Jan 172004

franchised dealers

Manufacturer Model Average   Dealer premium Warranty Direct premium Average   Repair Bill Per Visit
Jaguar S Type SE V6 Auto £1,014 £320.23 £234.94
Fiat Punto 1.2 16V ELX £295 £163.77 £281.36
Volkswagen Golf 1.6 SE £365 £214.94 £265.99
Peugeot 306 1.8 GLX £295 £215.66 £271.31
Alfa Romeo 156 1.8 Twin Spark Veloce £600 £269.57 £443.28
Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 SXI 16V £395 £215.66 £234.70
Land Rover Freelander 2.5 TD GS £624 £375.08 £305.91

N.B: All models   registered in 2000 with an average of 32,000 miles.

Buying a warranty as protection against an unwanted garage bill can cost as much as 216 percent more from a franchised dealer than an independent insurer.

With 2 out of every 5 cars suffering mechanical failure in the two years after the traditional three-year manufacturer’s warranty has expired, many motorists seek to extend cover against the average £308.71 cost of repair. Briton’s now spend nearly £8.4bn a year on service and repairs on cars aged 3 years and older(Mintel International Group 2002).

There is, however, a marked gulf in price between warranties sold by the franchised dealer network and those available through independent insurers like Warranty Direct (0800 731 7001).

Research across a basket of 20 models, representing seventeen leading manufacturers, showed franchised dealers charged an average of £614 for a twelve-month extended policy. The equivalent cover from Warranty Direct came in at just £239 – a saving of £375.

The biggest difference recorded was from a Jaguar retailer who quoted £1,014 for a one-year extension on an S-Type V6 SE Auto compared to just £320.23 from Warranty Direct.

Motorists seeking additional cover may also have to pay for an inspection before the franchised dealer agrees to sell a warranty. Some quoted fees as high as £176 for the privilege.

Another prerequisite is for the car to be serviced by the franchised dealer prior to sanctioning warranty cover. Similarly, dealers refused to sell a policy, as the car had not been purchased from them originally.
According to Warranty Direct, suspension failure accounts for 1 in 4 claims for vehicles aged 3 and 4 years old, and although the cost of repair stands at £273, it can run to £1,800 for a popular volume model like the VW Golf. Meanwhile, the second most common problem, engine failure, could set you back a worrying £660.85 on average to fix.

Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct commented: “This is another example of franchised dealers ripping off unsuspecting motorists. Not only do they get away with premium labour rates, but they charge over inflated prices for extended warranties. It’s a win-win situation for the dealer.”