Have our lost our ability to stand up for our warranty rights?


I worked for over 10 years in the warranty department of a major tire manufacturer. The problem isn’t reading comprehension. The problem is not reading the warranty at all.

I have a theory that many people don’t comprehend things by reading. They are best at verbal communication (which is the opposite of what I and apparently many people here are like!). Some others have to do physical labor to get it.

Hence, the textbooks, lectures, and lab approach to education.

In the case of warranty, the law requires that it be written down, but the average consumer wants it said to him - and the average sales guy isn’t very good at explaining things. He is good at persuading people. Ergo, the problem is unsolvable.

And don’t get me started on folks who think the problem is the education system.


Additionally, what are the chances that the customer will have accurate recall of the warranty details many months–or years–later? Many people hear only what they want to hear, and even if somebody is not of that ilk, recall of specific details is rarely–if ever–accurate at a later date.

As an example, many years ago–when I had a part-time retailing job in a department store–there were a few newspaper articles mentioning that some small merchants would offer credit card customers a 3% discount if they paid cash. The result of that article was that an incredible number of customers presented me with a credit card, and announced that the store had to give them a 3% discount for using that card.

Because my full-time job was as a teacher, I would patiently explain that the discount was an option that was offered by some small merchants if a person would pay in cash, rather than with a credit card, and that the customer was shopping in a major department store that did not have that policy. “I can accept cash, checks, or an approved credit card, but the total of your bill will be the same, no matter how you choose to pay”. The response was usually something along the lines of… SEE! This department store has to give me a discount because I am paying with a credit card! :roll_eyes:

Ergo–reading comprehension with some people is so bad that they don’t really understand what they read, and even when it is carefully explained to them, they still… somehow… miss the most important details.



Agree that a lack of interest is a major cause, not reading ability.

My previous neighbor asked my help when the battery on her 9 year old Acura MDX had gone flat. I have a charger, and I asked her to open the hood of her car, but she had never done that and did not know where the pull button under the dash was. This on an expensive car which she had bought new and used for daily transportation. I also suggested she read the owner’s manual and was met with a quizzical blank stare!!


This could go on forever , but remember the person recently who got mad at people here for suggesting that his new Spark might not have cruise control . He posted a picture of the windshield wiper stalk . It did turn out he had the base model and did not have cruise.


Car companies have to be careful with their sales literature. US cars used to have a door switch for the interior light only on the front doors, with only the top of the line models having them on all 4 doors. A young Scotsman who bough a basic Chevrolet 4 door found this out, but he had kept the sales brochure and spec sheet which said all models had this feature.

The dealer tried to weasel out of this until the young man threatened to sue! He got his free rear light switches installed.

Nowadays when you look at the bottom of the brochure you many find the fine print CYA disclaimer: “Specifications and features shown are subject to change without notice”


I keep waiting for a bunch of new topics saying “I put my owners manual CD in my CD player, but that didn’t solve (whatever problem they wrote in about)”


LOL, that’s FUNNY! I like it! :joy:
And it has a definite element of possibility!


We have a pharmacist friend who has heard it all. Including the lady who claimed her birth control pills did not work because they “just kept falling out”!


Around 1990 my wife sent me to the local variety store to “fetch” something she needed for a sewing project. It cost $1.69. When I handed the young cashier $2 she started cyphering with paper and pencil. When I asked what she was doing she informed me the change due feature on the cash register wasn’t working. I informed her my change was 31 cents. She asked “are you sure?” I said “yes” and she handed me my penny, nickel, and quarter asking “How did you do that?” I said “like this. My purchase was $1.69”. I placed the penny on the counter saying “that makes $1.70, the nickel makes $1.75”, and she squealed “The quarter makes $2. That’s easy”! Good Grief! In 1959 making change was taught in 2nd grade. My youngest Step Son who was a year or two older than the cashier confirmed it was still taught when he was in 2nd grade. I guess she was robbed of this simple skill by technology.


When I worked retail pharmacy we always made sure to write “Unwrap and insert” at the beginning of any suppository product. Unfortunately we still got phone calls asking why those particular suppositories hurt more to insert than others…:roll_eyes:


Many years ago, I knew somebody who worked behind the counter at a small pharmacy, and he swore that they got a call from somebody who stated that the suppositories tasted terrible, and that they should be ashamed of selling something with such a vile taste.


I had that happen too…and people wondering why their child threw up after giving them ear/eye drops orally :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


many new computers don’t even come with cd drives…


as for warranty rights and standing up for them:

The general public is pretty car ignorant. I don’t mean that as a slam, but I have friends that think the MAP sensor runs the onboard GPS…

So, to ask for advice, in somewhat anonymity, before heading to the dealership can help the confidence level of a car owner so they don’t feel like they are getting ripped off when the dealership starts tossing out lots of big, new words and phrases.


You guys are a hoot. Good point that people learn differently but we expect everyone to learn by reading. If I have an issue I will read what I can but then I call or visit and ask. My CD didn’t tell me if shocks are part of the Acura bumper to bumper so I will call and ask. If so I’ll have to drive 120 miles and if not I’ll deal with it locally. Either way I win or lose depending on how you look at it.


Several years back I came to the conclusion that far to many vehicle hoods may as well be welded shut. You’re example may have had all scheduled maintenance performed by the dealer. However, with a blank stare regarding the owner manual? I doubt it! Sad!


Yes, she had the dealer do all the maintenance and probably overpaid for everything. Even at 9 years she had the original battery since the car was always inside, at home and at the hospital where she worked.

I did suggest a new battery, but she is a firm believer in “if it ain’t broke, don’t do anything”. Her husband was also a great believer in “breakdown maintenance”


Following up on different ways of learning.

I had a friend who owned a body shop. He had a guy working for him who was an artist in working with metal. But he had trouble reading and writing.

When the state decided that everyone working on cars needed to be certified, they required them to pass a written test. There was no way this guy was going to pass. The loophole was that they could working under the supervision of someone certified, so the owner took the test.


sad but true…I still have one, thankfully