Poor Business Practices
ROCHESTER, NEW YORK -- Penn Warranty Corp., Wilkes-Barre, PA - telephone number 800-356-9441.
Deceptive practices and work not covered that is supposed to be.
This company has victimized me. I have been with them for two years and this is the first time I am utilizing the policy.
I noticed that my vehicle was running poorly so I took it to a local, reputable repair shop.
It was diagnosed that I could have possible leaking Cylinder head gaskets. The oil as well as the antifreeze was very low and it was just serviced about two weeks before. The heater was blowing cool air. I have a Ford V6 engine with 43,000 miles. At the repair shop, I called Penn Warranty Corp. and initiated a claim. I had to convince the repair shop to do the work because they have dealt with this company before!
This is what my policy covers as it pertains to this repair:
ENGINE - "Cylinder block, cylinder heads, and all internal parts. Cylinder head and intake manifold gaskets are covered for coolant leaks only".
LABOR - "Labor charges based on industry accepted flat rates to repair or replace a covered component".
There is no copy of the "Terms and Conditions" on the Penn Warranty website, that I could find! Consequently, I cannot cut and paste them.
That same day I placed the claim, a claims person talked to the repair shop and subsequently a "claims adjuster". The supposed "adjuster", (I will explain that later) told the repair shop to take the engine apart and fax them, (Penn) the complete diagnosis of what they found. From that point on the situation went downhill.
We found out after the fact, that Penn at this point, had not yet approved the entire repair BUT yet they told the repair shop to tear the engine down! That was fine until Penn alluded to the fact that they could actually still refuse to cover the claim!
Now, right from the start, the repair shop and I were NEVER told that only the tear down to diagnose the problem was approved! We were both under the impression that the entire repair was approved!
When I state "under the impression" it is because I never received a straight answer to the question of, what are the procedures and how much would they cover?
After 4 to 5 days of frustration, many phone calls from the repair shop and myself and (Penn) losing the paper work, I Finally was told that the repair was covered BUT they would NOT yet tell me how much they covered?
Finally, after they approved the entire repair because the problem was, in fact, "coolant leaking from the gaskets",
Penn Corp. (cowards) told the repair shop, the covered amount, but never told me even though I had asked multiple times? They left it up to the repair shop to tell me that they would cover only a little over half, ($690.00) of the repair of $1,300.00.
Doesn't it seem reasonable that, First, the Car owner should know what the dollar amount is? What good is an Insurance policy that only covers half of the amount of the repair and the company never admits that to you personally?
They place the repair shop and the owner in a very un-professional and awkward position. The repair shop was put in a position to say to me that:
âPenn Warr. Would cover only $690.00 of the $1,300.00, what do you want me to doâ?
âDo the repair and you, (the owner) will cover the balance, or if you cannot afford it I can put the car back together but I will have to charge you for the time spentâ.
Are you starting to see the corner that the Penn Warranty Corp. backs you into?
Here are the mechanical issues:
They don't cover having the cylinder heads pressured tested or milled.
Now, any amateur mechanic knows that when you go to the expense and effort to take apart an engine and remove the heads due to a cylinder head gasket leak. The engine could possibly have overheated and the heads may be warped or cracked! Allowing the repair shop to install the same old heads back on the engine without being tested, repaired or replaced.
If the repair goes bad a week after it was done, I would bet that they WILL NOT cover the same repair twice! I asked this question but received the usual double speak and no definitive answer!
So, if you are un-educated or cannot afford to spend another $150.00 + and you allow the repair shop to install the UN-TESTED cylinder heads back on the engine, it probably is your problem!
Keep in mind that the contract does in fact cover "Cylinder Heads" but only replacement if necessary and not the smart and logical testing and milling!
Here is another issue associated with the above Penn Warr. Practices that you will also encounter, that also puts the owner and the repair shop in a very awkward position.
The repair shop won't guarantee, (1 year) âtheir workâ unless the heads ARE IN FACT tested repaired or the in worse case replaced and I don't blame them one bit!
Why should they guarantee a repair that is only partially fixed? So, if you are un-educated or cannot afford to spend another $150.00 and you allow the repair shop to install the UN-TESTED cylinder heads back on the engine. Not only will the Penn Warranty Corp. probably hang you out to dry if the repair goes bad but the repair shop will not cover their work either!
Again, are you starting to see the corner that the Penn Warranty Corp. backs you into?
Here are the other items that they don't cover:
The Penn Warranty Corp. covers only the cheapest gaskets that you could possibly find and only cover the head and intake gaskets.
The Penn Warranty Corp. does not cover antifreeze or oil replacement, this is VERY VAGUE as stated in the fine print on the contract and probably is part of the reason why the "terms and conditions" are not on their website that I could find!
They word it so it seems to read that they don't cover "normal" oil and anti-freeze consumption. Now, I can very well understand why they would have to state that but read on.
Now, any amateur mechanic knows that when you take apart an engine for head gasket problems there are at least a half dozen other gaskets that also need to be replaced as well as the oil and antifreeze! Penn relates back to that VERY VAGUE statement I mentioned above AND in fact they cover NEITHER the oil or anti-freeze!
This is also just plain fraudulent of the Penn Warranty Corp. You need oil and Anti-freeze to allow the engine to start and run after a repair like this?
The repair shop I went to and also 3 (three) other repair shops that I investigated were asking for $65.00 per hour and approx. 12.7 hours for the repair.
Penn Warranty states: "Labor charges based on industry accepted flat rates to repair or replace a covered component".
NOW, four repair shops gave me almost the same price and hours for the job, I would not call these prices outside the "industry accepted rates"! Penn will only cover $55.00 per hour and 10 hours for the repair.
The "dispute resolution" phone number that the Penn Warranty Corp. gives you to call if you feel that you are not being treated fairly; is in reality, JUST a different DIVISION of the Penn Warranty Corp. itself!
I called and this arrogant woman answered the phone! After I told her my concern she proceeded to argue with me and basically told me to take a hike! I finally got frustrated and asked a simple question. "How can you fairly handle a disputed claim when you work for the same company that is refusing to reimburse me for the entire repair"?
The women on the phone tried to cover her self and state that we are a "different division" of Penn Corp. and are not associated! Now, I believe that and maybe they are regulated by another agency but still and all, I was being treated badly and was getting nowhere. This woman really needs some customer service training.
She argued with me and would not answer some questions like she was protecting the Penn Warr. Division and did not act at all impartial or like she was a âdifferent divisionâ. I finally asked her, what is the name of the company on your paycheck, isn't it The Penn Corp.? I received no answer all she said is that I would receive a "dispute resolution" papers in the mail and she hung up!
Update: 2 months later, I never received the "dispute resolution" papers.
And the supposed "Claims Adjuster" well, according to the claims person I originally dealt with. Penn Warranty has no local claims adjusters and the fellow who called claiming to be "an adjuster" was just another Administration person out of Wilkes Barre, Pa.
I found their motives and business practices deceptive. The people who take the original phone calls and or the so-called adjusters understand nothing about cars. From speaking to them and to the repair shop, I can say with a fair amount of confidence they don't base the claims paid on the actual repair. I feel they base it on what they feel you will swallow with the least amount of resistance and I suspect that is some other monetary agenda that prompts this? I have not even started the "dispute resolution" as yet so I am sure I am in store for another nightmare.
They are arrogant and just plain nasty when you question them on anything.
Two of the four repair facilities I contacted, one of which did the work used to carry the Penn Warranty used car repair policies. They got so fed up with the Penn Warranty Company that most of the time they refuse to work on the cars with a Penn Warranty.
Also, I have inquired of many other car owners who also have used car warranties, (other than Penn Warr.) such as this and they along with the two repair facilities state that, they never encountered such a problem with "other" used car warranties.
UPDATE: I was so frustrated that I asked to speak to a manager.
After being on hold for 45 minutes and subsequently being hung up on by this claims adjuster. After calling back and expressing my frustration of being hung up upon, a different woman then told me that I must have used bad language! I did not use any bad language; the reason why the adjuster hung up on me is because, I said that, "I did not trust your company".
After being on hold another 20 minutes I finally got a manager on the phone and he abruptly told me he was putting me on hold. After another period of time on hold I hung up and called back again. I got the same manager and I finally got to ask the question of why they did not cover the "testing" of the Cylinder heads.
He said that too many repair shops do this just to raise the claim and it is really not necessary! Hello...
Also, I did have the heads tested and milled at my own expense. Which now puts the Penn re-imbursement at less than half the repair cost.
Total $1,300.00 less $690.00 what Penn. Warr. paid = $610.00 left that I had to pay. Add to that the $150.00 for the testing and milling of the heads, $610.00 + $150.00 = $760.00 that I had to pay.
The heads were found to be 7 thousandths out. I called Ford and asked what would the limit be before they would mill the heads? I was told by Ford it was 7 thousandths and that since they are Aluminum they would NOT mill the heads, they would replace them! I asked why and they said that there is a good chance that the problem would re-occur.
I asked the Penn Warr. Manager but did not tell him that I spoke to Ford. The manager proceeded to tell me that they would mill the heads if they were over 7 thousandths. Now, Ford suggests to throw them away at 7 thousandths and this manager tells me that they would mill the heads only if they were over 7 thousandths?
So, bottom line is that Penn Warr. puts the tolerance at exactly what Ford states to throw them away!
I will wait until my contract expires before I file a complaint, for obvious reasons.
I donât trust themâ¦