WMBF Investigates: Is a ‘lifetime warranty’ truly for life?

WMBF Investigates: Is a ‘lifetime warranty’ truly for life?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When someone pays for a lifetime warranty, they expect it to last a lifetime.

That wasn't the case for the owner of a '65 Mustang. He was having problems with his Midas muffler and the installer wasn't helping.

According to the car's owner, Dave Buonviri, his automatic, three-speed Mustang first went into production in April 1964.

"It feels great, except the muffler sounding like a tank," Buonviri said of the car. "I don't need it sounding like that. I mean, it purrs normally.

Buonviri knows his restored Mustang inside and out, and he's proud of the car's history.

"The guy I bought it from, in Maryland, he's still alive," he said. "He's like 95 years old. I got it restored and I called his daughters and emailed pictures of it."

He bought the pre-owned, first year production Mustang in 1977 after taking out a $1,500 loan at the age of 22 and paying it off as quick as he could.

Two years later, in 1979, the car needed a muffler.

"My Dad said, 'Well, Midas has mufflers that come with a lifetime warranty,'" Buonviri said.

He purchased that muffler and still has the original receipt and lifetime warranty card to prove it, along with every car registration he's ever gotten.

In February, that seldom-used, 38-year-old muffler was breaking down. Buonviri patched it up temporarily before driving it to a Myrtle Beach Midas shop.

"They were actually kind of laughing and smiling and taking pictures of it because they hadn't seen something like that in a long time, I guess," Buonviri said.

The store employees put the car on the lift and told Buonviri it would need a new muffler.

According to Buonviri, shop employees said they were still searching for the part weeks later. Then, he called Midas' corporate office. After more weeks of back and forth, he got an offer.

"They said, 'We'll give you your money back' and I said, "Well, I paid $53.51 parts and labor for that muffler in 1979; what's that worth in 2017 dollars?' and he said '$53.51,'" Buonviri said. "You can't make this up. So I said, 'Well, that doesn't sound fair.'"

WMBF News reached out to Midas about the situation. Their response, in part, was:

The customer was originally contacted by consumer relations within 24 hours. At this time, the team continues to work with the customer to assist with requests and multiple resolution offers have been made.

Buonviri said Midas officials told him he could go and get the muffler replaced anywhere he wanted and they would pay him back for it.

However, he said they wouldn't honor the lifetime warranty.

"I said, 'Well you go back and tell your boss that that's unacceptable and I expect a replacement muffler,'" Buonviri said.

The wait for a resolution has been painful.

"I couldn't drive it when the weather was beautiful. That's what killed me," Buonviri said. "May and April is gorgeous for this car. You hear that deep humming; that's abnormal. It's almost a little embarrassing when I take it out."

Now, this '65 Mustang owner is just hoping for a final resolution.

"I'm hoping so, for the principal of the matter, because if they say they honor their word and their warranty, then they need to step up and put the muffler on the car," Buonviri said.

On Wednesday, Midas reps sent an update to WMBF News:

The team continues to work with the customer to assist with requests and a lifetime warranty on a replacement part has been offered.

Eventually, with time, negotiating and maybe a little media exposure, Buonviri said Midas did the right thing. "I ran into a whole bunch of trouble and this was February 23 when I brought the car down here to get it checked out because I knew the muffler was bad. And here it is what, July 13th and I get my muffler replaced, so persistence paid off I guess with a little help from WMBF news," said Buonviri.

For a look at the pros and cons of extended warranties, and ways to get free coverage, click here.

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