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Q MY CAR WAS purchased new and was rustproofed by Tuff-Kote Dinol in March of 1981.

During each appropriate time period thereafter, the car was returned for inspection and respraying. Earlier this year, rust spots developed and I took the car to Tuff-Kote in West Seneca, where a claim for was prepared and sent to the Tuff Kote company in Troy, Mich. Their response was this was a "non-insured" warranty.

On April 25, I talked by phone with the former owner of the local dealership, who has been retired for three years. He assured me that all his fees and obligations were satisfied with the owner of the franchise and this was indeed an insured warranty. He informed me that premiums had been paid for insurance purposes to offset claims like mine.

This is supposed to be a lifetime warranty originated with the Tuff-Kote franchise as a selling point.

To me, their denial of my claim seems improper. -- R.L., Depew
A WE WOULD AGREE if it wasn't for the company providing us with evidence that indicates you could not have had an "insured" warranty and that the warrantor of your warranty (the person responsible for honoring its provisions) is the dealer you purchased it from.

David Wielgosz, claims manager for TKD North America Ltd. in Troy, Mich., explains:

"This customer contends that he has an 'insured' Tuff-Kote Dinol warranty. As a matter of fact, Tuff-Kote Dinol did not offer 'insured' warranties to their dealer network until April 1, 1981.

"Since his vehicle was processed on March 27, 1981, he could not have a warranty issued by an independent insurance company.

"His warranty, which was submitted to us with his rust claim, states that the 'Tuff-Kote Dinol dealer . . . warrants the vehicle . . . against rust.' . . ."

"The warranty that is insured by an independent insurance company, for comparison, contains a paragraph that reads, 'This warranty is backed by Tuff-Kote Dinol Inc., world's largest rustproofer; and Tuff-Kote Dinol's liability under this warranty is insured by an independent insurance company.'

"In this case, the West Seneca dealer he spoke to is clearly the warrantor of his rust-protection warranty. The customer does have his current address. I am sorry, but there is nothing further this company to do."

What you will now have to do is recontact the local retired dealer and communicate this information to him. If he is responsible for the warranty he sold you, and assuming someone else did not accept that responsibility when he retired, than he is responsible for meeting the terms and conditions of that warranty.

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