03/06/2013 09:42 EST | Updated 05/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Spencer Stephenson's One-Man Protest Outside Edmonton Chrysler Dealership


EDMONTON -- It turns out the squeaky wheel gets not only the grease, but a cheque to cover the repairs.

A man from Grande Prairie, Alta., became so angry when he was denied warranty coverage on his vehicle when it broke down in Edmonton that he started picketing the dealership.

Spencer Stephenson says he was told he wouldn't be covered for major repairs on his 2012 Dodge Ram truck, so he took it elsewhere to get it fixed.

While he was waiting, he wrote out a sign reading, "Chrysler does not warranty their defective parts,'' and staged a one-man protest lasting about seven hours.

Stephenson says the next day he received a cheque for $4,150 from the dealership to cover the repairs, provided he signed an agreement that he would stop his protest and go home.

Chrysler Canada won't comment on Stephenson's case but issued a release noting that failure to maintain a vehicle according to a pre-determined schedule means repairs may not be covered under warranty.

"I was affecting their business,'' Stephenson said. "They pretty much just said, 'what do you need to get out of here? What do you need to get away from our business?' ''

Stephenson said his maintenance records were at home when the vehicle broke down in Edmonton, but insisted the truck had been properly maintained.

"Operating conditions such as, short-trip driving, trailer-towing, off-road driving, extreme hot or cold weather, or driving in dusty conditions, will influence your vehicle's maintenance requirements,'' said Chrysler's statement.

"Your new vehicle limited warranty requires that you perform the scheduled maintenance at the time or metrage shown in your owner's manual. If you do not do so, and your vehicle fails as a result of your failure to maintain it properly, repairs may not be covered under your warranty.''

Steve Moody of the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan said if drivers get their preventative maintenance done even a few kilometres over what's stated in the manual, it could be enough for a manufacturer to deny coverage.

To be safe, he suggests making sure it is done right at the interval or in advance.

As for Stephenson, he said while he got his money in the end, the incident has taught him to pay closer attention to paperwork involved in vehicle warranties.

"Inform yourself. Make sure you have everything in order,'' he said.

"Make sure you do your read-up from front to back of your warranty schedule, inquire, ask questions.''

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