Questions About Warranty
I bought a car that I found has an extended warranty
that I can buy from the previous owner. However I
bought the car at an auction, and the car manufacturer
won't release the previous owner's name. Can I call the
manufacturer and say something such as 'This is the car's
VIN number [Vehicle Identification Number], and I just want
to make sure you have the correct phone number'? In other
words, can I be guileful to get the name of the previous owner
so I can buy the warranty?
RABBI BELSKY ANSWERS:
I think this could be done. It is your property, and
you are entitled to get the extended warranty. You can't
take what is not yours. But you can get something, even
with ha'ramah [guile], if in fact it belongs to you.
Let's say that I manage to get the previous owner's
name and call the person, and the person is willing
to sign over the warranty for free. If he or she
doesn't know that they could cash in the warranty for
$400, should I mention it? This actually happened.
Once he's willing to sign it over for free, you're not
obligated to question whether he actually knows about its
worth. He's giving you something. He may know it is worth
something or he may not know. Even someone of limited
intelligence will realize that he paid for something and
he can say, "I will take money for it. I paid a certain
amount of money for this extended warranty. At least give
me my share." He's not being conned into selling it to you.
You're not fooling him.
Is there an opportunity for a kiddush Hashem (sanctification
of G-d's Name) if I do mention it?
I don't know. A kiddush Hashem is when you give a non-Jew
something he lost and you say, "You lost this." But I think
that in this particular case the fellow paid for it, and he
most likely knows that he can charge money for it, and that
it's reasonable to charge money for it. And nevertheless he
wants to give it to you -- he's being generous. The best thing
to do is to tell him: "Thank you very much. I appreciate your
generosity. I know you paid for it."
Let's say you have a very strong feeling that he really doesn't
know that he's entitled to some money.
If you said, "I'm entitled to the warranty. I'd like you to sign
it over to me because the warranty is mine now that I've bought
the car", then you are trying to fool him. But if you tell him,
"I know that you bought an extended warranty for this car. Is
there any way I could have title to that extended warranty? I
would appreciate it", he would be able to say right away, "Look,
I paid $875 for it. The warranty was for six years and two years
of the warranty are left. Please give me a third of it." The fact
that he doesn't say it shows that he's being generous. Sometimes
it's insulting to a person when you offer him money for something
he's trying to give to you. "Thank you very much," you should say
to him. "I appreciate it. I know you paid for it."
You can contribute questions of your own by sending them to
firstname.lastname@example.org - a student of Rav Belsky's takes the questions to him
and provides his responses here.
Each week we will ask a one or more questions to Rabbi Yisroel Belsky,
Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Vodaas, and present his answer.
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION WILL BE:
I went to an amusement park that has a fee for children over
three years old, and is free for children under 3 years old.
My child's third birthday - according to the secular calendar -
occurred 3 weeks before our visit, but his third Hebrew birthday
was still a week away. I am pretty sure that the amusement park
is referring to my child's secular birthday. Can I say the child
is not yet 3 years old?
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