Hunting for the Government Goodwrench Office

Kyle-Anne Shiver & Lee Cary
I’d like a new pickup truck and the GM models look nice. So I went hunting for the government office that will stand behind warranties, just in case.

So I searched for the government office I’d contact if GM didn’t do all I thought it should to honor the warranty on any new truck I might buy.  I believe in contingency planning.  

I looked for a phone number for the Federal Warranty Guarantee Service. None. How about a Department of Government Motors Vehicle Warranties (DGMVW) on the internet? Nope.

When you don’t know what animal you’re hunting, you go to the zoo and scan the options. I printed out a healthy list of agencies from the Federal Citizen Information Center on-line. A few looked promising.

I called the National Technical Information Service. I know the workers who repair vehicles in dealerships are often called “technicians.”  The nice person at the NTIS told me they only sell scientific documents to the public. Strike one.

Next, I called the Consumer Product Safety Commission hot-line.  If I have trouble getting my prospective vehicle repaired by the manufacturer, GM in this case, and I drive it – that’s can be safe, right?  The nice person there said they couldn’t help.  He suggested I call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). At last I had a hard lead and felt like the third try would be the charm.

The nice man at the FTC said that, yeah, he’d heard the news that the federal government was going to stand behind GM and Chrysler warranties (I don’t like Chrysler trucks, sorry), but he’d heard no further information about it. And, he didn’t know anyone who had. He suggested I call my congressman. Strike three.

I gave it one more swing, and called the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. I explained the trouble I was having trying to find out how the U.S. government was going to stand behind vehicle warranties, and said I hoped that - since a vehicle on the highway that wasn’t operating properly because the warranty hadn’t been honored must surely represent a safety issue - maybe they could help me.  No can do.

When President Obama declared that, from that day forward, the U.S. government would stand behind GM and Chrysler vehicle warranties, I suspect there was, and still is, no mechanism to do that.  

I think I’ll just keep driving my old Toyota Tundra.  It’s paid for.


I’d like a new pickup truck and the GM models look nice. So I went hunting for the government office that will stand behind warranties, just in case.

So I searched for the government office I’d contact if GM didn’t do all I thought it should to honor the warranty on any new truck I might buy.  I believe in contingency planning.  

I looked for a phone number for the Federal Warranty Guarantee Service. None. How about a Department of Government Motors Vehicle Warranties (DGMVW) on the internet? Nope.

When you don’t know what animal you’re hunting, you go to the zoo and scan the options. I printed out a healthy list of agencies from the Federal Citizen Information Center on-line. A few looked promising.

I called the National Technical Information Service. I know the workers who repair vehicles in dealerships are often called “technicians.”  The nice person at the NTIS told me they only sell scientific documents to the public. Strike one.

Next, I called the Consumer Product Safety Commission hot-line.  If I have trouble getting my prospective vehicle repaired by the manufacturer, GM in this case, and I drive it – that’s can be safe, right?  The nice person there said they couldn’t help.  He suggested I call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). At last I had a hard lead and felt like the third try would be the charm.

The nice man at the FTC said that, yeah, he’d heard the news that the federal government was going to stand behind GM and Chrysler warranties (I don’t like Chrysler trucks, sorry), but he’d heard no further information about it. And, he didn’t know anyone who had. He suggested I call my congressman. Strike three.

I gave it one more swing, and called the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. I explained the trouble I was having trying to find out how the U.S. government was going to stand behind vehicle warranties, and said I hoped that - since a vehicle on the highway that wasn’t operating properly because the warranty hadn’t been honored must surely represent a safety issue - maybe they could help me.  No can do.

When President Obama declared that, from that day forward, the U.S. government would stand behind GM and Chrysler vehicle warranties, I suspect there was, and still is, no mechanism to do that.  

I think I’ll just keep driving my old Toyota Tundra.  It’s paid for.