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I bought a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire in July of 2006. On February 7, 2007 the was parked outside of my residence and was destroyed in a fire that was caused in electrical system. Pontiac denies responsibility. They claim that after investigating my vehicle it was impossible to determine if it was due to a factory defect because the car had been destroyed by the fire. Is there anyway I can fight this?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Rachel, Because your car is out of warranty, and it hasn't shown any manufacture's defects in the past the Pontiac manufacturer's warranty is past being responsible. Did you purchase an extended warranty when you purchased the car in Feb? If you did, you will need to read the fine print, and maybe get a second opinion of the cause of the fire and go after the extended warranty company. In some states the State Police Arson squad will examine a vehicle that has been destroyed by fire to determine the cause. You might look into this to see if the police have anything in writing. Question for you, Did you have hany aftermarket electrical accessories installed close to the time of the fire? Things like a radio, romote starter, etc. If they were installed incorrectly, they could have started the fire. Did you have an insurance policy on this car? If so, talk with your insurance agent to see if you can recoup any money from your insurance policy. Good Luck! Amy Mattinat

Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley I would recommend that you talk with your insurance comany and contact an attorney for advice on this question.

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Rachel, This may be a tough one. You may have to get a lawyer and proceed from there. It's possible that you'd have to hire someone from outside Pontiac to do the investigation. If the vehile was so damaged by the fire, you may never know what the problem was. It would be helpful if there were any problems with the vehicle that you knew of before the fire so that they could see a pattern or know where to look. You'll have to decide if you want to spend the money to hire people to investigate this further or not. Good luck. Lori

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Rachel, Check out our expert's answers

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