New Car Warranty – Your Options Explained
Important Info for you, if you own a car!
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an FTC Consumer Alert entitled “Auto Warranties, Routine Maintenance and Repairs: Is Using the Dealer a Must?” in response to a complaint filed by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) and a few other groups.
Honda issued a release back in August 2010, which appeared designed to give car owners the impression that their warranty right would be jeopardized if they used “aftermarket” parts. The Aug. 20, 2010 Honda release stated that “only by purchasing Honda Genuine parts through an authorized U.S. Honda dealer can you be assured of the replacement part’s authenticity, reliability and compatibility.”
The Honda statement was “in direct conflict with the Magnuson-Moss statute,” which prohibits the conditioning of a warranty on the use of the manufacturer’s brand products as charged by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Assoc..
Unfortunately, many manufacturers, (in this case Honda) continue to put out misleading information that confuses car owners as to their ability to choose where and with what parts their vehicle is serviced and still protect their new vehicle warranty. Surveys have shown that absent the warranty, the vast majority of consumers choose the independent aftermarket based on quality, price and convenience; and this FTC Alert will ensure they will have the peace of mind to make an informed decision.
The FTC release adds the crucial clarification that the burden of proof in warranty cases is on the OEM/dealership, not the consumer. This is great news for you, in case you did not realize that.
We know that thousands of replacement parts produced by aftermarket companies in some cases are not only compatible, (and more appropriate) for the make, model, the age and condition of someone’s car, be it BMW, MINI, Honda or whatever. So, the statement from Honda was more than stretching!
The FTC Alert spells out a key provision of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that it is illegal for manufacturers or dealers to claim that a consumers warranty is void or to deny warranty coverage simply because someone other than the dealer provided service. The alert states that an independent technician, a retail chain shop or even the car owner can do routine maintenance and repairs on their vehicle, without jeopardizing their new car warranty.
AAIA is a Bethesda, Md.-based association whose more than 23,000 member and affiliates manufacture, distribute, and sell motor vehicle parts, accessories, service, tool, equipment, materials and supplies. Through its membership, AAIA represents more than 100,000 repair shops, parts stores and distribution outlets.