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Joe Marconi

Car Makers skate around the law!

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In 1975, the U.S. government passed the Magnusson Moss Act. Please read it when you get a chance. Everyone in the industry must know what it is and why it’s important. Here’s a link: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0138-auto-warranties-routine-maintenance


Essentially, a car maker cannot state that a new car owner must go back to the dealer and/or use their factory parts in order for the warranty to remain in effect. The choice to where a new car owner wants to go for service and repairs is theirs.


But, we have all seen through the years how new car dealers and car makers ignore the law, putting pressure on new car owners that if they don’t bring their new car back to the dealer and used dealer parts, they warranty will not remain in effect. This is false and hurts the independents.


The dealers use strong-arm tactics that remind me of some of the guys I knew from my old neighborhood in the Bronx.


Here are a few examples:

  • Mazda press release (2011): “Only genuine Mazda parts purchased from an authorized Mazda dealer are specifically covered by the Mazda warranty. The original warranty could become invalid if aftermarket parts contribute to the damage of original parts.”


  • Kia Motors technical service bulletin No. 114 (2013): “If the engine oil has been recently changed and a noise condition has developed, perform an inspection of the oil filter and/or customer oil change maintenance records to help you in determining if an aftermarket filter or the wrong oil viscosity was used. If the vehicle is equipped with an aftermarket oil filter, perform an oil change and filter using the correct oil grade/viscosity and a replacement genuine Kia oil filter at the customer’s expense.”


  • BMW MINI Cooper owner’s manual (2013): “Only MINI dealers are to perform oil changes.” BMW provides no qualification or exception to this branded service-tying statement and, therefore, violates MMWA’s prohibition against tying arrangements on its face. FTC takes no action.

We cannot bury our heads I the sand with this issue. Stayed informed and speak to all your customers with new cars. We all know that more and more new cars are offered some sort of free maintenance. But, you will be shocked to find that many dealers are SELLING pre-paid maintenance packages. And many are doing it by subtle suggestions from the salesperson, “You should purchase this plan, after all, you never can trust those aftermarket parts, which may affect your warranty.”


How do I know this? It happened to me and my wife when we picked up her new Volvo!



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