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Just wanted to share this with everyone who was thinking about modding there car still under warranty.

Understanding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975.
Nearly everyone has heard about someone who has taken a vehicle that has been modified with aftermarket parts to a dealer for warranty service, only to have the dealer refuse to cover the defective items. The dealer usually states that because of the aftermarket parts the warranty is void, without even attempting to determine whether the aftermarket part caused the problem.
This is illegal.
Vehicle manufacturers are not allowed to void the vehicle warranty just because aftermarket parts are on the vehicle. To better understand this problem it is best to know the differences between the two types of new car warranties and the two types of emission warranties.
When a vehicle is purchased new and the owner is protected against the faults that may occur by an expressed warranty - an offer by the manufacturer to assume the responsibility for problems with predetermined parts during a stated period of time. Beyond the expressed warranty, the vehicle manufacturer is often held responsible for further implied warranties. These state that a manufactured product should meet certain standards. However, in both cases, the mere presence of aftermarket parts doesn't void the warranty.
There are also two emission warranties (defect and performance) required under the clean air act. The defect warranty requires the manufacturer to produce a vehicle which, at the time of sale, is free of defects that would cause it to not meet the required emission levels for it's useful life as defined in the law. The performance warranty implies a vehicle must maintain certain levels of emission performance over it's useful life. If the vehicle fails to meet the performance warranty requirements, the manufacturer must make repairs at no cost to the owner, even if an aftermarket part is directly responsible for a warranty claim, the vehicle manufacturer cannot void the performance warranty. This protection is the result of a parts self - certification program developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
In cases where such a failed aftermarket part is responsible for a warranty claim, the vehicle manufacturer must arrange a settlement with the consumer, but by law the new - vehicle warranty is not voided.
Overall, the laws governing warranties are very clear. The only time a new vehicle warranty can be voided is if an aftermarket part has been installed and it can be proven that it is responsible for an emission warranty claim. However, a vehicle manufacturer or dealership cannot void a warranty simply because an an aftermarket equipment has been installed on a vehicle.
If a dealership denies a warranty claim and you think the claim falls under the rules explained above concerning the clean air act (such as an emission part failure), obtain a written explanation of the dealers refusal. Then follow the steps outlined in the owners manual. However, if this fails, then phone your complaint in to the EPA at (202) 233-9040 or (202) 326-9100.
If a dealer denies a warranty claim involving an implied or expressed new car warranty and you would like help, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, you can call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the online complaint form. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide.
 

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Kinda old news... The problem is if a dealer voids the warranty who will have to have the time money and energy to fight with them in a court of law.

In the mean time you have no warranty ....
 

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Kinda old news... The problem is if a dealer voids the warranty on will have to have the time money and energy to fight with them in a court of law.

In the mean time you have no warranty ....
thats the main issue right there. would the dealership loose in court? possibly. but how much time and money will you have to invest taking them to court and then making sure your laywer is better then yours. for most people this is probablyy a daily driver. the moss magnusen act does give you some leeway in dealing with the dealership. calling out that you know about it and are willing to take them to court over it may get them to relent. but a stubborn dealership may just not care. i have found it best to just form a relationship with a dealership that is more relaxed on there policy and doesnt try to rob you blind.
 

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Couple of clarifications.

... When a vehicle is purchased new and the owner is protected against the faults that may occur by an expressed warranty - an offer by the manufacturer to assume the responsibility for problems with predetermined parts during a stated period of time. Beyond the expressed warranty, the vehicle manufacturer is often held responsible for further implied warranties.
An "express warranty" is a "written" contract guaranteeing certain things stated in the contract.

An "implied warranty" arises from the contracts or agreements that are not in writing. For instance, there is a warranty of merchantability and a warranty that a certain product is fit for a particular purpose. These are presumed to be guaranteed by the manufacturer.

A warranty is NOT an "offer" once you purchase the product. To the contrary, it's a legal and binding contract between the buyer and seller of that particular product. Express warranties are optional and seller's are not obligated to provide them, but when they do, then they are bound by the laws governing warranties.

Further, a dealer is NOT a party to the warranty contract (you don't see your dealer's name in the contract do you?) and, hence, they do not have the legal ability to void a vehicle warranty unless such permission has been given to them by the manufacturer directly. Now, there are some high volume dealers that have been been given such authorization from the manufacturer but mostly, the dealers work through a network where a manufacturer's representative services an geographical area and is called to the dealership when a problem arises, i.e., you come in with a blown engine, etc. It is this manufacturer's rep who makes the call on whether to the repairs are covered under your warranty or if voiding the warranty is warranted. The dealer is just one passing the bad news along to you. And, just because you blew your engine because you put say, a 500 shot of nitrous on it. That fact doesn't void the entire vehicle warranty. It would only releases the manufacturer from it's contractual obligation to make the repairs associated with the damage caused or contributed to by the nitrous installation. For example, the stitching on one of your seats is also unraveling. Nitrous could not have affected that and so the dealer MUST honor the warranty and repair the defect in the seat regardless of the nitrous installation. It's a rare occasion when a manufacturer voids a whole vehicle warranty across the board but it has been known to happen. Usually though, its in sections i.e., engine, transmission, brakes, exhaust, paint, etc.

Having said all of that, and understanding that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act was enacted in 1975 because manufacturers were offering warranties like candy but no one was honoring them. Seeing this was becoming a real problem for consumers, Congress enacted the legislation to strictly govern warranties. Unfortunately, we are back a square one and manufacturer's through the dealerships are again playing games and making consumers jump through hoops to get what they are contractually entitled to.

On the other side of the argument, suppose you were a manufacturer and some guy slaps a supercharger on a engine that you designed and sold to him and when that guy blows the engine up and comes knocking at your door claiming he wants his car fixed for free. Would you fix it? Probably not. We'd all be trying to figure out excuses and ways NOT to repair the vehicle.

Overall, the laws governing warranties are very clear ...
Sure, warranty laws might be very clear -- if you're an attorney. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to figure it) most consumers are not attorneys. That is why Congress threw in a specific provision into the law that say that warranties must be written in clear and plain language, i.e., no trickery, playing with words, etc. Any ambiguity goes in favor of the consumer and against the manufacturer. But be that as it may, the entire warranty process is soooo convoluted nowadays that no one knows what's is true and what is false when it comes to your warranty rights. If the law and the warranty process were so "clear," we wouldn't have so many people asking, "Will this void my warranty?" In fact, the need for your article is a testament to just how "unclear" the whole process is.

One thing not mentioned in your article was that almost all warranties nowadays contain an arbitration provision in them. Some are binding arbitration, which means that whatever the arbitrator (usually a retired judge or highly respected attorney in your community) says, goes, and all parties are bound by the arbitrator's decision, i.e., the court won't help you over rule the arbitrator's decision because it holds the same weight as if the judge himself decided the matter. Non-binding arbitration is the other method of arbitration and it means that either party is free to just ignore the arbitrator's decision and are now free to file a lawsuit.

The arbitration provision means that you cannot just run off to court and file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or dealership. You must first participate in the arbitration process. Should you try to jump the gun and file a lawsuit first, the manufacturer will just file a simple motion with the court and attach a copy of the warranty and arbitration provision, and the court will either dismiss the lawsuit or take the matter off calender for an extended period of time. Either way, you're going nowhere.

In many instances, the manufacturer must pay for the cost of the arbitration.

Another item overlooked in the article is the Lemon Law. Varying from state to state, after 2-4 attempts to repair the same problem on a new vehicle or thirty (30) days out of service, the vehicle owner may enforce the provision of the warranty law. Under this law, and once invoked, the manufacturer must elect to either replace the vehicle or refund your money in full (including taxes, etc.), whichever they choose -- it's not your choice.

I think that, together with the article above, covers a big chunk of what everyone needs to know about warranty laws.

By the way, this is my favorite video that I like to pass around when someone mentions a dealer voiding a warranty. Short and to the point.

 

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Good post there, Raven. Most people don't understand that a dealer cannot void your warranty. He is only the messenger.
 

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If your dumb enough to show up to the dealer with a vortech supercharger, cold air kit and a nitrous bottle in the trunk. Then your on crack if you think the motor is covered under warranty. One of my best friends works as a corporate dodge warranty dude and deals with this daily. If you even install a tuner and cold air kit, the warranty is iffy. Last week, he told me the above scenario and the guy was cry babying that it wasnt covered.

If your going to mod it, realize that certain objects may not be covered. If you put a supercharger on it and your windshield wipers quit working, they will cover the wipers. If you lower the car and the transmission pukes, they will cover it.
If you put a convertor in the car and the next day the trans blows up, you might want to put the stock one back in it and take it to the dealership, its on you if you want to warranty it that way and not be honest. Im bias on the subject. Mines all stock :pimp:
 

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I have had the warranty voided on two cars. It is the dealer that flags the car. Dodge will back the dealers decision. I pleaded my case on one car and lost. The warranty was voided over a skip shift eliminator module. The only warranty I still had was with the tires.

My point is this, once the dealer flags you, you are pretty much done with having a warranty.
 

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My point is this, once the dealer flags you, you are pretty much done with having a warranty.
... and the dealer would be breaking the law. Whether you choose to enforce your rights is another matter altogether.

And keep this in mind, and this is where the manufacturer will almost always cave in, should they not honor the warranty and you enforce your rights, you are now have a claim for Breach of Warranty which opens up the flood gates to treble (triple) damages and depending on their actions possible punitive damages. Now that Hemi engine just cost that manufacturer three times as much as it would have cost to repair it, plus all of your costs, etc. It's a rare instance that a manufacturer takes it that far. They just want to see how far you will take it.

When a dealer tells you that something isn't covered under warranty, most people just accept that statement as gospel and walk away, never even bothering to question it. That's why you have sooo many horror stories out there. Not because the dealer was right -- but because the consumer failed to stand up and enforce his or her rights. And that's the way they want it.
 

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I have had the warranty voided on two cars. The warranty was voided over a skip shift eliminator module. The only warranty I still had was with the tires.

My point is this, once the dealer flags you, you are pretty much done with having a warranty.
Uhhh yeah i dont think thats remotely possible by any means, if you installed a skip shift module that only makes the transmission shift 1-2, then they cannot void the entire car. You were lied to, and should take further action.

Possible the car had more problems with it that were related to other modifications, i just dont see how a pee sized problem could result into a entire car voided warranty. Seems fishy.. :notallthere:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My point for the post was to make people aware. Also I did not post the whole law there is a clause that also states the Manufacture has to go through arbitration first not court. This is a good thing since it only cost a few hundred to do it and you can put it on the claim as well to cover cost. If you make the dealership aware that you know your rights they are less likely to screw with you.

 

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Rule of thumb is IF the modification relates to the failure it's on the vehicle owner's dime. If the modification has nothing to do with the failure any warranty coverage still in force applies.
 
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