All too frequently the question is raised: Will the installation of this void my warranty? Usually the person asking this question gets a very short answer to their question. Unfortunately, one statement is too brief to truly provide a helpful or meaningful answer. Rather than trying to tell you what I think is the answer, I am providing the law below that defines your legal rights with respect to the installation and use of aftermarket parts and how such installation and use might affect your original vehicle manufacturer's warranty. I think people give this issue short shrift and hope this will serve a useful purpose to those wondering whether that downpipe will actually void my warranty like the dealer so vehemently warns.
When you know your rights, you will be in a position to tactfully educate whomever tries to tell you your warranty has been or will be voided simply because you install some aftermarket part. Dealers and some manufacturers have used scare tactics. Even blanket statements that performing any modifications to the vehicle voids the manufacturers may be invalid. The point is you should know the law. If you have not taken time to read up on the issue, I strongly recommend doing so when you get a chance. One morning, grab some coffee and pull up a chair and read this because it just might come in handy when the dealer tries to wrongfully deny you warranty coverage.
We continue to receive a number of inquiries from customers regarding
MAGNUSON MOSS WARRANTY ACT
US Code - Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312
US Code - Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312
Legally, a vehicle manufacturer cannot void the warranty on a vehicle due to an aftermarket part unless they can prove that the aftermarket part caused or contributed to the failure in the vehicle (per the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)).
If your vehicle manufacturer fails to honor emission/warranty claims, contact EPA at (202) 260-2080 or www.epa.gov
. If federal warranty protection is denied, contact the FTC at (202) 326-3128 or www.ftc.gov
For additional information, check out the following links:
Consumers Bill of Rights
What You Can Do If Your Warranty Is Denied
Federal Warranty Laws
Vehicle Manufacturer Warranty Contact Phone Numbers
You should also considering contacting your local Better Business Bureauif you have any warranty issues unrelated to aftermarket parts that your dealership has failed to correct. In certain instances, you have a very short window in which you can exercise legal rights which the law affords you.
Section 2301. Definitions
(1) The term "consumer product" means any tangible personal property which is distributed in commerce and which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes (including any such property intended to be attached to or installed in any real property without regard to whether it is so attached or installed).
(2) The term "Commission" means the Federal Trade Commission.
(3) The term "consumer" means a buyer (other than for purposes of resale) of any consumer product, any person to whom such product is transferred during the duration of an implied or written warranty (or service contract) applicable to the product, and any other person who is entitled by the terms of such warranty (or service contract) or under applicable State law to enforce against the warrantor (or service contractor) the obligations of the warranty (or service contract).
(4) The term "supplier" means any person engaged in the business of making a consumer product directly or indirectly available to consumers.
(5) The term "warrantor" means any supplier or other person who gives or offers to give a written warranty or who is or may be obligated under an implied warranty.
(6) The term "written warranty" means -
(A) any written affirmation of fact or written promise made in connection with the sale of a consumer product by a supplier to a buyer which relates to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirms or promises that such material or workmanship is defect free or will meet a specified level of performance over a specified period of time, or
(B) any undertaking in writing in connection with the sale by a supplier of a consumer product to refund, repair, replace, or take other remedial action with respect to such product in the event that such product fails to meet the specifications set forth in the undertaking, which written affirmation, promise, or undertaking becomes part of the basis of the bargain between a supplier and a buyer for purposes other than resale of such product.
(7) The term "implied warranty" means an implied warranty arising under State law (as modified by sections 2308 and 2304(a) of this title) in connection with the sale by a supplier of a consumer product.
(8) The term "service contract" means a contract in writing to perform, over a fixed period of time or for a specified duration, services relating to the maintenance or repair (or both) of a consumer product.
(9) The term "reasonable and necessary maintenance" consists of those operations
(A) which the consumer reasonably can be expected to perform or have performed and
(B) which are necessary to keep any consumer product performing its intended function and operating at a reasonable level of performance.
(10) The term "remedy" means whichever of the following actions the warrantor elects:
(B) replacement, or
except that the warrantor may not elect refund unless (i) the warrantor is unable to provide replacement and repair is not commercially practicable or cannot be timely made, or (ii) the consumer is willing to accept such refund.
(11) The term ''replacement'' means furnishing a new consumer product which is identical or reasonably equivalent to the warranted consumer product.
(12) The term "refund" means refunding the actual purchase price (less reasonable depreciation based on actual use where permitted by rules of the Commission).
(13) The term "distributed in commerce" means sold in commerce, introduced or delivered for introduction into commerce, or held for sale or distribution after introduction into commerce.
(14) The term "commerce" means trade, traffic, commerce, or transportation -
(A) between a place in a State and any place outside thereof,
(B) which affects trade, traffic, commerce, or transportation described in subparagraph (A).
(15) The term "State" means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Canal Zone, or American Samoa. The term "State law" includes a law of the United States applicable only to the District of Columbia or only to a territory or possession of the United States; and the term "Federal law'" excludes any State law.
Section 2302. Rules governing contents of warranties
(a) Full and conspicuous disclosure of terms and conditions; additional requirements for contents In order to improve the adequacy of information available to consumers, prevent deception, and improve competition in the marketing of consumer products, any warrantor warranting a consumer product to a consumer by means of a written warranty shall, to the extent required by rules of the Commission, fully and conspicuously disclose in simple and readily understood language the terms and conditions of such warranty. Such rules may require inclusion in the written warranty of any of the following items among others:
(1) The clear identification of the names and addresses of the warrantors.
(2) The identity of the party or parties to whom the warranty is extended.
(3) The products or parts covered.
(4) A statement of what the warrantor will do in the event of a defect, malfunction, or failure to conform with such written warranty - at whose expense - and for what period of time.
(5) A statement of what the consumer must do and expenses he must bear.
(6) Exceptions and exclusions from the terms of the warranty.
(7) The step-by-step procedure which the consumer should take in order to obtain performance of any obligation under the warranty, including the identification of any person or class of persons authorized to perform the obligations set forth in the warranty.
(8) Information respecting the availability of any informal dispute settlement procedure offered by the warrantor and a recital, where the warranty so provides, that the purchaser may be required to resort to such procedure before pursuing any legal remedies in the courts.
(9) A brief, general description of the legal remedies available to the consumer.
(10) The time at which the warrantor will perform any obligations under the warranty.
(11) The period of time within which, after notice of a defect, malfunction, or failure to conform with the warranty, the warrantor will perform any obligations under the warranty.
(12) The characteristics or properties of the products, or parts thereof, that are not covered by the warranty.
(13) The elements of the warranty in words or phrases which would not mislead a reasonable, average consumer as to the nature or scope of the warranty.
(b) Availability of terms to consumer; manner and form for presentation and display of information; duration; extension of period for written warranty or service contract
(A) The Commission shall prescribe rules requiring that the terms of any written warranty on a consumer product be made available to the consumer (or prospective consumer) prior to the sale of the product to him.
(B) The Commission may prescribe rules for determining the manner and form in which information with respect to any written warranty of a consumer product shall be clearly and conspicuously presented or displayed so as not to mislead the reasonable, average consumer, when such information is contained in advertising, labeling, point-of-sale material, or other representations in writing.
(2) Nothing in this chapter (other than paragraph (3) of this subsection) shall be deemed to authorize the Commission to prescribe the duration of written warranties given or to require that a consumer product or any of its components be warranted.
(3) The Commission may prescribe rules for extending the period of time a written warranty or service contract is in effect to correspond with any period of time in excess of a reasonable period (not less than 10 days) during which the consumer is deprived of the use of such consumer product by reason of failure of the product to conform with the written warranty or by reason of the failure of the warrantor (or service contractor) to carry out such warranty (or service contract) within the period specified in the warranty (or service contract).
(c) Prohibition on conditions for written or implied warranty; waiver by Commission No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if -
(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and
(2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest. The Commission shall identify in the Federal Register, and permit public comment on, all applications for waiver of the prohibition of this subsection, and shall publish in the Federal Register its disposition of any such application, including the reasons therefor.
(d) Incorporation by reference of detailed substantive warranty provisions
The Commission may by rule devise detailed substantive warranty provisions which warrantors may incorporate by reference in their warranties.
(e) Applicability to consumer products costing more than $5
The provisions of this section apply only to warranties which pertain to consumer products actually costing the consumer more than $5.
CONTINUE ON TO PART 2