Tuesday, 08 November 2011 20:57

Aftermarket Associations Complain to FTC About Mazda’s Claims Regarding Warranty Policy

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) is again calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against a carmaker—this time Mazda—for its policy statements relating to the use of aftermarket parts for vehicle repairs. Similar complaints were made by AAIA against Honda in 2010 when the FTC sided with the carmaker.

In a letter to the FTC’s Associate Director for Marketing Practices, Lois Greisman, the AAIA—along with the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA), the Service Station Dealers of America, and the Tire Industry Association—argue that Mazda’s claim in a recent brochure that “aftermarket parts are generally made to a lower standard” is unsubstantiated. The groups say this is misleading consumers and are calling on the FTC to require Mazda to either to provide substantiation of their claim or issue a retraction.

The letter states that “The wording in the Mazda release totally contradicts FTC’s alert by making the assumption that the aftermarket part would cause the warranty not to be honored rather than the fact that the use of the aftermarket part is permissible unless proven otherwise. Therefore, AAIA and AOCA further request that the Commission take immediate action to require Mazda to withdraw the release and issue a correction: that use of non-Mazda parts are permissible, and that it would be Mazda’s burden of proof to prove a non-Mazda part caused any alleged damage before denying warranty coverage.

The AAIA claims that statements made by Mazda are misleading consumers about the use of aftermarket parts and those statements are a violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that says companies may not condition warranty coverage on the use of only original equipment parts.

The letter also takes issue with a statement by Mazda that “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.” The aftermarket groups contend that the wording of this paragraph, combined with the statements regarding the quality of aftermarket parts, is intended to misinform consumers about their vehicle warranties and are in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.