Friday, 31 October 2014 00:00

Senator Urges FTC to Take Action Against Carmakers’ Misleading Warranty Tactics

The Auto Care Association (ACA) reported on Oct. 27 that U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., criticized the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about its lack of urgency in clarifying its interpretation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The ACA has voiced concerns in the past about automakers misleading consumers into wrongfully believing that serving their vehicles outside dealerships might void warranties.

In a letter to the FTC, Blumenthal said, “Many motorists may have been led to believe… that going to a local repair shop or using a different manufacturer’s parts could void a car’s warranty. Manufacturers should be expressly advised that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits any conduct that would lead a reasonable consumer to believe that his or her warranty coverage depends on the use of a particular brand of product or service.”

Despite the law, the Auto Care Association along with other auto care industry groups have filed numerous complaints with the FTC protesting that many car companies have issued releases and technical bulletins misleading consumers into thinking their warranty could be voided by use of non-dealer parts or service.

“It is critical that the FTC take action to ensure that car companies stop misleading consumers as to their warranty rights,” said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “We hope the actions by Sen. Blumenthal and other legislators will move the FTC to immediately respond to the complaints filed by our association to ensure that consumers are properly informed of their rights under the law such that they can maintain their vehicle using non-original equipment parts and service without the threat of voiding their new car warranties.”

A copy of Senator Blumenthal’s letter can be found here: http://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/download/auto-warranty-letterAdditional information on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Auto Care Association complaints to the FTC can be found here: http://www.autocare.org/Government-Affairs/issues/

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