FTC Issues Warranty Rights Consumer Alert in Response to Complaints about OEM Position Statements - BodyShop Business

FTC Issues Warranty Rights Consumer Alert in Response to Complaints about OEM Position Statements

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an FTC Consumer Alert, “Auto Warranties, Routine Maintenance and Repairs: Is Using the Dealer a Must?” after a position statement from Honda sparked opposition from the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) and the Tire Industry Association (TIA), along with the Automotive Recyclers Assocition (ARA).

In late August, AAIA, AOCA and TIA sent a letter to the FTC charging that Honda had issued a release that they believed could give car owners the impression that their warranty rights would be jeopardized if they used aftermarket parts. The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) announced on Oct. 21 that it filed a formal complaint with the(FTC) against Hyundai Motor America and American Honda over the carmakers’ comments regarding the use of recycled auto parts.

In Hyundai’s statement last August,
the automaker said that using “aftermarket, imitation or recycled
collision repair parts” could compromise a vehicle’s performance in a
crash.

Honda went farther in its statement,
saying that its new vehicle warranty and replacement parts warranty
“doesn’t apply to any part which is not purchased from an authorized
U.S. Honda dealer.” The Aug. 20, 2010 Honda release also stated that “only by purchasing Honda Genuine parts through an authorized U.S. Honda dealer can you be assured of the replacement part’s authenticity, reliability and compatibility.”

In their Aug. 25 letter to the FTC, the AAIA charged that the Honda statement was “in direct conflict with the Magnuson-Moss statute,” which prohibits the conditioning of a warranty on the use of the manufacturer’s brand products.

“We are pleased that the FTC has put out valuable guidance to U.S. car owners regarding their rights under their new car warranties,” said AAIA President and CEO Kathleen Schmatz. “Vehicle manufacturers like Honda continue to put out misleading information that confuses car owners as to their ability to choose where and with what parts their vehicle is serviced and still protect their new vehicle warranty."

The FTC Alert notes that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to claim that a consumer’s warranty is void or to deny warranty coverage because someone other than the dealer provided service. The FTC release states that an independent technician, a retail chain shop or the car owner can do routine maintenance and repairs on their vehicle without jeopardizing their new car warranty.

AAIA also claimed that statements made in the Honda release regarding the quality of non-Honda parts were misleading to consumers.

“In fact, thousands of replacement parts produced by companies other than Honda are available and sold for Honda vehicles. In the vast majority of cases, the reality that these parts are installed and used without any related vehicle issues points to the clear fact that the quality of aftermarket parts are known and preferred by many U.S. consumers,” the AAIA letter states.


More information:

View a copy of the FTC Consumer Alert

AAIA Issues Complaint to FTC in Defense of Aftermarket Parts

Honda Recommends Against Repairing with ‘Aftermarket, Counterfeit or Gray Market’ Parts

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