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Another Magnuson Moss Warranty Act Complaint Lodged

Four industry associations, including AAIA, have written to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) demanding action on a BMW Mini Cooper owner’s manual stating that “only Mini dealers are to perform oil changes.” The groups claim that this violates the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) and request a meeting with the FTC to have their concerns heard.

The associations point out in their March 14, 2013 letter that a similar complaint lodged by them in May 2012 against Kia Motors has gone unanswered. In fact, the groups — AAIA, the Automotive Oil Change Association, the Service Station Dealers of America & Allied Trades and the Tire Industry Association — have filed a total of four complaints alleging MMWA violations dating back to 2010.

The other two incidents were: a 2010 announcement from Honda stating “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;” and a 2011 Mazda notice recommending that all maintenance and collision repairs be performed using Genuine Mazda Parts and stating that only Genuine Mazda Parts purchased from an authorized Mazda dealer are specifically covered by the Mazda warranty.

The associations argue that, should the FTC fail to address these actions as MMWA violations, it will “inevitably call into question whether MMWA has any remaining ‘teeth’ at all in the context of automotive warranties.”

They continue to point out to the FTC that the lack of enforcement consequences for violating MMWA has “emboldened automakers to take more and more damaging liberties with warranty statements.” The groups conclude their March 2013 letter asking for a meeting “at your earliest convenience” to discuss all of their pending complaints.

The letter was addressed to Lois Greisman, associate director for the division of marketing practices at the FTC. Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

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