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Car repair and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

Car repair and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

What is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a federal law that governs consumer product warranties. It was passed in 1975 and requires warrantors of consumer products to provide consumers with detailed information about warranty coverage. In addition, it affects both the rights of consumers and the obligations of warrantors under written warranties.

Magnuson-Moss Act Does Not Require Business to Provide a Written Warranty

But if a company does issue a warranty, the way the warranty is written must conform to the law

How the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act applies to auto repair

No car maker or dealer can require you to install a specific brand of product to maintain your warranty coverage. In fact, section 2302(c) of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for a company to condition a warranty “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.”

In other words, no carmaker or dealer can tell you you’ll void your warranty if you use a part made by someone else or have someone other than the dealer repair your vehicle. There are two narrow instances where that prohibition doesn’t apply:

1) if the company has received a waiver in advance from the FTC after proving that the product will work properly only if a specific branded part is used; or

2) if the warranty states that the company will provide the identified parts and services for free.

Even then, if a company will replace certain parts for free – but will still void a consumer’s warranty for using another maker’s parts for other purposes – the company has violated the law.

Recent examples of Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act enforcement actions

On  June 23, 2022, the FTC settled enforcement actions against Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, LLC (a motorcycle manufacturer) and MWE Investments, LLC (a Westinghouse outdoor generator maker). Both companies acted illegally when by using warranty language that required customers to use manufacturer-supplied parts and service instead of allowing customers to use independent dealers to either supply parts or perform repairs.

The companies were required to remove those warranty terms from their warranties, admit to customers what they did, and ensure fair competition between dealers and independent third parties providing repair services and parts.

Carmakers and dealers cannot make these kinds of statements:

“Taking your product to be serviced by a repair shop that is not an authorized by or affiliated with [Company] will void this warranty, and using third-party parts will void this warranty.”

©, 2022 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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