View Full Version : Things you should know about warranty and mods...

04-18-2005, 03:59 AM
It's pretty long, but if you have ever had a problem with a warranty and your mods then it's worth reading!:)

This information is brought to you by SEMA.

<HR>Consumers Bill of Rights:

Your Rights to Personalize Your Vehicle

ARTICLE ONE: You have the Right to buy high-quality, reliable aftermarket performance and specialty parts, accessories and styling options.

ARTICLE TWO: You have the Right to use high-quality aftermarket parts and know that your new car warranty claims will be honored. In fact, your vehicle dealer may not reject a warranty claim simply because an aftermarket product is present. A warranty denial under such circumstances may be proper only if an aftermarket part caused the failure being claimed.

ARTICLE THREE: You have the Right to install and use emissions-legal aftermarket performance parts without incurring hassles and onerous procedures during state vehicle emissions inspections.

ARTICLE FOUR: You have the Right to actively oppose any proposed (or existing) laws or regulations that will reduce your freedom to use aftermarket automotive parts and service or will curtail your ability to take part in the automotive hobbies of your choice.

ARTICLE FIVE: You have the Right to patronize independent retail stores and shops for vehicle parts and service. The U.S. aftermarket offers the world's finest selection of performance and specialty parts, accessories and styling options. These aftermarket products satisfy the most discriminating customers seeking personalized vehicles for today's lifestyle.

The foregoing message is brought to you by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). If you would like our guidelines on what to do if your new car warranty is denied, call SEMA's Fax-on- Demand service, 909/396-0182, ext. 750 and request document #904 or check the below.

<HR>The Law

Federal law sets forth requirements for warranties and contains a number of provisions to prevent vehicle manufacturers, dealers and others from unjustly denying warranty coverage. With regard to aftermarket parts, the spirit of the law is that warranty coverage cannot be denied simply because such parts are present on the vehicle, or have been used. The warranty coverage can be denied only if the aftermarket part caused the malfunction or damage for which warranty coverage is sought. Disputes in this area usually boil down to arguments over facts and technical opinions, rather than arguments over interpretations of the law.

Contact the Vehicle Manufacturer's Zone Representative

If a car manufacturer backs your warranty, and you have a dispute with the dealer about either service or coverage, contact the local manufacturer's representative. The local or zone representative has the authority to adjust and make decisions about warranty service remedies or repairs to satisfy customers.

Some manufacturers are also willing to repair certain problems in specific models free of charge, even if the manufacturer's warranty does not cover the problem. Ask the zone representative or the service manager if there is such a policy.

The procedure for contacting your zone representative is usually provided in the vehicle owner's manual. This information can also be obtained from a dealer, or by calling the manufacturer's customer service number, as listed in the carmaker's owner's manual. Present your case to the zone representative. Be sure to indicate how the dealer responded to your information, especially if dealership personnel were notably uncooperative, etc. Once again, be sure to get as much information in writing as you can; request that any determinations or actions which are promised by the zone representative be confirmed by a letter or a fax.

Contact the Vehicle Manufacturer Directly

You may find that contact with the zone representative does not achieve resolve of the matter. If you are still not satisfied, the next step is to contact the vehicle manufacturer directly. Most carmakers maintain a contact office or a special department that is responsible for dealing with warranty issues.

Using the information you have gathered and any additional information you may have to supplement your case, forward a letter directly to the vehicle manufacturer's customer service office (sometimes called dispute resolution board or something similar). Be sure to explain your situation in detail and in a logical, easy-to-understand manner. Provide as much detail as you can about your contacts with the dealer and the zone representative. Do not hesitate to state if you felt you were treated improperly or unfairly by either. The vehicle manufacturer will almost always respond to you with a letter; sometimes promptly, sometimes not. Again, be sure to retain all correspondence in case you need it for future use. Generally, the vehicle manufacturer has the greatest interest in ensuring your satisfaction; they want you to remain loyal to their brand. As such, they will likely make a good-faith effort to resolve the issue particularly if there is a known pattern of similar failures. If there is a request for any additional information, be sure to keep a record of what you send. If the manufacturer should still decide against you, make sure that their refusal letter provides an explanation of how they believe the aftermarket part caused the problem.

Local Approaches You Can Try

If you cannot get satisfaction from the dealer, the zone representative or the manufacturer, contact one or all of the following:

Better Business Bureau
State Attorney General
Local Department of Motor Vehicles
State Consumer Protection Office
Many states also have county and city offices that intervene or mediate on behalf of individual consumers to resolve complaints.

You also might consider using a dispute resolution organization to arbitrate your disagreement if you and the dealer are willing. Under the terms of many warranties, this may be a required first step before you can sue the dealer or manufacturer. Check your warranty to see if this is the case.

If you bought the vehicle from a franchised dealer, you may be able to seek mediation through the Automotive Consumer Action Program (AUTOCAP). AUTOCAP is a dispute resolution program coordinated nationally by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA: 800/252-6232), and sponsored through state and local dealer associations in many cities. Check with the dealer association in your area to see if they operate a mediation program.

National Approaches You Can Try

Since the manufacturer's failure to honor the terms of the warranty may be a violation of federal law, you can pursue the issue with the appropriate federal agency.

You can call or write the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and ask for assistance on non-emission-related problems. Input from consumers is very important to the work of the FTC. These contacts with consumers are often the first indication of a problem in the marketplace and may provide initial evidence to begin an investigation. Although the agency cannot act to resolve individual problems, it can act when it sees a pattern of possible law violations. FTC, Washington, D.C.: 202/326-3128.

The FTC also maintains regional offices to field consumer complaints. For the telephone number to one near you, see Attachment B.

In the case of a problem with an emission-related component, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the organization to contact. A pamphlet published by the EPA on emissions warranty matters called "What You Should Know About Your Auto Emissions Warranty," can help explain your options. In essence, the EPA requires that you exhaust all of your options with the vehicle manufacturer before you contact the Agency. In all cases, you must correspond with the EPA in writing. You must also provide copies of all correspondence with the dealer and manufacturer, as well as any independent evidence you may have that describes the cause of the problem. The better you are able to make your case that an aftermarket part was not the cause of the failure, the more likely you are to get EPA's help. The EPA is particularly interested in any evidence of a pattern failure being involved.

Warranty Complaint Field Operations and Support Division (EN-397F), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. 20460. Telephone: 202/233-9040 or 202/233-9100.

You can also call the Bureau of Consumer Protections Office of Consumer & Business Education in Washington, D.C., at 202/326-3650.

04-18-2005, 12:55 PM
Thats alot to say.
But I'm gald to see we can mod without worry. I think I'm alittle past warrenty anyway.

04-18-2005, 03:11 PM
Thanks for the info Infamous :thumbsup: I will definately keep this in mind. I am having trouble with the dealership know with some warranty work that pertains paint and body, I'm a little :mad: now in fact.