The importance of this issue has put pressure on the dealer to turn a new car sale directly into a new service customer for the dealer. Once you purchase your new car, the nice salesperson will likely lead you directly to the service department to let you know that you can have all of your factory required services and maintenance performed at their dealership to keep the new car warranty valid. They are clever enough to word it in such a way that it may even lead you to assume that in order to have your factory warranty remain in effect you must have the maintenance done at the dealership. A pleasant introduction to the service manager, and maybe a couple of other service staff and you take the bait… hook, line and sinker. You leave with the impression that in order to keep your warranty intact you must have the maintenance performed at the dealer.
NOW THE FACTS AND YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS A CONSUMER UNDER FEDERAL LAW:
Enter the MAGNUSON-MOSS WARRANTY ACT (1975) USC TITLE 15 CHAPTER 50 Chapter 2301-2312
Essentially, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits a new car dealer from requiring that your factory required service and maintenance be performed by the dealer in order to uphold your new car warranty. They can’t even require you to use their genuine factory parts unless they can prove to the Federal Trade Commission that they have the only part that will satisfy the manufactures requirement. For example, they cannot tell a consumer that they must use Genuine Subaru Oil or your warranty will be void. They would have to go through the painstaking process of proving to the Federal Trade Commission that their engine will fail with any other oil other than Genuine Subaru Oil.
Another positive for the consumer as a result of this law is the burden of proof is put on the business providing the warranty. An example of this would be that the dealer is denying warranty work on your engine because you installed aftermarket spark plugs in your engine. For them to legally deny you the engine repair, they would be responsible to prove that the aftermarket spark plugs caused the engine failure.
The law is set up in the consumers favor. If the issue goes to court, the business denying the warranty must prove that the failure was due to the aftermarket component or improper installation thereof. If they cannot prove this, they will not only be responsible for repairing the car under warranty, but also for all court costs and legal fees incurred by the consumer. Once a dealer is aware that their customer is fully aware of their legal rights, they tend to be motivated to solve the problem outside of court unless it’s obvious to all that the problem was a direct result of the aftermarket component.
So what do you need to do to keep your new car warranty in effect? Simply follow the manufacturer requirements listed in the warranty booklet provided with your Subaru and keep good documentation. At Smart Service, all factory required maintenance, parts and service procedures meet or exceed what is required on your Subaru as well as we keep back up documentation of any service or part we provide. In essence, the only thing you would ever have to take your vehicle to the dealer for is a factory required recall or if a covered component fails within the warranty period.
In closing, I don’t want you to leave with the impression that I’m bashing dealers. There are some very good dealers out that there that can provide quality service and repair. What I do want you to leave with is the knowledge that you are not beholden to the dealer ever. You have rights and freedom of choice as a consumer under the Magnuson-Moss act not just with new cars but with ANY new product you purchase that comes with a written warranty.
For more information please visit the link below. It’s an excellent article by the Federal Trade Commission
Smart Service – Your Independent Subaru Expert