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Auto Care Association applauds FTC settlement with BMW on warranties

Monday, March 23, 2015 - 06:00
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The Auto Care Association applauds the settlement announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the MINI Division of BMW over its violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

As a result of official complaints to the FTC by the Auto Care Association and other organizations, the FTC has charged that BMW’s MINI Division violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by telling consumers that BMW would void their warranty unless they used MINI parts and MINI dealers to perform maintenance and repair work. 



“It’s against the law for a dealer to refuse to honor a warranty just because someone else did maintenance or repairs on the car. As a result of this order, BMW will change its practices and give MINI owners information about their rights,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. 



The order also:

• bars BMW, in connection with the sale of any MINI Division good or service, from representing that to ensure a vehicle’s safe operation or maintain its value, owners must have routine maintenance performed only by MINI dealers or MINI centers, unless the representation is true and BMW can substantiate it with reliable scientific evidence; and

• requires BMW to provide affected MINI owners with information about their right to use third-party parts and service without voiding warranty coverage, unless BMW provides such parts or services for free.

“Our government affairs department has worked diligently to bring this matter before the FTC and, while it’s been long overdue, we are thrilled to see them finally take action against the clear-cut violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act perpetrated by BMW’s MINI Division,” said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “It is our hope that all vehicle manufacturers are now paying close attention to their communications with vehicle owners concerning their warranties.”

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act contains a provision that prohibits companies from requiring that consumers – in order to maintain their warranties – use specific brands of parts or specified service centers, unless the part or service is provided to the consumer without charge.


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