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The Federal Trade Commission and Vehicle Warranties

Whenever a customer buys a new car they are always concerned that they have to now go to the dealership for routine maintenance or risk voiding their warranty! The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) the nation's consumer protection agency says it isn’t so! It is illegal for a dealership to even suggest that they might deny your warranty coverage because your routine maintenance and repair is done by an independent repair shop! You also don’t need to be concerned about using aftermarket parts or even recycled parts. 

Here is what the FTC says to keep in mind to avoid warranty issues:

  • Read your warranty. Usually it is bundled with your owner’s manual.  If you have misplaced it, check the vehicle manufacturer’s website, select the “Owner’s” tab and follow the directions.
  • Be aware of your warranty period. If you feel your vehicle may be experiencing problems covered under the warranty, have it checked out before the warranty expires!
  • Service your car at regular intervals. Not only is this a good habit for safety, it saves you money too!  Check out the owner’s manual to see how often the manufacturers recommend services.
  • Keep good records. It is important to keep service records and receipts no matter who performs the services.  More than likely your car care provider will have all the records but just in case, it is your responsibility to do so as well.  You may need to provide this information if you file a claim for warranty work and they say you didn’t perform needed services in a timely manner.
  • Complain. Sometimes no matter what, you may be denied your warranty claim unfairly.  When this happens, pull out those records, visit another dealership for a second opinion.  If that doesn’t work contact the manufacturer directly.  If you still can’t find satisfaction, contact your state Attorney General, local consumer protection office, local Better Business Bureau or the FTC.

The FTC is there to help consumers when they are confronted with fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices.  To file a complaint or get additional information, visit ftc.gov or call them at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). 

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