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Discussion Starter #1
I have a legal question for you.
Is there a legal president (spelling) for suing an automotive manufacturer for breach of contract or something concerning new vehicle warranties?
I believe that OEMs routinely make great efforts to avoid doing repairs on new vehicles under the terms of the new vehicle warranty. Everyone I know that has owned a new car or truck has a story to tell about how they took their vehicle into the dealer for repairs but was told "nothing was wrong", or they "could not duplicate the customer's concern", etc, etc.
It is widely known that a customer must be VERY persistant in order to get their vehicles repaired. If this is true, wouldn't that constitute a breach of contract?
The consumer should NOT have to do battle with a manufacturer of a car or truck in order to get what they are entitled to under the terms of the new vehicle warranty. So why is it so common, and why doesn't anybody put a stop to it?
 

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Watching the Watchers
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I'm not a lawyer, but I do study it as a hobby. the problem imo, is that the burden of proof is on YOU not the manufacturer. You saying somethings broke is not enough, if the dealer wont budge, you have to prove it. Although state laws differ so widely on this subject, im speaking from my knowledge of Illinois law, and my VERY limited knowledge of Florida law
 

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'05 Expedition
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7,651 Posts
I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on TV. (No I didn't. But I have read all of John Grisham's books.)

I work with a guy who had a beautiful red 2001 Dodge Ram extended cab pickup with the 318 engine. He loved it, but the transmission slipped between 2nd and 3rd. The dealer wouldn't admit anything was wrong, and said that they wouldn't fix it until it failed completely. The problem started at 30,000 miles, and I think his warranty ran out at 36,000.

He finally gave up and traded it in for a Toyota because he didn't want to risk it failing at mile number 36,001.

I think that the only way to get retribution is through a class action. But internet boards like this one allow people another means to unite against the manufacturers.

For example, the Honda Prelude "sport-shift" transmission had numerous failures in models manufactured between 1997-1999. Owners got together on two or three internet forums and were finally able to get Honda to take notice.

I received a nice letter from Honda a few months ago. They extended the warranty on my transmission to 100,000 miles. I didn't ask for this, and (knock on wood) haven't had any complaints.
 

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94 Fleetwood Brougham
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857 Posts
Elvis said:
I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on TV. (No I didn't. But I have read all of John Grisham's books.)

I work with a guy who had a beautiful red 2001 Dodge Ram extended cab pickup with the 318 engine. He loved it, but the transmission slipped between 2nd and 3rd. The dealer wouldn't admit anything was wrong, and said that they wouldn't fix it until it failed completely. The problem started at 30,000 miles, and I think his warranty ran out at 36,000.

He finally gave up and traded it in for a Toyota because he didn't want to risk it failing at mile number 36,001.
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Same thing happened to us. Had a brand new(at the time) 2001 Dodge Dually with the Cummins..ran great, loved the truck, had AWESOME power! At about 15k miles it started acting up..no big deal, she was under warranty. At about 25K the tranny starts slipping...bring it in...nothing wrong...bring it home & it is sluggish, can't get out of it's own way. Dealers suck! We eventually had to get rid of the truck..but what is the deal? Why do they play so many games? If they drove the truck for more than a mile down the road, they would have seen that the tranny slipped.... :mad:
 

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1995 ETC, 75 Deville, Cad500 powered 73 Apollo, 94 Mark VIII
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Well how do you think they make their money? They make you pay upfront for a good sounding warrantee, then when it comes time for them to use their money to fix your car, they aren't going to want to pay and get nothing in return. It sucks, but that's the way it goes. :devil:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
"It sucks, but that's the way it goes."
Maybe YOU are willing to take it on the chin like that but I think many people are not.
 

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just one
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What if you took the car to another place for a second opinion. For instance, lets say your transmission was slipping between second and third and it was obvious. Maybe you could take it to a third party dealer, have them document it, and then bring it back to the dealer that sold you the car. If the dealer that sold you the car won't fix it, then you have proof to file a claim.
 

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'05 XLR
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1,698 Posts
There are a lot of factors in play here. First, it's the manufacturer that builds the car and issues the warranty, but it's the dealership you take the car to for service. And the quality of the dealership service departments is often not very good. The OEMs basically count on the dealerships to determine whether a particular customer complaint is real or not, and if real, whether it is a warranty repair or not.

Another factor is aftermarket equipment. The Magnusen-Moss Act provides that legally, a vehicle manufacturer cannot void the warranty on a vehicle due to an aftermarket part unless they can prove that the aftermarket part caused or contributed to the failure in the vehicle. However, that does not stop OEM's and dealerships from denying warranty claims on the basis of modifications done to the vehicle after the sale.

Third, the economy - when cars are selling well, without many "incentives", the OEM's are flush with money and more willing to spring for warranty repairs. When the economy tanks, and less cars sell, or "incentives" grow large the OEM's look for ways to save money. One way to save money is to make it harder to get the more expensive repairs done under warranty.

Fourth, some dealerships abuse the warranty repair system, charging for work not done for example. Also, I believe that the OEM's monitor the dealerships for certain repairs to make sure they're legitimate. So, it's possible that some dealerships are "under the microscope" and a bit nervous about doing certain repairs under warranty for fear of reprisal from the OEM.

Many people will just give in when the dealership denies a problem or repair under warranty, so I guess they figure it's worth a try.

So, when you bring the car in for a problem, and the dealership "can not duplicate customer concern" - that can mean many things. The best approach is to remain cool and unthreatening, at least at first, and bring the car back again to be checked by one or more different technicians. Speak to the service manager, general manager, or owner and calmly present your case. If they can't or won't help, or if they claim the warranty is "voided" due to aftermarket equipment, or abuse, call the regional representative of the OEM. Often, they will send you to another dealership for a 2nd opinion. If the 2nd dealership agrees there is a problem, you're good. They can also decide that the aftermarket parts installed had no bearing on the problem, and cover it under warranty. This is why it's important to stay calm and move up the ladder - if anyone along the way agrees with you (or at least feels sorry for you) than he previous denials mean nothing and you get your repair.

If you cannot get satisfaction from any dealerships or the OEM, then your gonna have to have it fixed by a third party who documents the problem and gives an expert opinion on the cause and take them to court. Unless it's small claims court though, it's gonna cost some money and may not be worth it.

On my wife's '01 Ford F150 SuperCrew, I put an aftermarket chip, exhaust, intake, shift kit, oversize tranny pan, synthetic trans fluid and lowering/handling package. It ran great for a while, but after a particular high speed run (to 120mph messing with a 350Z :D) the check engine light came on and it would not shift into OD, plus it ran kinda rough. I took the chip out and brough it to the dealership. They jerked me around for about a week, saying they could not figure out what was wrong with it and needed a Ford factory tecnician to check it. Another week and they told me they couldn't diagnose the problem but it wouldn't be covered by warranty due to aftermarket modifications. I fought them like crazy to no avail. I called Ford Customer Relations, told them the story (not mentioning the aftermarket parts) - they put me on hold for 10 minutes, then came back telling me that the Dealership had "voided the warranty" due to aftermarket parts. I quoted Moss-Magnusen to them - no go. I asked about another dealership - they basically told me that my warranty was voided no matter where I went. :( I was bummed and my wife was *pissed* at me - she never wanted any mods except the lowering kit. I asked my business partner (a racecar and streetcar fabricator) if he could hook me up with someone to fix it for a reasonable price. He made some calls, then sent me to the Lincon-Mercury dealer across the street from the Ford dealer I started at. They diagnosed it as a bad solenoid in the tranny, swapped it out, and had it running perfectly within 4 hours of getting it. *And* they covered it under warranty, saying there was no way any of the mods I'd had done were the cause of the failure, and that in fact they install many of the same parts for their customers and later do warranty repairs no problem. Also, the service manager at Lincoln-Mercury called over to the Ford dealer and found out, "off the record" that they had worked on the truck for only about 15 minutes before word came "from the front office not to touch the truck". So they never had any idea what was wrong with the truck but still claimed the failure was due to aftermarket parts - clearly a violation of Moss-Magnusen.

Maybe later I'll tell you about my fight with a GMC dealer - that's a long one too. :D
 
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