Magnuson-Moss Warranty Blog

Beware of Warranty Scare Tactics Used on Transit Providers

Have you heard warnings like these?

“You don’t want to make a costly mistake! Always review your manufacturer’s warranty before you purchase parts as it could be voided with non-OEM replacements.”

“The complexity of equipment is increasing, and using non-OEM parts will impact performance. A non-compliant part could cause premature failures, extended downtime, and forfeit the warranty.”

Attention Transit Professionals: Distressing warnings are commonly used to steer purchasers toward costly OEM replacement parts, including:

– Installing non-OEM parts will void the warranty

– Non-OEM parts do not have a manufacturer’s warranty

– The manufacturer’s warranty won’t cover replacement parts

Why are threats of voided warranties used to intimidate purchasers into a part’s corner?

Gold seal skull and crossbones on the side, text reads: warranty scare tactics

Original equipment manufacturers are confident that they have exact “drop-in” replacement parts that will meet the life cycle design specs. Sometimes sales reps rely on a purchaser buying into the message that third-party remanufactured and replacement parts will void warranties.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is your passport to a world of cost-effective, quality non-OEM parts.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act Prohibits the Use of Threatening to Void Warranties

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act was passed in 1975 as a federal statute to govern written warranties on goods and to resolve issues where manufacturers created warranties with unclear or misleading disclaimers.1

This clear summary by Taft Stettinius & Hollister underscores how the Act secures every purchaser’s right to choose without fear of loss:

In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) clarified that a manufacturer cannot deceptively imply that using an unauthorized part will void the warranty.

The Act generally prohibits manufacturers from conditioning warranties on the consumer’s use of a replacement product or repair service identified by brand or name, unless the article or service is provided without charge to the consumer. 15 USC 2302(c). 

In other words, a manufacturer cannot “tie” the effectiveness of the warranty it provides for the product to the use of specified replacement parts or authorized service providers. For example, a warranty providing that it would be void because of the use of services performed by anyone other than an authorized “ABC” dealer or with the use of genuine “ABC” replacement parts is a prohibited warranty under the Act.

As manufacturers tried to soften and draft around these prohibitions, many consumers became confused as to whether using brand name parts or authorized service centers was required. In this 40th anniversary of the Act, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently published revisions to its interpretation of the anti-tying prohibition in the Act. 

The FTC updated interpretation clarifies that the manufacturer-provided warranty cannot deceptively imply that using unauthorized parts will void the warranty, unless the specified parts are provided to the consumer free of charge.2

Two types of warranties are recognized by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Expressed and Implied. 

An implied warranty is:
– An assurance that a product will meet its intended purpose
– Enforced by state, not federal law
– Either verbal or written

An express warranty is:
A company’s written express warranty must follow Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act statutes
– Information about a product’s performance as expressed in an advertisement or sales event can constitute an express warranty
– An agreement by a seller to provide replacement or repairs in a timely manner for a product that fails to meet promised performance3

While the Act does not require manufacturers to provide a written warranty, it requires all warranties must comply with this law.

For more information on the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, see the FTC’s article, The Business Person’s Guide to Federal Warranty Law

Escape the Parts Trap

Transit and fleet technicians and purchasers feel stuck with few options for parts. The Choice? Either expensive OEM parts or unreliable repairs.

As your partner for parts, KIRKS has been working since 1946 to help technicians and maintenance teams keep vehicles moving and escape the parts trap. 

Through a commitment to quality engineering, load testing, and sourcing new and remanufactured Approved-EqualTM parts that meet or exceed OEM specifications, KIRKS provides a reliable cost-savings alternative you can count on. 

Contact us today to get the parts and supplies you need to keep your shop stocked with a single purchase order.