Question: I have a vehicle that is still under factory warrenty. I had problems with the Key, brought it to the dealership, they told me since I had a after market alarm installed (Over a year ago, that never caused problems to the vehicle) It voided my warrenty. They never gave me any kind of proof showing that my alarm was the cause of the problem. I then had to pay out of pocket and feel scammed. Does aftermarket stuff void warrenties?
Answer: Generally, auto manufacturers and dealers cannot deny warranty coverage just because there are after market parts on a car. If, however, the after market parts are the actual cause of the problem for which the warranty coverage is sought, the warranty coverage can be denied. (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)) The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) website offers very detailed instructions on how to challenge a denial of warranty coverage based upon the use of after market parts.
When the dealer denies the warranty coverage, they should be willing to do so in writing. Ask the dealer to describe the failure which is causing the problem AND how the dealer believes the after market part is causing the problem. It is important to keep all records and documents, including dates, contact names, and notes of conversations.
SEMA offers the following steps (and instructions/resources on their website):
• What does the warranty say?
• Check the vehicle history.
• Determine the true cause of the problem.
• Try to work it out with the dealer.
• Get it in writing.
• Contact the vehicle manufacturer’s zone representative.
• Contact the vehicle manufacturer directly. (See the website below for the listing of auto manufacturers)
• Local approaches to resolving the problem.
• National approaches to resolving the problem.
• What can be done under the law (the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act)?
You can visit Consumer Action online, a government resource for general consumer issues and find more information depending on your circumstances. For example, a listing of auto manufacturers and their resolution programs or a sample letter of complaint
can both be found on this helpful website.
If other resolution attempts fail, you can visit small claims court and the Maricopa Superior Court Self-Service Center online for various forms and instructions.
May 22, 2007