Warranty and Aftermarket Parts
by Maricon Williams

The United States Code found at 15 U.S.C. 2301 Section 2302(c) states: "No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name'. 15 U.S.C. 2302(c)."

This provision was supplemented by Congress on 16 C.F.R. 700.10 section 102(c). It states in pertinent part: "No warrantor may condition the continued validity of a warranty on the use of only authorized repair service and/or authorized replacement parts for non-warranty service and maintenance. For example, provisions such as, 'This warranty is void if service is performed by anyone other than an authorized "ABC" dealer and all replacement parts must be genuine "ABC" parts,' and the like, are prohibited where the service or parts are not covered by the warranty. These provisions violate the Act in two ways. First, they violate the section 102 (c) ban against tying arrangements. Second, such provisions are deceptive under section 110 of the Act, because a warrantor cannot, as a matter of law, avoid liability under a written warranty where a defect is unrelated to the use by a consumer of "unauthorized" articles or service. This does not preclude a warrantor from expressly excluding liability for defects or damage caused by such "unauthorized" articles or service; nor does it preclude the warrantor from denying liability where the warrantor can demonstrate that the defect or damage was so caused."

It is clear from the foregoing that in the United States an automobile warranty is only inapplicable if the manufacturer proves that the aftermarket part was the cause of the defect or damage of the automobile in dispute.

What about warranty? There are pieces of jurisprudence about this.

Federal law precludes a dealer from voiding warranty just because of using aftermarket speed equipment, with only two exceptions: the warranty can be voided if the aftermarket part causes damage, or adversely affects the emissions or the emissions system. SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) reported that a trade association representing specialty automotive parts manufacturers, the following quotes have been extracted:

"The vehicle manufacturer is not allowed to void the vehicle warranty just because aftermarket equipment is installed on the vehicle. This protection for consumers is the result of a parts self certification program developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

These are the surrounding facts about aftermarket parts relating to warranties. Now that you are aware, be guided accordingly.

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