BETHESDA, Md. – February
8, 2018 – The Auto Care Association
testified yesterday before the Maryland House of Delegates Economic Matters
Committee for passage of legislation that would ensure car owners are provided
with important information regarding their warranty rights when purchasing or leasing
a new vehicle. The bill, (H-434) would
require auto manufacturers to provide notice to consumers within 90 days after
the purchase or lease of a new vehicle of their rights under the federal
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA).
Testifying on behalf of the association, Tom Tucker, director,
state government affairs, Auto Care Association, described the Magnuson-Moss
Warranty Act (MMWA), which contains anti-tying provisions that are some of
the strongest regulations protecting consumers. Specifically, 15 USC Sec. 2302
states that manufacturers may not condition any warranty to the purchase of
original equipment (OE) parts or service.
consumers are unaware of their rights under federal law when a warranty is
voided due to the use of a non-original part or service,” said Tucker. “The
result is that either the car owner or an independent repair shop is unfairly saddled
with the cost of warranty repairs, when those costs should have been borne by
the franchised dealer or new car manufacturer. This is a daily occurrence
across the country, but the interactions are difficult to document since
consumers rarely know their rights.”
“This simple response to the hidden abuse of consumers does
not revise any federal law nor require any expenditure of state resources, but
it will provide a very valuable piece of consumer education that could save
them money and time and ensure that they are not misled by either the
automakers or their authorized service providers,” said Tucker. Joining the
Auto Care Association to testify in support of this legislation were the Washington,
Maryland, Delaware Service Station and Automotive Repair Association, (WMDA),
AAA Mid-Atlantic, Tire Industry Association, LKQ Corporation the Service
Stations Dealers of America, B&A Auto Care (Columbia, Md.) and Wrinkler
Auto Service (Gaithersburg, Md.).
Committee Chairman Dereck Davis, the primary bill sponsor,
opened the hearing by stating, “While some automakers and their authorized
service representatives would like people to believe that only they can perform
routine maintenance, this is not true. Under federal law, a person can have
maintenance work performed on their car by someone else without voiding the
Lawmakers present at the hearing understood the issues the
bill addresses and pushed back on attempts by the automakers to compare general
maintenance to vehicle modifications. The bill will now be referred to the
Consumer Protection and Commercial Law Subcommittee for a hearing and
recommended action back to the full Economic Matters Committee.
A link to the video recording of the hearing can be accessed here.
For more information about the Auto Care Association’s state-level
government affairs initiatives, please contact Tom Tucker at 240-333-1042 or firstname.lastname@example.org.