A warranty is a contract between the buyer and the manufacturer. They are long and complicated documents, but generally, they promise to take care of all applicable repairs, provided that the owner meets expectations for maintenance and use. Owners who do not meet expectations can have their warranty partially voided or entirely voided.
What is a partially voided warranty?
This is when the work needed is not covered under warranty, but other parts of the warranty are still in place. Any time an owner wants warranty work done, the dealership must submit a claim. The claim is either accepted or denied by the manufacturer. If they deny the claim, the manufacturer does not pay the dealership, which means the owner would need to pay. Generally, the dealer will determine if the work is covered before it submits the claim.
What voids the entire warranty?
Warranties can be voided for several reasons. Some are acts of God, while others are due to circumstance or negligence on the part of the owner.
- Salvage title: Wrecked vehicles get salvage titles, which are used for selling the damaged vehicle to salvage yards or repair shops. Potential buyers can check to see if the car had a salvage title by getting a free vehicle history report.
- Misuse: This can be broadly interpreted and may need support from an experienced attorney to resolve the dispute.
- Environmental damage: This is damage caused by fire, hail or earthquake.
- Odometer altered: Any evidence of odometer tampering or replacement means the dealer cannot accurately determine the miles on the vehicle.
- Damage by after-market parts: The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 states that the dealer must prove that the after-market parts caused the damage or need for repairs.
Avoiding warranty issues
It is always recommended to read a vehicle’s warranty. Owners should also get their vehicle serviced regularly and keep records of the service and repair work. Unfortunately, this may not be enough. An experienced Lemon law attorney can help owners fight denied claims or otherwise resolve disputes with dealers or manufacturers.