MINI USA and BMW Group settled out of court this week over charges that they illegally advised MINI owners that they had to use MINI dealers and parts for service or else risk voiding their warranties.
At issue is the following language in the warranty documentation shipped with some MINI vehicles:
“Have maintenance and repair work performed by your MINI dealer. Make sure that the maintenance work is stamped in this Service and Warranty Information Statement. These entries are … a requirement for warranty claims.”
“[MINI] is not obligated to pay for repairs that include non-genuine MINI parts.”
According to the Magnusson Moss Warranty Act of 1975, vehicle manufacturers are not allowed to dictate that dealer services or parts are used in order to maintain warranties, and that in order to deny a warranty claim, manufacturers are required to provide proof that a non-dealer approved part caused the problem.
When faced with the FTC complaint, MINI chose to settle the claim immediately, stating that is in the best interest of its customers. They will have to now comply with the law or face stiff fines for each violation. That means changing the wording in future manuals and warranty booklets, as well as informing current customers of the correct information.
More information can be found on the FTC webpage here.
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