Dear K&N Consumer:
K&N Engineering, Inc., is informed that some automobile dealers and
manufacturers are telling their customers that the factory warranty on their
motor vehicles is "void," if an original equipment (OE) replacement air filter,
manufactured by K&N, has been installed on their vehicles. K&N finds such
instances disturbing, and while it does not purport to give legal advice, K&N
would like to refer you to the federal Consumer Product Warranties law, often
referred to as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which states, in part, in title
15, United States Code, Section 2302, subdivision (c), as follows:
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; except that the
prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the [Federal Trade]
Commission if -
(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product
will function properly only if the article or service so identified is
used in connection with the warranted product, and
(2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.
The Commission shall identify in the Federal Register, and permit public
comment on, all applications for waiver of the prohibition of this
subsection, and shall publish in the Federal Register its disposition of
any such application, including the reasons therefor."
Under this federal
statute, a manufacturer, who issues a warranty on your motor vehicle, is
from requiring you to use a particular brand of air filter, oil filter,
or other service or maintenance item,
unless such item is provided, free of charge, under your warranty or unless
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) waives this prohibition against the
K&N is unaware of any exemption or waiver granted by the FTC to any motor
vehicle manufacturer, which pertains to air filters or oil filters.
K&N interprets this law to also prohibit the motor vehicle manufacturer from
restricting your use of a particular brand of air filter, oil filter, etc.
K&N's interpretation of this law is consistent with the interpretation given it
by the FTC, the government agency responsible for the interpretation and
enforcement of this federal law.
The rules and regulations adopted by the FTC, to govern the interpretation and
enforcement of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, are set forth in the Code of
Federal Regulations, title 16 - Commercial Practices, Chapter I - Federal Trade
Commission, Subchapter G - Rules, Regulations, Statements and Interpretations
Under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, Part 700 - Interpretations Under the
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Contained within these rules and regulations is
Section 700.10, which states, in relevant part (with specific language
highlighted by K&N), as follows:
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."
We think this FTC
rule is pretty clear and unambiguous. Please note that the FTC requires the
"warrantor" (this would, generally, be your motor vehicle manufacturer) to
"demonstrate" that the defect in or damage to your vehicle was caused by your
installation or use of a K&N air or oil filter, or other "unauthorized" part,
before a warranty claim can be denied. We contend that this requires credible
proof as to the cause of a failure and not merely your dealer's guess,
speculation or unfounded opinion as to the cause.
Therefore, K&N considers any threat to void your factory warranty, or the actual
voiding of your factory warranty, solely for the installation of a K&N
replacement air filter or oil filter, to be a violation of federal law.
The foregoing addresses only your rights and protection under federal law. Of
course, you may have greater rights under the consumer warranty laws applicable
in your state.
If you have encountered a motor vehicle dealer, who has failed and refused to
"demonstrate" or prove, as federal law requires, that your K&N air filter
necessitated a repair for which warranty coverage has been denied, or a
manufacturer, who refuses to perform warranty repairs on your vehicle, merely
because you have installed a K&N replacement air filter or based on inaccurate
information from your dealer, then we ask that you request that the dealer or
manufacturer set forth, in writing, the warranty denial, together with a written
statement as to the specific reasons for the denial of warranty repairs, and
that you send a copy of this written statement to K&N. We also ask that
you direct your dealer and manufacturer to the federal law quoted above.
K&N assists consumers in this situation through the K&N
Consumer Protection Pledge. For
details please go to the K&N website at KNFilters.com or contact our customer
service department at 800-858-3333.
Please keep in mind that a motor vehicle dealer is, generally, not the
"warrantor" of your vehicle. Your dealer may be assisting you as much as
possible in getting the manufacturer to cover repairs of your vehicle under
warranty, but the factory may still refuse to cover the repairs. If this
happens, then there may be nothing further that the dealership can do, and it
should not be blamed for the actions of your vehicle's warrantor. A
dealership's control over the approval of a warranty repair is usually limited
to properly diagnosing and reporting the cause of the repair. K&N only takes
issue with those dealerships who advise consumers that the mere installation of
a K&N air filter on a vehicle "voids" the factory warranty, or they convey to
the manufacturer an unsubstantiated opinion or conclusion that a K&N air filter
caused an engine or component failure, without any objective proof to support
such a statement, which results in the denial of a legitimate warranty repair.
President & CEO
K&N Engineering, Inc.