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Lampitt, Chaparro, Houghtaling Pro-Consumer Bill to Require Notice of Warranty Coverage Conditions of Use of Aftermarket, Recycled Parts Signed into Law

Aiming to ensure car buyers are kept informed about their warranty coverage concerning the use of aftermarket and recycled parts in repairs, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Annette Chaparro and Eric Houghtaling was signed into law on Thursday by Governor Phil Murphy.

“Many car buyers are not aware that this is even an issue and that the parts you choose to repair your vehicle with can change the terms of your warranty,” said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). “Aftermarket parts or recycled parts are often cheaper for repairs and can be just as good as those newly manufactured. Buyers must be made aware of a caveat in their warranty that says using these parts in repairs may become a problem for them in the long run.”

Federal law currently provides that a manufacturer may deny warranty coverage and charge for repairs to a vehicle if it is discovered that an aftermarket or recycled part installed on the vehicle is defective or was installed incorrectly and caused damage to another part of the vehicle otherwise covered under warranty.  The Federal Trade Commission requires that a manufacturer demonstrate that an aftermarket or recycled part or service performed by a person other than an authorized service provider caused damage to another part of the vehicle otherwise covered under warranty before denying warranty coverage.

The new law (formerly bill A-5225) requires new motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors, and factory branches to provide a purchaser with a written statement summarizing vehicle warranty coverage for aftermarket and recycled parts.

“A consumer purchases a car. Takes it home. A few months or a year later, they need to have something repaired or replaced. They don’t return to the dealer because this part is not under warranty,” said Chaparro (D- Hudson). “They instead go to a local repair shop who can get an aftermarket or recycled part. This happens all of the time. It’s simple. Car buyers need to know that if something happens to a warrantied part, as a result of their choices in repairing their vehicle, it will affect their warranty.”

“The goal of this law is to make sure drivers are fully informed about their warranty coverage when making decisions about car repairs,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “This is a common sense measure that will go a long way in helping car buyers understand their rights under federal law.”

Within 90 days after the purchase or lease, new motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors, and factory branches are required to provide a new vehicle buyer or lessee with a written statement as well as a provide a copy inside the vehicle manufacturer’s owner’s manual, which says:

“The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act makes it illegal for motor vehicle manufacturers or dealers to void a motor vehicle warranty or deny warranty coverage solely because an aftermarket or recycled part has been used to repair the vehicle or someone other than the authorized service provider performed service on the vehicle.  This provision does not apply to a new motor vehicle purchased solely for commercial or industrial use.”

Failure to comply with the notification provisions set under this statute is considered unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act.

The law was previously approved by the full Assembly in November, 74-0, and by the Senate in September, 31-0. It will take effect immediately.