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SEMA President Explains Shop Rights When Working with Car Dealers

Chris KerstingChris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA, issued a memo to the association’s Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) Council members this week reminding shops of their rights when working with new and used car dealerships.

The Kersting memo, titled Selling and Installing Aftermarket Parts Through Dealerships, said that under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, car makers can not “deny a warranty claim unless he claim is caused by the aftermarket part.

“Nonetheless, due to a lack of awareness of the law and concerns about becoming involved in complex warranty claims, some dealerships continue to refuse to install aftermarket parts,” Kersting wrote.

Kersting also presented the following five recommendations when working with dealerships to sell and install aftermarket parts:

  • Inform and educate the dealer that they have a right to sell aftermarket accessories. Dealerships should be encouraged to work with professional, local restyling companies for installation of aftermarket accessories to enhance the sale of vehicles
  • Inform the dealer that an OEM may not deny a warranty unless the warranty claim is caused by the installation of the aftermarket part
  • If a member finds that a dealer is denying warranties based on the use of an aftermarket part, notify SEMA. Often there are misunderstandings about the law or there are pattern failures on vehicles that might cause warranty claims. SEMA frequently can resolve the warranty denials in consultation with the vehicle manufacturers
  • Dealerships should select aftermarket parts and installers who maintain relevant insurance policies and that utilize a documented quality policy for vehicle processing
  • Dealers should look to aftermarket companies that are insured for product liability and warranty claims and who agree to take care of claims that result from the installation and use of aftermarket products. With such programs in place, neither the vehicle manufacturer nor the dealer will be responsible for product or warranty liability caused by the aftermarket part. In closing, it is the right of a dealer franchise owner to select products and services that maximize business profitability and best fulfill the needs of their customers. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act exists to protect dealer rights as much as it protects the rights of the consumer

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