WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission approved on Oct. 21 a final consent order against BMW of North America, whose MINI division allegedly violated the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by telling consumers BMW would void their warranty unless they used MINI parts and MINI dealer to perform maintenance and repair work.
This past March, BMW agreed to settle the FTC’s charges that its MINI division violated the Warranty Act provision, which prohibits companies form requiring consumers to used specific brands of parts or specific service centers in order to maintain their warranties. The automaker, however, said it had received no complaints about the issue and disagreed with the regulator’s claims.
The consent order, which will remain in effect for 20 years, prohibits BMW from violating the act regarding any MINI Division good or service. It also bars the company from telling vehicle owners that routine maintenance be done by MINI dealers or service centers in order to ensure a vehicle’s safe operation or to maintain its value.
The order also requires BMW to notify effected MINI owners of their right to use third-party parts and service without voiding their warranty. The company is also required to post the notice on its miniusa.com website.
The commissions approved the consent order by a 4-0 vote.