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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 115464
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Need some help with an issue I'm having with a truck I just

Customer Question

Need some help with an issue I'm having with a truck I just bought. I believe the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act applies and have some questions
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
What are your questions for us about this matter? Is the truck still under warranty? Was it a new vehicle or a used vehicle purchase?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The truck is still under the factory warranty. Its covered for 5 years/60k miles. It currently has 37k on it. The engine failed and the service department at the dealership I bought the truck is saying the engine has signs of abuse and is not covered under warranty. They want $13,000 to put a new engine in it. What are my right in this situation? Can I legally sue them?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
First, if there is some abuse that voids the factory warranty that is an issue. If you bought a used truck it is a bigger issue. Was this a used vehicle purchase?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it was a used vehicle purchase. I've owned the vehicle all of 3 weeks. The service department is saying there is evidence of someone changing the calibration on the engine's computer to make the engine perform in a fashion it was not designed for. But they cannot say WHEN this might have happened. They agree that it could have happened before I even owned the vehicle but are unwilling to give me the benefit of the doubt. I think they want me to pay for the engine because it's more profitable for them. The service manager already told me that they dont make any money on warranty jobs like this
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Here is the issue. Under the law the courts hold a used vehicle purchase is as is unless there is a written warranty to the contrary. If there is a written warranty, the terms written into that warranty apply. Thus, if there is proven abuse and the warranty excludes abuse, they can deny coverage. So you have the right under the MMWA to seek mediation of this dispute through your state attorney general's consumer protection division (the MMWA provides for this as first step in resolving a warranty dispute), since you did not abuse the engine and did not know of such abuse. You would need to take the vehicle to another mechanic to have it inspected to determine even if there was any abuse to the engine such that the warranty would be voided.
Second, even if the warranty may not cover this if there was abuse, in all used car sales aside from warranty, there are common law implied warranties. The implied warranty of merchantability applies when you can show the dealer knew or should have known the vehicle was not fit for use (such as they claim they inspected it prior to sale and this defect is one that your mechanic says should have been seen on reasonable inspection by the dealer). Another implied warranty is the implied warranty of good faith, which says that if the dealer knew or should have known of the defect and concealed it or knowingly misrepresented the condition on sale, they are liable for the damage.
These are your options for coverage either under the MMWA or the implied warranties in a used vehicle purchase. However, the courts also say about used vehicle as is sales "caveat emptor" or "buyer beware" because the risk of hidden defect is on the buyer and not the seller absent proof of the things I said above.