Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has filed a lawsuit to challenge the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) requirement that companies offer lifetime warranties on their cars. Fiat claims it is unfair for car manufacturers who have spent years and tens of millions in research, development, testing, engineering and building quality cars be required by law to cover repairs for life when other industries are not also held under this same standard.
Fiat Chrysler is not standing behind their lifetime warranty. They are saying that the lifetime warranty is unfair because it would be too expensive to replace all of the cars they sold with new ones.
UPDATE: A federal court declined to dismiss a class action lawsuit accusing Fiat and Chrysler of violating a lifetime guarantee it promised to customers on Dec. 15, 2020.
Owners of Fiat Chrysler vehicles have launched a class action lawsuit alleging that the automaker is not fulfilling its lifetime guarantee.
The plaintiffs, who hail from 22 states, claim that Fiat Chrysler isn’t honoring the lifetime guarantee on 2006-2009 Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep cars purchased and delivered on or after July 26, 2007.
Paul Grundy, a Michigan citizen, is one of the plaintiffs in the Fiat Chrysler class action. Grundy claims he bought a new 2009 Dodge Journey with a lifetime guarantee from Fiat Chrysler.
Grundy claims he took his car to the dealership in December 2019 to have the engine components diagnosed and repaired. He claims Fiat Chrysler declined to repair the car, claiming the lifetime guarantee had been canceled since the vehicle had not undergone a powertrain examination as required by the contract’s inspection provision.
Grundy claims that he has incurred economic losses as a consequence of Fiat Chrysler’s violation of the lifetime guarantee, which includes the cost of the components and labor required to fix his car.
Plaintiffs allege that Fiat Chrysler is not fulfilling its lifetime guarantee because of a clause in the warranty that requires their cars to undergo a “powertrain examination” within 60 days of each five-year anniversary of their in-service date.
Furthermore, the car owners claim that Fiat Chrysler has completely abandoned its responsibilities to repair the vehicles by “revoking” the lifetime warranties. As a result, the plaintiffs claim that they will have to spend more money in the future to fix powertrain components in their cars.
The drivers argue that they were never provided fair notice of the inspection condition in the lifetime guarantee when they bought their cars, and that the inception clause is unconscionable.
According to the plaintiffs, Fiat Chrysler announced in July 2007 that it will begin offering a lifetime guarantee on 88 percent of its fleet models.
According to the drivers, Fiat Chrysler sold hundreds of thousands of cars between 2007 and 2009 by giving lifetime warranty guarantees to vehicle owners.
The Fiat Chrysler lifetime warranty class action lawsuit states, “Burdened by the financial promises made by the Lifetime Warranty offer, FCA now routinely voids the Lifetime Warranty because vehicle owners were unaware that their powertrain needed to be inspected within that arbitrarily narrow window.”
The plaintiffs allege that they were not made aware of the lifetime warranty’s precise terms and restrictions, including the inspection provision. They claim that the conditions of the lifetime guarantee were left out of warranty booklets sent to all 2006-2009 Class car buyers.
The inspection clause was added in the 2009 Class cars, but the drivers claim that it is in fine type and unrecognizable from the surrounding language. They claim that the inspection provision is unusual, has no business purpose, and is one-sided.
The putative Class Members’ primary concern when purchasing the cars was the lifetime guarantee, which Fiat Chrysler allegedly knew about.
The plaintiffs claim that Fiat Chrysler lured them to buy their cars by offering a lifetime guarantee, but then failed to notify them of the terms and circumstances that would void the warranty.
In this class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs must decide whether Fiat Chrysler violated the terms of the lifetime warranty by denying warranty claims; 2) whether the plaintiffs were given reasonable notice of the inspection clause; 3) whether the inspection clause is unconscionable; and 4) whether the class members are entitled to equitable, legal, or injunctive relief.
According to the drivers, Fiat Chrysler explicitly guaranteed that the Class cars were protected by the lifetime warranty when they purchased their vehicles.
Fiat Chrysler pledged to pay the cost of all components required to repair a vehicle’s powertrain if it was declared faulty under the warranty.
The Fiat Chrysler limited warranty class action continues, “FCA has violated the Lifetime Warranty by refusing to pay the expense of fixing faults in the workmanship and/or materials of the powertrain parts and components of the Class Vehicles.”
The plaintiffs allege that they have been injured in an amount to be proved at trial as a result of Fiat Chrysler’s breach of contract, which must include all compensatory losses as well as incidental and consequential damages.
Do you own a Fiat Chrysler car that has had its lifetime warranty ruled void? Please leave a remark in the box below.
The plaintiffs are represented by The Miller Law Firm PC’s E. Powell Miller, Sharon Almonrode, Emily E. Hughes, Dennis A. Lienhardt, and William Kalas, as well as McCune Wright Arevalo LLP’s Richard D. McCune, David C. Wright, Steven A. Haskins, and Mark I. Richards.
Grundy, et al. v. FCA US LLC, Case No. 2:20-cv-11231, is a Fiat Chrysler Lifetime Warranty Class Action Lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Fiat Chrysler is a company that has been in business for over 100 years. It was founded by Giovanni Agnelli in 1899. The company is known for its luxury cars and the “Chrysler Lifetime Powertrain Warranty” which states that they will repair or replace any powertrain component with a lifetime warranty. However, Fiat Chrysler says that this is unfair because it makes their cars more expensive to manufacture. Reference: chrysler lifetime powertrain warranty pdf.
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