FTC Taking Aim at Harley Davidson But is the FTC Wrong?
Cristal M Clark
The FTC is accusing Harley Davidson and the Westinghouse Electric Company for violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by voiding, yes voiding warranties of any customer who used an independent repair shop or who might have done the actual work themselves.
In part of the FTC’s argument they are accusing Harley Davidson of failing to make customers fully aware of warranty restrictions.
The FTC “Consumers deserve choices when it comes to repairing their products, and independent dealers deserve a chance to compete. These orders require Harley and Westinghouse to fix their warranties, come clean with consumers, and ensure fair competition with independent providers. Other companies that squelch consumers’ right to repair should take notice.”
Basically, the FTC is saying that both companies restricted customers choices at market, cost consumers money by forcing them to use dealerships instead of shopping around for repairs, undercut independent dealers, and reduced the resiliency of their product.
So the FTC ordered both companies to stop violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, recognise a consumer’s right to repair, “come clean with consumers,” and alert dealers to compete fairly.
But let’s take an honest look at this, this isn’t an independent repair shop fixing an iPhone screen, or new seat on the bike, this is warranty work on a motorised transport, WARRANTY work.
Which should only be done by an authorised dealer who have people on staff trained to work on that particular manufactured equipment. It’s a specialty which most automakers have. And warranty work should never have been part of the right to repair bill in the first place.
I agree with Harley Davidson’s take on this issue. What if the mechanic working on the bike while he/she might be a certified motorcycle mechanic, are NOT certified and correctly trained to be working on a Harley. So they screw something up?
Whilst I do understand the right to repair law however, I do not think it’s entirely fair to the companies who actually manufacture a product and who spend thousands on training and educating people to work on those products especially for warranty issues. And when it comes to warranty issues, unauthorised dealers/repair shops should not be allowed to do the warranty work. Period and end of story.
Warranty work does not typically cost the consumer as long as the work being done falls under the warranty. So this move by the FTC is absolute fucking bullshit. If you are shopping around for warranty work to be done, that’s a red flag that maybe what’s being fixed is not truly a warranty issue.
Cristal M Clark
Twitter @thecrimeshop on twitter
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