Do you drive a Hyundai? If so, you’re probably familiar with one of their major selling points – the “America’s Best” warranty, which is one of the best in the industry. It offers drivers 10-year, 100,000 mile warranties, which is almost unheard of from any other make. However, there’s a catch. According to the fine print, to keep the warranty intact, Hyundai owners must use only Hyundai parts.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is illegal. Based on previous precedent and current law, a company can’t force consumers to only purchase and use their own proprietary products in order to keep a warranty intact without permission, or without offering those products free of charge. This stipulation is in place to prevent monopolizing the system. A company can’t directly tie a consumer to their products in this way without any wiggle room or prevent them from seeking auto care from a third party if they choose.
The FTC has sent Hyundai a warning, along with several other companies who had similar policies. This is a disreputable practice that has only one goal – make the parent company more money by keeping repairs in house. There’s a reason we disapprove of this practice. In a free market, consumers need to be able to choose how they spend their money and which businesses they want to frequent. It’s not acceptable and is, in fact, illegal to offer a benefit like a warranty but only with the stipulation that your company is the only option.
Other companies who received a similar warning are ASUS, HTC, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Much like Hyundai, they also had practices that required consumers to use only their parts to maintain a warranty, as well as other stipulations. This sort of behavior is damaging to competitors and smaller third-party businesses that are trying to eke out a living in a highly competitive industry. For a healthy consumer economy to exist, people need to have access to options. Warrantees like these limit or completely eliminate those options.
If you have any questions about whether you can have your car looked at by an independent auto shop or have specific parts placed in your car without voiding your warranty, feel free to come see us. We’ll be able to advise you on how to protect yourself and your car’s warranty. We can be reached by phone at 626-541-2149 with questions or to schedule an appointment.